The perfect leg warmer doesn't exist oh, wait!
These check all the boxes and are a perfect way to extend summer bib shorts into colder months. I own some heavy, warm ones and a light pair from other brands. The heavy ones are overkill, don't fit well in pockets, are stiff, and have tons of seams. The light ones are more for sun protection, aren't very warm, are stiff, and have seams, but they do roll small for pockets. Both wrinkle and bunch up at the back of the knee.
The Castelli warmers are a perfect weight for matching summer shorts, are surprisingly warm, roll small, are soft, and don't bunch up or wrinkle at all. They are knit/woven like socks, so there are zero seams. For aero geeks, the zero wrinkles are nice.
Regarding heavier leg warmers, skip them and get proper bib tights. I used my big, heavy warmers on colder days, and while my legs were warm, I got uncomfortably cold hips. These Castelli leg warmers match summer bibs perfectly and keep you warm enough. If the temp is so low that they aren't warm enough, your shorts aren't either.
Here's a tip: when your skin is dry, all warmers will slide down. Rub a thin layer of Vaseline or similar where the top of the warmers will go and they will stay secure all day long.
If there's any limitation, it's that with no zipper, they are tight to remove over shoes. I wouldn't try it while riding. On the other hand, I prefer the light, zipper-free design. And they breathe well enough to leave on if you are going up and down hills and in and out of shade. Plan to remove them once, after the sun has warmed the morning chill.
They're so comfortable that if you like to wear shorts around the house but you're feeling a bit cold, they're not a bad option. And they then remind you that you should be out riding!
I have tried multiple types of knee / leg warmers (here's looking at you Pearl Izumi Elite). While they managed to keep me warm, they didn't manage to keep from irritating / scratching my thighs and wouldn't stay up if I ever got out of the saddle when climbing or starting / stopping at lights. So I was destined to always have cold knees or have to wear bib tights until I found these. They are a GAME CHANGER! I'm 5'8" and 155lbs and the Sm/Med fit me perfectly.
First, as someone else stated, these feel like some kind of knit sock at first. It seems like they won't do what they're advertised to do. However, when you get out on the road with them, they work flawlessly. They are much warmer than you think they will be when you first try them on. And while they don't necessarily repel rain, they also don't create new problems either.
Case in point: I road a century recently where we started in low 50's and rainy, got into the low 60's / sunny in the middle and then got down to 50's / cold / rainy at the end. I put these under a pair of Assos Mille GT Spring/Fall Knickers. And while water happened to leak into my socks just because I didn't have on full length bib tights, I was never overheated or too cold with my setup despite some chilly / wet descents early on. I realized when the ride was over that they had actually slipped down from my thighs a bit and were bunched up a bit at my knee but it wasn't bad enough that I even noticed. For the majority of my ride, they held in place perfectly and provide just the ride amount of protection and warmth. The Pearl Izumis would have been below my knee in only a few miles. Whereas these more or less stayed in place (or close enough) of 6 1/2 hours of riding). I would have been in much worse shape if I hadn't had these with me.
If you ever think you'll need leg warmers, do yourself a favor and get yourself a pair of these. You will be glad you did!
Not many reviews so wanted to give some feedback - I'm 5'7", 135lbs, 21" around thigh, got S/M and have worn 4+, washed twice. I've worn them under knickers to keep knees and ankles warm, and also under bib shorts. I am amazed at the amount of warmth from such a light weight layer. They are like a thicker stocking with ribbing and contouring around knee, calf, and thigh, and have no movement restrictions as compared to stiffer zippered styles (but these won't be water repellant!). Mine reach from ankle to mid/upper thigh and do not move down during riding. I wish the elastic at top was 3" instead of 1.25" to minimize the indentation but that's vanity, they stay up and that's what's important. These will save me the cost of buying a pair of long winter tights and are much more convenient to take on and off. If you are tall and have big thighs you may not get the same coverage FYI.
i have used many different kinds of leg warmers across the years mostly from Castelli. These are a bit different as they are made of a different material that ironically seems lighter, but warmer - sort of like an open ended sock. I have been using these for about 2 months and like them alot and now use them as my number 1 leg warmer.
4 stars only because i had to return the first pair as the stitching on the hem started to unravel - replacements are good and I suspect its a one off.
Castelli nailed it with these seamless leg, knee and arm warmers. They must use a very high loft insulating fiber to knit them. They are super soft, stretchy and very warm for their weight and thickness. Although they look small when you get them, they stretch a lot. And thus far have not lost their shape or rolled down.