Let’s talk women’s cycling kit. There is a general feeling among some women that there is not a lot out there for us ladies who like to cycle though I would disagree – there is a lot and most brands who sell male cycling kit also sell female cycling kit. Perhaps the misunderstanding comes about because they are not exclusively women only brands.
Anna’s Legs is a premium brand of padded cycling leggings. You will find these to purchase exclusively at Velo Vixen. Why are they called Anna’s Legs? Simple and effective – the lady who designs them in called Anna Glowinski and to quote the brand ‘The focus of the collection is legs, the tools that enable us to pedal our bikes and take us as far or as fast as we want to go. Anna has been designing cycle clothing for nearly a decade and her experience as a cyclist goes into every stitch.’ I have seen them before, I know of the brand, but I do not own a pair myself and there are various reasons for this.
I was sent a pair of the new leggings to review and was keen to do so to give me a first hand view of the product. My 2019 is all about the bike and so this is timely and I have a lot of opportunity to test the kit!
Then came to looking at the leggings and I will admit I held them up and my first thought was that I was unsure if they were going to fit – they looked quite small. I am a size 14 and that is what these are though do note that on the website you will want to check the sizing guide as the purchase is made with the options for S/M/L/XL. The design of the leggings is a high waist, and at first the shape looked a bit odd holding it up, however, I say odd as they are just shaped very differently at the waist/top of the leggings than any of the other shorts/tights that I have. However, I needed have worried as they were perfect! Sturdy material – being a woman any pair of bottoms has the obligatory squat test just to check and these passed easily. Washing instructions printed directly on the material so no need for an annoying flappy tag. Pocket on the back to fit a key/card. Reflective logo and tabs on the ankle too.
Added perk maybe was the ever elusive thigh gap lots of woman seek (not me but it does seem to be a thing). Perhaps just for me but the design and pad positioning gave an automatic thigh gap.
So the first test was on the turbo trainer, which is a bit harsh as the lack of natural movement on a static bike trainer can result in being sore despite the best of kit (for me anyway). I needn’t have worried as they were super comfortable so I was impressed before I even got them out on the road!
The next test was out on the road. Given the choice I am an outdoors girl and will always opt for being outside on my bike rather than inside. Again really comfortable, the waistband didn’t move around and they were warm too – well as warm as any kit when its only 1 or 2 degrees outside! I was a little gutted that I got the ever present oily chain ring mark on my pretty leggings! I realise not everyone gets this but I do (a lot). Also I am 5 foot 6 and there was some gathering behind the knee – not a big deal at all, however, for anyone shorter I would assume the standard length, which these are, may possibly be too long in the leg? They also washed up fab.
So why hadn’t I tried these before? For me I have always used either bib shorts or bib tights, depending on the weather. This is personal preference but I find them more comfortable and don’t want the muffin top or be worrying about moving my kit around whilst cycling – I just want to get on with the actual cycling itself! These didn’t move around though and didn’t roll over at the waist either (there is a silicone grip on the back of the high waist to keep in place – similar to what you may have seen at the bottom hem of jerseys). I also felt that given my preference was for bibs (which generally cost more) that the price was on the high side, however, they are marketed as a premium brand.
Now lets talk price. The leggings I tested are the new Forest Print Padded Tights and they are priced at £99. I have paid, in the past, as little as £15 for bottoms and as much as £145 and I am sure you can find lower and higher if you looked. I am a member of a cycling club and take part in a number of club rides and sportives, which means my riding distances could range from 10 miles on the turbo to almost 200 miles at an event so for me comfort is key and whilst I am far from having an endless budget if it is fit for my purpose it is worth the investment. I also like to speak to others for opinions before spending out a lot on kit – the £145 bib shorts I mentioned earlier were no more comfortable than the £15 and that is extremely frustrating! To date I must say the bib shorts/tights from my cycling club are by far the most comfortable and would always be my go to as a first choice and they are £70.99 for the shorts or £137 for the tights and in my opinion worth every penny.
I spoke to a number of women I know who cycle recently for their opinion to try and gain a general overview to gauge what they look for when purchasing cycling kit. My intention was to try and find out what their preference is regarding shorts/leggings/bibs, the main priority when purchasing kit ie comfort/appearance and also what they felt a reasonable price to pay would be? The majority seemed to opt for bibs, comfort is the main priority with appearance being quite important also and the prices they would be willing to pay ranged from £30 to £100 though the average was around the £50/£60 mark.
Kit will always be a contentious issue and can be very expensive if you let it or can afford it. When I first started cycling my kit mainly consisted of what I would ‘borrow’ from my husband that he didn’t use too often.
Now I have had the chance to try a pair of Anna’s Legs I am impressed and I would buy them, though I think if I am honest it would take some to get me to convert completely from bibs though the ease for rest stops is quite the bonus without bibs. I am currently eyeing up the reflective glowing hearts as these would be great for my winter training and add to being safe and seen. They also have a couple of three quarter length bottoms in the sale right now in certain sizes if you want to grab a bargain before the summer months come!
I was gifted the cycling leggings, but all opinions are my own.