Leg warmers are a fashion item that people just can’t get enough of. They were first popularized in the 1980s. What started as an item for dancers and athletes quickly became an icon of the decade. Now, over 30 years later, leg warmers are starting to experience a resurgence. They can be seen on fashion runways and being worn by some of the biggest trendsetters.
Beyond style, leg warmers serve several practical purposes. In cold weather, the accessories can help to keep your lower legs warm and toasty. In these instances, they’re often referred to as boot covers because they provide some insulation around the opening of your footwear.
In the world of sports and dance, it’s believed that the best leg warmers are capable of preventing muscle cramps and injuries. No matter how you choose to wear them, leg warmers are a great addition to anyone’s wardrobe.
If you’re thinking about purchasing your own pair of leg warmers, you’ll quickly find that there’s an overwhelming amount of options at your disposal. Designers and clothing manufacturers have quickly pounced on this growing trend, so you can find the accessories in virtually every style and material. To help you sift through the hundreds of products on the market, we’ve rounded up a collection of some of the best leg warmers that you can buy right now.
These cable knit leg warmers offer a classic look with a modern twist. The stylish knit crochet is reminiscent of big chunky winter sweaters. The cuffs even feature a traditional sleeve knit pattern. The warmers are lightweight. Yet, they’re thick enough to provide adequate insulation to keep you warm. The accessories come in a set of four different colors. They’re all neutral tones, making it easy for you to add some fun to any outfit.
Made of 100 percent acrylic
16 inches long
Comes in a set of four pairs
Doesn’t retain shape after stretching
No built-in elastic
Leg Warmer Buying Guide
The knee leg warmers are great for providing light support. They’re designed to go over your knee. A separate knee pad creates additional padding while also working to keep the warmers in place. The entire accessory is made out of cashmere wool. As a result, it’s incredibly warm and comfortable to wear. The cashmere fabric is stretchy enough to slide on with ease. The cuffs are a bit tighter to help keep the leg warmers in place.
Made of soft cashmere wool
Plush lining in the knee
Provides thermal insulation
May be too tight for some
With the super-long leg warmers from Foot Traffic, you can stay warm wherever you go. These warmers look like high socks that reach all the way up to your thigh. Thanks to the thinner material, they can be worn inside boots. Or, you can use them as a bib to cover the tops of your shoes. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll be comfortable the entire time. The warmers are made out of polyester and nylon for ultimate comfort and durability.
Approximately 32 inches long
Made of 70 percent polyester, 30 percent nylon
No elastic band
Loses shape after stretching
Looking to stock up for the winter? This set of crochet leg warmers is ready to protect you from the cold. The accessories are lightweight and have good breathability. While they’re predominantly made for fashion, they work well for women on the go. The acrylic material wicks away sweat to keep you dry. However, it can also provide you with adequate insulation on those cold winter days. Wear them with some knee-high boots for a double layer of protection.
Set includes 6 pairs
Knee-high leg warmers
16.5 inches long
Made of 100 percent acrylic
Very tight fit
This pair of crochet boot cuffs feature a defined knit pattern. The knits are quite chunky, which makes them stand out when slipped over your leg. The leg warmers stretch to the knee for most people. On both ends of the warmers, you’ll find a ribbed cuff that provides some slight pressure to keep the accessory up. The set comes with two pairs of warmers. One is a tan hue while the other is a deep gray.
Made of cotton
Traditional crochet pattern
Comes in a set of 3 pairs
Might be too short for some
No elastic band
Cuffs lose shape easily
From Isadora Paccini is this boho-inspired pair of leg warmers. The warmers are made out of a high-quality blend of acrylic and spandex. The materials are very smooth on the skin. Unlike other types of yarn, you don’t have to worry about itching. They’re also quite breathable. As a result, they’re a great option for athletes and dancers.
Fits calves between 10 and 18 inches around
Made of 95 percent acrylic and 5 percent spandex
18 inches long
Can be worn with boots
Loses elasticity after stretching
May start to fray with heavy use
The Lucky Love leg warmers are a versatile option for those who want it all. They work great when lounging around the house or out on the town. The light and breathable material make them suitable for sports activity as well. The warmers are made out of acrylic yarn. When fully stretched, the accessory can reach passed the knees. However, you can also push them down for a scrunched-up look.
Roughly 22 inches long
Made out of 100 percent acrylic yarn
Thin enough to wear in boots or under jeans
Starts to slip after a few minutes of walking
Want the look of leg warmers with the functionality of traditional socks? Check out these garmens from StyleGaga. The warmers have a closed-toe bottom and contoured heel. The shaft rises up to the thighs. The top of the warmers have a thicker cuff. This helps to lift the ends to the thighs and makes it easy to create a slouchy look. A unique blend of acrylic, spandex, polyester, wool, and nylon is used. This results in a finish that’s smooth to the touch and non-irritating.
Made out of an acrylic blend
Almost 20 inches long
Thin enough for flexible wear
Doesn’t provide the best insulation
Not machine washable
Another great option from Isadora Paccini is this pair of black leg warmers. The warmers take on a traditional look. The cuffs feature a thin ribbed pattern to provide stretch. On the main shaft of the warmers, a larger rib knit is used. When fully stretched, the leg warmers reach the knee. Thanks to the thin and smooth acrylic material, the garments slip right underneath boots or tight pants.
Made out of 95 percent acrylic and 5 percent nylon
Simple crochet design
Maximum calf width of 18 inches
Thin enough to use with boots or leggings
Prone to slipping
Cuffs can lose shape
Leg Warmer Buying Guide
Like any other clothing item, there’s a lot to consider before making the jump. Leg warmers are flexible accessories. If you want to make the most out of your investment, keep the following things in mind.
Fashion or Function?
The first thing you should think about is whether you’re looking for fashion, function, or both. Leg warmer designs vary dramatically based on their purpose. Fashion-focused options are stylish and can be worn in several different ways. Plus, they’re capable of providing some protection in colder environments. Despite their good looks, fashion leg warmers won’t hold up in sports situations.
If you’re a dancer, runner, or cyclist, you may want to focus on breathable leg warmers. They’re thinner and are designed to be worn with other gear, such as leggings or shorts. Most of these options are also unisex and have muted patterns.
Of course, you should always consider your personal style when shopping. Leg warmers make a strong fashion statement, so why not use them to spice up your existing wardrobe? Not all warmers are made to have a retro look. You can easily find garments with a boho or modern flair.
Traditionally, leg warmers provide coverage from the shin down. Knee-high leg warmers offer ample protection from the elements and can be worn alongside winter boots or other stylish footwear. While those are the most common you’ll find on the market, other options do exist.
Long leg warmers can reach the thigh-high territory. They’re ideal for skirts and shorts. Longer warmers also offer more versatility, as they can be scrunched down and used as boot socks. Ultimately, the length of the leg warmers will determine how much warmth and protection you can achieve.
One-size-fits-all is the most common sizing you’ll encounter. These garments often utilize stretchy material that can adapt to legs of all widths. Though, some clothing brands do offer wider pieces for more versatile styling. When you’re considering the fit of the leg warmers, take a look at the cuffs. Elastic cuffs on both ends will ensure that the accessory stays put as you walk or play.
The material of your new leg warmers will determine style, functionality, and overall comfort. In the past, most leg and arm warmers were made out of cotton, wool, or chenille. While those materials are still available, you have many more options to choose from nowadays. Athletic warmers are usually made out of spandex, polyester, or some other blend that can wick moisture away.
Finally, it’s recommended that you think about any unique features that you might need. For example, dancers can benefit from silicone grippers on the bottom of the leg warmers for more stability on smooth floors. Athletes, on the other hand, may want to find leg warmers with a separate lining to avoid chaffing and discomfort. If you live in a snowy climate, you could get leg warmers that can be secured around your boot for protection. All of these features can affect the way you use the leg warmers.
After decades of being absent from our fashion zeitgeist, leg warmers are back with a vengeance. These practical accessories are a must-have for the winter season. They offer plenty of warmth while adding a unique touch to any outfit.