I’m incredibly picky about most apparel, and as a bike commuter I have a million specifications for my gear and how I need it to feel -- no weird seams, form-fitting throughout while not being too revealing, thick but not restrictive, etc. -- needless to say, I have an exhaustive process for most things and I don’t often find the “end all, be all” in the realm of spandex tights, especially with the endless options from more and more companies trying to get in on the activewear scene.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I put on the Therminal tights for the first time and knew immediately that they were the most perfect and comfortable piece of kit I have ever worn.
They have fleece, which is pretty commonplace in cold weather gear at this point, but these tights rise above the rest because of their panel construction: fleece panels where you need them, mesh panels where you don’t (read: behind the knees.) They’re not the warmest pant you could possibly buy, but that’s what makes them so versatile. I’ve been wearing the no-chamois version over warm-weather kit in the mid 40’s without any shivers, and they have enough stretch to fit over legwarmers and thicker socks if it’s any colder. They aren’t as wind and water-resistant as the thicker and pricier Element 1.5 series, but they have enough of a soft shell feel to keep you dry if it starts to drizzle a few miles from home. Ankle zips afford them an easy-on, easy-off thumbs up and have reflective piping, and subtler reflective logos on the thighs and calfs give you visibility from all sides. There are even built-in stirrups at the back of the ankle that you can use to keep the tops of your feet covered and warm.
My only critique of the tights falls at the hem, which, to it’s credit, is flared to fit snugly around your boas or top strap of your shoe -- since I’ve been wearing them non-stop on and off the bike, I’ve found that on regular shoes the flare sticks out a little at the sides and might look a little odd. But this is a small aesthetic inconvenience that hasn’t hindered me from literally wearing them all the time. I honestly never want to take them off.
I’ve since purchased the ¾ Bib Knicker from the Therminal collection, and the chamois in that has excellent padding for a full day of riding, and all of the benefits of the unpadded tights. Pretty much anything with the Therminal name I now covet, so I encourage all my lady cyclists to check it out online and to come by the shop to place your orders for the snuggliest pants you’ll ever wear on a bike.