Summer is almost here and my gloves from previous years are pretty tired. I chose a selection of summer gloves from reputable brands to put on the test. I know from experience that gloves are a really tricky subject as it’s difficult to tell in a shop what is going to work out best, and it takes going through a few pairs. Thus my box in the cellar with tons of winter gloves! For these summer numbers though I chose Rapha ProTeam mitts, Castelli Rosso Corsa and Castelli Tempo V for their reputation and their top shelf approach to design, materials, and performance.
My base criteria are that gloves should be durable, comfortable and fit really well. On top of that, there is relative performance. With my assumption that all these brands offer high-performance relative to their price point. These gloves were used for at least 40hrs to collect the best insight.
Rapha Pro Mitts – $75 – rapha.cc
A high-end glove from Rapha, with minimal branding and a sleek look. This was by far the most fashion-forward glove in the test as it’s available in seasonal colours to match their range, I tested a black version to be somewhat consistent with the others.
To be very candid, my first impression was wow these are not durable in the slightest. Due to the mesh-like construction I perceived they would easily rip and tear at the flimsy mesh material, especially when taking the glove on and off for many times but on the contrary, the pro mitts turned out to be very durable, the mesh fabric is actually very well done, does not rip or tear and holds up well.
The gloves have almost no padding, so the bar feel is very real, there is a durable surface on the palm but it’s not padded. For some people this may be a deterrent, I actually quite like it, you can feel what your bike is doing a lot easier and handlebar sensations are a good thing in my book. The palm reinforcement is slightly grippy and offers hand to bar / hood security.
The gloves fit well, I had to size up to a large, in Castelli range I would be a medium. I could squish my hand into a medium Rapha sure, but it’s on the edge of discomfort. They fit snug around the fingers and looser on the thumb. They are quite easy to get on and off. With regard to fit at the wrist an aspect I really like is that these gloves did not have a velcro strap, just a well designed elastic at the wrist, this means the gloves fit well but also seem less to go wrong or wear, thus more durable. Some other gloves have velcro and I always find the velcro snags on other stuff.
As a summer glove used in higher temperatures, this glove was really good, basically because of the large use of lightweight mesh materials. The glove breathed well and was almost like not wearing a glove at all. The minimal glove padding also pushed up the bar sensations.
Castelli – Tempo V Gloves – $35
My first impression was this is a great value for money glove with some high-end features (but a lower price point). Logo warning: The gloves have large logo across the top, maybe taste for some but not for me.
The construction and materials are a stretchy lycra type upper and a full soft palm with decent stitching. The glove has a slender velcro closure at the wrist, which I generally rate down as the durability of these items tends not to be ideal and often has a tendency to snag on things, especially long sleeve cuffs and seen as more hassle than they are worth. On the underside palm of the glove is a small pull tab to help you pull the glove off, this might extend the life of the glove.
Although a minimal glove, no gel or anything, the suede palm has a few layers, some foam and offers some minimal padding. Compared to the Rapha with none, you can definitely feel it there. Here there is a lot of personal preference but by no means did this glove feel disconnected from the bike, it’s actually probably a nice midpoint for most riders.
These gloves use the elasticity of the upper to provide the close fit, and it works. They fit great, the finger holes are just right and even though the glove are a slight touch longer than the Rapha’s they end great at the wrist. The thumb holes seemed a touch better designed than Rapha’s offering. These gloves use a Velcro wrist closure, one of my pet peeves as velcro always gets stuck to other kits that you don’t need it too.
CASTELLI TEMPO SUMMARY
Standard materials and no mesh left for a normal performance, that’s not a bad one, but these gloves did not run as cool as the others with their full palm cover and a spandex upper.
Castelli – Rosso Corsa Gloves – $50
On the test, these were the most “Italian” luxurious looking glove with visual features in swoops and showy details. The top surface has two curved and reflective piping, plus embroidered logos. I have a black pair and the graphics are subtle with red Rosso accents. “Classy”. They are available in a white and a showy red colour.
In hand they felt the most durable, maybe the heaviest gloves, due to the most construction (Rapha being the lightest) On the underside palm of the glove is a small pull tab to help you pull the glove off, this may extend the life of the glove. Overall the glove has more panels and construction than the other two, the stitching is well done and quality of materials is high, leading itself to a high durability.
These gloves had the greatest amount of padding in the test. They use gel in the palm which can affect the sensations and the bike feel, but it absorbs some vibration and impact meaning that you get a more comfortable ride, especially if you suffer hand vibration issues. After riding for a while the design of the glove comes to life and the positioning of the gel is very well done, some lower brand gloves add gel in locations which very much disconnects the feel of the ride and feels awkward – this was NOT the case with the Corsa’s. The top of the glove has a lot of detail and material construction – including embroidered logos, but the most part is mesh. The amount of mesh is 75% of the Rapha design to give you an idea, but acts in a similar way, allowing the top of hand to breath, not quite as open as the Rapha gloves but still a mesh for airflow. With these two things combined the comfort rating is high.
The gloves feel a little snugger than the Rapha and the Tempo’V’s. Due to the multi-panel construction, and ribbing I expect that they will stretch a little and be similar to the Rapha fit. The hand fit is great with well-designed finger and thumb holes. With regard to fit at the wrist an aspect I really like is that these gloves did not have a velcro strap, just a well designed elastic at the wrist, this means the gloves fit well but also this glove has some extra material on the underside of the wrist, which I can only imagine is for when the underside of your wrists is fat against the bars.
CASTELLI ROSSO SUMMARY
These gloves are the hardest to get on and off due to materials and construction. Over time it gets a little easier but compared to other still the more intensive. A combination of good fit, high comfort and decent durability set this glove to a high rating.
Don’t get me wrong, all of these gloves I would class as Great gloves. A lot of the overall preference is going to boil down to personal details. What do you like? – Ultra lightweight summer breathable? Stretch with Velcro cuff? More padding / heavier construction?