Product Review – The Best Summer Gloves

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 and really get a feel for. I know from prior experience that gloves are a really tricky subject. 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, 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.

rapha pro mitt

DURABILITY
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.

rapha pro mitt
COMFORT

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. 

rapha pro mitt

FIT
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.

RAPHA SUMMARY
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.

Castelli tempo glove

DURABILITY
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.

Castelli tempo glove

COMFORT
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. 

Castelli tempo glove

FIT
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.

Castelli Rosso Corsa

DURABILITY
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.

Castelli Rosso Corsa

COMFORT
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.

Castelli Rosso Corsa

FIT
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.



BOTTOM LINE

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?

Product Review : Super wet yet warm? Chilly Grip H2o might be a solid glove for you.

I’m always on the lookout for gear that has innovate ways to solve cycling problems. For me gloves are always an issue. In wetter, cooler climates there is a large need to address many performance characteristics at once. Continue reading “Product Review : Super wet yet warm? Chilly Grip H2o might be a solid glove for you.”

Cheap Glove Tricks for Commuters

$14 – $19 from your local Fred Meyer Grocery Store. 2mm neoprene fishing gloves will keep your hands dry and warm for commutes less than an hour. They can take good downpours but are not seam taped so in heavy downpours water will get in after a short while. The manufacturer Glacier Glove has a whole line up of neoprene based gloves which are not specifically designed for cycling but could be good.

For cycling specific designs and fancier longer ride time gloves with similar materials and qualities, check out Castelli or ShowersPass

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Rapha Pro Team Gloves

I have to admit, the first time I grabbed these I was skeptical. The material is thin, they don’t particularly feel as if they are very water resistant, and all I could think about was my hands being cold. Yes, I run on the cold side in the hands and feet department, maybe a smidge colder than the norm.

and all I could think about was my hands being cold.

After about 30 rides in them now, I can see I was very wrong. These gloves are now in my top 3 gloves. They work great between a nippy 45 degrees all the way up to  about 65degrees, that’s a substantial range for your hands to feel comfortable. They are very water resistant using a thin softshell material, and guess what, yeah they fit like a glove.

Actually the fit is great, high cuff tight fight at first you might feel they are too tight, they are not, I found after 10 /15 rides that the skin like feel is great, it’s form fitting and doesn’t give up any performance. The padding is minimal, for the best bar and bike feel, and the  tips of the fingers are reinforced.  A feature I really liked was the area of the inside palm that grips the top of the hoods by using a different material, a nice detail which offers a secure feel and maybe more durable in terms of wear. One glove has a soft wiper on the thumb area for wiping glasses pretty standard for most gloves nowadays.  As for colour and branding – I have the black version and they have reflective details and subtle branding and are constructed well.  A very versatile glove.

With many a pair of gloves in my basement after years of riding and trying different ones, these get a solid 5 out of 5 , a definite keeper.

I took a few pics below, but for more products shots check them out at Rapha

My other top full finger colder weather gloves include:
-Pittard Palm Glove by Pearl Izumi – Softshell top (currently discontinued)
Siberia Winter Glove  by Craft
Lobster gloves from Pearl Izumi, sometimes with a thin liner glove, should the temperature be in the teens or twenties

 

rapha pro team glove cyclingrapha pro team glove cycling
rapha pro team glove cycling

rapha pro team glove cyclingrapha pro team glove cycling   rapha pro team glove cyclingrapha pro team glove cycling

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