These Lobster outer shells from relatively new manufacturer Phew are designed to fit over a pair of gloves to provide a second layer of protection when cycling in cold weather. They're windproof, showerproof, breathable, comfortable, neat and very well-designed, making them an ideal piece of kit for most winter conditions.
The Phew Lobster outer shells get their crustaceanesque name from their appearance. Your thumb and index finger are contained just as in a normal glove, but the other three fingers are contained all together in a single fat 'claw'. This helps keep the extremities of the smaller fingers warmer but, unlike mittens or double-finger-split gloves, it doesn't hinder the use of your index finger on brakes or gear shifters.
These outer shells are made from a sturdy and stretchy material called Windster. It's very windproof so your hands stay warm, but it's breathable so you hands don't get clammy inside. Other features include silicone pads on the palm, thumb and finger tips to provide grip against your bar tape. There's also a bit of soft fleece on one side of the thumb to help wipe your glasses or, let's be honest, your nose.
The Lobsters are designed specifically to go over Phew's normally-fingered Early Winter gloves, and the two items (ok, four technically) go very well together, but of course you can wear other types of glove under the Lobsters if you want. The idea of overgloves is to give you more flexibility: your hands stay warm if you start out on a long ride in cold weather, then as conditions (and your hands) warm up during the day you remove the overgloves and just wear the normal gloves. You could also wear the Lobsters on their own.
The fingers on the Lobsters are long enough that your own fingers are not squashed up inside the glove, even when climbing out of the saddle with your hands wrapped tight around the hoods.
The cuff of the Lobsters is also long enough to cover the wrist bone and the bit where you'd take your pulse, and can be tightened with a Velcro tab to completely keep out the breeze.
The Lobsters fit very nicely over Phew's Early Winter gloves, which have an even longer cuff to ensure your wrist area remains fully covered – an excellent feature that is sometimes lacking in other brands of winter cycling glove.
On sizing, for my hand dimensions (24cm around the knuckles and top of the palm) Phew recommend a size Large, but I found the size Medium on the Early Winter gloves was fine, as I prefer a close fit. The Lobsters on test here are also size Medium and were a tad tight to get on, but I liked the nice close fit with no bagginess when on the bike. If you prefer a slightly more relaxed fit, follow Phew's guidance on sizing. If you like a really relaxed fit, you might want to get your size in the Early Winter gloves, and the next size up for the Lobsters.
On temperature, I've tested the Phew Lobster outer shells on their own in air temperatures that were about 5 degrees, probably a degree or two less given the wind chill, and my hands were okay. Combined with the Early Winter gloves in air temperatures about 2 or 3 degrees, probably nearer zero with wind chill, my hands were absolutely toasty. The manufacturer claims that the Lobsters will protect you down to -10 degrees when worn with the inner gloves.
Although the Lobsters aren't sold as waterproof, for the record I also wore them in wet conditions. In drizzle, they kept out the water and my hands stayed snug. In hard rain, my hands got damp, but the Lobsters still kept them pretty warm.
The Lobsters' official retail is a penny under £25 but you may find them discounted at your local bike shop or the usual on-line stores. This is very fair and about on par with similar windproof and showerproof gloves from other manufactures. (For something breathable and fully waterproof you're looking around 40 quid.) With this price, and the level of performance they provide, these Lobsters from Phew are highly recommended for cycling in cold conditions.
Neat, comfortable, windproof and showerproof over-gloves, ideal for cold weather cycling.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Phew Lobster Outer Shell Winter Cycling Gloves
Size tested: Medium Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This product is a pair of outer shell over-gloves, designed to be worn over a normal pair of gloves. The manufacturer's website cites the following key features: 'Windster fabric – windproof and breathable; Long velcro cuff prevents draughty gaps; Lightweight and low bulk; Silicone grippers on palm, thumb and shifting fingers.' All totally accurate.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The website describes the overgloves in more detail, including the following advice:
'[The Lobster] 'can be worn by itself (recommended temperature range 0 – 8 Celsius) or as an outer layer in combination with our Early Winter Glove (recommended temperature range -10 to 5 deg Celsius when both gloves used together) ... '
'If used together ... outer shell size should be the same as the inner size glove used (ie a large inner should work with a large outer). Some riders prefer to go one size up on the outer shell if they prefer them to be less snug)'
Well-designed and well-made, with no sign of loose threads or untidy stitching.
These are windproof overgloves, and performance is excellent in that they keep out the wind, and keep your hands very warm in cold temperatures.
Weighing just 59g the pair, these overgloves provide a lot of warmth for a relatively low weight and bulk.
The price is fair, but not an absolute bargain.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
This product is designed as a pair of windproof overgloves, and on that basis they performed very well indeed. They're also showerproof, and even if your hands get damp in the rain, they still stay warm inside.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Neat and non-bulky. Very comfortable. Long enough so that finger tips aren't pinched and wrist is fully covered.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
As overgloves to keep your hands warm in cold conditions, the Lobsters are excellent. They're very well-designed, well-built, comfortable, neat, non-bulky, and really nice to wear on the bike. On that basis they would score a perfect 10. The price is fair but not a bargain, so that knocks off a point, giving an overall score of 9.
About the tester
Age: 51 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Trail riding - aka rough-stuff (off road on a road bike)