Cold weather never fails to remind us of our frailties and biological shortcomings. For me winter = frozen extremities, making cycling a physically uncomfortable experience rather than the endorphin generating pleasure it should be.
So, every autumn I embark upon a new annual quest for winter riding gloves. Annual, because despite riding for a long number of years, I still have yet to find the perfect pair of gloves to keep my hands warm (but not hot) and dry (on the outside AND inside of the glove) as well as offering cycling specific extras such as padding where I need it and a decent fit.
That said, with the Barrier from Pearl Izumi, my quest is over for at least the time being. This is one serious pair of winter cycling gloves, offering incredible warmth as well as fully waterproof protection, all in a glove that’s surprisingly not too bulky and even manages to look good.
The waterproof shell fabric is durable, and features stretch panels at the knuckles for comfort as well as generous reflectivity in the form of piping, logos, an attractive decorative motif and integrated reflective threads in areas of the fabric. The lining is soft and fleecy, giving a sense of warmth right from the word go, even before the insulation kicks in. A fleece thumb panel allows for non-scratchy wiping of those cold weather nose dribbles. The high quality Pittards leather palm isn’t padded but has well placed unobtrusive seams, and makes sure you’ve got a secure grip even in the wet and cold.
The wrist is snug but stretchy and doesn’t allow for any water to get in, while a Velcro tab means you can cinch it in for an even more snug fit, depending on whether you prefer to wear your gloves outside or inside the cuffs of a waterproof jacket.
The fit is on the generous side, with a size small fitting me well, when I would usually take a medium in women’s gloves, so consider trying a size smaller than usual. Finger length is good without being excessive.
The Barrier Glove from Pearl Izumi is unashamedly a glove for hostile, cold weather conditions. It’s not an all rounder for year round use, it’s a glove that will enable you to brave that New Year’s Day ride without fear of frostbite. It’s a glove that will likely lie unused in your drawer for 50 weeks of the year, but, if, like me, you suffer from cold paws, will prove its worth in the other two.
A well considered, superbly warm protective winter glove that looks good too. Great value.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearl Izumi Women's Barrier Glove
Size tested: Medium
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?
A cold weather glove with waterproof protection.
Spot on for really cold conditions and foul weather winter rides.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
• Fully insulated waterproof protection
• P.R.O. Barrier fabric with Amfib Stretch over knuckles for comfort
• Ripstop fabric shell is lightweight and durable
• Pittard’s ® Carbon Leather palm for enhanced grip and durability
• Soft microfleece wiping surface
• Reflective piping and logos for low light visibility
• Low profile hook and loop closure is comfortable and reliable
Palm: 80% Pittard’s Leather/ 20% Olefin
Shell Back: 80% Nylon/ 10% Polyester/ 10% Polyurethane
Lining: 100% Polyester
High quality components and excellent build quality.
Does exactly what it says on the tin. Keeps your hands warm and dry in nasty conditions.
Provided you don't wear rings that might snag the lining, these should last years and years.
Surprisingly light for the warmth offered
Extremely comfortable in wear and not too bulky.
Sizing is on the large side so consider taking a size smaller than you usually would in gloves.
Not cheap but genuinely good value for such a warm and protective glove. Good quality too.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent performance in inhospitable riding conditions. This is a glove designed for severe cold and nasty weather, and it is incredibly warm to cope with this. Not one for the turn of the seasons.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Superb insulation and warmth without excessive bulk.
Actually look good too.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes. Especially ones who suffer badly from cold hands.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A great option if you're looking for combined warmth and waterproofing.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.