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Verdict: 
Extremely warm and insulating gloves for the coldest winter rides
Weight: 
112g
Sportful Sotto Zero Gloves
9 10

Providing excellent insulation without the bulk, these Sportful Sotto Zero Gloves will keep you warm right through the winter. When the temperature plummets, as it has done at the time of writing, these gloves keep your hands warm without fail.

For me, there's nothing much worse than freezing cold hands. Cold feet I can manage, but lose the feeling in your fingers halfway into a ride... well, that's not much fun. Traditionally, cold winter gloves, while they might keep your hands warm, would be massively bulky and seriously compromise your ability to operate the controls of the bike.

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Sportful has managed to produce a glove that can provide impressive warmth for the coldest winter rides, but without the bulk. That means you maintain good control of the handlebar and can operate the gears and brakes easily, while remaining warm. I'm impressed. They're like the size of a mid-weight glove but provide the warmth of much chunkier designs.

The Italian company has achieved this impressive feat by using PrimaLoft Silver, a continuous filament insulation more commonly used in sleeping bags and hiking jackets. It works by trapping body heat and has a very low bulk factor, which improves freedom of movement compared with bulkier gloves. It's also lined with a fleece layer, while on the outside a softshell material provides water and wind resistance.

Sportful Sotto Zero Gloves - primaloft tab.jpg

Sportful Sotto Zero Gloves - primaloft tab.jpg

The palm is made from a Clarino material for good durability, and there are generous silicone details for enhanced grip on the brake levers. It's also generously padded and provides good comfort on longer rides.

The fingertips are touchscreen compatible, so you can Instagram without removing your gloves, and the thumb is covered with a soft microfibre toweling material for wiping a snotty nose – a godsend on very cold rides.

> Read our buyer's guide to the best winter cycling gloves

Fit and comfort are excellent. I'm testing a large and they're generous without being loose around the fingers. The wide Velcro closure sealing the large wristband helps when getting them on and off, and they fit easily over jacket sleeves.

Sportful Sotto Zero Gloves - on bars.jpg

Sportful Sotto Zero Gloves - on bars.jpg

They don't quite offer the same warmth as the mightily expensive Rapha Deep Winter Gloves (which use Polartec One insulation) but the Sottos are much less bulky and provide adequate warmth for most typical winter rides. And they're a third of the price.

While £50 is a lot of money for a pair of gloves, the performance for me easily justifies it and makes them a worthy investment if you are serious about cycling through the colder months. I've got a drawer full of winter gloves that the Sottos have just made redundant.

Verdict

Extremely warm and insulating gloves for the coldest winter rides

road.cc test report

Make and model: Sportful Sotto Zero Gloves

Size tested: large

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?

Sportful says: "PrimaLoft® Silver insulation combined with wind-resistant materials give this Sotto Zero glove its name but also its extreme warmth. Increased dexterity comes thanks to it's ergonomic design and low-bulk construction."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

60g PrimaLoft® Silver insulation on back of hand

SoftShell for water resistance and warmth

Light fleece lining

Clarino™ palm with silicone printing for grip

Thin strategic palm padding

Microfiber nose wipe

Touch screen compatible

Velcro closure

Reflective printing

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10
Rate the product for sizing:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Very easy to care for.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Provide excellent warmth for cold winter rides.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

High insulation with low bulk.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing to dislike really.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

These are up there with the best winter gloves I've tested, they cope with typical British winter temperatures extremely well.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180cm  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

7 comments

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psling [255 posts] 10 months ago
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"Fit and comfort are excellent. I'm testing a large and they're generous without being loose around the fingers."

 

Always cringe when I read stuff like this in reviews because it means absolutely nothing without knowing what size (in this case, your hands) you are!

Having said that, I have looked at Sportful's sizing guide and they make these in realistic large sizes; my hands are 26.5cm circumference and I have a lot of trouble finding cycling gloves large enough so it looks promising.

Are the liners fixed in place or do they pull inside out (like many do) when removing a clammy hand?

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Cantab [102 posts] 10 months ago
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Any indication on how these perform in the rain?
I'm guessing they're limited by only having a softshell outer, but 'water resistant' is quite vague. Does that mean 20 minutes of drizzle or an hour of moderate rain before you get cold hands?

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Disfunctional_T... [219 posts] 10 months ago
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What weight of Primaloft Silver? And where is the insulation?

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PpPete [38 posts] 10 months ago
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Do they suffer from the all-too-common problem of inner layers turning inside-out when you remove them?  With cold wet hands this can prevent many gloves from being put back on.

 

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sethpistol [89 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

full details here -

https://www.sportful.com/Root/Cycling/Accessories/SOTTO-ZERO-GLOVE/p/110...

60g Primaloft Silver

liner is sewn in, so won't pop out, feels like the Primaloft is everywhere, including palms.

I'd say 30m in rain for these types of gloves, if they arent seam sealed then waters gonna get it, get the Fiandre glove if you want waterproofing.

Avatar
Grumpy17 [74 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

30 pairs of cycling gloves? Blimey!
I stopped at about 5 pairs before I realised that the only things that stop my fingers going numb on sub 4 degree rides are ski gloves. Cheaper than cycling gloves and much warmer. And water repellent too.

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BeatPoet [82 posts] 9 months ago
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I bought these on the strength of this review hoping they'd be able to replace my bulkier pair. They're comfy but at close to freezing my fingertips are cold. I'd be interested to know at what temperature the reviewer tried them at. I'd say they'd be fine at around 5 degrees.