If total thermal comfort is the name of the game for you when temperatures dip below freezing, the Giro 100 Proof gloves have to be right up there on your shortlist.
You'll notice from our images that the glove is lobster-like, grouping two fingers together into each compartment. The design has a clear advantage over individually fingered gloves, allowing the circulation and resulting heat that gets to your fingers to build more effectively in a closed system.
Of course, this comes with the obvious downside of loss of dexterity, although with these it's still fairly easy to actuate mechanical shifts – as long as you're not in a hurry to get them. Spend a split second longer to find the shifter, and 99 times out of 100 you shift slickly and relatively precisely. Electronic shifting is another matter, though – the lack of distinction through the thick materials makes it difficult to accurately locate the differing textures of Di2 buttons, for example.
Still, fast shifts are not the aim here; it's warmth. They're designed for super-cold days, when you're not likely to be hurrying anywhere. We might have seen the back of the worst of winter, but cold mornings and late evening commutes can still chill fingertips and leave you wanting extra warmth...
And, oh my, do they perform in this respect. The lobster construction features an individually fingered, fixed internal liner, made of a thermofleece and polyester blend with 'AGrid' texture, which allows heat to be shared across the lobster shell and give a little extra comfort. The outer is filled with a layer of Primaloft and Thinsulate materials that completely isolate your hands from the elements. As long as you've eaten properly on your ride to keep your energy levels up, you're good for a Norwegian winter.
Of course, eating isn't particularly easy – you do need to take them off in most situations. Want to get hold of a jelly baby or even an energy bar on the go? Really, forget it.
It's when you take them off you realise how insulating the gloves are – your hands are wet with condensation and sweat (but, importantly, toasty). That also makes getting them back on a bit of a struggle, although once you do, warmth returns pretty quickly.
Ironically, they're totally waterproof, stoutly refusing to let any cold water in. I even stuck them under a cold shower for a few minutes and had no issues whatsoever. If an effective closed barrier to the elements is what you want – these are hard to fault.
Now, as you can't remove the inner liner, washing the gloves effectively could become an issue, so I recommend pulling the liner out so it's reversed and hanging out of the glove before sticking in the wash. Then ensure it's totally dry before wearing again, by airing it thoroughly.
So, are there any flaws? Well, if we accept that the nature of the gloves means they're not dexterous or breathable, there aren't many. I feel there could be a little more padding under the palms for pressure relief, and I'm not totally convinced by the little zipped compartments on the top of the gloves for keys or money. Okay, they're nice to have and surprisingly capacious, but if you're wearing the gloves, the lack of individual fingers means you can't get in there anyway. So you take the gloves off... then wonder what was wrong with just using your jacket or jersey pockets. Still, Giro also says they're great for housing hand warmers – and I can't argue with that one.
But this is small fry, if I'm honest. The 100 Proof gloves have a grippy texture on the underside for good grip on the bars, reflective strip panels on the exterior for good visibility while indicating in gloomy light, and a large and snug Velcro fastening cuff. And, genuinely, they're able to operate touchscreen devices (although they can be a little cumbersome).
This leads us to the price of £64.99, which is a lot, no question. How good value that is will depend on your needs. If you rely on riding your bike to work whatever the weather, or struggle with circulation in the cold, you'll rightly see them as a good investment. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay indoors when the temperature drops below zero, you might be better off with a more dexterous – but less thermally impressive, and perhaps cheaper – option.
Still, for the headline aim of keeping hands warm in the coldest weather – wet or dry – the Giro 100 Proofs are properly hardcore.
Excellent gloves for keeping your hands warm on the coldest days and highly recommended
road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro 100 Proof gloves
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?
Giro says: "[The 100 Proof glove is] our warmest glove, featuring a waterproof split finger design for riding in freezing wet, cold conditions."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Giro says: "The waterproof, breathable outer shell has a zippered pocket for hand warmers, and a combination of PrimaLoft® and Thinsulate™ XT-S form an insulated core for maximum warmth. The interior lining utilizes AGrid™ technology with X-Static® silver fibers to hold heat. The palm is a durable Clarino™ synthetic, with Touchscreen Technology™ that allows you to use mobile devices without removing the glove. Altogether, it's a double dose of warmth and weatherproofing that won't weigh you down."
They're very well made, and will definitely stand the test of a cold winter or few.
For their stated aim of ultimate warmth, they're fantastic – if a little sweaty as a side effect. You can't have it all, though.
See construction comments. Sturdy.
A snug fit is vital to warmth and comfort, and these provide it.
I tested a large, which was snug (I normally wear L or XL gloves), but they come in XS-XXL, so there are plenty of options. There's also a sizing guide if you're unsure.
You'd expect them to be heavy, but no! – 183g for the pair, and there's a lot going on here.
Super-comfortable liner, but the palms could use a little extra padding in my view to relieve pressure.
Hard to quantify for groups of people because some will love or hate lobster gloves, while others will struggle more or less in cold weather. If you do struggle or need to be able to ride in sub-zero temperatures, they're worth the investment.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You can't remove the liner, but turn them inside out to wash and you'll be okay.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Warmth, waterproofness, comfort of the liner.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of palm padding, sweatiness when the weather gets slightly warmer.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, I prefer extra dexterity. But...
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Absolutely, yes.
Use this box to explain your score
Great freezing/cold wet weather lobster gloves – very suitable for purpose.
About the tester
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding