Winter might finally be on the way out, but chilly mornings and evenings still call for full-finger protection. Handily, Giro's Proof 'freezing weather' cycling gloves provide windproofing, comfortable palms, decent dexterity and, most importantly, warmth down to below zero. They are pretty much perfect for winter riding.
My issues this winter have occurred on my sub-one-mile ride to work. The issue is, it's all downhill and my hands have frozen on any day that isn't above 5°C. So when, on my first ride in the Giro Proof gloves, I arrived at the office with working hands, I was rather impressed.
Firstly, the fit of the Proofs is ideal for winter riding. They border on bulky, but that means that there is space inside for a liner. I rode these down to 2°C with no liner without issue. That bulk doesn't mean that shifters are unusable, either: I found I could shift accurately, with only the occasional miss.
Feel of the handlebar is also very good, with the Proofs featuring a full leather palm and fingers. The inner thermal material provides minimal padding, and it's just enough to deal with most vibrations. The leather also provides excellent grip, very similar to bare hands.
Sizing is spot on for my mediums. The gloves are just slightly oversized, allowing for a pair of liners inside. Okay, the exterior is a little bulkier than some, but for the warmth it's not an issue. And as I said, it didn't result in many mis-shifts.
Providing the warmth is a combination of a wind-resistant, waterproof outer and a fleeced interior. Thanks to the effectiveness of the outer, the fleeced interior can be very thin. Out on the road, this meant I was able to maintain a normal grasp on the bar, with no excess padding inhibiting feel. That feel is undoubtedly much better when your hands are not frozen blocks of ice.
Durability seems very good too. I've had no loose stitching or pulled threads, and the palm feels like it'll last a significant number of miles. That's a very good thing as Giro advertises these gloves as not only ideal for cold winter miles, but also for commuting. Surviving daily use, with weekly machine washing, makes the price worth every penny in my book.
The wrists are tall without being too long. They paired well with long-sleeve jerseys and jackets, keeping my wrists warm. The closure is large and simple to operate with the gloves on. I did find the little clips used to attach the gloves to each other were a little annoying, so I cut them off, with no impact on the stitching.
The touchscreen technology actually works – in fact they're the only gloves I've worn that will work with the notoriously difficult Garmin Edge 820. It's rather nice to not freeze your fingers off when you want to see your maps screen or snap a picture.
The only slight issue with the Proof is on the thumb. Unlike the fingers, the thumb's stitching goes across the top edge. This allowed just enough of a draught onto the end of my thumb. When descending in the cold, it resulted in two very cold thumb-tips. It was never an issue when I was pedalling, generating some body heat, but at the start of rides going downhill it wasn't great for my poor thumbs.
Overall, though, I'm really happy with the Proof gloves. The price might seem high, but you're getting brilliant quality and longevity from robust materials. The feel of the bar isn't compromised by bulk, and there's space for a liner glove.
Warm, with great dexterity and a robustness for regular use. The price reflects the quality
road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro 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?
From Giro: "OUR CORE INSULATED WINTER GLOVE FOR NEAR-FREEZING RIDES AND COMMUTES HAS BEEN RE-ENGINEERED TO IMPROVE WATERPROOFNESS AND ADD EVEN MORE WARMTH
The wind resistant exterior shell features a waterproof, breathable performance Hipora™ liner and a combination of PrimaLoft® and Thinsulate™ XT-S insulation with X-Static® anti-microbial fiber to keep you warm and dry when it counts. The fleeced interior features AGrid™ technology, which utilizes a woven grid to hold heat. Reflective detailing and Touchscreen Technology™ help you to be seen, and stay in touch without slowing you down. So when warmth is essential, this is your glove."
Well, they're waterproof, very warm and have stood up to the daily commute for two months without complaint. You definitely get what you pay for with these.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Wind resistant exterior shell; Reflective detailing and touchscreen technology.
AGrid antimicrobial Thermofleece-Polster
Super Fit 5-Finger-Design, PrimaLoft and Thinsulate XT-S Isolation, Touchscreen Technology
The fabric on the nose wipe is very effective and cleans up well too. I've had no stitching failures.
They kept me perfectly warm while not affecting my control of the bike.
The leather palm doesn't even look used, so as the main point of wear, it looks as though the gloves will cope with a lot of abuse.
There was just enough room around the whole glove for wearing a liner. When worn without, they weren't too roomy. It seemed to allow warm air to be trapped. Just perfect.
Just right, with just enough wiggle room for keeping circulation going.
Winter gloves aren't meant to be lightweight.
Just enough padding to cushion. Key to comfort here, though, is having warm hands. For that, these are excellent.
Yes, it's a hefty outlay, but if you get something that works all winter and lasts, then it's a worthwhile investment.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I just machine washed them at 30 and left them to air dry.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They were brilliant for commuting and riding in the coldest weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The leather palm is excellent.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The thumb stitching let in just enough air when starting a ride downhill to give me chilly tips when I got to work.
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
You get what you pay for. These are very well made and did a perfect job of keeping my hands warm. Placement of the thumb stitching could be better, but it's the only negative mark on an otherwise perfect glove.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 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, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.