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.
- Pros: Warm, windproof, great fit, generous padding, touchscreen compatible
- Cons: Umm…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
About the tester
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.