Thin, light and impressively warm, the Ashmei Merino Gloves are great for use on their own in the spring or autumn, or as a pair of liner gloves in the depths of winter. At 30 quid they are a pricey solution, though, especially when they don't actually incorporate a huge amount of the wonder wool.
- Pros: Comfortable, lack of bulk
- Cons: Expensive
Merino has long been touted as a wonder material for winter wear as it is very warm but also highly breathable, making it ideal for use in socks or gloves to protect your extremities.
The Ashmei Merinos are thinner than the non-merino Grip Grab liner gloves I usually wear, but wearing them side by side reveals the Ashmei gloves are a bit warmer.
The best thing about their slenderness is that they fit snuggly under any glove you wish without affecting dexterity for changing gear or braking. It's always good to keep a little bit of room inside your gloves to trap heat, and the thinness of these maintains that.
The fit is good and they feel really nice when on too. The slim cuff is unobtrusive whether inside another glove or tucked up inside a jersey sleeve. It is quite short, though, so on its own there is a chance of chilly breezes hitting an uncovered wrist compared with many cycling gloves.
Come spring or autumn, when things have warmed up a little, the Ashmeis are warm enough to be worn on their own, even in higher single figure temperatures. Although, one thing that is lacking is padding; most liners are like that so it's not a major criticism, but if you have a bike with a firm ride these might not work for you on their own.
The thumb and index fingertips are compatible with smartphone screens and the rest of the fingers use silicone strips for grip.
Unlike Rapha's similarly pricey (£40) Merino Liner gloves, which are made from 100% merino, the Ashmeis use a mere 33% alongside 46% polyester and 16% elastane, though that does give plenty of stretch to get them on and off.
For the £30 price tag I'd like to see a higher percentage of merino in the gloves really, for performance. Although they are warm I can only imagine they'd be more impressive with more wool, based on my years of testing merino garments.
While we haven't reviewed many gloves of this ilk, a glance around the internet finds that you can get liner gloves made with merino from just over a tenner, like Madison's Merino Winter Gloves. They look to be a little bulkier than the Ashmeis but with many of the same attributes – for less than half the price.
In conclusion, I do like the Ashmei Merino Gloves – they feel great, offer a nice fit and perform well – but I can't help feeling that they are overpriced for what they are.
Lightweight liner gloves with minimal bulk, but pricey for what you get
road.cc test report
Make and model: Ashmei Merino Glove
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
On Ashmei's website it says: "Elliot Welland, in charge of product development, says: 'When developing the Merino Glove we wanted to achieve several important performance characteristics – thermoregulation being the highest priority. We heard so many times from our athletes 'in 'brand X' glove I get too hot after 10 minutes of activity and need to remove them'. To solve this issue, we used a terry looped Merino against the skin, which keeps the hands in excellent thermal equilibrium.'
"The gloves feature sticky silicone grip on the fingers to help grip smart phones and the fingertips are smartphone compatible."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ultra stretch Merino wool blend
Touch screen finger pads
Low profile cuff
Signature ashmei branding on forefinger
Versatile piece – used as liner or glove
Brushed microfibre ultra stretch fabric
The sizing is similar to many other gloves on the market. I found them snug enough but with a bit of wiggle room for my fingers.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A simple 30-degree wash cycle is all that is required to keep them fresh and clean.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great as liner gloves but for use on their own they could do with some padding.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Warm, considering how thin they are.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Expensive for what they are.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Ashmei gloves are surprisingly warm considering how thin they are and the quality is pretty good. They are pricey for a pair of liner gloves, though, especially when the merino content isn't that high, and that keeps the score at 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.