Northwave's new Evolution Short Finger Gloves pretty much cover everything you need from a performance and comfort point of view.
- Pros: Variable padding depths, mesh back keeps you cool
- Cons: Velcro tab can be a little scratchy, sweat wipe could be thicker
For me, padding is key when it comes to gloves of any kind. It needs to offer some form of shock absorbance without being bulky, at all. I hate feeling too much material between me and the handlebar, especially if it takes away some of the ride feel from the bike.
Northwave has got it pretty spot on in that respect, as each of the pads is as minimal as can be while still being able to just take the edge off any road vibration.
For the base of the palm and under the thumb, you get gel pad sections which are split into two to ensure dexterity isn't affected. At just a few millimetres each they barely feel as if they are there, and certainly don't feel as though they add to the thickness of your handlebar.
Running underneath the fingers is the smallest pad, and it does just enough to stop any pain here unless you are on a bike that is super-stiff. There's no bulk or bunching whatsoever, whether you have your fingers wrapped around the top of the bar or on the hoods.
The back of the glove is made of a stretchy Lycra fabric, with a large mesh central section running from fingers to cuff which lets the heat escape and also aids a snug fit.
On the thumb you get a sweat/snot wipe which works okay, but if it's a warm day it'll get overwhelmed pretty quickly so I'd like to see something a little thicker to absorb stuff.
The cuffs are quite short, which is good for comfort at the bend of the wrist, and my only real criticism is that the upper tab has the Velcro material running right the way across it, so if you only have half of it touching the lower tab what's left over can irritate the skin, especially when it gets hot and sweaty.
At £34.99 (for all colours except Black/Green, which are £29.99), the Northwaves are a bit pricey compared with a lot of others we've tested in the past.
Altura's Sportive 97 mitts scored an excellent 9/10 and cost a mere £19.99. Alé's Arias and the Bodyfit Pros from Sportful, both pretty similarly specced gloves, are both 30 quid. Not only that, but the Northwaves aren't the best finished mitts I've ever seen; there is a lot of rough stitching left at the fingers, making it look like they've just been hacked off with a pair of scissors.
They are very comfortable, though, and offer a good fit. I'd say they just need a bit of refinement to justify the price.
Very comfortable for those who like minimal padding, if a little pricey
road.cc test report
Make and model: Northwave Evolution Short Finger Glove
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Summer gloves designed to be breathable and comfortable.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Clarino® perforated synthetic leather palm provides superior abrasion resistance
* Minimized gel pads combine complete freedom of movement with optimal cushioning
* BioMap palm construction reduces ulnar nerve numbness
* Flexible mesh back promotes enhanced airflow and quick drying
* Large reflective print on back
* Shorter Velcro cuffs for extra comfort
* Microfibre sweat wipe on thumb
* Easy pull-off loops on fingers
* Silicone grip print for easy slip on
A little rough around the edges.
I wear large in pretty much every brand and these were a snug fit without being restrictive.
A bit pricey compared with others.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
A simple handwash or cool machine wash will do the job.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They are very comfortable and breathable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? If I could find a good deal.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
There is a lot to like with the Northwaves, especially the comfort, but they lack the finish I'd expect for a pair of gloves at this price.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike 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: 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.