We reckon two-part gloves make a whole lot of sense for deep-winter riding and this waterproof design from Giro has become a firm favourite.
Okay, so what do you get for your 50 quid? First, there’s a removable liner glove made from a mid-weight polyester/nylon fabric. It has a fleecy inner face that wicks sweat away from your palms and it’s warm but not windproof. If you want to wear the liner gloves separately in milder weather, a silicone rubber pattern on the palm and fingers provides grip, a small amount of reflective print on the back adds visibility, and elasticated cuffs make for a draught-free fit.
But it’s the outer where all the action is. A waterproof and breathable Hipora membrane keeps rain out really well. It’s the same polyurethane-coated material that Specialized use in their Sub Zero gloves, for example, and, unlike most, it works well.
Our hands stayed dry on most test rides with just a minimal amount of rain getting through. The only times things got significantly damp were on longer training outings – a couple of hours or more – when sweat built up inside. Sweat vapour escapes, sweat droplets don’t, so our hands gradually got wet. That’s not down to rain getting in – you’ll find the same in dry conditions. We’ve yet to find a pair of waterproof gloves where this doesn’t happen. At least with a two-part glove – where you can wear either the inner or the outer separately – you’ve got some degree of temperature control to stop things getting sweaty in the first place.
The other advantage of two-part gloves is that they’re easy to get back on after a mid-ride stop. You know the deal: you take off your gloves to fix a puncture or something and you can’t get your slightly damp hands back in again. It’s a pet hate of ours but it doesn’t happen here. The inners are hugely stretchy so they’re easy to get on whatever state your hands are in. And the inners always slip inside the outers without any trouble so you don’t go nuts on the roadside.
The nylon shell is tough enough to brush off everyday abuse while the faux leather palm provides good grip even on wet bars and hoods. A soft nose-wipe runs the length of the thumb while the cuff extends well over your wrist and comes with a simple drawcord adjustment so you can tighten it either over or under your sleeves. There’s plenty of reflective trim but no palm padding, so if you want it you’ll have to wear track mitts underneath.
The warmth comes courtesy of 40g Thinsulate XT-S insulation on the back and 20g Thinsulate on the palms which, as the name suggests, isn’t too bulky at all. On any given ride, I’m usually the first one to get cold (not that you’ll hear me moan about it constantly to anyone who’ll listen. Absolutely not. Ahem!), yet I found these comfortable when the temperature was freezing – literally freezing, as in 0°C.
If you’re the cold blooded type and need even more warmth, Giro also do a lobster claw Proof 100 winter glove at £59.99 – index and middle fingers in one compartment, ring and little un in a second. It has 100g Thinsulate and they claim it’s suitable for riding in -10°C.
We do have one moan, though. The stitching on the liner gloves came undone at the same point of both hands – where the back panel joins to the thumb – after just a few rides, and we had to get out the needle and thread to repair them. We’d have probably returned them to the shop and asked for a replacement pair had we bought them.
In terms of price, these are £10 more expensive than the Specialized Sub Zeros that we mentioned before, with a very similar level of performance. The Giros are a little less bulky though, so if that’s important to you, you might be prepared to pay the extra.
Two-part winter gloves that offer warmth down to freezing point and good waterproofing
road.cc test report
Make and model: Giro Proof gloves
Size tested: Black, 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?
Giro say, "A dedicated glove for winter rides and commutes in freezing conditions (30° F / 0° C). The Proof insulates your hands from the cold with a waterproof, breathable shell lined with Thinsulate™ XT-S, with X-Static® anti-microbial performance. Plus a removable moisture-wicking inner liner that can also be worn on its own when temperatures are mild. It’s a double dose of warmth that won’t compromise dexterity or weigh you down.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 39 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.