Sportful Stretch Softshell gloves offer great warmth for all but the coldest winter days, with a low-bulk design that doesn't hinder dexterity and gel padded palms that are comfortable even on longer rides.
The backs are made from Sportful's Stretch Softshell material. It's good stuff, both warm and wind resistant enough to cope with the current cold weather. In recent rides with the temperature well below zero degrees, they've kept my hands just warm enough to knock out 2-3 hour rides without any hint of frostbite. Sportful describes them as intermediate gloves. They don't have the bulk you'd associated with winter gloves, but for all but the very coldest days they do a very good job.
Despite the lack of Gore Windstopper fabric boasted of the more expensive Sportful WS Pursuit Tech gloves Mat tested recently, theses do very well on windy days and I didn't appreciably notice the wind penetrating their layers. Breathability is plentiful too with no hint of overheating on slightly warmer days.
Generously long cuffs sit over jacket sleeves. I found the Velcro tab too short to reach around to the velcro, so Sportful could do with making the tab just a bit longer for more overlap. Despite this the cuffs sit snugly over the jacket and didn't let any cold air in.
Other details to talk about? The entire thumb is covered with a suede fabric which is soft on the skin when you're wiping your nose, and stays soft despite going through several washing cycles. There are several reflective details splashed across the back of the hand for boosting visibility in low light conditions or signalling a change of direction to other road users.
The gel padding on the palm provides good comfort and a little bump absorption on the bars, which is something you appreciate on long lonely and cold winter rides, where any comfort goes a long way. There's a harder-wearing fabric on the key areas of the palm and this improves durability, so they should easily last many winters of hard use. The size medium gloves I tested fitted perfectly, a good length in the finger with no tightness, allowing a full range of unrestricted movement.
A good pair of gloves is essential if you hope to cycle through the winter, and is a good investment in your cycling wardrobe. These are ideal for everything from commuting to road training, with good fit, great insulation and they are well priced too. Talking of price, a little shopping around reveals you can get them for quite a bit less than the list price, at which point they look like a bargain.
For all but the very coldest days these are decent insulators with a good fit and comfort.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Stretch Softshell 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?
Warmth without bulk in our new stretch soft shell glove. Great for intermediate conditions, keeps the wind off while allowing complete freedom of movement.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Softshell Stretch on the back of the glove
Gel padding on palm
Velcro closure at wrist
Reflective high visibility print
Ulltra-Suede nose wipe
Really well made gloves.
Outstanding warmth for average winter conditions and cope admirably when it gets really cold.
Great fit in the fingers with the low bulk design offering good freedom of movement.
It's worth shopping around because you can get them at less than the list price, but even at the RRP they've well priced considering the performance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Offering a good level of warmth for cold days down to zero degrees, and just below, and cope well in the windy too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great fit and comfort, generous area for wiping a snotty nose.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The Velcro tab needs to be longer, but happily this doesn't adversely impact their performance.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
If they sort out the too-short Velcro tab they're a 9/10 pair of gloves.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
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, mtb,
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.