Sealskinz's DragonEye gloves aren't designed specifically for cycling but they do perform on the bike with plenty of comfort, grip and above all waterproofing. Well depending on your definition of waterproof. Read on and I'll explain.
Sealskinz claim 100% waterproofing for their products, the DragonEye gloves included and they also say: "Each individual knitted sock and glove we manufacture is hand tested by one of our colleagues. Not 1 in a thousand, not 1 in a hundred, not 1 in ten, every single piece!"
It's a bold claim but one that I can back up. No water whatsoever is getting in through the main hand part of these gloves thanks to the micro-porous membrane construction.
It works like this, the outer is made up of a mix of polyester (47%), nylon (27%), polyurethane (18%), neoprene (7%) and spandex (1%) to provide a balance of fit, flexibility and durability. Sandwiched in between this and the nylon inner is the aforementioned membrane which basically forms a barrier against water penetration. I tested it in a sink of cold water and even after 20 minutes (I got bored) no water had entered the gloves at all.
So why did I end up with soaking hands on my first wet ride? Well the problem is the cuff, it doesn't use the same construction as the rest of the glove and lets water in. You can feel it trickling down inside the glove from the top down to the fingers and the problem is once its in there it isn't coming out thanks to the waterproofing of the main body. I was wearing a waterproof jacket which although the cuff entry of the glove was covered by the sleeves the rain run-off it was dripping down onto the gloves was right at the base of the cuff and it just absorbed it.
Wet weather aside though the DragonEye gloves are very comfortable and dextrous thanks to their relatively low bulk. The palm uses a suede that Sealskinz call AX Quattro 8. It's intended to be abrasive resistant with minimal water uptake and achieves both aims remarkably well. Even in really heavy rain the gloves never get weighty, because there is nothing there to absorb anything.
Breathability is always an issue with a waterproof product but the micro-porous membrane's tiny holes (we're talking microns) give the sweat vapour a chance to escape without allowing water in. It works pretty well with your hands only feeling a little clammy if it's above 10°C.
In terms of insulation Sealskinz rate the DragonEye's midway through their five point range. They'll be good down to about mid-single figures I reckon, depending on your tolerance to the cold.
Now we all love a little Instagram with our Strava while we're out for a ride so the index finger and thumb have touchscreen compatible ends. Thanks to the thinness of the gloves using your phone is actually really easy, and you press the buttons you actually want to press.
One final thing Sealskinz have improved is the liner. I had a pair of their waterproof winter cycling gloves a few years back and everytime you took them off the liner would pull out and it was a nightmare to get back into place. The new Anti-Slip version reduces friction and when you pull your hand out the liner stays put – perfect.
The DragonEyes are very good gloves for a multitude of activities and unfortunately that's their downfall. To be better suited to cycling, especially the stretched out position of a road bike, I think the glove body needs to be longer to stop water entering the cuff. That aside though they are comfortable with minimal padding and the hardwearing palm should stand up to one hell of a lot of abuse. The fit matches the sizing guide on their website for width, and finger length was fine. The Velcro tab is strong so once on they aren't going anywhere.
Value wise £38 is about the norm these days for a decent pair of gloves and I'd say the Sealskinz are worth it in terms of usability and durability especially if you use them for more than just cycling.
Waterproof(ish), comfortable and great for a multitude of purposes,but not cycling specific enough
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Make and model: Sealskinz Dragon Eye Glove
Size tested: n/a
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?
The DragonEyes aren't cycling specific gloves and while comfortable enough on the bike there are some compromises that mean they're not ideal for the stretched out position of a road bike. The waterproofing of the main body is impressive though.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
A low-profile close-fitting hard-wearing glove, offering excellent dexterity for a wide range of activities.
*Totally waterproof, breathable and windproof
*Anti-slip to improve dexterity and virtually eliminate pull-out
*Feature on index finger & thumb allows use of touchscreen devices
*AX Suede on palm engineered to provide superior abrasion properties, while reducing water uptake
*Outer Shell: 47% Polyster, 27% Nylon, 18% PU, 7% Neoprene, 1% Spandex
*Inner: 100% Polyster
Well made and put together.
This is purely from a cycling perspective and literally down to the cuff starting right at the wrist allowing water into what is an impressively waterproof glove. I've used them for other sports and general activities and they've been faultless.
The palm is incredibly hardwearing.
Minimal padding but a nice fit and they move easily with your hands.
If they last as long as I think they will (4 winters from my last pair of Sealskinz) they would be a good long term investment.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As I've said they aren't designed specifically for cycling although that's a use suggested on the website. As an all-round gloves I think they are very good just not that suitable for road cycling.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Too short in the main waterproof body.
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?
Breaking the gloves down into the core segments above you can see how good the DragonEyes are. Unfortunately we are a road cycling website and the 2.5 stars reflects their use for cycling. They are too short and let the water in, the one thing you don't want from waterproof gloves. If the waterproof body was longer and the cuff started further up the arm they'd be hard to beat. You're better off sticking with something from Sealskinz's cycling specific range.
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
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,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!