Sealskinz' Extra Cold cycling gloves are suitably equipped to meet the demands of winter but they won't suit everyone.
Sealskinz produce gloves and other accessories and the Extra Cold version sits near the top of the range. They cope well with excessive weather and the cold but the lining that provides some of the extra protection can get a little sweaty and pulled out of shape. The Sealskinz are great at keeping the weather out but if your hands get hot they'll be wet on the inside too. In freezing dry conditions they are just the job.
The impressive line-up of features in the Sealskinz Extra Cold gloves covers all aspects of winter riding. They are totally waterproof, windproof and breathable. With a heavy duty design they provide plenty of warmth and can almost feel too big and bulky to be used on a road bike.
To create this amount of protection Sealskinz have used in effect two gloves combined in one. The inner layer is 100% polyester, which sits inside the outer shell and creates an additional layer to bolster the warmth provided by the outer shell.
This outer shell is where it all happens. It's made from 88% nylon '' the rest of the blendy is stretchy spandex. This heavy duty shell has Primaloft insulation to ensure your hands are kept toasty even in the coldest conditions. They look more akin to ski gloves with a bulkier appearance and a thick padded feel. There's also has a micro-porous membrane, which Sealskinz calls Aqua Dynamic Design (ADD) technology.
ADD uses hydrophilic membranes to block liquid water but allow sweat to pass through. With Sealskinz's StretchDry technology it makes up a stretchy, waterproof, breathable layer.
On the palm side you get a gel pressure point padding with a soft, durable synthetic palm which provides the grip. The cuffs are a couple of inches deep with velcro tabs that enable you to tighten them should you wish.
No matter how soggy it gets your hands are kept dry and warm, protected from the elements on the outside. However if the temperature is on the milder side your hands get too warm and sweaty, which creates moisture on the inside that the hydrophilic membrane struggles to cope with.
The end result is warm but damp hands which in itself is not a problem: rather that than cold, wet hands. The real issue comes when you stop and remove them, or rather when you try and put them back on. The damp inner layer is uncomfortable and makes putting them back on a struggle as the liner moves out of position.
The synthetic palm can be prone to allow a little slippage at times, not offering as much grip as the dimpled surface would suggest. It can be a little smooth despite the grip. Plenty of promise but let down by a few niggles.
Great protection from the elements despite a couple of niggles
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sealskinz Extra Cold Winter Cycle 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?
For anyone who has ridden in extreme wet, cold or snow you will know it is vital to keep your extremities warm and functioning. There is nothing worse than getting part way into a ride for your hands to get cold and stay that way. Wet, cold hands are just as bad but the Extra Cold Winter gloves are perfect when the temperature drops but it stays dry.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
This heavy duty shell has Primaloft insulation to ensure your hands are kept toasty even in the coldest conditions. They look more akin to ski gloves with a bulkier appearance and a thick padded feel. It also has a micro-porous membrane or ADD technology.
Aqua Dynamic Design uses hydrophilic membranes to block the larger water droplets getting through but will allow sweat to pass through them. Combined with Sealskinz's StretchDry technology they have created a stretchy membrane to enable them to use it in their products.
Despite their bulky appearance the Extra Cold Winter gloves have proven to be well made. There are no problems with any stitching, the materials are durable and wash well. The cuffs are easy enough to adjust using the small velcro tab.
Their Extra Cold cycling gloves are suitably equipped to meet the wintery demands but they won't suit everyone. Sealskinz produce a range of gloves amongst other accessories and the Extra Cold version sits near the top of the range. They cope well with excessive weather and the cold but the lining that provides some of the extra protection can get a little sweaty and pulled out of shape. The Sealskinz are great at keeping the weather out but if your hands get hot they'll be wet on the inside too. In freezing dry conditions they are just the job.
The gloves have proven to be well made and very durable. Despite heavy usage the gloves still look new, without any markings or stains, coming up pristine after each wash. With two layers, one on top joining the grippier palm section you might expect to see some loose threads or joins but there is nothing. They look brand new.
Naturally for a glove designed for extreme weather or conditions the Extra Cold Winter Gloves are heavier than the norm at 167g but this is a small price to pay for the protection they offer.
In very cold weather the Extra Cold Winter gloves live up to their name and provide ample protection. When the rain falls and the temperature rises the gloves keep out the rain but the inner can get wet and this in turn pulls the liner about. If you have to take them off, trying to put them back on before they have dried thoroughly is tricky.
At £50 you will have to be a very determined, all year rider to warrant paying this much for a pair of gloves. What you do get is a well made pair of gloves, with plenty of innovation in the way they work and materials used. But they have been designed to work in the rougher months of the year in terms of riding.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
When the mercury falls and ice or snow is on the ground then the Extra Cold Winter Gloves are ideal offering plenty of warmth and protection from the icy elements. If the rain comes down the gloves will keep the water out but if it gets a bit warm your hands will feel wet on the inside as the sweat won't be able to escape quickly enough. This leaves inner section damp and can be an issue when you take them off and have to put them back on when still wet. Not only does the liner feel yucky, it gets pulled out of position slightly which can make it tricky to get on.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The protection from the cold and wet is terrific without feeling like a ski glove. It is still on the bulky side but not intrusively so.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
If the inner gets wet due to excessive sweat and feeling too warm, they do feel less comfortable and as mentioned above this can cause problems getting them off and back on when still damp. Despite a specifically designed palm for grip it doesn't provide total security with the odd slip.
Did you enjoy using the product? Mainly yes but it does have to be cold to avoid over heating.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? I would, explaining the conditions the gloves work best in.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Well made gloves from Sealskinz who have used their expertise in outdoor accessories to make a waterproof, windproof and comfortable glove. It does come at a price and has some flaws but they do enough to ensure your hands stay warm and comfortable in the coldest conditions. Sweaty hands on the inside is a small sacrifice for the sake of warm hands.
About the tester
Age: 45 Height: 178cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Currently riding a Pinnacle Evaporite Three My best bike is: As above
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, mtb, Not yet but looking to dip my toe in the world of TT