The Etxeondo Esku winter gloves, made from a fleece-backed Windstopper fabric, provide excellent protection from the cold air and they're stretchy enough that you'll get another pair of liner gloves underneath for freezing rides.
The Gore Windstopper fabric lets no cold air through at all, as far as I can tell. This means that despite their low bulk, the Esku gloves keep your hands surprisingly warm on cold rides. I've been using these in temperatures down to about 6 or 7°C comfortably and then, when it's colder than that, wearing a pair of liner gloves underneath. There's enough stretch in the fabric that going for this second layer isn't a problem.
I suffer with cold hands (oooh, don't get me started!) and I'm used to wearing thick gloves through the winter, so I've been really impressed with the level of insulation on offer from the the Esku gloves (it means 'hands' in Basque, fact fans). The advantage of lower bulk gloves is that you get better lever feel. Plus, thinner gloves look more pro. Don't ask me why, they just do.
The Windstopper fabric is highly breathable and I didn't notice my hands getting clammy on hot climbs. The Esku gloves offer good water resistance too thanks to a durable water repellent (DWR) treatment. This will need to be renewed at some stage, but it's still going strong several washes in. Rain will get through but it takes a while, and you're certainly well protected from road spray. Unless water is actually coming out of the sky, your hands aren't going to get wet here.
The cuff section extends well beyond your wrist to avoid any draughts. I could have done with them being a bit closer fitting here (there's no adjustment), but if you have any bare skin on show with these, your jersey sleeves are way too short.
There's no palm padding here but, personally, I don't want any on winter gloves. You could always wear a pair of mitts underneath if that's an issue for you. What you do get across the palm, the thumb and the first two fingers is a silicone logo print that helps with handlebar and lever grip, and the logo on the index finger is reflective.
At full recommended retail price they're not cheap, even for Windstopper branded gloves. Wiggle did have them on sale for half price recently, but unfortunately they're no longer available.
I really like these gloves. Although simple, they do a very good job across a range of winter temperatures.
Simple, stretchy Windstopper gloves that provide lots of warmth without much bulk
road.cc test report
Make and model: Etxeondo Esku
Size tested: Medium
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?
Etxeondo says, "Windstopper gloves for use in cold temperatures. These gloves are light and have an elastic adjustment. Notable for the reflective logo on the back of the hand and a good grip thanks to the antislip pattern.
"The index and middle fingers also have an anti-slip pattern for better shifting."
Although Etxeondo says 'elastic adjustment', it's just referring to the fact that the Windstopper fabric is stretchy.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Gore says of its Windstopper fabrics:
"Windstopper products keep you warm, comfortable and protected under a wide variety of weather conditions. Windstopper combines absolute wind protection with exceptional breathability for comfort with fewer layers of clothes and less volume on the bicycle. Windstopper garments block the wind and reduce sensibility to extreme temperatures."
The fit is good and there's plenty of stretch in the fabric. This allowed me to get a pair of woolly gloves on underneath for extra warmth on extra-cold rides.
About average, maybe a little large if anything.
There's no lining inside so you can feel the seams, but I didn't give them a second thought, to be honest. The Windstopper fabric has a fleecy inner surface that's very comfortable.
At full recommended retail price (which is how we have to mark them) they're not cheap, even for Windstopper branded gloves. We've seen them on Wiggle for half price recently, but no longer available.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Simple. They're made from polyester and elastane and they go into the washing machine at 30°C with most other cycling clothing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They're comfortable and they keep the cold air out very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Their ability to keep cold air out and the fact that they're not bulky.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They're expensive at full RRP.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
These gloves put in a very good performance across a range of winter (and autumn/spring) temperatures. I've got loads of use out of them over the past few weeks; they've become my go-to gloves. The £57.50 RRP drags the overall score down to a 7, but if you can get them cheaper than that they're definitely worth buying.
About the tester
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight 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.