The FWE Coldharbour Waterproof Gloves offer decent protection against wind and rain but don't offer much cuff protection, and are really not breathable or durable.
The first thing that struck me about these gloves was the small sizing; a men's medium is normally big enough, but these only just fitted. Once pulled on, I felt like someone had forgotten to attach the cuff; they only just reach up over the heel of the palm before coming to an abrupt halt. However tight you pull the Velcro adjuster there is no getting away from water seeping in on one of those persistently rainy rides or, even worse, feeling the cold air on the skin that might be exposed between glove and jersey.
Grumbling aside, the lining is soft and snug with a real winter glove feel about it. The gloves are a little bulky, though no more than the average winter glove, offering good protection.
The palm, thumbs, index and forefingers are covered in a multitude of effective thin silicone gripper. Three thick gel pads in each palm do a great job of absorbing impact on rougher surfaces.
Reflective material is well positioned down the outer edge of the glove with signalling in mind. And, of course, the obligatory soft nose wiping strip. All of these features are really well thought out and effective at what they are designed to do.
Practical features aside, the gloves do two of the three things they claim: they are windproof and waterproof, cutting out all chills and withstanding persistent rain for a few hours; any longer that that, in heavy rain, and they were giving in, partly due to water seeping in at the cuff. A waterproof jacket with excessively long sleeves really is a must with these gloves.
What they unfortunately fail to do is allow your hands to breathe. Your entire hand becomes hot and sweaty within a short period of time and removing the gloves becomes a work of art. Trying to hold the liner inside the fingers while pulling your hands out in order to prevent pulling the liner out with your sweaty palms is pretty tricky. Of course, if this is all for a café stop you know what is coming when you try to get them back on again! I have experienced worse with liners, but was disappointed given the 'breathable' claim.
Unfortunately, I have to criticise an already disappointing product a little more. After just three wears and one wash, the seams on the tips of the index fingers began to fray. I thought that perhaps some breathability might kick in, but inevitably it was at the expense of waterproofing...
Overall, these gloves have some good features but they fall short on several vital ones. If they are in a bargain bin (don't forget to try for size!) and you need a spare pair for commuting in the deepest, darkest winter then maybe it's worth parting with your cash; otherwise, I'd put it towards something that's a little more durable and breathable. It's worth noting that if you have invested and the seams have gone, Evans has been offering warranty replacements.
Good waterproofing and windproofing outweighed by a short cuff, poorly finished seams and lack of breathability
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road.cc test report
Make and model: FWE Coldharbour Waterproof Glove
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?
Evans says: "When the weather gets bad, the good cyclists keep going, and to help you to cope with the blustery British weather we have developed the FWE Coldharbour Waterproof Glove. These fully waterproof & breathable gloves features a membrane to keep your hands dry and warm, a soft inner lining, cuff adjuster, nose wipe along thumb and padded gel palm with silicone gripper."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Waterproof and breathable internal liner
Waterproof and windproof outer-shell fabric
Fast dry fleece liner
Durable thumb overlay
Gel padding on the palm
After a few wears and a wash in specialist waterproofing liquid detergent, the fingertip seams are fraying. The rest of the glove seems pretty well made.
Yes, they kept consistent rain out and offered great protection from the wind, but they are not breathable. The grips on the palms and fingers are good, and gel pads are generous and effective.
See fraying above.
Fitted well around the hand but fall short at the wrist.
I tested a men's medium and it only just fitted me; they are certainly smaller than standard sizes.
Pretty light for a winter glove. Certainly scope for adding some extra material to the tips!
Lovely and comfy when you first put them on. Exert yourself and you discover that the inside is waterproof too.
On the face of it, relatively cheap for a waterproof winter glove, but not great value when they begin to fall apart after a few wears.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I stuck to Nikwax – the main body retained its waterproof property but the seams didn't respond well.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Though claimed to be breathable, they're not. Waterproof and windproof, yes. Maybe with a little more fraying at the seams they will boast some level of breathability...
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The grip and gel pads.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of breathability. Short cuff.
Did you enjoy using the product? They were good for misty, cold commutes when I wasn't going far or working up a sweat.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
They offer good protection against the rain and wind, but Evans needs to sort out the construction and cuff length of these gloves, and also reconsider the claim that they are breathable.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road
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, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…