The Kalf Five Men's Gloves are windproof and water resistant and they provide enough warmth for most winter conditions, as long as you're happy putting a liner glove underneath when it gets down close to freezing.
- Pros: Comfortable, low bulk, grippy, good price
- Cons: Not waterproof
The outer fabrics (nylon/elastane back, nylon/polyurethane palm) and membrane make these gloves windproof, and that goes a long way to keeping your hands well protected when the temperature drops. Plus, you get C40 Thinsulate insulation in there and a fleecy polyester liner. Put these gloves on and they immediately feel warm.
I've been using them on every ride in the recent cold snap and they've done a really good job, although I've been putting a pair of wool liner gloves underneath for extra insulation when the temperature has been below about 5°C. I tend to feel the cold more than most; you might be happy without a liner when it's close to freezing.
The Five gloves aren't at all bulky by winter glove standards, offering very good lever feel. I've been riding a review bike with Shimano Di2 electronic shifting recently and I've had no trouble distinguishing the upshift button from the downshift button, and that can be tricky in some deeply insulated gloves. As with most gloves (there are exceptions), I found that operating a Garmin Edge 1030 touchscreen while wearing these is a hit and miss affair, and using an iPhone touchscreen is impossible.
The palms and that area between your thumb and forefinger which you use for resting on the hoods feature a gummy silicone pattern that provides plenty of grip, as do the tips of the first two fingers. It works well. The snot/sweat wipe panel on the back of each thumb is effective too.
The Five gloves aren't waterproof but they're water resistant enough to keep out spray, drizzle and light rain. Heavy rain will get in, slowly at first, but if it chucks it down your hands will inevitably get wet sooner or later. They offer a reasonable level of breathability and roll up small enough when not in use that the pair of them tuck easily into a rear pocket with plenty of space to spare.
When you take the gloves off, the fingers of the liner stay where they're supposed to in the fingers of the outer – they're attached in there and can't come out. One of my pet hates is faffing around with gloves that turn inside out at every opportunity. Life's too short for that.
One of my other pet hates is when you take your gloves off to do something mid-ride – use your phone or fix a puncture, for instance – and then struggle to get them back on because your hands are a little damp and sticky. Thankfully, these are fine in that respect, the Velcro cuff adjuster providing the slack you need to wriggle your hand back in. It's not the easiest thing in the world but it can be done. I'm not usually a fan of Velcro – if truth be told, I think it's the Devil's work, put on Earth to destroy all your best clothes – but this is the type where the hooks don't grab hold of everything they happen to brush past. You still have to be careful, mind.
The cuff extends just about far enough over your wrist to avoid any cold air getting in where the sleeve of your jacket or jersey ends – I'd prefer them a couple of centimetres longer, if I'm being picky – and you get a lot of reflectivity here: there's a broad reflective strip across the knuckles and the K logo on the wrist is reflective too.
Thirty-five quid really isn't much for a pair of cycle-specific winter gloves, especially for multi-layer ones that offer a good level of warmth. You don't get gel padding here like you do on the GripGrab Hi Vis Hurricane Gloves (£40) or the Gore Bike Wear Xenon 2.0 Windstopper Gloves (£49.99) that we reviewed earlier in the year, but these still offer good value for money.
Comfortable windproof gloves that are suitable for most autumn/winter temperatures
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Kalf Five Men's Gloves
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Kalf says, "The Kalf Five Men's Gloves are perfect for autumn/winter rides. Water resistant and with C40 Thinsulate wadding to keep hands warm, these gloves are easily packed away in a jersey pocket when things heat up. Other details include a windproof membrane, a reflective strip across the knuckles and a deep cuff with a Velcro adjuster."
I'd say they have a temperature range (for me, at least) of 5-12°C, or colder with a pair of liner gloves underneath.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Kalf lists these features:
Back: 90% Nylon, 10% Elastane
Liner: 100% Polyester
Palm: 60% Nylon, 40% Polyurethane
Thumb: 100% Polyurethane
Water resistant packable thermal glove
C40 Thinsulate wadding
Windproof membrane and fabrics
Deep cuff and velcro adjuster
Reflective detail and 3M strip across knuckles
Many miles and several washes in and they're still looking good.
I switch to big oven glove-type affairs when the temperature gets down to freezing, but these work well for most autumn, winter and spring rides. They're water resistant, not waterproof.
The fit is good without being too bulky.
I nearly always take large, sometimes extra large. The large fitted me fine here.
The fleecy inner is really comfortable and the fact that they're low bulk means you can feel the shifters and brake levers easily.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You need to hand wash these, which isn't quite as easy as chucking them in the machine with everything else. They take a while to dry out on a radiator. They handle washing fine.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They provide a good level of warmth and they're comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The level of comfort and reasonable price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They're not waterproof (they don't claim to be). As with most gloves, operating a Garmin Edge 1030 touchscreen while wearing these is hit and miss, and using an iPhone touchscreen is impossible.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yeah, at this price I would
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I think that bearing in mind the warmth, comfort and grip on offer here, these put in a good performance at an attractive price, making them a solid 8 overall.
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.