The Gore Universal Windstopper gloves are designed with a very broad remit, not "for one single use, but...on many moderate cycling tours and in everyday situations". Aside perhaps for more extreme events or weathers, they've delivered on their design brief, proving extremely comfortable for road and moderate trail duties.
- Pros: Warmth, great fit, excellent dexterity
- Cons: Not waterproof, tech compatibility can be hit and miss
As the name suggests, these are made with Gore's permeable Windstopper membrane, which theoretically keeps the wind out while permitting rider-generated moisture to escape.
Detailing, as I'd expect from Gore and, indeed, this price point, is very good. Reflective striping along the index and second finger, coupled with retro-reflective Gore logos accentuate arm signals. Drivers seemed slower in responding to my signals at junctions/roundabouts compared with some Dayglo designs I own, but this wasn't a major problem on dark evenings/early mornings. There is also a neon yellow version if black is too stealthy for your tastes.
Flip the gloves over and you'll find silicone grippers, for improved purchase, and reinforced and thinly padded thumb/forefinger and palm/heel sections offer protection to the delicate ulnar region. There is also a generous Terry-type thumb material for taming runny noses.
The gloves have a really close fit, for dexterity and comfort, greatly reducing the need to remove them when using multi-tools, cameras, phones or keys on cold days.
I'm traditionally a large in most gloves, so wasn't surprised to find these fitted me like the proverbial. The cuffs are relatively shallow, but by and large this wasn't an issue, especially with jacket, long-sleeve jersey and baselayer. It also means they'll double as a liner, should it turn really bitter and very wet; this is useful since, although water-repelling in the showerproof sense, these are not waterproof.
Used during a primarily cold, dry spell, the gloves immediately impressed with their climate control. Even when the thermometer's struggled to get above freezing, and faced with icy crosswinds, my hands have never felt cold, for three hours or so (by which point I've tended to seek rest, coffee and more substantial sustenance).
The membrane does exactly what it says. There is some very minor draught, since the membrane is permeable, but for me this is infinitely preferable to clamminess associated with sealed, TPU-lined (thermoplastic polyurethane) models, especially when the temperatures rise to double figures. This extends their horizons through to April, when the weather can still be a bit raw.
Comfort in other respects is similarly impressive, given the slimline design/padding density. I've never experienced any tingling or numbness over rides of three hours or so, even when I've been indulging in some mixed terrain shenanigans on my rough stuff tourer.
Purchase and command of bars, brakes and shifters has been exemplary in all contexts, although it probably helps that my fleet sports silicone and similarly grippy polymer type bar wraps these days.
Showery rain is quickly wicked away before it can pose anything more than nuisance value, and when rain's been forecast I've packed a set of Gore-Tex or similar mittens for longer rides. This layering principle has also helped through the recent wintry spell, with temperatures struggling to hit -2°C.
Overmitts do mean there's some trade-off in terms of dexterity but it's one I've happily accepted, rather than the misery of cold, wet hands. If you should find yourself caught in a heavy shower or steady, persistent rain you can expect the Universal Windstoppers to get decidedly soggy after about 20 minutes. They'll dry out in around the same time, given a moderate breeze or warmish radiator.
The gloves are designed to communicate with touchscreen equipment, and generally speaking have proved reliable, but some extra detailing on the index fingertips would improve it.
Black, almost by definition, hides dirt pretty effectively and for a good while. Several weeks' worth of grimy patina vanished, given a short, 30°C machine wash. I've popped ours in a couple of times, once with two jackets, overshoes, neckwear and so on and using soap flakes. The second occasion, they went in with the lightly soiled civilian wash using modest amounts of detergent. Either way, there's been no hint of shrinkage or similar deterioration.
The Universal Windstoppers are extremely comfortable and dextrous, ideally suited to cool, dry winter days. They will also lend themselves to walking and other outdoor activities requiring warm, nimble digits. This may help justify the price, which isn't outlandish and on par with GripGrab's more densely padded Hurricane gloves. The ability to use them as part of a layering system is another draw.
Surprisingly versatile, lightweight gloves for predominantly dry weather
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Gore Universal Windstopper Gloves
Size tested: 8
Tell us what the product is for
Gore says: "These GORE® WINDSTOPPER® gloves are not designed for one single use, but can be used on many moderate cycling tours and in everyday situations".
My feelings are they're nimble fingered gloves offering an excellent blend of dexterity and comfort in a surprising range of cool, predominantly dry conditions.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
SHELL OUTSIDE: 100% POLYESTER, GORE®WINDSTOPPER®MEMBRANE, SHELL INSIDE: 100% POLYESTER
Machine wash cold.
Do not bleach.
Do not tumble dry.
Do not iron.
Do not dryclean.
* Reflective logo
* Reflective print on fingers
* Foam padding on palm
* Gel padding on heel of hand
* Strengthening between thumb and forefinger for better grip
* Elastic wrist
* Silicone coated fingers
Very good but no less than I'd expect from Gore, or indeed this end of the market
I've found performance to be very good from -2 to 12°C, but some people are more susceptible to chill.
No reason why they shouldn't repay their investment many times over as the miles rack up.
Brilliant for dexterity.
Bang on for me.
Generally excellent in cold to moderate, dry conditions but wet weather steals a point.
£43 isn't cheap, but it's on par with other winter gloves offering good protection from the cold; less than some, more than others.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very tolerant of machine washing at 30 degrees with minimal detergent.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, the Gores have proved to be extremely practical cold weather gloves, providing warmth, without losing dexterity thanks to their low density. I was pleasantly surprised by their ability to regulate temperature, whether it was minus 2 or plus 12. Thanks to nimble fingers, there's no need to remove them when nipping something tight or tending a puncture by the roadside. They will resist showery rain and dry fairly quickly following shorter, more intense rainfall, though I've packed Gore-Tex overmitts on longer rides when rain has been forecast.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fit, dexterity, comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Tech compatibility is mostly reliable but not perfect.
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 overall score
These are lovely gloves for cold, dry weather. Tech compatibility is a little less consistent than some, but their overall performance is very good, and the ability to slip under more waterproof outers adds to their versatility.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)