If you want summer gloves but don't like fingerless mitts, this neat redesign of Specialized's successful Grail Long Finger glove is cool, light and very comfy. They're good for warm autumn days too...
With the vast majority of lightweight road gloves being fingerless, the Grails have little in the way of direct competition, but that's not what makes them winners; they're great summer gloves full stop.
The fit in my recommended size was excellent, with no pulling between the digits from too-short fingers or thumbs, and no excess material anywhere. They feel slim and almost tailored, like good liners. You might say they fit... like a glove. Healthy levels of stretch from everything but the palm sees to that, and neat seams give zero bulk.
The mesh backing is as good at dissipating heat and sweat as it looks, but the efficiency of the palm cooling is more of a surprise. The thick pad (which domes towards the centre to 'fill in' your palm and spread pressure evenly) is heavily punched with 2mm holes, but these are inevitably blocked by the bars. Nevertheless, these gloves stay impressively dry and unsweaty even on hot and humid days.
The full coverage means they're useful on bright autumn/spring days too, so long as air temperature is into double figures.
That well-shaped padding is naturally secure, largely unnoticeable when riding and never felt bulky or a barrier to feel and control. It also prevented the pins and needles and post-ride nerve pain I suffer with unpadded summer gloves, so it's a (fully-mobile) thumbs up to the San Franciscan orthopoedic surgeon, Dr Bickel, who Specialized credit for its design.
There's a very soft, absorbent Microwipe fabric along the thumb your runny nose will love, but if you forget and use your forefinger you'll end up with regrettable slug trails so visible they practically glow. The mesh is not good for snufflers.
The forefinger and thumb are good for phone-swipers, however, as they're touchscreen compatible. The synthetic leather palm also has a soft, suede-like feel, and though it marked along some pressure points within 100 miles, these shiny patches appear to be just the 'brushed' surface layer polishing smooth.
If you're happy with fingerless mitts, the alternatives are legion, with well-padded offerings such as Assos' Summergloves_S7 and Lizard Skins' Aramus GC Gloves for around the same price. There's a fair bit of cheaper choice, too, with impressive gloves like the Altura Sportive 97s at the £20 mark.
However, if you want full-length fingers in summer, road-orientated gloves are relatively rare, and the Grails are well made, great at reducing pressure spots and vibration, and very comfy. Recommended.
Very comfortable full-finger gloves that stay cool on the hottest days
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized Grail Long Finger Gloves
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Specialized says: "Featuring a proprietary pad system designed by Dr. Kyle Bickel M.D., our Grail Long Finger gloves are ergonomically designed for the best possible fit and protection. They're scientifically tested to help reduce hand numbness by improving circulation and equalizing pressure in the soft tissues of the hand."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The company lists these features:
Body Geometry Equalizer™ pad, was developed by Dr. Kyle Bickel M.D. to fill the recesses of the palm in order to create an even surface over the hand. This comes with the positive result of unrestricted bloodflow, which will greatly reduce numbness and tremendously enhance overall comfort.
Bonded palm pad; taped cuff opening edges.
Synthetic leather palm is both supple and durable.
High stretch mesh is placed at the top of hand for its soft, breathable qualities.
Soft, absorbent Microwipe™ thumb brushes away sweat with ease.
Easy slip-on wrist cuff fits comfortably without inhibiting movement.
Wiretap™ touchscreen compatible for easy use of smartphones.
Neat stitching and quality materials.
Padding works really well to limit pressure spots and numbness, and cools impressively too.
Shiny patches showing on palm from 100 miles, but I expect the synthetic leather to wear better overall than its soft, brushed finish. No other issues.
Fit my fingers and thumbs perfectly, and stay snug despite low cuff.
Sized up perfectly.
Barely heavier than many similarly padded mitts.
The combination of well-shaped padding and impressively effective palm cooling make these noticeably more comfy than more basic summer gloves.
The Grails aren't cheap, but they have a fit and performance to justify the price. If they were £5-£10 cheaper, they'd be a real steal.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Take 30 degree washes without issue.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent fit, supportive but not bulky pad, effective palm cooling.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Snot-wipe fabric could extend to the first finger...
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We test very few full-finger summer gloves, as mitts are so popular: most full-finger gloves are winter ones, with features such as insulation, windproofing and waterproofing. Compared to those, the Grails seem expensive, but against the mass of summer mitts, price is competitively mid-market.
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 work very well with no issues in any area, making a high score a very easy choice. A little cheaper and that score would be a little higher.
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking