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Specialized Sub Zero gloves



Warm, waterproof and versatile – among our favourite gloves for full-on winter riding

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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These gloves will keep your hands warm in the really, really cold weather and they’re fully waterproof too.

You actually get two sets of gloves in one here: a micro-fleece inner and a big waterproof outer. You can wear the inners on their own during autumn and spring. They’re soft and fleecy and provide a reasonable amount of warmth although they’re not 100% windproof so you notice your hands getting cooler on fast descents. Silicone rubber palm and fingertip print provides grip on the bars and controls but there’s no padding, so if you want some you’ll need to wear mitts underneath.

It’s the outers that really impress though – they’re excellent. For a start, they’re among the few cycling gloves we’ve ever used that are properly waterproof rather than just a bit waterproof. We’ve been caught out in full-on storms in these and nothing has got inside. Plus, the Hipora inserts are really breathable. As a demonstration of how well they work, you can fill the gloves with hot water and none will leak out, but steam will permeate through the pores in the fabric. Take our word for it – it works. Out on the road this translates into hands that feel less clammy than usual when you work up a sweat. Sure, if you get really hot hands things will get damp in there, but the performance is very good.

The polyurethane palm is really grippy, there’s a big old wipe panel on the back of the thumb, and drawcords on the extended cuffs allow you to seal out the wet and cold. A fair amount of reflective trim helps get you seen at night while a fleecy lining allows you to wear the outers without the inners on days that are wet but mild.

Wear the outers and the inners together and you get loads of insulation and no wind gets through the shell layer to rob you of the heat you build up in there. They’re not ridiculously bulky either. They’re big, but they’re not like oven gloves. You can still feel the levers easily enough. We’ve worn these on rides down to freezing point and beyond and stayed comfortable enough – they really do live up to their name, and the price is reasonable for the level of performance too.


Warm, waterproof and versatile – among our favourite gloves for full-on winter riding

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Make and model: Specialized Sub Zero gloves

Size tested: Black, large

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Did you enjoy using the product? Yes - among our favourites

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, definitely

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 190cm  Weight: 74kg

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: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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