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The Sportful Sotto Zero Gloves are very warm, grippy and comfortable, and although water resistant rather than fully waterproof, they provide impressive protection in changeable conditions.
As temperatures begin to plummet, one of the most important elements of any ride is keeping your hands warm. Getting cold arms or legs is annoying but doesn't necessarily stop you being able to operate the bike; cold hands, though, represent an entirely different scenario.
The Sotto Zeros' insulation comes from a 60g Primaloft material, and this kept my hands warm throughout the review period. I used these at around freezing a few times and didn't find myself wishing I had more substantial gloves at any point. This insulation is helped by the softshell upper, which is windproof and water resistant, and meant that my hands stayed toasty even when the rest of my body was freezing cold.
The gloves aren't completely waterproof, but the only time I felt anything come through was after about 30 minutes of riding in a torrential downpour, so they will be good enough for most situations.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the gloves is on the palms, with the whole bottom of the glove (minus two small areas to the left and right of the wrist) having a silicone webbing covering. Even in the wet these are incredibly grippy. I used these in a whole host of conditions and always found that they offered a huge amount of grip on the bar or hoods.
At the top of the index finger and thumb are two areas of a slightly different material, which act as a way to use touchscreens on phones or smart watches. As on basically every set of gloves I've used with this feature, their effectiveness is variable: sometimes they work first time, others you need to do the same thing four or five times in order for it to register.
On top, the gloves are made with a single panel which helps with both insulation and waterproofing as there isn't any stitching that can let in cold air or water. On both thumbs is the obligatory microfibre areas for clearing glasses or wiping sweat.
Sportful has also reinforced the area between the thumb and index finger, the area that experiences the most wear, with another panel of the silicone webbed material, which also helps when gripping the hoods.
At the wrist the gloves have a Velcro strap which allows you to secure them against the elements while also keeping them in place. The straps are nice and wide, so are easy to grab while still wearing the other glove. The only slight downside is that the fairly long wrists can get in the way of watches, although I got around that by loosening my watch and wearing it slightly further down my arm.
With an RRP of £55 the gloves aren't cheap, but they're on a par with other similar designs on the market. For instance, the Endura Pro SL Primaloft Waterpoof gloves use much of the same materials and cost £54.99, while the Specialized Element 1.0 gloves are £10 cheaper but aren't quite as compact.
Overall, I was very impressed by these gloves. There isn't a huge amount to not like about them: they keep the elements out, keep warmth in, and aren't bad value. They're impressive.
Well made, warm, dry and robust winter gloves without the usual bulk
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Sotto Zero Glove
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Sportful says, "EXTRA-WARM INSULATED GLOVE FOR YOUR COLDEST WINTER RIDES
"PrimaLoft® Silver insulation combined with wind-resistant materials gives this glove its name but also its extreme warmth. Increased dexterity thanks to ergonomic design and low-bulk construction."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sportful lists these features:
60 g PrimaLoft® Silver insulation on back of hand
SoftShell for water resistance and warmth
Light fleece lining
Clarino™ palm with silicone printing for grip
Thin strategic palm padding
Microfiber nose wipe
Touch screen compatible
Very well made with strong stitching combined with large single panel construction on the tops.
They did what you need cold-weather gloves to do – kept my hands warm and dry.
There isn't a huge amount to break on these – the material is strong and doesn't have many areas of stitching, and the silicone grippers used throughout are thick and robust.
The large size I tested fitted as expected.
Very impressive for cold weather gloves; you normally expect gloves with this level of performance to almost look like skiing gloves, but these are light and lack bulk.
Very comfortable thanks to the soft fleecy thermal insulation inside, plus it helps that they keep your hands warm and dry.
On a par with similar products on the market.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy – washed at 30 degrees without any issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well; I used them in some truly horrifying conditions, but they managed to keep my hands warm throughout.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Their lack of bulk compared to their thermal qualities is a real positive.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The cuffs can get in the way of watches.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Endura Pro SL Primaloft Waterpoof gloves use much of the same materials and cost £54.99, while the Specialized Element 1.0s are £10 cheaper but aren't quite as compact as these.
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
A really well made and high performing pair of winter gloves with only a couple of slight annoyances, the same as I've found on every winter gloves I've used.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.