The DexShell Ultra Weather Winter Gloves are a competitive alternative to the likes of Sealskinz that offer good weather protection. Breathability isn't brilliant, though, leading to dampness within.
DexShell describes the gloves as being for 'all winter sports and activities' so are not a specific piece of cycling kit, but in spite of that, I thought the design was generally well-suited to use on the bike, with good palm protection, grip and wrist coverage.
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While there isn't much in the way of padding at the sensitive area at the base of the thumb, not everybody wants that, and there was enough material there to provide comfort over rides of 40 miles or so, which is all I tend to manage in the winter months. They seem generally well assembled from robust materials but aren't so bulky that you can't operate your bicycle's controls.
The outer shell consists of a Taslan polyester back, which seems hardwearing and also effective in helping keep the weather at bay. On the fronts, it's textured polyurethane with a PVC palm protector over the top.
It was good to see that extra patches of this had been added between the thumb and forefingers for reinforcement. I find when gloves fail it's often in this area, so that's good attention to detail.
There's over 6cm of cuff length. This is neoprene so lightly stretchy, with a bit of elastication at the wrist, but most of the work of tightening it down is done by the Velcro-type strap which does a solid job.
Once secured, it makes for a slightly bulky arrangement, especially on my thin wrists where a fair bit of the cuff had to be folded under. However, you can get your jersey cuff over or underneath, whatever your preference, and it makes a reliable barrier.
The liner is polyester 'microfleece', though it doesn't have a particularly fleecy feel. The insulation comes from PrimaLoft Gold 'with CrossCore technology'. According to PrimaLoft, this was developed by NASA using 'silica aerogel' which is highly porous and low density. This is a good thing, apparently. Whatever, it seems to amount to what I would call a modest degree of padding for the warmth available, which was still not enough for me. In the wake of Storm Arwen, with a north gale blowing sleet into the side of my face, I survived about 20 minutes before I lost the feeling in my thumbs. I'd make a rubbish astronaut.
> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best winter cycling gloves
One thing I really don't welcome is having to use my precious and limited finger warmth to dry out my gloves because they're damp inside; and, sad to say, that's what I got with the DexShells.
The waterproof and windproof membrane is Porelle's 'Ski-Dri' system, which it describes as 'a highly breathable palm and a highly waterproof membrane for the back of the hand'. However, even in dry conditions the liners soon got damp. Added to this, when I tried to take my hands out of the damp liners they tended to pull out of the fingers. This was despite the claim on the tag that the gloves incorporated a 'secured lining'. Mid-ride, it made it difficult to get them back on again.
One other disappointment was the touchscreen pads. While these are attached to both index finger and thumb, their positioning made it very hard to operate my device reliably. It was less bother to take the gloves off, which, given the problems I had getting them back on again, is a black mark against them. Also, I couldn't see the point of putting reflective fabric between the fingers!
A word on sizing: DexShell's size guide recommends measuring around the palm, and according to that the large on test should have been right for me, but my long fingers made me want to go up a size. In fairness, DexShell is alert to this and suggests, very sensibly, that the best way to check is to try them on.
Value and conclusion
DexShell's range includes waterproof socks, hats and overshoes as well as gloves, putting them very much in Sealskinz territory. Sealskinz' Waterproof All Weather Multi Activity gloves costs £15 more, and Steve found them a bit stiff and bulky for cycling when he tested them.
Rob was very complimentary about Sportful's WS Essential 2 winter gloves, which he found warm and dextrous, though they lack the all-out waterproofing of the DexShells. They're £50 a pair.
While the DexShells aren't a bad price in comparison, and have some good features, I'd be put off them by the problems with the strugglesome liners and the dampness they accumulated. Like putting on any damp piece of clothing, it's bad for morale in cold and wet conditions.
Good weather protection and comfort, but persistent problems with dampness inside negate their benefits
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Make and model: Dexshell Ultra Weather Winter Gloves
Tell us what the product is for
DexShell says: "Waterproof and warm winter gloves with Primaloft insulation and touchscreen compatibility.
"Constructed with PrimaLoft® Gold thermal layer and waterproof breathable Porelle® Ski-Dri inserts, the DexShell Ultra Weather gloves feature reﬂective fabric and print, touchscreen thumb and forefinger tips, as well as anti-slip reinforced palms and ripstop water repellent outer shells. The gloves ensure you remain warm, dry and comfortable in all winter outdoor sports and activities."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation with Cross Core™ combines PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation synthetic fibers, known for having the industry's best warmth-to-weight ratio, with aerogel fibers to achieve both enhances warmth and decreased weight. Originally developed by NASA for use in aeronautical applications, silica aerogel is a highly porous, low-density structure that forms a temperature barrier locking out cold and heat. PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation with Cross Core™ is the first product to combine aerogel with other fiber technologies for use in a batted insulation. In addition, it is the first product in the PrimaLoft® Cross Core™ Series, a platform that fuses multiple PrimaLoft® technologies to create next-level comfort and performance.
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Generally these are well put together, I just noticed a couple of loose ends on a couple of the fingers, though nothing's come apart.
Rate the product for performance:
Bearing in mind my pathetically poor circulation, these did an okay job warmth-wise; they've kept the water out and they've been acceptably comfortable on the handlebar. The main disappointment was the fact that the liners got damp on every ride – making them difficult to get off without pulling the liner out. It also made them difficult to get back on again.
Rate the product for durability:
The toughened palm and reinforcement between the thumb and finger suggest these will be good for more than one season. It's a tough life being a cycling glove!
Rate the product for fit:
OK in the palm, a bit short in the fingers, but mine are long.
Rate the product for sizing:
DexShell's size guide is helpful but no substitute for trying them on if you can. The test gloves are size L which should be right for me but I would probably have bought an XL for the extra finger length.
Rate the product for weight:
It's more about the bulk than the weight, at this time of year. I thought these gave good protection without cursing you with sausage fingers.
Rate the product for comfort:
No lumpy internal seams, nothing pinched or rubbed. I'd like a bit more palm padding but that's a matter of preference.
Rate the product for value:
They're not a bad price compared with some – Sealskinz' Waterproof All Weather Multi Activity gloves cost £15 more, and Sportful's WS Essential 2 winter gloves lack the all-out waterproofing of the DexShells and are £50 a pair – but the bottom line is, do these DexShells keep you warm and dry as they promise? For me, the answer was "no", and not just because of my poor circulation; the damp liners had nothing to do with that.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
30 degrees and drip dry. They take a while to dry out inside.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, while the gloves did a good job of keeping the wind and weather out, I can't say the space-age technology transformed my cycling experience. That's bad circulation for you, though, and they did no worse than many another glove. However, the persistent issue with damp liners was a disappointment and did nothing for either warmth, comfort or ease of use.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They seem well made and from robust materials, and the long cuffs give good wrist coverage. Palm reinforcement is good and extends between the thumb and forefinger for extra resilience.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
That they aren't breathable enough to prevent the liners getting damp, and are difficult to remove and put back on once that's happened. The touchscreen pads don't work very well, either.
Did you enjoy using the product? Mmmm.
Would you consider buying the product? Not for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No, because of the issues with the liners.
Use this box to explain your overall score
These seem like warm, comfortable gloves when you put them on, but by halfway through the ride the dampness accumulating in the liners makes them a different proposition and they're difficult to get off and back on again when they're in that state. Given they're meant to be helping you maintain morale in the worst conditions, I had to mark these down.
Age: 54 Height: 6'2 Weight: 73kg and holding steady
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
this is why people who do cycle, sometimes consider those life choices
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