DexShell's Ultra Flex gloves use a clever lightweight knitted construction to offer good control and feel, and surprisingly effective rain and windproofing. However, they're not super-breathable and I didn't find them super-comfortable either, and the fit is a bit strange, for me anyway.
I recently tested the Ultra Flexes' sibling products, the DexShell Ultralites, and mentioned they were more like gauntlets than gloves, such is the length they extend up your arms. These are no different and offer very good coverage – more than adequately dealing with the glove/jacket cuff junction and stopping breezes creeping into unwelcome areas.
Unlike the Ultralites, though, the Ultra Flexes do away with an overtly woolly nature and have a much more contemporary feel to them. Alarm bells start ringing slightly when you realise part of their marketing appeal lies in their flexibility – think of a glove's natural attributes and I doubt rigidity would feature particularly highly – but I think I understand what DexShell means: compared with other similar products, these are far less bulky and feel a bit more designed for active use.
That means grip on the handlebar is decent, helped by the silicone-style grippers festooning palm, fingers and thumb. With no dedicated padding and little in the way of residual comfort from the thinner fabric, they don't feel particularly luxurious in use, though.
At least comfort isn't negatively affected by the elements, with the Ultra Flexes having a three-layer construction to enhance technical performance. Waterproofing is surprisingly good: normal day-to-day rain and drizzle is kept at bay, although water does soak into the top layer if you subject them to a constant stream from a hose or tap. Even then, no dampness makes it through to your hands.
Windproofing is particularly excellent but with no soft brushed lining or flock insulation, you're never really able to revel in their toastiness, sadly.
Actually, that's probably just as well. Despite DexShell's claims of high breathability, my hands still get a little clammy after spirited rides.
Sizing and fit is a tad strange, too, for me anyway. They seem to be the right length in the fingers, but they also tend to bunch both on the palm and the back of the hand. And finally, while the packaging proclaims this is a 'unique seamless waterproof glove', I'm pretty sure I can spot a seam.
At £32, the Ultra Flexes are a couple of pounds dearer than DexShell's Ultralites and I suppose that's justified because they feel a bit more performance and sports-orientated kit. However, don't discount the Utralites – they might be more woolly and rustic, but they're slightly more comfortable and they have the added bonus of touchscreen-friendly finger tips.
They're a bit more than other brands' offerings, too, though: Decathlon's Triban 900 Winter gloves offer excellent performance at just £24.99, and Galibier's Barrier Deep Winter gloves are also superb in the cold and cost £24.85.
So, overall, it's a tricky call. I was a bit disappointed with the previously tested DexShell Ultralites because comfort seemed to be missing, and it's the same situation here. At least these Ultra Flexes offer a bit more in terms of grip, feel and performance – even if fit is a little worse. Look beyond DexShell's admittedly clever and effective knitted technology, though, and you might find better options.
Clever lightweight knitted gloves with excellent feel and weatherproofing, but comfort and fit are less than perfect
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road.cc test report
Make and model: DexShell Ultraflex Gloves
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
This is a lightweight, knitted-style weatherproof glove. DexShell says: "A unique seamless waterproof glove with superb dexterity and tactility. Suitable for outdoor activities such as biking and cycling or any climate where there's a need to keep hands dry."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Wind and waterproof durable outer
Porelle membrane interlining
Coolmax FX inner glove
Nicely made, but I question the 'seamless' construction – looks like there's a seam to me.
Feel, grip and control is excellent. Wind and rainproofing is good, too. Only a lack of really top-notch breathability lets the side down.
Held up well so far and no signs of any issues.
This is where it gets a bit strange – or perhaps just subjective. For me, the length in the fingers is good, but the fabric bunches in the palm and back of the hand.
I'd say they come up on the big side and they're stretchy anyway, so if in doubt, size down.
Surprisingly light considering their construction and poor-weather performance.
I'm not a big fan. No padding – not that I'd normally want it – but just a bit tiresome to wear.
Decathlon's Triban 900 Winter gloves offer excellent performance at just £24.99, and Galibier's Barrier Deep Winter gloves are also superb in the cold and cost £24.85. Even DexShell's Ultralites are cheaper and have their own advantages at £30.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy. Wing it in the machine at 40 and tumble on low or hang up to dry.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
In terms of outright performance, the Ultra Flexes are actually fairly decent. They offer good feel and grip, and weatherproofing is excellent, too, with only breathability being less than stellar.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Weatherproofing in a lightweight knitted product – what manner of sorcery is this?
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
My hands just don't feel very comfy in them.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Decathlon's Triban 900 Winter gloves offer excellent performance at just £24.99. Galibier's Barrier Deep Winter gloves are also superb in the cold and cost £24.85. And don't discount DexShell's Utralites – they might be a bit more woolly and rustic, but they're slightly more comfortable and they have the added bonus of touchscreen-friendly finger tips.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not massively – they're ok.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Don't think so.
Use this box to explain your overall score
In terms of performance, the Ultra Flexes behave far better than you'd ever expect a knitted product to, with feel, grip and weather protection all very good. They do create a bit of heat build-up and clamminess, but for me the fit is a bit strange and they just don't feel that comfortable.
About the tester
I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29 My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy
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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Leisure