Honestly, gloves are a piece of kit I normally don’t think hard about. I have gloves I like in my kit bag, but I rarely think about why I like them. Cut, features, padding, looks? So many variables! So it’s time to change all this thoughtless nonsense and give some a good long look.
We got six pairs of gloves in, ranging from the Teensy Featherlight to the Totally Bombproof. But which will be my preferred style of glove, for the summer, early autumn and (potentially) late spring riding? Read on…
Pearl Izumi Divide
- Size: Large
The Divide is a lightweight trail glove. Gloves like these have very subtle features that are easy to forget but make for a comfortable glove, they are sensitive and breathable. The upper is made from a mesh, so thin and breathable that when you lift the Divide up, you can see right through them. On warmer days, in late spring and early autumn I’m a massive fan of this style of upper, and the Divide hasn’t disappointed. The mesh hugs the back of my hand, providing a snug comfortable feel.
The elasticated cuff has a great curving shape, with subtle Pearl iZumi logo on it. It ensures that the cuff and upper glove don’t bunch up when you flex your wrist. There is a good-sized soft nose-wipe on the thumb; it’s like wiping your nose with a delicate tissue. Bringing even more comfort is a perforated synthetic palm.
The touch screen friendly thumb and index finger works fantastically. For my phone usage I would have preferred this to be on the middle finger as well, but that’s just me and my wonky hands.
- Size: Large
With bikes getting more capable, riders are pushing their limits and going faster. Crashing seems to be quite a common place. Many races take place on a mixture of terrain, with sections on hard surfaced tracks. And this is where the slightly tougher ANSWER Enduro gloves come in.
The center of the palm and across the base of the fingers is ever so slightly tougher than the suede fingers, giving good protection when your hands lovingly stroke the ground at high velocity. With my delicate hand shape this extra stitching on the palm created a baggy area, which wasn’t as comfortable as some of the other gloves.
The cuff is pretty much square cut too, which also makes the upper a little baggy, but double stitching ensures that nothing is going to fall apart any time soon. Which is a very good thing when you’re pulling gloves on and off without a Velcro closure.
As you’d expect the ANSWER gloves have a touch screen compatible thumb and first thinger. This works well but is not quite as sensitive as some of the thinner gloves that are available.
The ANSWERS are just a little too bulky for me. The palm and upper just didn’t hug my hand like I would like it to. Saying that, if these suit your hand they will last a long time and protect your skin.
- Size: Medium
The F-Lites from Alpinestars are available in three colours and a range of sizes from small to XXL (I presume the F stands for feather). As the name suggests these are most definitely at the minimalist side of the protection spectrum. The upper is constructed from a stretchy mesh that is very breathable. It provides a hand hugging feel that’s super comfortable.
Adding to this comfort is Alpinstar’s use of a poly-fabric to construct the finger sidewalls. This is really soft, cooling and ensure your fingers aren’t restricted in any way.
As with Pearl Izumi gloves, the palm is fully perforated. The F-Lites benefit from a single layer palm, which is free from stitching. This style of palm helps again with cooling on warmer days and is very sensitive.
And there’s a Terry cloth on the thumbs for wiping your snitch, too. It’s not a big as I would have liked (I have a capacious hooter) but it is soft and wipes away your dribbles well. I did end up using the mesh on the rest of the thumb for this as well – like I said, the terry cloth isn’t quite big enough.
Alpinestars have placed a decent amount of silicone on the thumb, the index and middle fingers. So far this is staying put and hasn’t shown any signs of wearing away. And, of course, you can also use your touch screen. It’s nice to have a choice of which finger to use to text, answer a call or look for that segment.
A super light, minimalist glove that is suitable for warmer days. The F-Lite’s have a hugging fit, sensitive palm, and are very comfortable.
- Size: Large
Bontrager have a whole product range using the Evoke name. The gloves are a light to midweight glove, packed full of features. Sizes from small to XXL with two colour choices are available.
They are at the higher price point when compared to the other gloves tested here but when you read the feature list I can understand why…
The main feature to note, I suppose, is the inForm fusion gel on the palm. It’s a memory foam – the idea is that it’s positioned to reduce pressure on the ulnar nerve, which runs down the outside of your under forearm and outer edge of your palm. But although pressure can be an issue for me during long periods on the bike, for most of my riding I found the extra volume in these areas reduced the sensitivity of my grip on the bars – which I’m not a fan on during high speed descents. All that said, if you suffer from hand pain, and ride longer distances regularly I’m sure it’s a feature you’d might want to consider.
The rest of the synthetic leather palm is nice and soft and provides good grip and feel on the bars. Out of all of the gloves tested the Evoke has by far the widest choice of finger for touchscreen use. In fact, all fingers including your pinky can be used with very little pressure.
Some other nice features include a good pull tab to help pull the gloves on, a hook and loop closure that is unnoticable when it’s fastened and which didn’t snag on any other items of clothing, and a full thumb nose wiper that is softer than a kitten (and easier to wash).
A feature packed pair of light to medium weight trail gloves. The inForm is great for longer rides but for me it reduced the sensitivity of the palm too much.
- Fox Head
- Size: Large
If you’re looking for a glove that is going to protect your hands (including palms and knuckles) these could be exactly what you need. I’ll be honest, the first time I laid my eyes on them I thought they were pretty ugly. And I was expecting the ballistic (molded plastic) knuckle guards to be uncomfortable and restrictive.
And when you straighten your hand out, the knuckle guard does indeed bunch the upper fabric a little – but when you grip the bars you forget it’s there; it disappears completely.
The Bombers are without doubt a tough glove that is more suited to the gravity-minded rider. If I did start fondling the earth inadvertently, the double palm looked like it wouldn’t instantly tear, and I was happy that my fairy soft palms would be safe for another sinkload of washing up (I’m a modern man don’t you know).
There is a large amount of silicone gripper coverage on the first and second finger, which does provide immense lever grip. None of the fingers are touchscreen friendly though, which I found a little disappointing.
Fox aren’t aiming the Bombers at the rider who is concerned about vented and cool hands. Although there are some small perforated holes on the upper, these don’t seem to do a great deal. All of the stitching so far has been flawless, with no signs of fraying.
I’m prone to clipping trees and objects with the ends of my bars and thus my knuckles. It was quite reassuring to have the ballistic protection in case that tree jumped out at me when I least expected it to. But for 99% of my riding though it’s overkill. If I rode uplift all the time I’d probably use them a lot more, mind you.
A gravity focussed glove that’s going to stand up to whatever you throw at it. The Ballistic knuckle was less intrusive than I first thought it would be, but for most of my riding it’s almost too much protection.
- Cycling Sports Group
- Size: Large
I’ve been a long fan of Sombrio products, having had shorts that have outlasted many other pairs. The Prodigy gloves are true to Sombrio’s long lasting construction ideas. They are a well put together pair of gloves that fit bang-smack in the middle of trail and DH gloves.
The upper has a Kevlar thread weaved in and demonstrates stretch and strength. It’s breathable but as you’d expect it’s not as breathable as those with a mesh upper. It does provide better weather protection, though.
AX suede on the palm has a good amount of stretch and sensitivity on the bar, and you can use a touch screen with your thumb, ring and little finger – but not your braking ones, as the silicone grips aren’t touchscreen friendly.
The cuff is well shaped to provide free movement. It has a cut away in the centre on the underside of the wrist which helps when you’re pulling them on.
Sombrio have reinforced the high wear area between the inside of the thumb and forefinger, and there is a small terry cloth nose wipe. The wipe is quite small, I would have personally prefered it to be bigger so I could be less precise and not rub my schneb across some stitching.
Overall: A pair of gloves that you can wear in most conditions (probably not winter). They are well made and fit well. I’m pretty sure they will last for years of riding, like most Sombrio products do…
When I sit back and look at the gloves in front of me it’s pretty clear that I prefer to ride in a more minimalist pair of gloves, that breath well and have a sensitive palm. So for me the Pearl Izumi, Alpinstars and Sombrio would be my preferred gloves of choice. They all have similar feature that fit into what I’m looking for, without being too warm or padded.
The Bontragers are very comfortable and work extremely well but the padding reduces the palm sensitivity. And the Fox Bombers will look after you admirably if you feel the need to punch wood regularly. And the ANSWRS just didn’t quite have the same hugging fit that the rest of the gloves on test had for my delicate mitts.
|Brand:||Pearl Izumi, Answer, Alpinestars, Bontrager, Fox, Sombrio|
|Product:||Divide, Enduro, F-Lite, Evoke, Bomber, Prodigy|
|From:||Madison, Hotlines, i-Ride, Bontrager, Fox Head, CSG|
|Price:||£19.99 - £45.00|
|Tested:||by Richard for|