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My life is littered with gloves that have claimed to be the last word in winter comfort, only for the heat in my hands to leech away like that from a cup of coffee in a cold man-cave on a frosty morning; but then again I have the metabolism of a lizard. Pearl Izumi's Select Softshell Gloves are a pleasant surprise, holding out against the (relative) cold and keeping my fingers comfortable and warm – as long as it's not raining too hard...
Initially, I was a bit confused about what Pearl Izumi has in mind for the gloves. A sticker on the packaging claims they are good for -18C to + 4C (0-40F). The website says temperature rating =/-0 Degrees without specifying whether those degrees are 'effs' or 'sees'. And it describes the gloves as 'lightly insulated' and yet the only gloves I've seen people wearing in temperatures of -18°C have been huge and made of reindeer hide...
For you typical endotherms, what you will find here is an unfussy and nice-to-wear pair of cold-weather gloves that are best in the dry but can also keep out a fair bit of damp, or at least are not too unpleasant to use should they wet out.
I particularly like the long wrists, but would prefer them with a Velcro adjuster as the elastic was a bit slack on my skinny wrists. This didn't affect their comfort, though, once the cuffs of my jacket were pulled down over them.
The synthetic leather palm extends to a pull-tab at the wrist and is covered in silicone patches that give good grip. This arrangement coincidentally provides a little extra cushioning in an otherwise unpadded palm.
The softshell bit covers the backs of the hands and provides good windproofing, but the water doesn't bead off and it soon wets out. Even so, it took a while to penetrate as far as my hands, and that mostly at the fingertips – presumably because this is where much of the stitching is.
The thumbs have a fleece snot-wipe that doesn't compromise the gloves' windproof properties, and the fingertip touchscreen pads work fine.
The length was right for my long fingers – riders with stubbier digits may want to go down a size. (There are five sizes to choose from, S-XXL.)
Annoyingly, the test period has remained stubbornly mild with no sign of -18°C on the horizon, but on a few cool, damp night rides they've been fine. They seem well made, though I'll have to get back to you on how long it will be before the lining goes through at the fingertips, or starts pulling out when I remove my hand.
For now, though, I feel confident in recommending these gloves for getting the miles in, the winter commute and even some cyclo-cross or mountain bike riding on cold, dry days.
Comfortable, good-looking gloves for cool, dry days
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pearl Izumi Men's Select Softshell Glove
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Pearl Izumi says: "Our Men's Select Softshell Gloves' lightly insulated fleece lined interior works in conjunction with a windproof and water resistant 3 layer Softshell exterior to keep your hands warm on those cooler, blustery days. Updated with conductive thumb and index fingers that allow quick use of any smart phone or music player without having to remove your gloves."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
SELECT Softshell fabric
Synthetic leather strategically placed in high–wear areas
Soft windproof fleece wiping surface on the thumb
Silicone screened palm
Simple pull-on design - elasticated cuff.
Reflective elements for low-light visibility
Fabrics: 46% polyester 36% nylon 10% elastane 8% polyurethane
Very tidily made.
Cold-weather claims haven't been tested to the full, but on cool, damp night rides and windy days they've proven very comfortable. Water resistance is only fair; I don't think these are the ones to choose if you anticipate regularly riding in deluges.
One area which can go quickly is at the base of the inside of the thumb, but PI has put a synthetic leather patch here. Good thinking!
Mid-weight insulation makes for good dexterity.
Fit and forget! If you have short fingers you might want to try a smaller size.
About mid-range for a winter glove.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Winter's refused to arrive so far so I've simulated it with night-riding and some low-end pottering about that didn't generate too much heat. I've been warm and comfortable in these; the backs wetted out readily but the insides stayed reasonably dry and they are comfortable on the bar. Nice gloves.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort, tidy construction, good wrist length.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not much – the lack of a Velcro wrist closure is a small complaint.
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 score
Unless you expect to be riding in heavy rain a lot, these should cover most bases for most warm-blooded riders in winter.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is:
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, mountain biking