The Sugoi Zap Subzero gloves are the warmest in Sugoi's current range and offer very effective wind and rain protection. If you want warm hands in super-cold conditions these are worth a look, but it does limit their use rather, when temperatures rise, plus they have a few annoying niggles.
First impressions of the Subzeros are of a well-made, sturdy pair of gloves that feel soft and noticeably warm as soon as you put them on. They feature a really tough, grippy rubber material on the palm and inside of the fingers, as well as two gel pads that offer a bit of extra padding to the outside edge of the palm. The outside of the thumb has a soft, absorbent, nose-friendly covering and the overall feel you get from the gloves is that they aren't going to fall apart any time soon.
The back of the gloves, around the knuckles, is made of a neat material covered with effective, reflective dots which are handy for signalling.
Riding in the rain, these gloves really do a good job of keeping water out. My first outing in the Subzeros was a fairly brisk group ride in light rain at around 6°C. The gloves stayed dry and warm the entire ride without ever feeling like the rain was starting to seep in, which, after three hours, was impressive.
I also managed to get caught in a torrential downpour and was happy to find that you don't get that uncomfortable cold sensation along the side of your thumb and forefinger as water starts to penetrate the seams; these gloves do seem to have been put together properly.
The fit of the Subzeros is a little tight around the opening, but once on they feel fairly comfortable. The Velcro strap around the wrist feels sturdy and does a good job of making a tight seal if desired. My only complaint about the fit is that the cuff feels a bit too short for me. I would have preferred another inch to eliminate a few draughts I felt around my wrists. I would suggest going one size bigger than usual if you are looking at buying the Sugois without trying them first.
One complaint I have about the gloves is that they are fairly bulky. The insulation comes from a 100g Thinsulate liner, and this paired with the waterproof, reflective outer shell means the Subzeros start to feel a little unwieldy. They are designed to offer protection in very cold temperatures but this can cause frustration if you are trying to do something fiddly like press a button on a Garmin or find your keys. Another negative is that the fingers aren't touchscreen sensitive, so if you need to use your phone, the gloves must come off.
Another issue with the Subzeros arises when the pace starts to get a bit harder. The gloves actually feel very breathable, but if you do work up even the slightest sweat, the Thinsulate liner clings to your fingers. You don't really notice until you need to take the gloves off (to press a button on a Garmin, find your keys or use your phone) but when you do, the liner gets bunched up and getting them back on again becomes a real ordeal. I found that snapping a photo or answering a call was made unnecessarily difficult – to the point where I just didn't want to take them off and have to face trying to get them back on again.
The Sugoi Zap Subzeros have a lot going for them, especially the quality of construction, but are let down slightly by the liner and lack of touchscreen support. If you are looking for a pair of gloves to wear when it gets very cold, when dexterity becomes an afterthought and weather-resistance is your priority, these are worth a look. But to my mind they're a little too bulky to be a more 'everyday use' glove, and the issue with the liner would certainly put me off using them on all but the very coldest of rides.
Well-made, warm and waterproof gloves, but there are a few issues that stop them from being great
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sugoi Zap Subzero Glove
Size tested: Medium, Black
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?
Sugoi says: "KEEP YOUR HANDS TOASTY IN DEEP COLD CONDITIONS WITH A SPLIT FINGER DESIGN THAT ALLOWS FOR INCREASED BRAKE AND SHIFTER CONTROL OVER A MIT - Breathable, Reflective, Water Resistant, Wind Resistant"
All claims that I would support. However, there are small annoyances that could be improved upon.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Zap reflective panel on the back of hand for visibility
Full finger design offers excellent cycling mobility for braking and shifting
Pre-curved for ergonomic fit and comfortable handlebar interface
100g Thinsulate liner makes this Sugoi's warmest glove
A longer cuff would have made the gloves much better for me.
If you are buying this without trying, I would suggest getting one size bigger than your usual.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The gloves have been through the wash twice now and are as good as new.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For riding in freezing conditions, these gloves do a fairly good job. But a few issues arise when the tempo increases and you start to perspire.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The build quality seems really good.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The annoying way that the lining pulls inside out.
Did you enjoy using the product? Ish
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your score
The gloves are fairly good at keeping you warm and dry but neglect other things that cyclists tend to do these days like fiddling with phones, pressing buttons and digging around for change.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rose Xeon CRS Road at the moment My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides