Northwave's Sonic gloves are reasonably warm, grippy and well designed, with a stretchy cuff to keep your hands secure and the wind out. While they're very weatherproof and fine for most of the British winter, I did find that when temperatures plummeted to zero they weren't quite warm enough to prevent cold fingers, which stretches their description as "high performing gloves for winter use". For anything over 3°C, though, they were great and the liner is nice and comfortable.
- Pros: Very good grip, comfy inside, precise fit thanks to thermal cuff, good shock absorption
- Cons: Not warm enough for freezing temperatures, reflective outer showing signs of wear
The Sonics are available in red and yellow, as well as these reflective versions. Whether having reflectiveness on your gloves makes anyone see you better is open to debate, but aesthetically I'm not opposed to it. There's no strap over the cuff to open and close, instead it's a stretchy thermal cuff that Northwave says is specifically designed to stop warmth escaping. That does mean you need to make sure you get the right size, and while I'm usually a medium I did take a large in this glove, which is something to bear in mind (sizes go from small to XL).
The insulation is courtesy of Thinsulate, which is very comfortable inside and keeps your hands toasty without things getting sweaty when it gets into double figures. Northwave says this is thanks to a windproof membrane in the intermediate layer working with an internal thermal layer, collectively providing moisture management.
On the outside there's soft fleece on the thumb, which comes in handy for wiping away nasal detritus, and the palms have synthetic leather to provide grip. The raised parts on the inside of the palm and the upper palm are well placed, providing additional comfort where you are applying the most pressure. Northwave's GEL padding provides shock absorption, and I felt that they did a good job of taming bumps on my occasionally hairy commute. My hands didn't feel achy after a few long rides day after day, and I could easily operate GPS buttons in them.
As previously mentioned, I would say they're not really suitable for sub-zero temps, but they're stretchy enough to use with a merino liner glove underneath if you can't budget for a thicker pair. My only other criticism would be that the reflective part on the outer is starting to crack a little, so best to wash by hand.
The price is fair, I'd say, but they're not the absolute cheapest mid-winter pair you can buy – the Brisker Cold Weather Gloves from 100% are similarly suitable for mid-winter according to reviewer Dave, and they're £26.99.
If you consider that Pearl Izumi's Unisex Pro Barrier WXB Gloves are £69.99 and reviewer Ash still recommends a liner for colder temperatures, then the Sonics could in fact be considered a steal.
Overall, I really liked these gloves, and they will be fine for most of the winter, cooler early spring mornings and autumn.
Comfortable gloves for all but the coldest days, with great grip and fleecy bits in all the right places
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Northwave Sonic Full Gloves Reflective
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Northwave says: "The Sonic gloves are high performing gloves for winter use, they have been made using 100 gram Thinsulate material and come with a specifically designed thermal cuff to stop warmth escaping."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Synthetic leather palm with silicone print for grip
NW4Pro Membrane on the back to keep out the cold and wind
Reinforced thumb with soft fleece inside
Ergonomic thermoshaped material on the cuff
Reflectivity for some extra visibility
Thinsulate 100 gram insulation and GEL pad shock absorbing for warmth and comfort while riding
Layers are well stitched in, there's no separation which makes them easier to get on.
Very good in temps ranging from around 3°-10°C, and easy to operate GPS buttons.
Slight cracking to the reflective outer after a few rides, but otherwise they appear to be very hardwearing.
Nice secure fitting thanks to the stretchy cuff, ergonomic.
I'm usually a medium but took a large, so I'd definitely recommend sizing up.
Not too heavy for the warmth they provide.
Seams didn't irritate and the thermal material is soft against your skin – very comfortable.
Not that expensive yet not particularly cheap considering they're not quite warm enough for deep winter conditions, though a lot cheaper than some promising a similar level of protection.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine-washing can crack that outer layer, as I found out, so washing by hand is preferable.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I would say "optimal protection during autumn and winter seasons" is stretching it if it's very cold out or if there's a prominent wind chill.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Suitable for variable conditions, good grip, easy to operate GPS.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not warm enough for deep winter.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Kind of in the middle: not really cheap for a mid-winter glove and there are plenty of more affordable options, but lots of similarly described gloves are more expensive.
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 overall score
I found them comfortable and grippy as described, but as they're described as "high performing gloves for winter use" I didn't think they were quite warm enough in sub-zero temps and I would use an additional liner glove for such times. They excel in anything from 3°C to low double figures, though, and for that I'm scoring them 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike (currently Specialized Tarmac) My best bike is: Ridley Chronus TT bike
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, triathlon races
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He joined road.cc in 2017 having previously being Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine, and reports on all things tech as well as editing road.cc's live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.