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The Q36.5 Unique Gloves are low bulk and airy while providing loads of protection from vibration thanks to a palm from Elastic Interface – yes, the people who make the seatpads that go in cycling shorts – but they don't come cheap.
The first thing you notice about these gloves is just how lightweight they are. You're probably not fussed about saving a few grams here but the lack of material is appreciable. For a start, it means there's less to get sweaty when you're riding hard.
The upper – the back of the hand – is made from a perforated knitted fabric that's designed to let plenty of air in while wicking sweat out. It works. The material can get a little damp when you work up a sweat, but it really doesn't feel uncomfortable.
Flip 'em over and the palm of the glove is where all the action is. It comes from Italian company Elastic Interface which makes seatpads that are used in shorts from a zillion different brands.
Elastic Interface technology comes in a few different varieties. Here, the whole of the palm is made from 80kg/m3 foam, perforated in the centre for increased ventilation. Then you get several areas of extra padding. One section extends across the base of your thumb going down to your index finger (the section that rests on the hoods), then right across the top of the palm. You have three more smaller sections around the heel of your hand. You can just about make them all out in the photos. Although the top section of fabric isn't perforated in these areas, you can feel that the underlying pads are.
Like the uppers, the palms are very low bulk and stretchy so you get a really good fit and great handlebar feel. There's enough suppleness here for the palms to adapt to the shape of your hands without any bunching or ridges. Unlike some more substantial gloves, these don't leave you feeling detached from the handlebar.
They do manage to add a lot of comfort to the ride by damping vibration, though. The benefit is surprisingly large, especially on rougher roads. I've been using these gloves for the whole of the summer while riding a bunch of different bikes and I've never once experienced any tingling in the hands, which is something I usually get from time to time. I could just have been lucky, of course, but these gloves do feel very comfortable in use; there's good padding over the ulnar nerve, and there's hardly any stitching to cause pressure or annoyance. The only seams are the ones that hold the uppers to the palms and the mesh panels between the fingers – there are none at all on the palms themselves.
Q36.5 has kept the rest of the design simple. A reflective strip sewn into the main seam on the outer edge of the glove provides a degree of extra visibility and you get a pull-tab in the gap between your middle and ring fingers. I didn't think this would be substantial enough to help remove the glove at the end of a ride, but it works just fine.
Durability was another unfounded concern of mine. I must say, I thought they'd start to age quickly but that hasn't happened. As I said up top, these gloves feel lightweight going on insubstantial and I wondered if that would mean they wouldn't stand up to much use and abuse. Well, I've had a whole summer out of them so far and they still look absolutely fine. Cosmetically, you can tell they've been used, of course, but there's no real wear and tear to the palms, which I find really surprising.
There's no getting around the fact that these are pricey for a pair of summer mitts, but so are most of the other gloves that use the Elastic Interface Palm technology. Giro's Supernatural gloves are £64.99, for instance, while De Marchi's Revo gloves are €90. dhb's Aeron Mitts are considerably cheaper at £40, though, and they use exactly the same type of Elastic Interface Palm padding as the Q36.5 gloves (though they're not currently available).
Overall, there's loads to like about the Q36.5 Unique Gloves. They're lightweight and well ventilated, but the real star of the show is the Elastic Interface Palm which manages to protect your hands from vibration while being stretchy and entirely seamless. If you're willing to pay a little extra for a high level of comfort, these could be for you.
Lightweight and breathable summer mitts with very good stretchy and seamless palms
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Q36.5 Unique Gloves
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Q36.5 says, "The first glove with three-dimensional, seamless and elastic palm*
"A system that protects the hand with perfect shock absorption and temperature management: a seamless palm area and perforated fabric on the back of the hand works perfectly together for the best protection.
"*EIT PALM TECHNOLOGY powered by Elastic Interface."
As you probably know, Elastic Interface makes pads for cycling shorts... lots of 'em. Some are very high tech and among the best in the business.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Q36.5 says, "For years cyclists have complained about tingling, soreness and overheating while holding the handlebars. This kind of discomfort leads to reduced focus and performance for the rider.
"So, Q36.5 and Elastic Interface stepped up to the challenge. We listened to feedback from athletes, intensely studied the anatomy and heat generation of the hand and consequently conceived a completely new solution, applying our renowned know-how to perfect another interface of the body with the bike.
"The result is a system that protects the hand with perfect shock absorption and temperature management: a seamless palm area and perforated fabric on the back of the hand works perfectly together for the best protection.
"The EIT Palm respects the anatomy of the hand, improving blood flow and relieving pressure from the ulnar nerve. Its three-dimensional design was developed according to anthropometrical parameters and input from the University of Padua.
"The elasticity and the anatomic shape make the palm highly adaptable to the hand, while the absence of stitching improves the grip on the handlebar. Even a firm grip, while riding on irregular terrain, will be comfortable thanks to the padding which improves blood flow and thus protects from tingling.
"Thanks to the multi-directional curvature and hand-mapping construction, the Palm has different zones of support using high-density perforated foam to maximize comfort.
"The centre of the palm (80kg/m3 perforated foam) is laser perforated to increase breathability. The upper part of the glove is made with a perforated knitted fabric for better ventilation and improved thermoregulation: thread and weave construction creates a mechanical push-pull to remove the sweat and works perfectly as a cooler.
"The upper part of the glove is made with a perforated knitted fabric for better ventilation and improved thermoregulation: thread and weave construction creates a mechanic push-pull to remove the sweat and works perfectly as a cooler."
True to size. Q36.5 has a size chart to help.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy: 30° in the washing machine. I turned them inside out first. They dry fast.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Despite their low bulk, these gloves significantly reduce the amount of vibration that comes through the bar, and your hands stay cool.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The low-bulk, stretchy and seamless palms.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They're more expensive than most summer mitts.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
These are pricey for a pair of summer mitts, but so are most of the other gloves (there aren't many of them about) that use the Elastic Interface Palm technology. Giro's Supernatural gloves are £64.99, for instance, while De Marchi's Revo gloves are €90. dhb's Aeron Mitts are considerably cheaper at £40, and use exactly the same type of Elastic Interface Palm padding as the Q36.5 gloves, but they're not currently available.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, especially if they were a tenner cheaper.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The performance – mostly courtesy of the low-bulk, stretchy and seamless palms – easily justifies an 8 even if the price is a little higher than you'd like to spend.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.