A great pair of gloves suited to temperatures above freezing. Their general-purpose appearance belies their ability to hold off the rain; they are genuinely waterproof without compromising on breathability. If you can handle the absence of padding, they are a bargain for £35.
Fall short as the temperature nears zero
No padding for cycling
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Cold, numb hands are no fun on a winter ride. The stages of cold, numb, loss of dexterity and sheer pain might not all be familiar to everyone. My quest to avoid the latter two has seen me experiment with a variety of gloves and mittens, including non-cycling specific ones.
DexShell claim that their ThermFit NEO Gloves are ‘perfect for hiking, cycling and everyday use’. ’Perfect’ might not be how every cyclist would describe them, but they certainly impress on the bike when other, supposedly cycling-specific gloves fall short in terms of performance.
The gloves are made up of three layers. The outer shell is a combination of fabrics (84% polyamide, 13% elastodiene, 2% elastane, 1% conductive yarns). Inside, against the hand, is merino-blend (40% merino wool, 40% acrylic, 18% polyamide, 2% elastane) terry loop. A Porelle® membrane (100% PU) is sandwiched between these two. This is a type of hydrophilic membrane in solid micro-structure, which is more durable than the micro-porous type of membranes (in sponge structure).
Palm-side, DexShell have added silicone detailing for grip. Both the index finger and thumb are designed to be touch-screen compatible.
The gloves boast a seam-free construction. They do not feature any kind of padding or nose wipe panel.
Sizing and fit
According to DexShell’s size guide, which uses the widest part of the hand as a measurement, I fall into the medium category. Don’t assume you’ll be a certain size; I’m a small with some manufacturers, a medium with others.
The fit around the fingers is snug, but not to the point of compression; I can flex my fingers to a fist without issue. The fabric is giving and moves well with the whole hand. It’s refreshing to feel this in a winter glove; some are so bulky that they prevent you fully clenching your hands to encourage circulation. Unlike many bulky, thick winter gloves, you don’t battle to get them on, or off either; they glide over the skin and a pull of the cuff has all the finger ends in place without issue.
The fit is more generous around the palm and wrist. For me, there is a sense of space inside the glove here for airflow.
The ribbed cuff is noticeably long and it’s got a decent thickness to it. Whether this is a positive or negative will depend on what you're wearing the gloves with. A loose sleeved top or coat, that can easily accommodate the cuff, is no problem. A tight, close fitting sleeve will mean that you are either fighting to fit the glove under it, or you accept having the gloves’ cuff on the outside.
DexShell ThermFit NEO Gloves - the ride
On our first outing together we also enjoyed the company of Storm Barra. I admit that I headed out sceptical of their ability to keep my hands dry; the outer shell is so different to any other waterproof glove I’ve every used. However, after three hours of wind and intermittent rain, which was very heavy at times, my hands were warm and dry.
The outer was very wet, but my hands felt none of this. I left the gloves to drip dry, resolved to wash them and give them several more outings before accepting that this seemingly ‘general-purpose’, 'woolly' glove was genuinely waterproof. Fast-forward six weeks, a whole range of test conditions and a few more visits to the washing machine later and these gloves are still holding off the rain.
It’s not all perfect though. For me, the gloves didn’t quite cut it below about 2 degrees; my hands just weren’t warm enough. This won’t be the case for everyone; I suffer with Reynauds and have always struggled to find a glove that actually works when the mercury is hovering around zero.
At the other end of the scale, with temperatures nearing double figures, the gloves aren’t stifling. Some waterproof gloves can feel like you’re wearing a pair of Marigolds. That’s certainly not the case here. The merino content and loop construction help with breathability and moisture control. On top of that, the inside of them smell and feel fresh after several uses.
The touch screen compatibility didn’t impress on my first ride - not great when you just need to get some photos done while its raining. However, it was almost as if they needed christening; I haven’t had an issue with them since that first, rainy ride. The thumb, as well as the finger, being touch-screen compatible too is a nice bonus.
The silicone detailing works well in dry conditions but does lose a little of its effectiveness when the gloves and handlebars become wet.
The lack of padding certainly won’t suit all roadies. I noticed it on rides over 2.5 hours on the outer-side of my palm; just a sensation of needing vibrations dampened a little more.
I haven’t noted any deterioration in gloves’ performance. There are a few signs of superficial wear though- bobbling of the outer layer. They have been through a few cycles with dreaded Velcro though, something to be aware of if you want to prolong their life. A small number of the silicone tabs are coming away too.
Alternatives that could perform similarly to DexShell’s include Sealskinz £40/$55 Waterproof All Weather Ultra Grip Knitted Glove or Giro’s £49.99 Xnetic H20. Both share a similar 3-layer construction. Prices are a little more than DexShell's, but not wildly more expensive.
In my opinion, these are a super pair of all-round gloves. If you ride, walk, hike, cycle commute or simply rely on a bike more than the car for general errands, DexShell’s will serve you well. With an RRP of £35, I’d say that they are great value for money. They really come into their own when used as a commuting/general purpose riding glove; they are exceptionally easy to get on and off, you don’t forfeit dexterity and have reliable touch screen compatibility.
- Sizes: S-XL
- Material: Outer: Polyamide, elastodiene, elastane. Interlining: Porelle®membrane. Inner: merino wool, acrylic, polyamide
- Colours: black, blaze orange
- Contact: upgradebikes.co.uk
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