Giro Xnetic H20 gloves review

Solid protection against the elements in a lightweight, minimal package

Giro Xnetic H20 gloves
(Image credit: Luke Friend)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Giro Xnetic H20 gloves are a great wet-weather option and more. They’ll keep your hands warm and dry without the bulk of a more traditional winter glove or the clamminess of neoprene. Lightweight at just over 60 grams for the pair with plenty of stretch, they’re really comfortable. So much so I’ve opted to wear them in dry, cool conditions too; testament to this glove’s impressive versatility.

For
  • +

    Good level of breathability without sacrificing waterproof protection

  • +

    Lightweight and packable - just 62g

  • +

    Comfortable, form-fitting cut

  • +

    Stretchy cuff creates a good seal against wrist

Against
  • -

    Reflective detailing is pretty minimal

Giro has forged quite the name over the years, becoming one of the most established cycling brands when it comes to helmets, shoes and other kit. It offers a wide range of gloves for different conditions, including the Xentic H2O waterproof gloves, which looks to compete with the best winter cycling gloves out there.

The Xnetic H2O gloves are designed to offer full protection against the rain while still offering flexibility and warmth, all in a lightweight package. In fact Giro makes the bold claim that they are “your new cold weather riding essential”.

Giro Xnetic H2 - the contruction

I’ve always struggled a bit with neoprene cycling gloves. In my experience they aren’t particularly comfortable. They have a tendency to make your hands smell too. Throw in the odd hole or three and you have a glove with more problems than solutions.

This is subjective of course. But looking at the Giro Xnetic H20 glove I can’t help but think they’ve been designed with this kind of negative experience in mind; an antidote to split-seams and stinky digits.

On first glance, they actually appear not too dissimilar from the neoprene gloves I’ve been critcising. But to the touch they are softer and more pliable. Giro says they are made using a three-layer construction that blends a “RainGuard membrane between a durable nylon outer shell and hypoallergenic liner.” 

Giro Xnetic H20 gloves

(Image credit: Luke Friend)

What this looks and feels like then is a knit glove, similar to Defeet Dura Glove, fused with something more neoprene-like. It’s flexible and really light, just 31 grams per glove for my size medium, with some additional thickness that indicates it might just work in temperatures as low as 5 degrees celsius, as Giro claims.

There are no seams here. This is a one-piece glove made from Giro’s Xentic knit fabric that “features a TPU skeletal system bonded to a knit material.” It sounds suitably high-tech. Giro claims that it's this combination that allows the glove to be both supple and breathable. It’s then treated with a DWR to add to the waterproof element.

Giro Xnetic H20 gloves detail

(Image credit: Luke Friend)

In terms of design (not fabrics) this is a basic glove that's created, I’m guessing, to be unobtrusive. Pulling them on for the first time they are indeed flexible, with a decent length cuff that’s also elasticated, helping to form a nice seal against the wrist. There are full-palm grippers as well as touchscreen technology on the thumb and forefinger. Reflective Giro detailing are quite minimal, though the glove is also offered in a fluro yellow as well as the black on test here.

Giro Xnetic H20 gloves - the ride

I wore the gloves for the first time on a morning that promised rain but failed to deliver. So while their ability to keep my hands dry would remain untested for now, they did – in temperatures of around 8 degrees celsius – keep my hands perfectly warm. In terms of feel, they were soft and pliable as well as being really light. 

The latter is major plus point. These are gloves that can easily be stored away when not in use, making them ideal for long rides with changing temperatures as well as bikepacking trips when you’re trying to travel light.

Essentially, much like the Defeet gloves I mentioned earlier, you barely notice you’re wearing them. This translates to great feel at the bars and the levers. It also means that operating a phone or GPS unit is a breeze too. It does mean that you sacrifice padding on the palm but like many true wet weather gloves the key here, I believe, is on retaining grip and control. 

Eventually the weather played ball and I got to use the gloves in a plethora of wet conditions. Damp mizzle. Persistent showers. A couple of downpours. No matter the specifics, the Xnetic H2O gloves kept me pretty much dry. 

Water doesn’t bead on the fabric so at first I assumed that the gloves were absorbing water and would eventually be sodden. But this has yet to happen. After rides where it rained continuously it was difficult to tell if the dampness on my hands was entirely made up of sweat, or if rain had penetrated the RainGuard membrane. But if so, it was minimal. The gloves still felt pretty dry on the inside and my fingertips didn’t look like I’d stayed in the bath too long.

Importantly the gloves kept my hands warm as they had done during my first dry run. I’ve yet to use them below around 6 or 7 degrees C but at these temperatures they performed well. 

With regards to breathability, the Xnetic gloves are a vast improvement over traditional neoprene gloves. My hands did sweat at times but never to the extent where they became really clammy. 

The high level of stretch and pliability was a real bonus. It not only meant that the gloves were comfortable but also allowed me to pull the cuff over my rain jacket sleeve and then have it stay there. In essence this created a water resistant seal as well as helping to keep the warmth in. 

Value

At £49.99 / US$50.00 the Giro Xnetic H20 gloves hit a mid-range price point. Castelli’s Perfetto RoS gloves are equally form fitting with similar weatherproof properties and are priced at £75 / US$69.99. At the cheaper end of things, dhb’s waterproof glove has a retail of RRP of £30 /US$38 but is more of a traditional winter glove, with fleece lining, palm padding and a nose wipe.

Verdict

As a minimal wet weather glove, the Xnetic H20 is one of the best I've worn. The glove's three-layer construction delivered on its promise of bringing “waterproof performance and breathable fibres together”. And while I can’t attest the long-term durability of the outer nylon layer as yet there’s nothing to make me think that this element won’t perform as well as the RainGuard membrane and the hypoallergenic lining. 

Keeping your hands dry without them getting clammy isn’t easy but the Xnetic gloves did a great job of blending these seemingly opposing forces. They dealt with both drizzle and downpours while providing enough moisture management to keep me comfortable. Importantly they also offered enough warmth when the temperature dropped.

All of which makes them very versatile indeed - certainly in a way that a neoprene glove isn’t. I’ve even found myself wearing them when the forecast doesn't predict rain thanks to their impressive weight-to-warmth ratio.

Specs

  • Weight: 62g actual (per pair - medium)
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • Colours: black and highlight yellow
  • Contact: giro.com
Luke Friend

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for the past twenty years. Working across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.