It’s been a little while since our last review but we haven’t been taking things easy. Next up to be tried and tested by our review team is a trio of products from one of the biggest names in winter cycling –SealSkinz.
Now this may seem a little late in the season for more winter reviews but considering the mild temps so far it’s probably a safe bet we still have the worst yet to come so if any of you suffer from either cold hands, cold feet or both then you might want to read on.
Ultra Grip Hi Vis Gloves – £32
First up are the Ultra Grip Hi Vis Gloves and with the ultra floura look you certainly aren’t going to lose them in a hurry. Before we go on, here’s the sale pitch from SealSkinz themselves;
‘The SealSkinz grip gloves are unique with 100% waterproof, windproof, breathable and patented 3 layer seamless technology. Hi-vis colours will keep you standing out on the road whilst cycling, running and walking in the winter. Extremely versatile glove’.
Like most people we take this sort of thing with a pinch of salt but so far in everything but snowy conditions (we’re sure they will arrive soon) these have really lived up to their self proclaimed hype. In fact taking that a step further Sealskinz don’t rate these gloves as being particularly warm compared to some of their others but to date they’ve held up in everything down to 0 degrees which is very impressive. Not only that the lack of padding has proved a big hit with our testers as the bulk often associated with thick winter gloves is minimised making them more dexterous and with the excellent grip your hands stay where you put them and don’t slide when things get wet and slippy. And all for the great price of around £32.
Here’s what one of our tester had to say;
“I have always suffered from cold extremities so any product that can keep my digits warm in the wet/cold typical British climate is something I have struggled to find until now. These gloves have without doubt been the best gloves I have used bar none. Not once have my hands been cold, with the wind proofing being superb and the waterproof qualities aided by the long cuffs.
For me the outstanding benefit has also been the colour way, and can safely count myself along with other roadies that have converted to various items of high vis. personally I wear a lot of dark colours (with high visibility accents on the clothing as opposed to great swathes of fluorescent colours) when riding so very brightly coloured hands/gloves have actually stood out more and have been very clear for other road users when signalling or just waving through cars etc..”
If you don’t already own a pair of these I wouldn’t hesitate in spending some money and investing in a pair of sealskinz hi-vis gloves.
Verdict; 10/10 – superb on all fronts and much warmer than claimed.
Performance Road Cycle Glove – £42
Next up is one of the top gloves offered by the brand for those really cold days. Straight away they are a totally different sort of glove to the Hi-vis option above. Again boasting the usual wind and waterporoof capabilities but this time in a much thicker and durable glove.
I won’t go in to the technical aspect of these gloves here as you can visit the site to find all that stuff out (http://www.sealskinz.com/UK/gloves/kj281-performance-road-cycle-glove-grey.html) , what we’re really interested in is how they perform because at over £40 they are not a cheap option.
It’s been pretty hard reviewing these gloves so far and for one simple reason – it hasn’t really been cold enough! These are not gloves to be worn on a hard day out in the hills, they are simply too warm to the point that we’ve had to take them off on the odd occasion. That’s isn’t so much a criticism of the product just poor choice from our part on days that didn’t warrant such a glove.
Aside of that there isn’t much else to say other than they are excellently made and do what they claim ie; keep you very warm whilst stopping wind and rain getting in. If we had to pick something we didn’t like it would be the lack of dexterity you get despite having separate finger and the cuff being a bit big – but then both of these are what you want for the super cold days so perhaps we are being harsh.
Verdict; 8/10 – Another great glove from Sealskinz but not as versatile as some others out there so save them for the really cold days.
Mid Weight Mid Length Sock – £30
Perhaps the products most associated with the brand are their excellent socks and for this test we opted for the mid weight mid length so that a) we could get them in to our regular winter shoes and b) we got a bit extra warmth from the added height.
Considering that every pair of overshoes we’ve ever tired have been crap when it comes to keeping water out, the promise of a water proof and windproof pair of socks is an enticing prospect.
Straight out of the packet they feel a bit odd and this is only exaggerated when you try them on for the first time. In fact we likened them to putting on a very unfitted sock/bag!! Being the first time we’d tried SealSkinz socks this was unexpected. All worry was however forgotten as they quickly shape to your foot providing a really comfortable sock with no annoying seams to bug you half way round your ride. This is something really to appreciate as our previous preference was two pairs of socks that inevitably move after a few hours and can cause numb (but warm) feet.
Within about a mile of riding with these on it’s evident that the enviable reputation Sealskinz socks have is totally justified. Super comfy is all that can be said and we’ve now warm these socks on every long (50+ mile) ride done and still think they are the dogs proverbials. Quality is excellent, they’ve been washed about 15 times in a few weeks and still look and perform like new with no membrane breakdown, they’ve been pretty warm down to 0 degrees although for the really cold days you might want to opt for the thick version, they’ve kept water well and truly out which is a godsend in the British winter and on merely cold dry days we’ve even been happy without overshoes on.
Verdict; 10/10 – quite simply the only socks we choose for winter riding now.