Pearl Izumi PRO Softshell Lobster Glove Review

I’ve previously talked about my cold hands and the complications of cycling in cold weather, in my Sugoi review.  This winter, I’ll also be reviewing the Pearl Izumi PRO Softshell lobster Gloves, and at least one other glove option.  Here’s my thoughts on the Lobsters.

They have Pearl’s PRO Softshell, which is basically intended to be a competitor to Gore’s windstopper.  Water and wind “resistant”, with a waterproof insert.  Natural leather palm, primaloft insulation, soft snot-wiper thumb, reflective features.  It is a ‘true’ lobster mitt design, with the 2 finger pockets being mitts–there is no separation between your fingers. I prefer that design to mitts with finger pockets, as I think your fingers stay warmer when they’re together.  There is no cycling specific padding or gel in the palm of your hand.

Palm of glove. Notice the nice grippy rubber on your trigger/brake fingers. That is very convenient for having a good grip on your brifters and brakes.

Pearl PRO Softshell with reflective details.

Closeup of finger grippies.

No palm padding.

Nice gauntlet cuff with velcro strap.

So…how do they work?  Well, we’ve only had temps down to the high 20s thus far, and they’re plenty warm for that.  They are waterproof with their internal liner.  They are windproof as far as I can tell, too.  Even on exposed, cold road rides, they’ve been plenty windproof.  The long gauntlet wrist is nice for ensuring that you don’t have some bare arm hanging out at the end of your jacket, and the velcro closure works well to seal the arm down.

The gloves feel pretty thin, which concerned me in terms of how warm they’d be.  That concern has not been borne out by actual use–they are much warmer than they look.  They are at least as warm as the Sugoi gloves…and the lobster design (instead of the trigger finger design) helps keep your fingers even warmer than the Sugois.  (The downside is that you have to do 2 finger braking and shifting.

My big concern about them is breathability.  As in…they have none.  They are not breathable at all.  Saturday, we did a road ride and I wore these.  About 20 miles in, we stopped for coffee.  My hands were noticeably damp.  As we sat for a few minutes and drank our coffee, the gloves got cold.  When I put them back on, they felt cold and wet inside…not a good feeling for returning to the bike.  The good news is that because they are warm, my hands warmed them up immediately.  The bad news is that they felt noticeably damp for the remainder of the ride.  I hadn’t noticed the dampness before we stopped, but clearly felt it thereafter.  I’ve felt that dampness each time I’ve used these.

My only other constructive criticism is that I wish these had some light gel padding in the palm of your hand.  Nothing huge…just a little gel to provide a better grip on the bars, and a little cush on your hands.

I’m going to keep trying them and reserve judgment for the moment.  While they are very warm, the poor breathability keeps me from recommending them at this point in time.  My suspicion is that the “waterproof liner” is not breathable…as I’ve had good luck with Pearl’s PRO Softshell in other applications.  Because of the breathability issues, I wouldn’t think of using these gloves for longer (2+ hour) rides…and for that reason, right now, I’m giving them a C-.  Again, I’ll update later this winter,  when I get some more miles on them.

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7 thoughts on “Pearl Izumi PRO Softshell Lobster Glove Review

  1. Pingback: Giro 100 Proof Winter Glove Review | ridingagainstthegrain

  2. Pingback: Gore WS Thermo Lobster Glove Initial Review | ridingagainstthegrain

  3. My hands get extremely cold (and painful) during winter rides and I’m trying to decide between these gloves or the GORE WS Thermo Lobster (which you also reviewed). You gave those gloves a significantly higher grade, but I’m curious if you still stand by that recommendation after more use. Thanks, and very insightful blog!

    • Yes, I still give the Gore a higher mark. The Gore are waterproof AND warmer. I actually sold my Pearl Izumis.

      I have Reynaud’s, so if my hands get cold, I’m done–I lose all feeling. As it stands, I wear the Gores down to 20-25 by themselves. I’ll wear them down to around 5 degrees with a super-light liner glove inside. Below 5, I’ll use a heat pack and the liner glove. Last night, it was -13, and I rode comfortably using the super-light liner glove and a heat pack inside the Gore gloves. Wind is irrelevant–they’re totally windproof. They’re also waterproof enough for everything I’ve thrown at them.

      • I ended up going with the Pearl Izumi PRO lobsters. I did this for two reasons: first, it’s been so cold here that I didn’t want to wait for a week or two for the GOREs to arrive, and second, because the story I purchased them from said I could return them if they weren’t working for me.

        So far, I’ve been happy with them. There was one or two days earlier this week (in Boston) where it was like 5 degrees with a negative windchill and the gloves by themselves were barely cutting it. My hands were cold, but far from numb in my other gloves.

        There is a little sweat for me, but it’s manageable so far. I’ve owned some GORE articles before and I do like them. Too bad they weren’t in stock as the price points are nearly identical. Again though, the Pearl Izumi’s seem to be working for me.

        Thanks again for the review and the response. Good luck!

      • I’m glad that the gloves are working for you. Priority number one isn’t labels…it’s riding! I’m glad you’re getting out to do some!

        Let me know how they hold up for you, longer-term.

  4. You sold your used gloves? Ew.

    Hey, “well-known columnist,” it’s Gordon Wright with OutsidePR. We represent Pearl Izumi, and I found your blog through my buddy Michael Roberts. Any time you want to check out a Pearl product, let me know — we’ll see if we can’t upgrade that C-. Great job on counseling Sinyard, btw — it worked.

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