Note: This review has been updated, if you click here.
In addition my various and sundry other physical maladies, I’m blessed with Reynaud’s syndrome. For those who are unacquainted, that basically means that in cold weather, if my fingers get cold, they get ‘dead’. They go completely pale, lose all sensation, and turn into little lumps of ice. Guys that ride with me have seen it–even an hour after a ride, I’ll have fingers that look normal out to the first joint, and then are totally white and cold. Relative to the blog, that means that I’m always looking for WARM gloves that will keep my hands dry and toasty while riding.
I’ve used Bar Mitts, with both drop bars and flat bars, and will review them on here at some point. Today’s post is about gloves.
Mittens are the warmest of gloves. However, mittens are not the most efficient gloves for cycling…it’s hard to run brakes and shifters, with any kind of bars, while wearing mittens. Finger gloves, while offering more dexterity, often lead to cold fingers for me…even when riding in an active fashion. Lobster mitts seem to present an ideal compromise between finger gloves and mittens.
The Firewall Z gloves have a generic water and wind-resistant softshell outer, with Thinsulate G100 and G80 insulation. They are set up to have your index finger isolated (great for shifting and braking) and your other three fingers together.
They have a mildly grippy rubberized coating on the inside of the hand.
And a soft snotwiper thumb cover.
Along with a nice elasticized gauntlet wrist.
Note that cycling-specific palm cushioning is pretty minimal.
I greatly prefer the ‘trigger finger’ design of these gloves for mountain biking–it permits easy one finger braking. Same answer for fatbiking with flat bars. It’s a nice design. The gloves are slightly curved at rest, so they’re a nice ergonomic shape for holding on to bars. If you were wearing them for other uses, the curved shape might get a bit annoying–but it’s perfect for activities where you hold round objects (handlebars, ski poles, etc.).
The liner is non-removable. The shell is water and wind resistant (good for light rain, drizzle and wet conditions) but not waterproof. The palm area is nicely reinforced with a tough material, and the gloves look like they will hold up well. Time will tell. They do a good job of blocking the wind, as well.
The nice elasticized gauntlet wrist keeps your wrist warm and covered, and works well with cycling jackets. In the pics you can see how my Gore Phantom jacket works nicely with the gloves. I wear a Large in the gloves, and they fit well. To give you a real world fit idea of the size of my hands, look at the inside of your palm. If you measure from the point where your palm becomes your middle finger, my middle finger is about exactly one credit card length long.
I’ve worn them road biking in the low 30s, and have been very happy with them. I expect that the outer limit will likely be mid or low 20s for road biking comfort. I wore them mountain biking at the start of the day in Brown County, when the temps were in the 30s, and found them to be perfect for that as well. As the temps climbed through the mid 40s, they became too hot (my hands were actually getting a bit sweaty), so I substituted a pair of regular finger gloves. How quickly my hands got sweaty made me wonder about the breathability of the gloves a bit.
So, initial impressions: warm. Perfect for 30s, likely good into the 20s. (Will update). Reasonably water resistant, but not waterproof. Breathability is a question mark, but they are very windproof. Dexterity and comfort is very good. The cuff is a really nice feature. I think they’re going to be a good piece of kit.
Update: No longer recommended, based on longer-term use.