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.
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.