Monday, June 29, 2015

Full Finger Cycling Gloves for Warm Weather?

Full Finger Cycling Gloves for Warm Weather
From the Monday Mailbox:
I have noticed you wear full fingered cycling gloves, even in the summer. Any recommendations for a lightweight option? 
Ah yes. I love full finger cycling gloves. Even at the height of the summer heat, usually I prefer them to the more typical fingerless variety. The extra digital coverage gives me better traction on the controls than do sweaty fingers. It also keeps my hands from getting sunburnt and bitten by insects. Finally, long finger gloves protect my hands from getting scratched up when I ride (and then stop to wander about) in the woods.

And while I know I'm not the only one who likes to wear full finger cycling gloves year round, those of us who do are clearly in the minority - as there aren't a great many options on offer that are suitable for the warmer months. The few that are tend to be designed for mountain biking, which means they are usually bulky with padding and abbrasion-resistance features. But what about a plain lightweight roadcycling glove - identical to the fingerless type in every way, except - well, for the fingerless part?

Full Finger Cycling Gloves for Warm Weather
The product I've encountered that comes closest to fitting that description are these Mavic Altium gloves, released a couple of years back. Designed specifically for road cycling, they are wonderfully lightweight. With their lightly padded palms and the tops made entirely out of mesh, these are in fact nearly perfect - save for a lack of that lovely terrycloth nose-wiping feature some of us so enjoy. Unfortunately, this model disappeared from the shelves almost as soon as it appeared, and my attempts to find out from Mavic whether it will return have been unsuccessful. If you are motivated enough though, I am sure you can still find leftover stock. And the closest in Mavic's current offerings seems to be the Stratos glove. While designed for mountain biking and therefore beefier in construction, it has the same hot weather-specific features as did the Altium.

Full Finger Cycling Gloves for Warm Weather
My alternative is the Giro DND glove (stands for "down 'n dirty"). Described as a "simple, durable glove for everyday cycling," the DND (or La DND for the women's-specific design) is more or less exactly that. While not endowed with super-lightweight mesh properties, it is not bulky and provides reasonable ventilation for summer heat and humidity. As you can see, it also comes with a generous terrycloth patch. After a 2+ year run, the Giro DND is still in production and seems to be quite popular, with new colour schemes being added all the time - so its continued availability can probably be relied on. Another possibility from Giro to consider is the more technical Bravo glove (Tessa for women), designed for riding on dirt in warm weather.

Full Finger Cycling Gloves for Warm Weather
On cooler days that aren't cool enough to warrant cold weather accessories, I also like the ShowersPass Crosspoint Liner Gloves. Extremely lightweight, stretchy and moisture-wicking, they are designed with grippy palms, convenient touch-screen fingertips, and another feature I love - elongated wrists, preventing gaps between sleeve (or arm warmer/cooler) and glove. Considering this Oregon-based brand specialises in rain gear, would it be perverse to wish they made a white, meshy, UV-resistant version of these for hot summer days? Then again, given the weather in Portland these days, perhaps a model named HeatWavesPass would not be uncalled for? In the meantime, if you're looking for serious UV protection from a cycling-specific glove, the Endura FS260 Pro-Lite Long Finger Gloves could be an effective option.

Other full finger summer gloves which I have not tried personally, but have heard good things about, include the Race face Khyber Gloves (MTB-specific, but said to be very light), the DHB Lightweight Long Finger Road Gloves, and the Bontrager Evoke Gloves. If you've tried these or others you would recommend, please feel free to share your impressions.

24 comments:

  1. This past Spring, in an effort to reduce a tendency to "overgrip" the handlebars, I decided to ditch even lightly-padded half-finger gloves in favor of thin full-fingered ones. I found lots of full-fingered gloves, but most were insulated, padded, and bulky -- not at all appropriate for South Florida weather. I ended-up with a pair of Specialized "XC Lite" gloves (http://www.specialized.com/us/en/ftr/gloves/long-finger-gloves/xc-lite). Delightful.

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    1. Those XC Lite gloves look pretty good. Can't stand heavily padded or gel gloves; they actually make my hands hurt more, not less.

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  2. I don't wear them on the bike but you might like stringback leather equestrian gloves. They are much like the classic half fingered cycling glove but with no padding. I wear them during the fall and spring if I'm going to be out driving with the top down or doing things outdoors and want to shed my normal "Rural Homeless" ensemble. I keep the newest pair in the pocket of my old Pendleton wool coat and the previous pair in the bin of my raggedy old Miata.

    I like to think people mistake me for some Well Heeled but Indifferent Horsey Type when I'm wearing that kit in D.C. or Charlottesville. I probably look more like I just looted the car of a Well Heeled but Indifferent Horsey Type but oh well...

    Spindizzy

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  3. I'm a fan of Home Depot's "Firm Grip" gloves. Very lightly padded palm, moderate venting on the back, terry cloth thumb area. Not the most long lasting, but at $10/pair, can't be beat.

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  4. I've used Fox Alpine full fingered gloves in blazing LA for years,a nd love them. I'd rather not have my hands sticky with sunblock when I get off the bike. Availability seems iffy, and they seem dedicated to finding new uglier patterns every year, but they are extremely comfortable, not too bulky, work even in 100F heat, and aren't too pricey.

    I"m considering trying neoprene-like gardening gloves, which are much thinner and let you feel things through the fabric--you can pick up coins with them easily. They're less than ten bucks at hardware stores. Have not yet actually used them on the bike, though. They are wonderful in the garden.

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    1. I had a pair of Fox gloves, forget the model name now, which I found a bit too stiff at the finger joints. Lent them out to someone on a club ride and never saw them again.

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  5. I ride horses as well and find summer riding gloves are a good option. They're not padded in the palm and might be reinforced by the ring finger for reins, but they are thin and light with mesh backs. (ala http://www.amazon.com/SSG-Kool-Flo-Riding-Gloves/dp/B0002E4M5S or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002DGRDY/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=1944687582&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0002E4M5S&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1NBCKNR9GND909ADYSAG which come in many colours)

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  6. It seems anything cycling specific these days comes at premium costs. I've sunk a couple hundred dollars on three pairs of full fingered gloves of different varieties and misplaced them all…Rats!! They were comfortable (except in cold rain) but during the course of my day of constantly moving about at various distances and taking them off I'd drop them or leave them behind or something. So I no look for cheaper versions of tech gloves which work just as well. Oh, btw, as you mentioned, I'd highly recommend something which wicks water away if one lives in a wet area….One pair, even though it claimed to be partly of wool, did a miserable job whenever I found myself in light drizzle. Come to think of it I may have just tossed those in a ditch ;)

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  7. One advantage of bicycling that it is egalitarian, but an increasingly affluent market can skew valuations and price points.

    I also like full fingered gloves, especially for my winter commute, and find that my local hardware store has a host of garden gloves, useful for all needs. There are lightweight nylon gloves, winter gloves and leather gloves too.

    That said, I also have few "dedicated" bicycling clothes, commuting to work in a tie. Sometimes I get confused for a LDS kid on a "mission". All good fun.

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  8. As far as price: My favourite gloves are cycling-specific, made in N Carolina USA by a small manufacturer, and can cost as little as $14 new, if you bought on sale off season (full retail $24). Too bad DeFeet does not make a summer version.

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    1. That's my favorite glove as well. I bought 2 new pair this spring when the LBS was clearing out winter clothes. My old pair are sort of becoming summer gloves now that they are finally falling apart after being worn 5 or 6 hundred times over about 3 years...

      Spindizzy

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    2. An issue with any most items of clothing is the ability to try it on before purchasing. True with gloves, too. I see or read about products online and then try to find them locally, which is usually impossible. Maybe once a year I'll travel to places with an abundance of bike shops or outdoor stores and actually slip into some of these products. Sadly, many do not fit or are uncomfortable for assorted reasons and I leave disappointed. Purchasing clothing online has it's shortcomings.

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  9. Neoprene Kayaking gloves: http://www.mec.ca/product/5034-352/mec-h2o-3mm-gloves-unisex/?f=10+50004+50111

    In the winter most of my riding consists of less than 10 mile commutes - and these did the trick throughout a couple Chicago winters.

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  10. Neoprene Kayak gloves like these: http://www.mec.ca/product/5034-352/mec-h2o-3mm-gloves-unisex/?f=10+50004+50111 got me through commuting in a couple Chicago winters.

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  11. This may not sound conventional , but I'm a tiny fellow- I buy old lady church gloves from the thrift. I cut the sleeve length down to fit. Many have a lace back or net. Plus, I can find them in so many colors. Some are sewn in the worst way, but it's easy to figure out which to avoid. The folks at the thrift just pile them for free. Before switching, I too was a huge fan of the horse gloves. They had two flaws: Hard to find and I'm from SE D.C. as Spin said you get these well , well looks.

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    1. Lace-back gloves should feel fantastic in hot weather, especially if fabric is silk. Only problem is, I've got sort of unusually proportioned hands, with small palms and long fingers. Most churchy/lady gloves I come across, the fingers are much too short or else the palms are enormous. Might have to try sewing some myself based on this general idea.

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    2. Yes you are right about the finger length. I'm just blessed with dainty strong hands. Majority of the gloves in the bin are satin or stretchy in the right places 100% nylon. I've even found a few that were laced between the fingers. I was shocked they lasted two months. When the price is free why not go nuts!

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  12. I bought a pair of clearance Dakine MTB gloves (the "Step-Up" model, I think) a few years ago, which I initially only used for cyclocross. They're reinforced summer weight with thin leather palms and mostly mesh backs, a terry section (indispensable), and really light nylon/neoprene over the knuckles. I eventually started wearing them for all of my riding, including road. After a ton of rough riding and racing, hot summer group rides, and mountain biking, the tips started to wear on my index and middle fingers. On each glove, I cut those fingers off, and now they're even better. With two exposed finger tips on each hand, I'm as dexterous as normal, but with almost full coverage gloves.
    Strixbike

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  13. Did you wear these during the heat and humidity of Boston or is this a more recent thing. I live in armpit of America and cycling in the summer is uncomfortable on many levels. When I wear extra protection from the sun the build up of heat becomes unbearable. Everything needs to be washed, everyday….Maybe Northern Ireland is the place to be for summer cycling.

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    1. Northern Ireland *is* the place to be for summer cycling. Unless you don't like rain. Or wind. Or wearing your winter jacket in July one day, then getting sunstroke the next as you cycle on melting tarmac and then have to peel bits of molten asphalt off your tyres on the side of the road...

      But I digress. I wore full finger gloves in Boston also. And long sleeve tops. High heat and humidity are my least favourite cycling conditions, but somehow I feel cooler if I cover up than if I don't.

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    2. You're not describing anything unique, with regard to Northern Ireland cycling, which is to say the best places for daily riding are always rich in variation. But I get the feeling your experience is rather temperate and moderate compared to other places. That said, finding clothing which enhances the experience is key. Glad you've found yours.

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  14. I have a couple pair of the Giro DND's and quite like them. I use them for yard work and just to keep my hands warm when it's cool, but not cold out. I'm finding that as I get to middle age my hands get cold easier then the used too.

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    1. They are indeed durable enough to be used as gardening gloves. Funny, as I get older my hands are less prone to cold than they used to be. Could be cycling has improved my circulation.

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  15. I can understand keeping your hands warm in winter using some XC Lite gloves. Quite a decent price too!

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