Ridden & Rated: 5 Women's Gloves for Shoulder Season

Mar 27, 2019
by Nikki Rohan  


It's shoulder season for the vast majority of the mountain biking world, and the weather has no idea what it's going to do from moment to moment. Today may be sunny and warm, but that pre-work pedal could be a hair above or below freezing. Nor is it uncommon to get hit with sleet or hail during an afternoon lap on your local goods. Bottom line? It may be mid-March, but conditions can still call for frozen digits, both above and below the equator.

Finding a comfortable and technically proven glove for this season is no easy task. There are dozens of brands and dozens of models of gloves available, all with different features, different temperature ratings, materials, and thickness. For this review, Pierce and I choose a temperature range that was consistent with the weather we would be testing in (30-50°F/0-10°C), and then asked each company to provide us with what they felt was the best glove for the task. You can check out Pierce's feedback on the five gloves he tested here.

While some of you may bitch that the gloves we tested wouldn’t keep your balls (or nipples) from freezing off, let alone your fingertips from getting frostbite, or that they're overkill for conditions you're experiencing, they were Goldilocks perfect for those of us within a few hours drive of the 45th parallel. The weather here cooperated just fine for testing and up until this past week we still had near-zero temperatures and snow covered trails.

Pinkbike Winter Glove Review 2019 on Syncline


About This Review

For this review I tested gloves from Gore, 100%, Pearl Izumi, Handup Gloves, and Madison. I typically wear a women's size large glove (or men's medium), with my hand measuring 7 1/8 inches (18.1cm) from the bottom of my palm to the tip of my middle finger, and 3 1/4 inches (8.3 cm) across my palm. It is important to measure your hand and review sizing charts as sizing between companies isn't always comparable.

Testing was done by myself and another local rider/gear tester, Bekah Rottenberg, who helped me log approximately 3-4 hours of riding time in each glove. Bekah suffers from Raynauds, a vaso-restricting disorder where her hands get cold easily and quickly, so having her feedback was valuable. According to the Raynaud's Association, 5-10 percent of the US population have Raynaud's with the vast majority, 90% being women. Worldwide, the statistics appear to be similar, although it was hard to find actual data.






100 Brisker Gloves

100%: Women's Brisker Glove

• Sizes: S-XL
• Colors: Black/Grey or Neon Pink/Black
• MSRP: $29.50 USD
ride100percent.com


The Brisker glove is a low profile glove designed with just enough insulation to keep your hands warm and dry in cooler shoulder season weather. The Brisker is available as a unisex branded model or women-specific model and comes in a variety of fun colors. I tested the Women’s Brisker in size large. It fit my hand comfortably snug, but not so tight that it was restrictive. The fingertips were just a tad bit too long, which is par for the course with my hand measurements.

The glove features a slightly lengthened neoprene cuff with a Velcro closure, an insulated soft-shell top that provides added warmth and wind protection, a thin single layer Clarion palm with silicone print for a good, grippy bar feel, and the handy-dandy phone compatible fingertip threads.

I tested these gloves on a handful of cold damp day in temps ranging from 36-40°F - cold but not sub-freezing temps. They had a nice feel on the bar and just enough silicone grip to mitigate the small amount of precip. The insulated top shell kept my hands warm, but not sweaty even after climbing for a good hour. With the exception of the first 5 minutes of riding and warming-up, my fingertips felt warm--even when descending. The quality of the gloves was good; I didn't have any issues with the threads coming undone or unusual wear after a couple hard rides and heavy wash cycles. For $29.50, the Brisker gloves are a solid and affordable glove with a party in the front and business in the back attitude - just right for keeping your hands warm in cooler temps.


100 Brisker Gloves
100 Brisker Gloves

Pros

+ Fun way to incorporate added grip
+ Not too bulky with good bar feel
+ Velcro closure
Cons

- No added padding in the palm
- Not great for sub-freezing temps





Pearl Izumi

Pearl Izumi: Women's Escape Softshell Glove

• Sizes: S-XL
• Colors: Black or Screaming Pink/Black
• MSRP: $45.00 USD
pearlizumi.com


The Women's Escape Softshell glove from Pearl Izumi is a versatile fleece-lined windproof glove that is designed to keep your hands comfortable and warm in 35-40°F temperatures while enjoying your outdoor pursuits. Even though Pearl Izumi's site labels this glove as a "road cycling" glove it was sent to me to test for this review. But after checking it out, I had had no reason to think it wasn't going to work. I tested the women's size large and it appeared to have a true to size design, consistent with the size chart and fitting my hand like, well, a glove.

The Escape Softshell features a simple elongated elastic cuff with a pull-on design, silicone striping across the palm for enhanced grip, a touchscreen compatible fingertip, a soft windproof fleece wiping surface for a runny nose, and a lightweight, softshell fabric that offers both wind and water protection. The glove is also available in an "Escape Softshell Lite" option for $10 less, with no fleece lining and a lighter softshell material for warmer temperatures.

Both Bekah and I tested this glove in temps ranging from 37-46°F and we agreed that in general it performed well. The softshell material provided functional wind and water protection and the gloves kept our hands toasty at the targeted ride temperatures. The digital touch finger worked great and Bekah was ecstatic that she didn't have to take the gloves off in order to take copious amounts of selfies during her ride. The fleece lining gave the gloves a kitten fur soft and comfortable feel on the inside, yet the fabric was breathable enough that neither of us had any issues with clammy hands. The silicone strips on the palm provided ample grip. Overall, we both were impressed and happy with the design of these gloves: they worked perfectly to keep our hands warm and dry for the recommended temperature range.


Pearl Izumi
Pearl Izumi

Pros

+ Warm and wicking
+ Not bulky
+ Snot wipe
+ Touchscreen finger
Cons

- No velcro closure
- No added palm padding




Handup Winter Gloves

Handup: Winter Sweater Gloves

• Sizes: XS-XXL
• Colors: Winter Sweater
• MSRP: $32.00 USD
handupgloves.com


The Handup Winter "Sweater" Glove is the next best thing to your ugly Christmas sweater -- designed to be wind-proof, water-resistant, and warmly insulated, these gloves will keep your hands warm on those cold but above freezing morning rides. (Note: You can upgrade to the Burrr Snow Camo gloves for the sub-zero days.) I tested the unisex size small. Handup has a different size chart than what I typically see--I sized to be a Small, surprisingly enough, but it fit me reasonably well.

The glove features a stretch neoprene cuff with a slip-on design, a fleecy inside for added warmth, a single layer Clarion leather palm for optimal bar feel, silicone graphics on the palm and fingers to enhance grip in the wet, a touchscreen compatible fingertip, and soft nose/sweat/foam wipes on the thumb panels. Oh and the best part ... each glove has a creative silicone slogan across the palm that keeps us all entertained on and off the trail.

Testing was done in cold, dry weather with temps ranging from 37-45°F. At the beginning of each ride my fingertips were frigid, but once I started climbing and my body warmed up, my hands felt warm and toasty (even on long descents, when my fingertips typically get cold again). As the day warmed up the gloves maintained good breathability and I never felt like my hands were imprisoned in a vacuum pack. The single layer Clarion palm allows for a close and comfortable relationship with your grips, while the top part of the glove offers that "just right" amount of non-bulky insulation. I could easily wiggle my fingers and I still had the dexterity to grab keys or a bar out of my pocket. As for the palm slogan, I think I met my soul mate - I am all about "Ride & Chill" as opposed to "Netflix & Chill."


Handup Winter Gloves
Handup Winter Gloves

Pros

+ Snot wipe
+ Soft inner lining
+ Good bar feel
Cons

- No added palm padding
- No velcro closure




Madison

Madison: Winter Storm Softshell Gloves

• Sizes: S-XL
• Colors: Black, Black/Green, or Black/Yellow
• MSRP: £24.99 GBP
madison.cc


The Winter Storm Softshell glove is a windproof, waterproof, breathable glove that keeps your hands protected from the elements. While the glove includes "Men's" in the title on Madison's website, I opted to think of them as a unisex option, and choose to test the size medium "Storm" gloves over the women's specific Avalanche waterproof glove, which felt a bit too bulky for my riding style. Maybe it was the extra insulation? Other than the fingertips being a touch long, the gloves had a nice overall fit, a little roomy but ample dexterity.

The Winter Storm features a Velcro cuff adjuster, has a pre-curved shape with a "tailored grip palm", a padded but low bulk palm with minimal stitching to limit irritation, a large sweat wipe, and a micro-fleece lining to keep your digits warm. The gloves are fairly thin as compared to the other gloves I tested and offered excellent movement and articulation.

I tested these gloves on some of the coldest of recent riding days, with temps hovering just above freezing. I didn't see any temperature ratings on the website, so given these gloves' overall thinner profile as compared to others I tested, I knew I was gambling a bit. But in general, the gloves kept my hands and fingertips acceptably warm, although like most gloves tested here, the closer I got to actual freezing temps, the more I wanted hand warmers stuffed inside to keep the edge off. Or a hot toddy. The soft fleece lining offered a respectable amount of insulation while the outer fabric kept biting cold wind at bay. I did notice that my hands were getting sweaty while I was climbing midway through my ride - it could have been that I was pushing extra hard because it was freaking cold, or it could have been that the material used is just not as breathable as some other gloves we tested. My takeaway with the Winter Storm Softshell is that from a performance perspective it's a good option for slightly above freezing temps with brisk wind, and it's priced competitively with the Brisker and Winter Sweater glove.



Madison
Madison

Pros

+ Velcro closure
+ Palm padding
+ Good dexterity
Cons

- Not super breathable




Gore Gloves

Gore: C5 Gore-Tex Thermo Gloves

• Sizes: XS - 3XL
• Colors: Black or Neon Yellow/Black
• MSRP: $79.99 USD
gorewear.com


The Gore C5 Gore-Tex Thermo glove is a versatile unisex glove that is designed for long rides in wet winter weather. I tested the glove in size medium. It was the correct size, but based on the size chart I would have been on the tail end of a size small (i.e. try before you buy if you can). The glove comes in two colors, black, which I really wish they had sent us, and the so 80's painful Hi-Vis Yellow (which I tested) that would be ideal for use road cycling or during hunting season.

Retina melting color aside, the glove features a Velcro wrist closure, foam padding on the synthetic leather palm, Thermo lining, and (of course) the use of Gore-Tex fabric for waterproof, windproof and extremely breathable performance.

Bekah and I each tested this glove in temps on the lower end of the testing spectrum (approximately 33°F). They impressed both of us with their overall performance - Gore definitely puts a lot of effort into design and quality. Bekah noted that while her hands stayed warm enough (i.e. they never went numb), she had to stop multiple times on the descents to warm her hands back up before continuing on. While I didn't get to that point, I did notice I could feel the wind piercing through the glove's breathable fabric slightly more so than with some of the other gloves tested. But we did test these at the very edge of freezing--any colder and we'd have opted for skate skiing vs. riding. From a form follows function perspective, the velcro closure strap allows for a secure fit, and the additional padding on the palm at the handlebar contact point is a nice touch. And considering the temperature and wind exposure during testing, I was satisfied with the quality of the gloves.


Gore Gloves
Gore Gloves

Pros

+ Soft inner lining
+ Velcro closure strap
+ Padded palm
Cons

- Neon yellow ≠ MTB
- No snot wipe
- A little too breathable





Summary

For warmth I would rate the gloves in the following order from warmest to coldest:

1. Handup Winter Sweater Glove ($32.00 USD)
2. 100% Women's Brisker Glove ($29.50 USD)
3. Gore C5 Gore-Tex Thermo Gloves ($79.99 USD)
4. Madison Winter Storm Softshell Glove (£24.99 GBP)
5. Pearl Izumi Women's Escape Softshell Glove ($45.00 USD)

My personal favorite of the group was the Handup Winter Sweater. The fit was right on the money and the cost is very reasonable for the quality. The gloves are comfortable, stylish, they allow for good dexterity, and like the 100% Brisker glove, the single layer Clarion fabric on the palm allowed for exemplary bar feel.

About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 37 • Height: 5'5" • Inseam: 30" • Weight: 135lb • Occupation: Pixel Counter • Industry affiliations: Pivot Cycles/Smith Optics
Typically wear women's size large glove.



55 Comments

  • + 65
 How do
much you
effort give?
  • - 38
flag brennenhuff (Mar 27, 2019 at 0:31) (Below Threshold)
 How much effort do you give? - 100%
  • + 22
 “Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you.”
  • + 18
 Don't dead open inside
  • + 5
 s[he] be[lie]ve[d]

sbeve
  • + 2
 @fluidmotion: An under-rated comment, if ever I saw one.
  • - 8
flag drivereight (Mar 27, 2019 at 11:08) (Below Threshold)
 Must have been a Trump Academy graduate!
  • - 1
 I'm sorry but those are the most lame things I've ever seen in my life. Equivalent to "live laugh love" bullshit.
  • + 45
 I just want to add a different opinion to this review- palm padding is a huge negative to me! Total deal breaker. Obviously to each their own, but I would hate if the wonderful people at 100%, Pearl Izumi and Handup got the impression that we all want palm padding.
  • + 13
 They should have Pros/Cons and then a 'Marmite' section for features people will either love or hate.
  • + 6
 I thought we moved past palm padding about the same time we moved past bar ends and incredibly uncomfortable grips. If you are going to put palm padding on a glove you should cut off the fingers, make the top out of some sort of macrame and package it with a free set of grip shifters.
  • + 7
 Agreed, palm padding is the first thing that rules out a pair of gloves for me.
  • + 2
 Minimal padding TLD air gloves all year long boys
  • + 2
 @ryetoast: ..mmmmm......macrame...grip shifters.......metallic purple lycra shorts......
  • + 1
 Same here, palm padding is more of a con. I think Palm Padding is either something you love or hate like @dingus said Marmite section! haha.
  • + 1
 Palm padding gives you an extra 3mm of travel
  • + 18
 100% Gloves - Sponsored by Yoda.
  • + 12
 Without trying to sound like a misogynist, anyone care to explain the difference between a Womens glove and Mens glove?

I appreciate that womens hands might be smaller than mens, but that's why glove manufacturers produce different sizes. But as far as I know, Women have a similar shaped hand to men, (and the same amount of fingers and thumbs)

So other than 'women specific' colours, and a smaller size, what is the difference?

Talking about Womens Specific colours, isn't that just dividing gender even more? Giro and Bell are championed for their 'Womens Helmets' which are just the mens helmets, in 'girly' colours. I really dig some of those colours, but as a man I apparently am not allowed to buy them.

Is the world going insane? Do we really need 'Womens' gloves? I always thought gloves were Unisex. I've never seen a glove described as a 'mens glove' so why do we need a Womens glove?
  • + 0
 My gloves fit my girlfriend and apparently my hands are almost the same size as the presenter here. Briskers are absolutely to cold for me at 30F so the argument that women have colder hands is also not a good indicator. Colours are also a thing no one needs , I mean different colour sets.
  • + 1
 I think a women's large glove is equivalent to a men's small in most brands' glove sizing, and generally (like with helmets) the women's gloves are designed to match other pieces of the brand's women's kit. I haven't seen them marketed to better protect your manicure or anything, so that's probably all there is to it.
  • + 3
 I have small hands and can only wear women's size small gloves, youth large gloves if I ignore that the fingers are too short, or XXS from the few unisex brands like Handup that care enough to make small sizes. So many everyday products, not to mention mountain bike gear, are designed around a typical man’s body. Women like having the option to buy gloves that fit, too Smile
  • + 1
 @rydellal: well I did see that clothes are in general bad with fitting. I mean it would be no problems if every brand would just create really small sizes and larger one.

I do have problems for the larger one because most of them are then for people who are couch potatoes. To large belly, to short back, to short sleeves. Trousers are the same.
  • + 1
 Nice that you ask! Most men have a longer ring finger than the index finger, whereas the opposite is true for women. It's a small detail, but I'm sure glove manufacturers are paying attention to it.
  • + 1
 @brodoyouevenbike: interesting. Would be great to hear if brands are paying attention to this, because I know for a fact that a few certain brands use the EXACT same glove in their womens range (one is in this article and the other just released their new 'colours)
  • + 8
 What the hell is "Shoulder Season" ?? Is this a new form of Enduro ?
  • + 1
 Here in the Colorado we refer to the spring and fall as shoulder season. Because everything slows down the tourists go away and the weather is either really nice or really shitty. Start your ride on a 60 degree day and finish in freezing temps and blowing snow.
  • + 0
 @Bikethrasher: That makes no sense at all! Why shoulder? f*ck it, why not call it balls in stomach season?
  • + 1
 I don't know anymore. Seems like cutting off the shoulder caps on shirts is all the rage these days. Personally, i feel like they're just screwing you out of some fabric. #thenew28.99
  • + 1
 @rolandpoland: It's borrowed from and akin to the idea of the road shoulder. It's not the main season (or road) it's the "shoulder" when it's not prime for doing the thing, but is still possible in some form. IE: you can still ride/ski/drive in the shoulder, but it's not always the best.... Unless you don't like tourists etc (or traffic) in which case you love it.
  • + 2
 The head is summer, the arm is winter so the shoulder is spring or autumn, cos it's in between. Sounds like bollocks to me too. Why not the the perineum season? In between pure pleasure and poop.
  • + 7
 I have the 100% brisket. I use them from -5°C to +5°C. No palm padding is a plus (+) for me!
  • + 2
 Agreed on the padding, these gloves are excellent. I've used them in temps up to 17 degrees (not deliberately, the UK had some unseasonal weather last month) and even then they did not feel too hot. I've only used them in temps down to about 2 degrees C and they were fine. Work well in the rain too, although not waterproof.
  • + 1
 @MikeW75: You can get a waterproof version too.

My only complaint about the regular Brisker is that the cuffs are pretty short for a cold weather glove.
  • + 4
 Wish articles would post temperatures in both the International System of Units (SI) as well as Freedom Units. I don't even know what 40°F is, I mean it sounds warm to me, but Google tells me it's actually 4.444°C.
  • + 2
 I have the Briskers and cut the velcro off, now they are 100% better.

Who has ever had a problem with gloves coming off? I despise velcro on gloves and generally won't buy a pair that has it.
  • + 1
 I really enjoyed this review! I also have Raynaud Syndrome and constantly struggle to keep fingers and toes warm (even on warm days) It can be painful and frustrating. For this reason I typically avoid riding in cold weather. It's nice to know that there are some good glove options and have the opinion of someone else who deals with icy, white digits!
  • + 3
 Love my Briskers, but I wish the cuff was elastic and not velcro. Velcro is a faff and eventually gets fluffed up and non sticky anyway.
  • + 1
 Tasco MTB Dawn Patrol gloves are my current favorite cool weather glove. Micro fleece on the tops, but feel just like normal gloves without padding on the palms.
  • + 1
 Women's gloves: aka, the gloves I'll buy on sale a size larger than men's gloves for half the price when they inevitably go on sale.
  • + 1
 +1 on the 100% Briskers. For those of you with kids, 100% also makes some gloves in youth sizes. My kid loves the iTrack for hot, Brisker for cold.
  • + 1
 I'm a 51yr old dude who uses the 100% Brisker gloves, and never knew they were for women.
  • + 1
 @DBone95

AFAIK, 100% has the Brisker models labelled as "men's", "women's" and "youth". If they fit & work as they should, label shmabel...
  • + 1
 The gore glove looks bulky as hell. I would say padding is a con but well it is good to know if there is any.
  • + 2
 Yes - I have these and only use them on my road bike as a result. Very bulky. I ended up getting the 100% Brisker for proper cycling. Funny how half the negatives in these review I felt were positives. Just shows how reviews can be biased toward what your personal preference is.
  • + 1
 5’s just being creedy Joker
  • + 1
 I was today years old when I learned what shoulder season is! Cheers
  • + 1
 Rubber gloves for the kitchen are the best gloves for women.
  • - 15
flag howsyourdad (Mar 27, 2019 at 3:07) (Below Threshold)
 @pinkbike Ban Hammer please for this complete and utter ignorant fool
  • + 6
 @howsyourdad: I am a woman,...
  • + 3
 The irony is strong in this one.

Yoda would 100% approve.
  • - 12
flag howsyourdad (Mar 27, 2019 at 5:20) (Below Threshold)
 @DemoDemo: Congratulations. it is still a shitty joke the belongs in the 1970s
  • + 5
 @howsyourdad: I think the joke was damn funny. Besides It was obviously a joke, everyone knows gardening gloves are clearly the best gloves for women.
  • + 1
 @howsyourdad: i didn't see you complaining about mechanics gloves as the best gloves for man, or did you?
  • + 1
 Shoulder surgery
  • + 1
 Misspost

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