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Tag Archive: cycling gloves

Product review: SealSkinz Fingerless Cycle Gloves

At the beginning of summer, the kind folks at SealSkinz offered us a pair of their new summerweight cycling gloves to try out. You may know SealSkinz as a maker of waterproof socks, hats, and gloves for outdoor activities such as hiking and hunting, but they’ve also got a number of cycling-specific pieces in their lineup.

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The SealSkinz gloves are lightweight, with a lycra back and a synthetic leather palm that is textured for grip. The middle and ring fingers have extra material at the tops that are fashioned as “pull tabs” to get the gloves off easier. There’s a hook-and-loop wrist closure, and reflective accents on the back of the glove.

The pair I tested is a size Large. They felt true to size, but with a small amount of bunching between the fingers (we’ll get to that in a bit).

The padding on the palm is rather thin, and at first I thought I’d have issues with that — my own hands are not particularly padded, and prefer a glove with dense padding in the palm, where possible. The SealSkinz gloves, despite the thin padding, didn’t let me down in terms of comfort, even for longer riders of 30-40 miles. Beyond those distances, I think I’d rather have something with more padding.

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For those who have read glove reviews I’ve done in the past, you may remember that the nose-wiping area of a glove is VERY important to me, summer or winter. The SealSkinz didn’t let me down there, either — the entire thumb is made of a soft microsuede material, with no protruding seams to rough up the sensitive nose area. I can wipe all day in comfort!

The grip is fantastic with the gloves, as is overall durability. I wore them all summer and racked up serious miles with the SealSkinz, and they still look pretty new, even after a couple of washings. The stitching and seams remained tight throughout the testing period.

The reflective accents on the backs are a nice touch, but I don’t know how effective they might be. The reflective effect is pretty subtle, and I was unable to get a good nighttime photo of the reflective bits in action.

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Perhaps my only gripe with the SealSkinz gloves is the cut of the fabric panels prior to sewing. I did notice a lot of extra material, especially between the fingers. I can’t help but think that the cutting patterns could be refined a bit to reduce some of this excess, helping to streamline them a bit and reduce bunching between the fingers. Since the material is naturally stretchy, this excess material isn’t needed to accommodate wider fingers than my own, either.

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The SealSkinz fingerless gloves retail for $35, and are available directly from the SealSkinz website. As of this writing, they are not in stock and do not appear on the company website even though they ARE a current product. I checked with their PR person just to make sure they weren’t discontinued for some reason. That $35 buys a well-constructed, lightweight glove that is ideal for warm-weather riding. The gloves are 100% designed in Great Britain, with much of the manufacture occurring in Great Britain as well. Take a look at the SealSkinz cycling lineup for a wide range of products to suit any rider at any temperature.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Review: Ergon HC1 Gloves

As part of my duties as a member of the Ergon USA 2011 Commuter Team, I get to try out some brand-spanking-new products from the Ergon lineup. A few weeks ago, Ergon sent me a pair of their new HC1 gloves from their “Performance Comfort” series of products.

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Here’s a bit about the gloves directly from Ergon USA’s website:

The new Ergon HC1 is a short fingered glove, especially designed for use with the Performance Comfort series of grips. The glove features flexible yet robust mesh material for ventilation of the back of the hand. The thinly padded palm and fingers allows for increased feel and the benefits of Ergon grips not to be restricted. The ball of the hand has a slight increase in cushioning material for better pressure relief of this sensitive area.

The gloves retail for $35.95 and are available from Ergon’s online storefront.

As mentioned, they are made primarily of a lightly-padded mesh material on the top and a leather palm. The thumb area is made of a suede-like microfiber material. The mesh tops are not unlike the material used to make modern running shoes…and the mesh does a pretty good job at ventilating the hands, even in the heat.

Despite Ergon’s description, I can detect no padding whatsoever in the palms. Some portions of the palms have doubled material for durability, but as far as I can tell, that’s it. As they are designed as a system to be used with Ergon’s ergonomic grips (such as the GP1 BioKork grips, reviewed here), padding really isn’t needed. With those grips, the HC1 gloves are supremely comfortable. I often ride drop-bar road bikes for recreational and commuting purposes, though, and although I experienced no hand discomfort on rides up to about 30 miles, some people with more sensitive hands may want a bit more padding to protect delicate nerves.

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Unlike a lot of other gloves on the market, there are no “grippy” parts (silicone strips and the like) on the gloves, save for tiny strips at the tips of the fingers. The gloves are slightly scalloped here, creating little “tabs” at the ends of the fingers. Those tabs and silicone strips are there presumably to aid removal. That’s rather handy, too, as these gloves are a bit snug. Word to the wise: if you look at Ergon’s sizing chart and are right at the cusp between sizes, go for the next larger size. Ergon makes sizes to fit a lot of hands, from extra-small all the way through XXL.

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The gloves stay on with a simple hook-and-loop wrist closure. The strap is slim and unobstrusive, something I greatly prefer in a cycling glove as I move my hands around a lot. I do NOT like to get hung up on bulky straps. You can see in the picture just above how narrow and simple the strap is.

Do you get a runny nose when you ride? I sure do…even when it is super hot out. And I sweat a lot, so I really value gloves that have a decent “wiping surface”. This, perhaps, is where the HC1 lets me down. The thumb is made of a soft, nose-friendly microfiber…very “suedey”. But the area is cut a bit narrow for my tastes, and on either side it is bordered by a woven nylon material that is much rougher to the touch. The seams connecting these two materials are scratchy, too. Wipe with caution, or your nose and lips will be sore. I’d like to see a revised seam layout for this area, a more generous wiping area, or even a different choice of material (terry rather than microfiber). This is a pretty big deal for me; while it doesn’t ruin the overall picture for me, it makes these gloves not be my first choice when I am going out for a serious/strenuous ride. I’d still choose these gloves for shorter rides or for trips not requiring much in the way of sweat or effort…you know, like my commuting trips. Gotta protect those hands on the way to the workplace!

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My overall impression of these gloves is fairly favorable — they are well-made from good materials, simple, and effective for those of us who don’t need a lot of padding (or who are already using Ergon’s excellent grips). But, they’re not for everyone…the lack of padding and the nose-wiping weakness might be a deal-breaker for some. Be careful choosing the size, watch those seams against your noses, and things might just work out.

Be sure to check out Ergon USA’s website for information on their many other products, and stay tuned for further adventures with new goodies I will hopefully get my hands on to test.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.