In October, Sealskinz got in touch to let us know about their second generation waterproof cycling kit. Building on their well-loved gloves and sock range for cycling, they sent us some of their new kit to try over the winter months.
Sealskinz are one of those brilliant staples of the great outdoors, loved by riders, hikers, fishermen, golfers; you name it, there’ll be an outdoor pursuit that they’re rated for. Based in the UK and with an impressive 25+ year history, the team behind Sealskinz know all about British weather, and what I really mean when I say that is rain. Oh, and cold.
Like many other British outdoor enthusiasts, I’ve had a few Sealskinz products in my time, from waterproof socks to thick winter waterproof gloves and even some clever LED overshoes. With the launch of their new Fusion Control glove construction in late 2020, Sealskinz sent us a pair to test.
The Sealskinz All Weather Lightweight Waterproof gloves have been on test from October through to January and been subjected to a range of conditions on both road, gravel and mountain bike rides. Both day rides and shorter commutes across town, drier rides, drizzle, and sopping wet centuries, I think they’ve had a fairly decent running!
One thing to note is that I do have some circulation issues in my hands which means that I’m more susceptible to windchill and cold (5 degrees or less), so I tend to ride less when it’s really cold. Although the lightweight gloves on test are termed ‘All Weather’ gloves, Sealskinz do also offer ‘Cold Weather’ and ‘Extreme Cold Weather’ glove options for when it gets really chilly which would be more suitable if you spend a lot of the winter months riding in really cold conditions.
Materials and construction
Sealskinz appear to be very chuffed with their new ‘Fusion Control™ technology’, but what does that actually mean?
Fusion Control refers to the triple layer fabric of the main part of the glove: an fleece-backed stretchy Lycra outer, a mesh membrane middle layer including a waterproof membrane, and then an inner layer made from COOLMAX® wool. Rather than multiple layers of fabric sewn together, the three layers of the Fusion Control construction are bonded together. The result, Sealskinz claim, is a totally waterproof and windproof yet breathable glove.
Like many cyclists (or walkers, runners, outdoorsy types), I’ve tried previous iterations of the popular Sealskinz waterproof gloves a few years back. Despite getting on well with these to start with, I found that the inner glove would detach from the main outer at the fingertips and then invert when I pulled my clammy hands out of the glove, making them a pain to get back in. When I saw that the new Fusion Control gloves offered, in Sealskinz’s words, ‘zero liner slippage or pull out’, I was keen to see if they’d manage to rectify this rather frustrating design.
Suffice to say that yes, they have.
You’ll also find synthetic suede patches on the side and top of the palm, tip of the thumb, and top of the index finger, as well as the tab on the cuff. These help to give grip where you need if on the bars and for braking, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the fingertip is conductive on touch screens!
Finally, a suede tab and small plastic clasp on each glove means you can connect the pair when you’re not wearing them, making them easier to store as a pair or pack perhaps without losing one half of the set! If you think this is a feature you wouldn’t use, it would be easy to snip these off with a decent pair of scissors close to the seam (although you’d probably risk voiding the warranty).
Fit and comfort
I tried these gloves in a size medium, and they are available in sizes small to X-large. Choosing the right size on the website was easy thanks to their size guide, which also gives detailed and clear instructions on how to measure around your hand, which you can do with a tape measure or ruler at home. I’m glad to say that they sized up well when they arrived, which took the worry out of not being able to try them out for size in a shop. If anything, the thumb and the little finger are a bit too long for me, but that’s not the worst thing when it comes to winter gloves as I sometimes find that a bit of extra wiggle room can help you to stay cosier by trapping warm air by the skin.
The elasticated cuff measures 4 cm and extends over the wrist bone, which gives a really good length to the glove. This way, you can tuck them under your jersey/fleece/waterproof to stop any draughts or water ingress. There’s also a small semicircular tab on these which make pulling the gloves on a little easier.
Compared to previous iterations of the Sealskinz waterproof gloves that I’d tried, the bonded multi-layer Fusion Control construction certainly takes out some of the bulk of the glove (although these are the Lightweight model too) and I think that the fit is a bit closer too.
What does this actually mean for riding? Well, a closer fitting and less bulky glove certainly feels better when it comes to operating the gears and brakes, as well as giving enough dexterity to help you reach for your favourite snack without having the faff of removing your gloves.
Waterproof and breathable?
So you’ve heard the spiel about the new construction, but do they actually work? For the most part, I’d happily say so.
The waterproof qualities of the Sealskinz All Weather Lightweight Waterproof Gloves with Fusion Control (and breathe) are impressive. For short dashes across town in the wet, a few hours in drizzle, or a day of showers, they’ve really proved handy. When it’s really wet, I’d suggest avoiding taking them on and off too much, as it’s easy to transfer moisture to the cosy interior when you have wet hands.
Are they windproof? Yes, which is especially handy on the bike (although Sealskinz do recommend this pair as one of their most versatile, with suggested uses including fishing and dog walking too)!
What about breathability? This is where I struggle a little. There have definitely been times when my hands have felt a little clammy on the inside of the gloves. Not the sort of drenched in sweat boil-in-the-bag effect that you get from cheap and nasty anoraks, but definitely a noticeable dampness. This isn’t much of a problem when you’re keeping warm, but I did find once or twice when I stopped and I removed the gloves, they’d be colder to put back on with the cool sweat inside.
Finally, do these gloves live up to their ‘all weather’ name? I think that might be a bit ambitious. There are cold weather and extreme cold gloves also on offer, and I’d say that these are better for milder temperatures where you might also get some precipitation, especially if you’re prone to feeling the cold like I am. I tried them as a cold weather glove on a few occasions but found myself swapping back for a non-waterproof pair of chunky deep winter gloves when I needed a greater level of insulation.
Over the four winter months of testing, the only noticable wear I’ve found has been on the palms on the synthetic suede pads. These have bobbled up a little bit, but nothing that affects performance at all.
To take the best care out of the new Fusion Control gloves, Sealskinz recommend that you only spot wash these by hand, and that you don’t machine wash, tumble dry or dry clean. I have to confess that I did bung them in the washing machine once at 30 degrees in with a load of equally mucky MTB gear by accident but they seem to be okay. Not recommended at all but not the end of the world as an accident! My only worry here would be if they get really stinky after prolonged use and not being able to get the smell out.
It’s great to see that all Sealskinz products have a lifetime guarantee against defect, and these also have a lifetime waterproof guarantee, which is quite funny reading at least. Spending £55 on a pair of gloves is a bit of an outlay, so it’s good to know that Sealskinz will have your back if any manufacturing defects arise.
There’s little to say here, or at least negatives to the appearance of these Sealskinz waterproof gloves. They’re mostly black, with dark grey detailing between the fingers and on the cuffs, so are pretty low-key. Branding is also minimal, with the Sealskinz word logo on both index fingers (or braking fingers perhaps) in a reflective print. The seal logo was embossed on the cuff tabs too, but after some wear these are not visible any more.
The style is simple and uncluttered. The dark colour means that you can get away with a fair bit of dirt without them looking too filthy. You can also barely notice the reflective strip on the main part of the glove next to the cuff, which is a neat addition for low light riding, although may be tucked away if you layer up as snugly as I tend to!
The Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Lightweight Glove verdict
I’ve rated this pair of Sealskinz gloves an 8.5/10, as I’ve been really impressed with some aspects, and feel that others could still be improved.
Most importantly, the waterproofing is great, which is the main aim here. The fit and measuring guide was also spot on for me, which made ordering online a lot better, while long, elasticated cuffs gave a good interface with jackets and made removing and getting the gloves back on really easy, even while riding along.
On the negative side, I didn’t find them to be totally breathable, and I think the addition of a nose wipe would be really handy on these. I don’t know about you, but my nose has been like a tap lately with the colder weather, and ‘snot rockets’ seem to be a lot less socially acceptable in the Covid age!
I was lucky to be sent this pair without having to single out a model to test, because to be quite honest the Sealskinz website is quite overwhelming. Although you can choose from glove categories such as sport type and weather rating, these are just one model from 19 all weather gloves. A online selector tool to help potential buyers narrow down which models would be best for them would be really handy.
If I were to purchase a set of these for myself, I’d probably opt for the cold weather gloves rather than these all weather ones, as I know I’m pretty susceptible to the cold. At £55, I think that’s actually a fair price for a really quality pair of gloves without being over the top cost-wise, as long as you intend to ride plenty in damp conditions through the wetter months.
Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Lightweight Glove with Fusion Control™£55 $75 €95
A great improvement on previous generations, a wet weather glove for milder temperatures that delivers great fit and dexterity8.5/10
- Impressive waterproof beading
- Good length fitted cuff
- No inner slippage like older models
- Can get a little sweaty inside
- Not warm enough for colder rides
- A nose wipe would be a great addition
Last modified: 14th January 2021