Kalf Five° winter gloves - review - Road Cycling UK

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Gloves

Kalf Five° winter gloves – review

Lightweight and snug cold-weather gloves from British brand Kalf

Last year Kalf impressed us with their arrival on the cycling kit scene. The Flux Transition windproof jersey, Chevron summer jersey and Chevron bib shorts all reviewed well, so when we heard about the winter range, we were interested to see if it could also meet those early standards. In the case of Kalf’s Five° gloves, the lighter of the two winter gloves in the collection, it’s safe to say we’re not disappointed.

Kalf make two thermal full-fingered gloves, the Zero° and the Five°, the names of which are indicators of the sort of temperatures they’re designed to excel in. The Five gloves on test are naturally the lighter of the two, and provide protection through a windproof membrane along with some C40 Thinsulate padding from Polartec to give genuine thermal properties and a little water resistance.

Where many winter gloves are quite bulky and don’t provide the best dexterity, here the choice of that C40 Thinsulate insulation has resulted in an especially light glove that gives great feel on the handlebars and hoods, yet still gives good thermal performance in typical winter conditions. The outer layer is pliable and light too, adding to this feeling, although it isn’t really up to dealing with prolonged spells of rain, instead meeting their limit in showers and splash back.

The Five° winter gloves comes from Kalf’s debut winter collection (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)
  • Specification

  • Price: £35.00
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Size tested: L
  • Website: Kalf
  • UK stockist: Evans Cycles

I’ve worn them out in temperatures dipping towards freezing at times, and they handled that remarkably well given that punters have got the option of opting for the beefier Zero gloves. Only once did I feel the need to have an extra thermal lining to add a touch extra warmth, and that was only when the temperature overnight had dropped to -1.

In fact, I find it hard to believe that unless you do happen to venture out in conditions dipping well below freezing, the Five gloves are plenty warm enough if you also own a liner. Obviously some riders feel the cold more than others, but I’ve been impressed by the warmth served up here.

 

The gloves are relatively breathable too. It really does take the temperature to rise well into double figures before you need to switch to a thinner, liner-style glove. As a result, when spring comes around (are we there yet?) it’s going to be an easier decision to don these in the morning, even if you’re expecting the mercury to rise.

Their light weight also lends an element of packability to the mix, so should you start to get hot and sweaty hands on a mild ride, squashing them down into a pocket isn’t the tight squeeze you might think it is. Even the stylish reflective strip across the knuckles doesn’t get in the way of this – in fact, I paired these gloves with some Rapha Brevet kit during testing, and they looked a good match.

The gloves have a large reflective strip across the knuckles (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)

The cuffs are nicely elongated to ensure coverage over your long sleeve jersey or arm warmers, yet low profile enough with a small Velcro fastening to fit under and complement a double-cuff jacket (like dhb’s excellent Aeron Storm, for example).

I also like how the fingers are long enough to fit even my relatively long digits too – they’re offered up in five sizes from S-XXL, but the large I had on test was ample for me in all dimensions, and I usually find I need large or extra large gloves for my reasonably big hands. It means that, unless you really do have very big hands that don’t fit regular sizes of gloves, you can assume your normal size will fit you here, and it’ll be comfortable too thanks to the soft lining inside.

Kalf Five degree winter gloves (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)
Kalf Five degree winter gloves (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)
Kalf Five degree winter gloves (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)

You also benefit from a textured rubber pattern on the palms for grip, although there’s no ergonomic palm padding here. Those who struggle with pressure points on their hands may wish to look elsewhere then, but it’s the only real downside in my view (and even then it will only be relevant to some riders).

That is, unless you want genuinely hardy waterproof gloves, in which case that makes two downsides and you may want to look to the Zeros for that. They are billed as fully waterproof, though we haven’t tested them yet. There are also no touch screen finger pads on the Fives either – but, in my opinion, those can be a bit gimmicky in all but the thinnest of gloves where you’ve got near-natural dexterity for precise inputs, so it’s of lesser concern here.

While the gloves are designed for use in temperatures around five degrees, we’ve found them warm enough for freezing winter rides (Pic: Mike Brindley/Factory Media)

Conclusion

Overall, the Kalf Five° gloves are excellent at providing essential warmth and good levels of breathability, while they’re versatile enough to function well in anything near freezing weather and into the low teens. Sure, you might not want to use them in fully wet weather, and those who need pressure-relieving padding might want to look at more ergonomic options, but if neither of these two points bother you, we’re struggling for reasons not to buy these.

Pros

  • Impressively warm
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Good fit

Cons

  • Water resistant only
  • No palm padding

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