It’s a clever design. The construction is centred around a fleece-lined polyester glove which is fairly unextraordinary in its own right, though it is both toasty and breathable, providing enough warmth to ride in temperatures of around seven or eight degrees (though the exact temperature range will vary from rider to rider) and coping reasonably well with the extra warmth generated when riding hard or climbing.
What’s most interesting is the lightweight cover which hides inconspicuously in a thin slot across the knuckles. Pull the cover out when the conditions dictate and it essentially turns the glove into a mitt, lowering the glove’s temperature range by a further few degrees. It’s a surprisingly warm combination for a mid-weight glove, though not warm enough to be our first pick on deep winter days when the temperature stays consistently low, when we’d plumb for most insulation and windproofing.
Deploying the cover does restrict the range of movement of your fingers, so, even though it’s still relatively easy to shift (using Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo setups) and brake, we wouldn’t necessarily make these gloves our first choice if we expected to need the cover on a ride from start to finish. What it does do, however, is solve the problem of chilly hands or overheated and sweaty hands on rides when the temperature can vary.
Recently that’s meant autumn commutes when it can be a fair bit warmer for the ride home than it was in the morning. We also used the gloves at the back end of last winter and through spring, when there could be similar variations in temperature if starting out early. The cover effectively means you can tweak the temperature range of the glove on the move.
The gloves also came into their own during on a chilly early-season ride in Majorca, when the cover could be pulled into action on the island’s long descents and removed when climbing or otherwise riding. The cover is also water resistant and so it’ll offer a barrier against rain but it will only protect the fingers and the material from which the main body of the glove is made soaks up water fairly easily, so these aren’t gloves we’d recommend for rides when there’s a chance of significant rain.
Otherwise, there’s a decent amount of silicone gripper on the palm and fingers, ensuring plenty of control on the shifters – though you do lose some of that when the cover is on. There’s also a decent amount of reflective detail on the outside of each glove and the fluoro of our test gloves adds a useful flash of colour, though they’re also available in black. Finally, the tips of the index finger and thumb are touchscreen-sensitive and that means you don’t have to take your gloves off and risk cold hands when answering a call or checking a message on your smartphone. Both thumbs also have a soft and generously-sized snot wipe, useful for, well, you know…
For some riders the Craft Hybrid Weather Glove will solve a ‘problem’ which doesn’t exist, but others will enjoy the versatility offered by the design. The cover ensures the glove is suitable for a relatively wide temperature range and is particularly useful on a ride where the mercury can significantly rise or fall, providing you remain within the overall temperature range that works for you. However, while the cover offers some water resistance, these aren’t gloves we’d reach for when there’s a chance of prolonged rain and the cover does reduce freedom of movement and grip a little. If Craft were to add a little grip to the cover then that’d help but, even with that, we think it’s a price worth paying for a pair of gloves which avoid hands which are too hot or too cold in changeable conditions. That versatility comes at a fair price, too – £25.