Gear Review: Specialized Sub Zero Gloves

30 Jan

I’ve been a Pearl Izumi fan for gloves since college when I dropped the then-princely sum of $45 on a pair of their AmFib gloves.  Wore the heck out of those things and replaced them with two more pairs of the same.

Our team shop doesn’t carry Pearl Izumi, so upon burning through the latest pair earlier this winter I went with Specialized’s cold-weather offering, the Sub Zero. Mostly a mitten, the Sub Zero takes the lobster claw split-finger style and converts it into a two-layer mitten with separate “trigger finger.” The outer cover is windproof and waterproof and has a large gauntlet cuff with a drawstring and cordlock for a tight seal.

To be honest, I’ve been a bigger fan of the inner liner than the glove as a whole. The liner is lightly fleeced softshell fabric with rubberized strips on the palm. It’s a great glove for 35-50 degrees and the softshell breathes beautifully while holding up to drizzle and road spray.  With a redesigned cuff to provide a better seal, Specialized could easily sell this glove on its own. It was ideal on a five-hour ride with the team a few weeks ago that began in sub-freezing temps but warmed up to the 40s after an hour or two, when the outer cover could be easily stowed in a jersey pocket.

With the outer cover, you’re set for anything above 20 and possibly a bit lower.  This glove has been great in dry and damp conditions, and even an hour in sleet and freezing rain. The only thing I haven’t tried so far is several hours in the wet, but it would be ungrateful to complain about not having that opportunity this winter.

What I haven’t worked out so far is how to be truly comfortable with the split-finger design. It lends warmth — these are truly toasty gloves — but it’s not a perfect solution to the tradeoff for dexterity. Unlike a lobster claw with the index and middle fingers together, the single finger allows for easier (but not perfect) shifting from the hoods. However, for my hands, at least, braking and shifting from the drops are a challenge, and not one for roads with any level of traffic or challenging curves.

Botom line: great cold-weather glove, if a bit awkward on the drops. If you can’t keep your hands warm in these, you should have your doctor check for circulatory problems. The liner is amazing and will be a mainstay of mine as soon as we emerge from the depths of winter.

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One Response to “Gear Review: Specialized Sub Zero Gloves”

  1. raine December 24, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    I actually prefer the Giro Westerly Wool liners by far compared to the ones that come with the subzeros.

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