Keeping your digits warm on winter rides is always a bit of a challenge. Get something too thick and all ride feel is lost. Get something too thin and you’re fingers might as well be frozen hot dogs. So, where do the new Pearl Izumi PRO Softshell Gloves fit in that spectrum?

Pearl Izumi PRO Softshell Gloves Features:

  • P.R.O. Softshell provides wind and water protection
  • Primaloft® insulation gives optimal warmth without bulk
  • Waterproof to provide extra warmth and weather protection
  • Fleece lined
  • Pittards® WR 100X Natural Carbon Leather palm provides superior softness and durability
  • Hook and loop closure
  • Anatomic fit maximizes finger dexterity for shifting and braking
  • Soft fleece wiping surface on thumb
  • Reflective elements for low-light visibility
  • MSRP: $75

Cold weather testing the Pearl Izumi PRO Softshell Gloves

When it’s Coooold, I Grab the PRO Softshells

My early-morning bike assaults start out in the dark with temperatures hovering in the mid-30’s. As I ascend the climb up American Fork Canyon, UT, the temps slowly decrease. The PRO’s have been excellent at staving off the chill when temperatures drop.

Construction consists of all the right household names when it comes to winter gloves. We’re talking stuff like Primaloft insulation and Pittards leather palms… you know, the stuff that you’d expect from top-shelf winter gloves. The anatomic fit of the PRO Softshell’s is fantastic. The curved fit makes for a natural, comfortable feel right out of the box. And, with Pittards Carbon Leather, grip is maintained under all conditions.

Pearl Izumi PRO Softshell Gloves Review

With winter-weight cycling gloves, there’s always a fine line between warmth and tactility. These absolutely nail the warmth side. In fact, I’d call these out as the warmest winter gloves I have in the stable. Thankfully, that warmth doesn’t equal soggy hands after a long ascent as they breathe really well too.In fact, I’d say they breathe much better than expected for this type of glove. However, on the not-so-good side, the tactility really suffers. It’s a trade-off… warm hands or tactility? At the end of the day, you’ve got to decide if precise shifting wins out over warm hands.

For me, I’ve been OK with toasty digits but on occasion I did get frustrated as I couldn’t shift as accurately as I wanted. Then I think to myself, “It’s 30 degrees and I’m just glad to be training outside still — even though I’m not knocking off PR’s.” In spite of the lack of dexterity, I’m just grateful that my fingers are warm and toasty and not frozen hot dogs. As I’ve been testing with the Ultegra shifters on the Specialized Tarmac Expert, I was able to get decent accuracy while in the hoods, but could never shift consistently while in the drops. Subsequently, I’ve spent some time with the new SRAM Force 22 grouppo and shifting is much easier with DoubleTap using these gloves.

The Good

  • Toasty warm down in the low-30’s
  • Pittards palms have excellent bar feel and grip
  • Breathe really well for all that warmth
  • Inner cuff pull makes for easy-on
  • Anatomic design makes for instant comfort
  • Works great with SRAM Force and Red shifters

The Bad

  • Can’t reliably shift with Shimano Ultegra shifters
  • Could use some palm padding

The Bottom Line

When warm digits are top priority, the PRO Softshell gloves are fantastic down into the lower 30’s and beyond. Tactility suffers a bit, but overall comfort is top-notch. I recommend using these with SRAM drivetrains as Shimano shifters are tough to accurately tap.

Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com

About Author

A Seattle native, Jason developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 --sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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