Which would you prefer: hot, sweaty hands or chilly ones?
The answer, clearly, is neither. But the temperature fluctuations associated with winter and its shoulder seasons can make picking the perfect gloves for a day on the bike feel impossible.
Enter Craft’s Hybrid Weather glove, which doesn’t make you decide between heavy and sweaty or thin and cold. By combining a medium-weight glove with a wind- and waterproof mitten shell, the Hybrid Weathers allow you to change the comfortable temperature range of the gloves on the fly.
The design is simple: a stretchy, warm polyester base glove keeps your digits comfortable down into the mid 40s Fahrenheit, and if temperature suddenly drops, or you begin a long descent, a wind- and water-resistant shell can be pulled out and over your fingers, adding about 10 degrees of temperature range.
Think of the mitten shell as a thin, windproof emergency jacket — the sort you’d throw in a back pocket to ward off unforeseen weather, but for your hands. It is really an emergency option, as it makes braking and shifting a bit more difficult. But the cover packs up so tiny, sliding into a thin slot on the back of your hand, that there’s little reason not to bring along the extra security on any day when the weather looks like it may deteriorate, or if some long descents are in the plans.
The glove material breathes well, preventing sweaty hands while climbing, and features a brushed interior that provides a level of warmth uncommon for a glove this thin. I found the gloves to be comfortable from about 55˚ F to 42˚ F. Add the shell and the gloves are comfortable down into the low 30s on flat roads, high 30s on a fast descent.
Silicon grippers on the palm do a good job improving grip on the bars, though the glove material is slippery enough that I wish Craft would add a few more. The Hybrid Weather gloves are not ideal for wet climates, either: the glove material, without the shell, is absolutely useless at keeping out water, and even with the shell stretched over the fingers, your wrists will get soaked in wet weather.
The metallic, touchscreen-compatible index-finger and thumb tips are fantastic — no more pulling gloves off in the cold to access your phone. And a nice, long cuff slides over arm warmers or a long sleeve jersey nicely, keeping wrist drafts at bay.
It’s tough to argue with the price, too: $35 for a glove that pulls double duty like this is fantastic value.
Who are they for? Anyone who lives in the mountains, first and foremost. They are fantastic for the climb-descend-climb routine we get into here in Colorado. But anyone who has found themselves with cold hands half way through a ride, or who frequently rides as the sun sets and temperatures drop, is a perfect candidate for the Hybrid Weather gloves. Just don’t take them out in the rain.