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Castelli Estremo gloves review

17 Jan 2019

Get the sizing right and the Estremos offer an incredible fit and warmth in the cold, but be warned they’re not waterproof

Cyclist Rating: 
• Superior warmth • Luxurious feel • Welcome incorporated ‘sweat’ wipe • Super grippy palms and fingers
• Incredibly expensive • Not waterproof • No reflective detailing • Sizing isn’t necessarily as it seems – so try before you buy

Castelli’s ‘warmest cold-weather glove yet’ lives up to the hype. Because these Estremo gloves are warm, warm. Yet there are things to be desired, in fact, one in particular.

Once I’ve lost my fingers to the cold I start to slowly lose my mind, or at least my enthusiasm for whatever it is I am doing that has led me out into the cold. Hence I place great stock in good gloves and derive huge levels of near-spiritual comfort from a snug pair.

I reckon I, therefore, have pretty high standards, and goodness knows I’ve tested as many pairs as I can get my hands into on my quest for the perfect partners.

Buy the Castelli Estremo gloves from Wiggle

From the moment I put the Estremos on, it was pretty much love at first sight. Or rather, feel. Because the fleece lining is devilishly soft, the synthetic stuffing superbly plush.

I had to try two pairs though, because while in any other world my hands are large, in Castelli they are XL – something that has cropped up across the board when it comes to the Italian manufacturer and its sizing. Which is odd, as I have seen Italians and they are not that small.

While the padding is generous, the gloves do not quite stray into gauntlet-sized territory as with some cold-weather types, nor did I feel that much less dextrous than in a thinner pair.

Feeling out shifter buttons – even electric ones – came easily, as did reaching into jersey pockets, provided said pockets weren’t excessively tight because the Estremos do significantly increase your overall handprint, as it were.

Yet, you could just about manage to pick up a dropped pound coin in these gloves, thanks to the highly tacky silicone print on palms and fingers.

This same print means bar and lever grip is excellent, even in the wet, and I could happily slide my bank card out of its wallety grip without taking a glove off, although these aren’t touchscreen compatible (but seldom have I found gloves that truly are, even if they claim to be).

The fit is further enhanced by generous cuffs, stretchy enough with a wide enough piece of Velcro to allow for tight closure directly on skin or similarly tight closure over a tucked in jacket cuff (I still can’t decide which way of wearing gloves works best, so all advice welcome).

The back of the gloves – ie the part that covers the back of your hand – is Gore-Tex Windstopper fabric, although curiously it doesn’t extend over the middle fingers, Castelli opting for a more breathable mesh instead. At any rate, the combination does work: the Estremos felt like wind-proof pockets for my hands as well as not making them sweat up a storm in the process.

Furthermore, the inside of the thumb and index finger is imbued with heavier weight material, which should bode well for these gloves lasting – many are the pair that has come unravelled in that crucial area where one grips lever hood and bar.

The final really lovely touch – for me at least – is the generous wrap-around chamois style material on the back of the thumb and top of wrist. I had a pretty rotten cold over Christmas, so having a nice snot rag on my gloves that was absorbent and didn’t have any abrasive seams was most agreeable.

On that last note, the Estremos seem to have held up well during several washes. Snotty, yes, but I’m not completely without personal hygiene standards.

So why not five stars then?

Simple. First, these are designed for cold weather, and cold weather is often concurrent with darkness, yet there are no reflective elements to the Estremos beyond the silvery weave on middle fingers panel. Reflective detailing on the backs of gloves is a sensible idea I think, specifically when signalling.

Then, second and third, these gloves are £80 yet are not in any way waterproof. Water resistant to a degree, but for prolonged showers, they wet out, and even though the materials such as the synthetic stuffing dry quickly, a wet glove is a cold glove (neoprene notwithstanding).

But all that said, the Estremos have become my go-to for any dry, cold ride that falls below the 9-degree mark, and they’re happy enough in the rain for around 30 minutes, meaning they top the pile for commuting at the moment.

Buy the Castelli Estremo gloves from Wiggle

But the best bit, though, is even on the crappiest days, just putting them on makes me feel that little bit more motivated to ride.


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