Besides the face, protection of the cyclist's hands for winter riding is the most challenging, and crucial zone. When you fingers get cold and/or wet, you can easily lose control of the bike, or have difficulty with shifting and braking. And yet the very nature of gloves, that must be flexible, allow for tactile interaction, and isolate each digit (which reduces the ability to share heat and circulation), make building an effective glove for winter cycling a tough task. Castelli has developed the Estremo Glove for temperatures that range from 23-40°F, and conditions that an Arctic fox could enjoy. The designers achieved an effective glove for such conditions through long experience and knowledge, but also due to the advances in fabric technologies that breathe, block wind and water, and aren't too bulky for such a flexible item. Not surprisingly, Castelli tapped into their relationship with Gore®, and found Windstopper® X-Fast to be best option.
Windstopper X-Fast is a softshell style material that uses layers (insulation, transfer membranes, outer layer) to create the proper balance for warmth, moisture transfer, and ultimate protection against the elements. Castelli took this 4-way stretch fabric and designed a glove that could meet it's coldest weather goals. The outer faces of the glove are X-Fast, except for the neoprene cuff. The inner, palm, face has a protective layer, with fleece insulation, which is soft and comfortable on the skin. The durable facing of the palm and fingers has silicone print pattern all over for excellent grip and control, wet or dry. You also get padding under the ulnar nerve zone. The thumb features the always welcome and practical micro-suede wiping zone.
The outside of the glove on the top of the hand has long panels and clean stitching, and integrates well with the tall, stretchy neoprene cuff. An under-wrist velcro section fastens the cuff, and won't irritate the wrist, while being easy to pull open when the ride is done. Functionally, the 4-way stretch of the Windstopper X-Fast is wholly effective. The fit and flexibility of the Estremo is as supple as any mid-weight glove, let alone one rated into the low 20's. Of course glove comfort and personal temperature tolerance will determine how you view the Estremo Glove, but we feel Castelli has developed one of the most functional and effective sub-freezing riding gloves we have tried, and if you have found any better, please let us, as it gets pretty darn cold in Colorado.