Garneau Shield Gloves: Review
I have rather sizable paws—large palms and long skinny fingers make finding full finger gloves that fit properly a bit of a challenge. With my CX season in the books and a desire to stay off the trainer as much as possible I decided to spring for a new pair of cold weather gloves.
It’s hard to love winter gloves. They’re big, bulky, and usually ugly. Lobster gloves are usually better because your digits share warmth, but they can make riding a lot less enjoyable. It’s difficult to find comfortable hand positions, shifting is cumbersome and braking can be treacherous at best. Luckily, there are a lot of options on the market and a few that are actually quite decent.
The Garneau Shield+ Winter cycling gloves are different from most in that they have a modified lobster design. The three-finger glove maintains the grouping of the pinky and ring fingers for better warmth, while freeing the middle and index fingers. This was my first encounter with this orientation and compared to the traditional lobster design, I really like it. I like having the ability to shift while maintain a high degree of warmth. The dexterity of the Shields+ is average for a winter glove and the index finger is touch screen compatible, but good luck sending a coherent text (counterpoint: this doesn’t matter put away your phone and ride your bike). One area where the Shield+ Gloves excel is their low(er) profile. Compared to most winter gloves, they don’t look like cartoonishly large and transition well from glove to jacket sleeve, an impressive feat considering how warm they are. Their surprising warmth is thanks to a combination of Permaloft insulation and Supra WindDry soft shell outer panels. One of the most impressive aspects of the Shield+ Gloves is the ample amount of snot cloth (I believe thats the technical term) on the back of the glove. Often overlooked and under appreciated, this soft and absorbent feature is one of the best executed aspects of Garneau Gloves.
While the insulation, finger orientation and low profile of the Shield gloves are huge plusses, I struggle to love them. The inner liner is sewn awkwardly and they are difficult to put on due to the inner liner of the pinky and ring fingers having a tendency to bunch up inside the glove making the inner finger holes almost impossible to find. While riding, the inner lining of the glove moves freely of the outer shell which can make it feel like your hands are slipping while holding onto the bars. The BIG WILL (we’ll review them separately) don’t have this problem, but they can also be too warm (yes too warm) for some NYC winter rides.
Despite the less than favorable execution of the inner liner, I still like these gloves. They fit relatively well and they definitely keep my hands warm. I have gone on several rides where the temperature hovered between 30 and 35 degrees and my hands were warm enough to be sweaty. There is no denying that these gloves will do the job and do it well, even if design execution leaves a little to be desired.