The MAAP Apex Deep Winter gloves combine luxury materials, low bulk, and as much warmth as you can expect from a five-finger design. There’s also a heavy emphasis on sustainability. Don't expect anything special in the wet, though.
- - Low bulk
- - Bluesign Approved
- - Uses C6 DWR technology
- - Touchscreen-friendly fingertips
- - Comfortable
- - Lining pulls out when removing your hand
When it comes to keeping your hands warm while riding there's a lot of options in the best winter cycling gloves segment. If you plan to ride during the deepest, coldest, parts of winter you're going to need a more expensive glove which is often more specialised than the traditional five-finger design, but MAAP appears to have kept things more conventional, and that's a good thing. MAAP is a brand that sits at the intersection of fashion and on-the-bike performance so it's no surprise that its solution feels - and looks - like a luxury product.
Can you have a glove that's luxurious to the touch, fashionable to look at, and also keeps you warm in sub-zero temperatures? We put the MAAP Apex deep winter gloves to the test. If they've piqued your interest, keep reading to see how they perform.
Design and aesthetics
Can a deep winter glove be stylish? Spend some time surveying the market and you might think the answer is no. There's a long list of drab, black, technical gloves out there. As long as they work, and many of them do, then there's nothing wrong with that. However, the MAAP Apex Deep Winter gloves stand out with their sleek profile, luxury materials, and colour if you want it.
One of the first things you might notice about the Apex gloves is the palm. The material feels like the finest suede you've ever touched but it's both touchscreen-friendly and entirely vegan. Starting with a polyester base from Matmarket, the fabric is then run through a series of rollers. Initially it's hit with sandpaper then from there a process of removal for excess fibres and smoothing.
Dive into the material from Matmarket and you'll find a repeating theme. Seemingly every brand that's contributing to the Apex glove puts sustainability at the forefront. Matmarket talks about this in terms of its entire production chain but specifically the AX Suede product comes from recycled materials. This is just once piece of the supply chain but it is making an effort.
The AX suede covers the entire palm all the way back to the wrist. It also curves over the back of the thumb and makes up the face wipe area. The fingertips are all touchscreen-friendly but there's no specific spot. Feel free to pinch and zoom with whatever fingers you want.
At the base of the fingers and behind the knuckles, you'll find a section of silicone grip material printed on top of the AX suede. It's different than what you find on the gloves like the Sportful Sottozero winter gloves though. The use of silicone in the Sportful mitts is typical for cycling gloves but MAAP is using a different process. The end result isn't different functionally but it has a premium look that others don't really match.
There's not much padding in the palm but there is one spot. On the outer edge of each palm is a spot of low-profile foam to protect the ulnar nerve area. It's worth mentioning because it comes from a company called Ariaprene who once again puts sustainability at the forefront. The foams it offers are toxic-free and use solvent-free lamination.
Stay on the underside of the hand, but moving back to the wrist, and you can see one of the design features that contributes to the deep winter label. Like other deep winter gloves, these are effectively a double layer design. You can see at the wrist where it takes the form of a stretchy, knit inner that hugs the wrist. There's a pull tab built into the knit material and it all heads towards the interior of the glove and under the outer fabric.
The outer fabric, which covers both sides of the wrist and the back of the hand, is a softshell design. If you've chosen the blue colour this is your coloured piece of the glove, but either way it's a DWR-coated softshell. Soft to the touch, it relies on a coating of short-chain PFC for water resistance. At the wrist it's secured with a hook and loop closure. The hook side is the outer piece and it's attached to a strip of AX Grain synthetic leather.
Underneath that top layer is a Sympatex membrane. The design is like other membranes with ultra-fine holes that allow water vapour to move through but keep liquid water at bay. What's different is that it's PTFE-free and PFC-free. It's also 100 per cent recyclable. If you were able to see inside the glove, what you would find is a thin, white layer that sits below the outer shell and floats free throughout most of the glove. It feels like a plastic grocery bag and meets standards for a waterproof and windproof label.
Inside the membrane you'll find two different Primaloft Gold insulation materials. Functionally they are the same but the material in the palm better handles the compression that happens against the bars. The final layer that sits against the skin is a soft fleece not unlike most gloves on the market.
Anyone who rides in the winter will know that weather can be a funny thing. The first time I took these out I expected a somewhat warm day that would struggle to really test the MAAP claims. Instead, I ended up riding for about seven hours with the temperature only coming above freezing for the last hour or so.
Five-finger gloves are not appropriate for temperatures around 30F/-1C. Instead, I'd normally suggest moving to something like the Gore Infinium Thermo Split gloves. On the ride, I wasn't expecting it to be that cold and I left the house with the MAAP Apex Deep Winter gloves. As I made my way through the frozen landscape of early January a funny thing happened - I never thought about my hands.
That might not sound like high praise but it actually might be the highest praise I could give. Five finger gloves will always struggle when it gets really cold. Any design that can handle those temperatures while retaining a five-finger design is impressive. The MAAP gloves also did pretty well when the temperature came up to around 45F/7C and I ended up leaving them on for the day. Again, that's an impressive performance.
It's worth noting that on that particular day the weather was cold but dry. Since then, I've had the chance to test these in some wet weather as well and the results were more run of the mill. Just like I noted in my review of the C5 Gore-Tex Thermo winter cycling gloves, these are technically waterproof but don't expect to ride for seven hours in sustained rain with one pair of gloves. I actually appreciate that Sympatex is clearer with exactly what tests are passed to gain its waterproof label. It doesn't matter much though, you will want to change gloves after a couple of hours of riding in the rain if it's hard and sustained.
There's a subset of winter gloves that covers most of the coldest temperatures that cyclists are likely to encounter. Then there's another level of gloves that covers even colder conditions. The MAAP Apex Deep Winter gloves fall into that second category but they do it in a way that might be advantageous to some. For one thing it’s a design that puts fashion and sustainability right out in front. When it comes to the performance though, what they bring to the table is one of the warmest five-finger designs out there as well as low bulk. If you want to keep the dexterity of individual fingers, these gloves make sense.
Be aware though, that part of what makes everything work is the double-layer design. The inner floats inside the softshell outer and that makes it more difficult to get your hands out. It's particularly bad when your hands are wet. It's likely worth the hassle but it does put more strain on the construction.
Tech Specs: MAAP Apex Deep Winter Gloves
- Price: £140 / $155 / €165 / $245 AUD
- Available Colours: Navy, Black
- Available Sizes: XS-XL
- Weight: 84g per glove, size medium
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Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutia of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.
Weight: 137 lb.
Rides: Orbea Orca Aero, Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Trek Checkpoint, Priority Continuum Onyx
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