The Sealskinz heated gloves are well made and very warm without relying on body heat. They do exactly what they say they will and are an excellent choice for mid-ride warm ups or short low intensity rides
Heating elements go to the end of the fingertips
Goatskin palm is luxurious
Long battery life
Not much bulk in the hand of the gloves
Pressure relief dots actually create pressure points
Bulky cuff design
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There's nothing more miserable than cold fingers on a ride. Anyone who's ever experienced it would happily do just about anything to avoid the experience. That's why the Sealskinz heated gloves are an attractive product. They are the only cycling-specific heated gloves on the market but, as always, the question is do they work?
We've put together a list of the best winter cycling gloves but so far, these Sealskinz gloves haven't made an appearance there. We wondered if they were too extreme, and too complicated for most people and wanted to see what they were like to use.
Now that we've spent some time understanding what these heated gloves are like to ride with, we are ready to share all the details. If you've had enough of cold fingers on rides, keep reading to see our thoughts on the Sealskinz heated cycling gloves.
Design and aesthetics
These are not stylish cycling gloves. There's no way to sugarcoat that detail but also, it's not really the point. If you are ready to dive into a heated glove you are likely beyond the point of a fashion accessory and that's where these Sealskinz gloves sit. They are a tool for keeping your hands warm on the coldest rides and they look functional in a drab grey and black.
At the back of the hand is the control button. It sits towards the thumb and has a soft rubberised feel to it. The control scheme is only as complicated as pressing the button to cycle through the three levels of heat, or switch it off completely.
Surrounding the control button and covering the entirety of the back of the hand is an unnamed membrane outer. There's nothing remarkable about this design. The material lets water vapour out and keeps water droplets from coming in. The back of the thumb also follows a familiar design style and uses a fabric suitable for wiping your face when needed. Keep in mind though that you aren't able to wash these gloves so maybe consider not wiping your nose with them.
Flip the gloves to the palm side and you'll find a luxurious expanse of goat skin leather. The feel of this is seriously impressive and it curves up from the palm so that the polyester membrane is only the top surface. At the base of each finger, and the base of the palm, there are a series of seven pads designed to relieve pressure.
Move back to the cuff and this is where the design gets bulky. The part of the glove covering the hand uses Primaloft gold insulation and is actually very low bulk. This is especially true when you consider how warm it is. In contrast, the cuff is much longer than normal with a hook and loop closure system. On the underside is the pocket where the battery sits. This section has a neoprene outer and a waterproof zipper.
The battery that goes inside this pocket is a 7.4V, 2,200 mAh, off the shelf unit. The model name is SWB01 and a Google search will bring up a variety of sources for them for use in a variety of products. The connection to the gloves uses a DC power plug in a barrel style. Lots of laptops use a variation on this although this one is smaller. Zip the battery into the pocket and it will take up most of the space across your wrist.
When you pull the Sealskinz gloves on without the battery you can tell right away that these are its warmest five-finger option. The interior is soft and fleecy and the goatskin really does stand out.
Put the battery into the pocket on the cuff and the feeling of the gloves really changes. What seemed like a rather sleek glove for the warmth suddenly feels bulky and unwieldy. The battery is heavy and doesn't bend so there's mass right at your wrist that doesn't feel great. It's not a deal-breaker by any means but it's noticeable. Spend a little time getting the battery so it sits longways in the pocket and it's more comfortable.
Whatever feelings might exist about the bulk will, pardon the pun, melt away once you turn on the power. There are three power levels with run times ranging from two to five hours. At low you can barely feel the heat in the back of the hand. Medium and it's definitely noticeable and you can feel it into the fingers. Running them on high is the experience you imagine from heated gloves.
Put the Sealskinz gloves into the highest heat setting and your hands will be ready to handle whatever riding you want them to. The heat radiates down the fingers almost all the way to the tips. If it's not bitterly cold, you will have sweaty hands in not much time.
When I took these out to test, I initially thought I'd run them on low for as long as they'd last. The first ride, that's what I did. The battery held out for the promised five hours but the heat was so low it was pretty much imperceptible compared to the warmth of the glove.
What I found was a more effective way to use these was to leave the heat off as long as your hands were warm from riding. When you descend, or stop, or do anything that lets your hands get cold, turn on the heat on the highest level and let the gloves do the work of getting you back to a comfortable temperature. If you are commuting a short way, these would be an ideal way to keep your hands warm while riding at low intensity for short distances.
The other interesting experience is in the wet. The directions caution that you can't submerge or wash these gloves, however given long enough in the rain they will get wet. If it's a little too warm and dry they will get wet from the inside also. What was interesting was that because they generate heat, even when they are sopping wet, they aren't cold.
The notion of heated gloves is a lot like putting your hands near a heater. And you get that feeling from the Sealskinz gloves - but only on the highest heat setting. That means your realistic run time is around two hours. On longer rides, your best bet is going to be using the high setting to quickly heat cold fingers only when needed. It also works really well to leave on for shorter, lower intensity riding.
Downsides are that you can't wash these gloves and the battery is bulky. I also found the pressure relief pads actually added pressure points on long rides. Those are packaging details though. If cold fingers are your concern, the Sealskinz heated gloves will absolutely work as promised to heat your hands and fingers.
Tech Specs: SealSkinz Waterproof Heated Cycle Gloves
- Price: £150 / $160
- Run times: 5-5.5 hours for level one, 3-3.5 hours for level two, 2-2.5 hours for level three
- Battery capacity: 2,200 mAh
- Available Sizes: S-XL
- Weight: With batteries in size medium - 372g
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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 minutiae 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: 140 lb.
Rides: Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx
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