Review: Castelli’s fantastic Chiro WS fall/winter gloves

Winter gloves, it seems, are really hard to get right.  Too little insulation results in frozen fingers won’t let you think of anything else.  Too much and brakes and shifters become vague and remote.  Bad cuts bunch up in the palm or jam the fingers.  Some companies inexplicably forgo durable palms or a snot wipe. Others use boil-in-bag fabrics that leave hands to stew in their own juices.

Somehow managing to avoid all of these pitfalls are Castelli’s Chiro WS gloves.  More than a year after my initial review, the fancy white gloves have become my favorite cool weather gloves, hands down.  Hit the jump to find out what Castelli have done right…

After sixteen months of use, including the better part of two winter seasons, the Castelli’s are showing little wear beyond some cracking of the knuckle logo.  The reflective hits are all still intact and the grippy dots on the palm are all present and grippy.  The red stitching on the palm is even looking good. Though they don’t get used on every ride, the Chiros have seen a lot of on- and off-road use and are some of the best made gloves (winter or summer) that I’ve used.

Despite a thin palm made only of a single layer of synthetic suede- reinforced with strategically located “No Slip” panels (not pads per se- just another layer of the same stuff printed with silicone dots), I find the Chrio WSs to be comfortable on the road bike from just above freezing to about 50 degrees.  On the mountain bike, they’re good for 5-10 degrees cooler.  The Castellis don’t suffer from callus-inducing excess palm fabric and the overall cut is great- pre-curved and flexible to enough to maintain excellent control.

Because the white GORE Windstopper X-Fast material shows stains so readily, I find myself washing the Chiros every couple of weeks during the winter.  While I might have thought this a hassle, I’m told that keeping waterproof/breathable membranes clear of pore-clogging crud, which keeps them working properly.  So far, that seems to be the case.  As every good mime knows, white gloves attract attention to the hands and their signals, making them useful for communicating my intentions (and opinions) in traffic.  The Chiro WS are also available in black.

As the best cut and built fall/winter/spring gloves I’ve tried, the Castelli Chrio WSs have easily earned their $60 asking price.  Given the amount of use they’ve seen, I’m amazed by how well they’ve held up.  Sizing is normal- though with winter gloves it’s always a good idea to go up a size if you’re on the cusp.  Quality materials expertly cut and stitched together well, all for a reasonable price, make for a glove that I’ve yet to see beat.

marc

www.castelli-cycling.com

Comments

slow joe crow - 01/27/12 - 1:13pm

With an unlined palm and softshell back, these seem like a fancier Pearl Izumi Cyclone. I’ve had a pair of the PI gloves for 4 years now and they work well in everything except rain and extreme cold, and are only $40 a pair list, and often on sale.

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