PHEW EARLY WINTER WINDSTER GLOVES
The Phew Early Winter Windster Gloves are designed to bridge the gap between mitts and thermal duvet types. I reckon they’ve got the mix of dexterity and comfort bang on.
Like most gloves, Phew's Early Winter Windster ones are a polyester/nylon mix (90/10). The outer fabric is wind-cheating and waterproof. Well, technically. Stitched rather than welded construction means they are water repellent in the heavy showers, rather than submersible sense. However, this avoids clamminess, especially when the mercury’s at the upper end of their operating range.
Rows of tiny perforations give a sneaky view of the wind stopping membrane, which I initially believed held some retro-reflective properties. Extensive terry toweling runs along the thumb, perfect for taming runny noses, while zoned in to conditions ahead.
The design's long, slender profile compensates for the relatively short Lycra cuff. Silicone Phew logos continue the stealthy and in my view, very stylish effect.
Flipping them over reveals the detailing we’ve come to expect from performance orientated gloves. That said, I was disappointed to discover the fingers are not touch-screen compatible and this might be a deal-breaker for other, tech loving riders, too.
Thin pile, silicone cubes, proliferate the thumb, fore fingers and unusually subtle gel blobs. The former are designed for uncompromised command of brake levers and brifter paddles, the latter defending the vulnerable ulnar nerve from tingling and other discomfort
This is where they really score, especially at this price point. Blessed with long, willowy fingers, large is my default but these literally felt tailor made. No excess here, or around the palms, which can otherwise catch brifter paddles, or leave bars and contact points feeling remote.
Fishing for door keys, tackling roadside mechanicals etc., hasn’t dictated their removal. I’ve had no difficulties operating compact and CSC system cameras either.
This precision rules out liner gloves, which may frustrate riders, with poorer circulation, or looking to extend their service through winter. However, these are designed to slip inside their lobster gloves when bitter cold strikes.
There’s no inner lining to pull out in a big glob either, come wash day, or at the end of a torrentially wet ride. Since we’re on the subject, instructions recommend hand washing but in my experience, they seem very tolerant of 30 degree machine washes with minimum detergent.
A chill start to September saw the mercury struggle into double figures on many rides and I’ve found the temperature regulation perfect between 5 and 13 degrees, especially when the wind has a harsh, blustery edge. Tenure across the full compliment of handlebar coverings, including leather, silicones/hybrids and corks - come rain, or shine.
Despite their low profile, the ulnar defending gel strips have been an absolute joy, no hint of numbness or tingling, even after fifty mixed terrain miles on my rough-stuff tourer. The snug fit accentuated these qualities. Hustling through long, winding descents in torrential rain, roads littered in wet, greasy dung, I never once had to death grip the bars.
The fabric wicks moisture pretty effectively, which also helps maintain an arid inner climate on persistently wet rides. I could feel the wind tugging at the membrane, yet nothing got through. When showers have passed, they’ll dry in around 25-30minutes, given a moderate breeze. To some extent it will depend on how the rain is falling but it took a good hour for water to eek through the stitching.
Full blown immersion, say retrieving an ejected bottle from a stream, or following a machine wash and they’ve been nigh on dry, within an hour. I’ve tended to pack some Gore-tex over-mitts, if I’ve planned on being out longer than a couple of hours with a dire weather forecast.
While commuting isn’t their primary purpose, the lack of reflective detailing was a missed opportunity. A moot point with hi-viz training jackets but there were occasions, predominantly along unlit roads when my signals felt uncomfortably stealth.
For the most part, Phew have nailed the design brief and produced a glove ideally suited to late autumn and early season riding. The fit has trumped all but two gloves in my collection, several times their asking price, and the overall comfort isn’t far behind either. Nonetheless, the lack of reflective detailing and tech compatible digits needs addressing.