I’ve struggled for years to find great cold-weather gloves to counteract my Raynaud’s syndrome. Most of that time has been marked more by toleration than salvation. So this year I’ve embarked on a focused mission to find the best cold-weather gloves for Raynaud’s sufferers. The first of these explorations is this Glovely Sport Soft Shell Gloves review. In many instances the gloves are great, but they’re not the universal winners I’d hoped they’d be.
Glovely has been around for years, with the founders trying to find a balance between heat, fashion and touchscreen support. Their stated focus on beating the cold is what first drew me to their Sport Soft Shell and Cozy gloves (review coming soon). It’s important to remember, though, that people who suffer from Raynaud’s have a different cold tolerance than those who don’t. We just define “cold” differently.
First slipping the Glovely Sport Soft Shell gloves onto your hands is like wrapping your fingers is the softest velvet imaginable. The liner is like a luxurious blanket, and frankly, it’s a real treat. As you can tell from the photo above, the wrist area also cramps down snugly to keep the gloves on your hands in just about every condition. This has the added benefit of keeping cold breezes from sneaking down into the palm.
One of the more impressive aspects of the Glovely Sport Soft Shell Gloves is actually common with all Glovely gloves: touchscreen compatibility. This was the one redeeming quality in my earlier AGloves Sport touchscreen gloves review. These Glovelys put the Agloves to shame. When I began my Glovely Sport Soft Shell Gloves review period, it seemed like the full-palm touchscreen sensitivity was more of a gimmick than it was practical. After all, you really only use your fingers to swipe and tap, right? Wrong. After using a smartphone with the Glovely gloves, going back to any other glove I’ve reviewed so far is a disappointment and inconvenient. In complete and total honesty, there were times my LG smartphone responded better to my movements when I was wearing the gloves than when I wasn’t.
Having touchscreen functionality sounds like a luxury. Not when you have Raynaud’s. We need to keep our hands warm at all times, so slipping off a glove to make a call, send a text or fire-off an email means a few unfortunate minutes away from insulation. These soft shell gloves are great in that regard. However, they fall short where the insulation is concerned.
The soft shell exterior does a good job at mitigating wind and rain, but only for a while. Although the wind won’t get through the gloves’ exterior, eventually it cools the material itself. Likewise, the exterior isn’t 100% waterproof, so over time moisture can seep into the gloves. And moisture wicks away heat rather than preserves it. I won’t entirely fault Glovely for this; I’m not sure it’s even possible for 100% waterproof material to be conductive and work with a touchscreen. However, since the palm material is already different from the rest, it would’ve been nice to have real waterproofing at least on that back-of-hand surface and the wrist area.
Yet the biggest downer with these gloves is their insulation/warmth. I ventured into various weather conditions for this Glovely Sport Soft Shell Gloves review and found that they really only kept my hands warm when it was above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Any cooler than that, and my fingers began to get cold after about 15 to 20 minutes. In 30-degree weather, my fingers got cold in 7-10 minutes. If you’re out for a quick stroll in the city, that might still be OK. If you’re doing any sort of extended outdoor activity, it simply won’t do.
My initial tests of the company’s “Cozy” gloves have shown them to be a bit better, but I have a few more conditions to test before writing that review. In the meantime, if you’re considering the Glovely Sport Soft Shell Gloves and have Raynaud’s, think long and hard about how and when you’ll use them. I can’t really recommend them as an everyday, wear-often Winter glove. But if you’re looking for an affordable “pinch hit” glove to test out, the $35 price is pretty attractive.