Kalf Zero Waterproof Gloves
The Kalf Zero gloves give you great visibility and weather protection, with large reflective areas and good waterproofing, but the palms are a bit stiff and not ideally suited to gripping handlebars.
The most prominent feature of the Kalf Zero gloves is the hi-vis strip across the back of the knuckles. It’s well sited for visibility when holding the bars or when signalling, and the effect is heightened by the bright orange waterproof fabric around it.
The Kalf logo on the wide Velcro closure is also reflective, while the wrist cuff, although not over-long, is adequate to overlap with a jacket and keep out draughts.
The fabric is waterproof enough to fend off rain and you get a wide, soft strip on the outer face of the thumb to wipe glasses or your nose. In all, the backs of the Kalf Zero gloves tick the boxes for good wet and cold weather service.
I was less enamoured of the inner face of the Kalf Zeros, however. It’s made of a rather rigid, plasticky-feeling material, which reminded me of a stiff tarpaulin. There’s an extensive array of silicone chevrons printed over it, which give you plenty of wet and dry grip.
Unfortunately, the palms don’t bend well and are not cut with any in-built curvature to reflect a normal hand position when riding. Gripping the bars, I found there were awkward folds under my palms.
There are foam pads under the knuckles and in the heel of the palm, but these don’t do much to augment comfort either. The lining, although soft, isn’t closely attached to the outer, and this has a tendency to ruck up under the palms.
On the plus side, the gloves are well insulated, and the padding doesn’t interfere with the use of the controls – I found that I could use Shimano STI shifters just fine. (With their closely positioned up and down shift levers, they tend to be the shifters most prone to mis-shifts if you’re wearing bulky gloves.)
The Kalfs also get a touch-sensitive tip to the index finger, so you can work your phone or computer as you ride.
The good waterproofing comes at the expense of breathability in the Kalf Zero gloves. This winter hasn’t been too cold in the UK – so far – and in temperatures around 8°C I found my hands getting a bit sweaty.
The Kalf Zero gloves feel like they’re designed more for the commuter than the all-weather recreational rider. Their features will help on dark rides home from work, but are a bit compromised for longer excursions.