Aldi's Waterproof Lobster Cycling Gloves are a claw type design promising to keep hands temperate and dry no matter what winter hurls at us. They're fine for shorter rides both in terms of comfort and weatherproofing, but ultimately I found them a little disappointing.
On the plus side, your £7.99 buys a simple polyester/elastane softshell glove with a thin pile 'Thinsulate' fleece liner. The outer black shell has a ribbed, wind-cheating texture with well-thought-out Scotchlite on the fingers, which accentuate hand signals.
Between thumb and forefinger we have a sensibly proportioned Terry 'nose wipe' and the long gauntlet style cuff with Velcro closure achieves a seamless interface between jerseys and jackets, forming a good seal.
Sizing is a little peculiar. Large is my default, so in some respects I wasn't surprised to find our XL samples a little roomier in the fingertips, but in other respects it was bang on.
Despite this, I was still able to deal with tyre removals and similar roadside tune-ups, locking in the street, or just grabbing a bottle without requiring removal.
With the mercury hovering between 10 and 3 degrees, my hands felt perfectly snug and temperate. Cold arctic winds nagging at the outer fibres never gave rise to chill, or sogginess at the other extreme. Persistent showery rain also had little effect, and formative impressions were generally favourable. I've ridden 40 minutes or so in some persistent rain and though the outer shell turned soggy, the inner remained dry to touch. The sensible cuff design hasn't permitted any to be blown inside either.
To give them the full test, though, plunging my right hand into some icy cold canal water confirmed that they're not waterproof in the submersible sense. Okay, that might be expecting a bit much, but I have worn gloves that have resisted my plunge test, and to describe these as waterproof is a little misleading. Water resistant, I'd say.
Padding and control
Grippy silicone stripes aside, the palms aren't padded but decorated with faux leather patches at key points, which has implications for comfort and control over longer distances.
Comfort and control were initially good when doing some shorter, spirited 10-mile blasts on my fixers. One has a glossy leather wrap, the other a sticky silicone. Past the hour mark, though, and with heavier rainfall, greater effort was required to retain a decent grip, which is tiring – especially when long, fast descending's involved.
The low-density padding also gave rise to tingling, numbness and similar discomfort much past the hour mark. Even so, my hands remained perfectly dry.
In my experience, the closer to mittens you get, the more cumbersome gear shifting becomes, especially with STI levers. While sizing might have a part to play, these followed that tradition. Shifting down the block required a more considered approach to avoid the glove's podgy second finger catching annoyingly between shifter paddle and brake lever.
Summing up, for the money, these do have something to offer cash conscious riders wanting a warm, cheap pair of gloves for shorter commutes. Upgrading the palms and charging a few quid more would vastly improve their appeal, though.
Promising cold weather gloves that are fine for shorter commutes, let down by a poor palm
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Aldi Waterproof Lobster Cycling Gloves
Size tested: XL
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Aldi says: "Breathable, waterproof and windproof membrane gloves with 3M Thinsulate™ protection."
I would describe them as adequate gloves for short, cold weather commutes.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polyester/elastane mix with 3m thinsulate lining
Insert on palm
At this price, expecting a garment to sing with quality is unrealistic. Lining isn't tethered to the fingers either, so comes out in a wet soggy clump following machine washes.
Not bad in terms of dexterity and warmth, but with their lack of padding and suitable palm I found them uncomfortable for longer rides.
XL proved just that bit too long in the fingers for me. I'd normally go for an L, but these did fit elsewhere so a little odd.
Just about reasonable for cold days and shorter rides but for me the palms need thicker padding – and better grip.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Fine at 30 degree cycles, though insulated fabric takes a while to dry, and because the liner isn't tethered at the fingers it tends to come out in a soggy clump.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
On the plus side, cold weather, short distance comfort is good. However, relatively thin padding density and poor palms spell discomfort for longer rides. Similarly, though water resistant in the showerproof sense, I wouldn't call them waterproof.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Warm and relatively good fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The palms, and I wouldn't describe them as waterproof.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not particularly.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they wanted a warm, cheap glove for short, cold weather commutes.
Use this box to explain your score
They're cheap, but for me the palms have insufficient padding and lack grip, plus they don't live up to the waterproof tag.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)