We were intrigued to try the weird but wonderful Sportful Lobster over-glove, as a weatherproof option on top of normal gloves for bikepacking trips and light all-round riding. Decathlon’s equivalent is even more interesting, as it’s a quarter of the price, similarly superlight, and allows better one-finger lever control.
But is it as good? It’s slightly simpler – with a more basic cuff and a less grippy palm. And it possibly doesn’t perform quite as well at the extremes – it has slightly more sections of untaped seams around the fingers, which could eventually allow water ingress, and it might not be quite as breathable. But neither of these was noticeable in our testing period, and let’s face it, it’s a quarter of the price.
Design and Specifications
The Decathlon Compact Waterproof Windproof Overgloves are made from a lightweight three-layer fabric with a waterproof and windproof breathable membrane – like a very lightweight raincoat.
They have a 1+1+2-finger design, which means that your two smallest fingers can share a little extra warmth, while your other two fingers are free to be used in whatever combination you want for lever control.
Their main feature, apart from being so light, is that they’re roomy enough to fit warm gloves underneath without constricting your fingers or compressing the insulation, which is crucial to keeping warm. I’m a medium in most gloves and chose M/L in these. There was plenty of room for a cosy layer of warm air and circulation-boosting finger wiggling with midweight winter gloves. Even bigger gloves fitted fine, though they’d have been likely to overheat easily, especially as they typically have their own membrane layers along with insulation.
Most of the seams are taped, apart from the inner edges of the fingers, where watertight thread is used because there isn’t space for taping. (The more expensive Sportful Lobster gloves also have untaped finger seams for this reason. You could consider using a liquid seam sealant if it was a problem.)
The Compact Overgloves have a simple elasticated cuff and generously sized pull loops, which was fine and very easy to get over a jacket sleeve. The palms, thumbs and two fingers have a moderately grippy pattern embossed onto them. In both cases, the Sportful alternative was more sophisticated (mid-cuff elastication plus end-cuff drawstring; and more substantial grip), but for the price it’s hard to complain.
Other nice features include two reflective fingers, and a built-in pouch for rolling the gloves into themselves.
The Compact Overgloves were a real pleasure to use. With all but the bulkiest winter gloves, I normally feel it’s just a matter of time before my hands get wet or cold or both. But these meant I could wear a pair of midweight gloves, operate the levers and feel the bars easily, and keep the rain and wind chill off. There’s a certain amount of baggy material around the fingers, especially if you deliberately choose a larger size, but it’s so thin it feels like you’re just wearing the undergloves, and I never found that it snagged.
They felt decently breathable. Most testing was sub-5C with midweight thermal gloves, and that felt leave-on comfortable. Over 10C, my thinner inner gloves were a little damp after an hour, but I could whip off the overgloves when the showers stopped, and let the inner gloves dry while I was wearing them. That flexibility is exactly what I’d hoped for – if I’d been riding with a pair of insulated waterproof winter gloves, they’d have taken much longer to dry out.
I couldn’t imagine using an overglove for day-in, day-out cold-weather wear, but for me it’s hit a real sweet spot in a few scenarios: rainy rides; cold-weather starts, where normal gloves will be fine later in the day; and bikepacking, where I want to keep weight and bulk to a minimum but not have to face hours of freezing, wet hands if the weather turns. Kudos to Decathlon for creating such a thoughtfully designed product at a good price. They even come with a two-year warranty.
Tech specs: Decathlon Compact Waterproof Windproof Overgloves
- Price: $24.99 / £17.99 / €20,00
- Sizes: XS/S, M/L, XL/2XL
- Color: Black
- Weight: 48g (pair, M/L)
- Materials: Polyester and polyamide fabric; polyurethane membrane
- Eco credentials: Decathlon's website shows a carbon-equivalent value for each of its products, which gives pause for thought. These gloves have a carbon footprint of 2.6kg CO2e, equivalent to about 13km in a petrol car.