Santini Blast Neoprene Gloves
Review: Santini Blast Neoprene GlovesBy Scot Jarchow | Published Feb 19, 2017
Just before Halloween we received a pair of Blast Neoprene Gloves from Santini. The Blast Neoprene gloves are made of 2mm thick neoprene with thermo-welded waterproof seams and anti-sliding palms. These gloves are ideally used in temperatures between 18 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit or really rainy conditions. Strangely after receiving over 8 inches of rain in October, Portland is currently enjoying a warm and dry November. It has been so nice that I have ridden in short sleeve jerseys on most of my rides this month; which isn’t ideal for writing a review on rain/cold weather gloves.
Still, I took these gloves with me to the Halloween Cross Crusade weekend in sunny Bend, Oregon. The funny thing is, Bend wasn’t sunny or warm! No it was flipping cold (40 degrees), and wet (Bend received .33” of rain just before races started Saturday). I didn’t feel like using a trainer to warm up on Saturday, so I threw the Blast on, along with other warm clothes, and rode around the Deschutes Brewery to warm up. My hands stayed very toasty, and they were just starting to sweat when I switched out to my favorite race gloves. The race was a fun muddy mess! I was still in recovery from a cold, so I optioned to go out for a recovery ride on Sunday morning instead of racing. It was a drizzly 38 degrees, when I started working my way up Cascade Lake Highway, even though I was riding slowly uphill, I was generating some heat and the Blast definitely kept my fingers warm. After going out about 12.5 miles, I turned around and started rolling downhill, the 2mm thick neoprene did its job, it kept the serious road spray from penetrating the gloves, and it blocked the cold wind generated from a 39 degree temperature while rolling downhill at 25 to 39 mph speeds. Due to the retained the heat that was generated from the uphill leg of the ride, my hands were still toasty at the end of the ride, and I wish I could say the same about my feet… A couple miles into the return trip my Belgium socks were soaked from the road spray, and by the end my ride my feet were FROZEN!
Since that the Halloween Cross Crusade weekend, I have ridden in the light to moderate rain few times. The other day, I encountered light to moderate rain for nearly 2 hours. My hands were comfortably warm during the entire ride, the cold rain never worked its way through the neoprene! In addition I did some cross terrain intervals on some local mud farm lanes, and I have to say I really liked how the silicon grips kept my muddy fingers connected to the handlebars… Additionally the neoprene was great at absorbing some of the shock generated by the bumpy terrain.
We Didn't Like
I have to say I have never really considered using neoprene gloves for anything outside of rain gloves, but the Santini website list the Blast as a cold weather glove with a the temperature range of -8° Celsius to +5 ° Celsius or 18° F to 41°F for those of us in USA. I have ridden with Santini Blast few times in temperatures between 27°F and 34°F, and my experience so far has not sold me on the Blast being a cold weather glove. The first time I used these gloves in cold weather was during a recent snow storm, where temperatures started off around 30 degrees, with a winds around 10 mph and gusts reaching up to 25 mph. After about 20 minutes, the temperature dropped a few degrees as the dry snow dramatically increased as the ride went on. I started by placing the Santini Neoprene over a warm heater vent for 10 minutes before taking off on my ride. Once I started pedaling down the road, it only took a five minutes for fingers to start feeling cold, at 10 to 12 minutes, the ends of my fingers had become painfully cold and I was starting to lose some manual dexterity. At fifteen minutes I forced to stop at a traffic light, while I waited for the light to turn green, I started blowing hot air into my gloves, but unfortunately it did not improve the condition of my fingers and I decided to head home to grab another pair of gloves. At 25 minutes, my fingers were really painful, and were numb enough that manual dexterity had deteriorated to the point that braking and shifting gears was nearly impossible. Once I got home, I borrowed my daughter’s hair drier to bring blood flow to aching fingers, and warmed up my old favorite cold weather gloves. After warming up I headed back out for over another hour of riding in near whiteout conditions, all the while my hands remained warm.
My first outdoor ride of 2017 was the next cold weather ride that I grabbed the Santini Blast gloves. The conditions were a little nicer than the last time I used the Blast, this time it was balmy, sunny 33°F degrees with just an ever so slight breeze at times. With the sun out, I headed out on my road bike, so I was riding a little bit faster with the sun. Like my last cold ride I noticed that my fingers were starting to get cold after just 5 minutes of riding and by the 10 to 12 minute mark my fingertips were starting to get numb. At 20 minutes I noticed that my fingers were at their worst, and were painfully numb, especially my ring finger and middle finger on my left hand. At twenty-five minutes everything changed! I could feel a little sweat developing inside the gloves and within a few minutes everything except the two fingers on my left hand was feeling warmer. I have to say having those two fingers still painfully numb with sweat forming inside the gloves, has to be one of the strangest feeling I have experienced on the bike. Since I was recovering from a bout of bronchitis, I kept this ride to about one hour, and my hand were warm for the final 30 minutes. After a few cold rides the only way I could see riding with the Blasts in temperatures below freezing would be with glove liners for first 30 minutes, or maybe by starting the ride by warming up on the training for 10 minutes prior to venturing out, but otherwise keep for the rain… I wonder if the neoprene is thinner where the welds were, thus not offering the same protection.
The Final Say
Neoprene gloves have come a long way in the last 15 years! I remember purchasing a pair of Performance neoprene gloves at the beginning of the millennium that actually were quite useless as rain gloves. Performance had sown in a synthetic leather palm over the neoprene, so they soaked up water like a sponge! It literally took just a couple minutes for the gloves to start taking on water and in 30 minutes, your hands were freezing.
Overall I really like Santini Blast Neoprene Gloves. They are great at keeping my fingers and hand warm during chilly, rainy rides of up to two hours. The silicon dotted palms do a good job assisting in keeping hands firmly planted on the bars on bumping terrain. The Blast, fit is fantastic, with the neoprene fitting about an inch above the wrist, definitely helps to keep the wrist warm along with your hands. As much as I love the Santini Blast Neoprene Gloves as a rain gloves, I do not think I would use these gloves in freezing temperatures unless you use a liner for at least the first half hour.
Footnote: I will update my review when I take the Blast out for a long ride 3 to 4 hour ride in rain.