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  1. #1
    The Trollinator
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    Wool Liner Gloves - IBEX vs. SmartWool vs. IceBreaker

    Looking for some wool liner gloves, to be used with a lightly-insulated windproof shell (GORE Radiator). I’ll be riding all the way down into the negative wind-chill range of Michigan winters. Nothing hardcore, just commuting a few miles.

    Has anybody used these liners, and have experience to share about warmth or durability?
    Can anybody offer fit suggestions about each?

    Izumi size M gloves fit me perfectly, if that has any bearing on fit, and I plan on wearing them inside Gore XL gloves (Gore L fits as a single layer, the XL will give a bit of room for liners).

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by zriggle
    Looking for some wool liner gloves, to be used with a lightly-insulated windproof shell (GORE Radiator). Iíll be riding all the way down into the negative wind-chill range of Michigan winters. Nothing hardcore, just commuting a few miles.

    Has anybody used these liners, and have experience to share about warmth or durability?
    Can anybody offer fit suggestions about each?

    Izumi size M gloves fit me perfectly, if that has any bearing on fit, and I plan on wearing them inside Gore XL gloves (Gore L fits as a single layer, the XL will give a bit of room for liners).
    If one of them has a longer cuff, that's a plus. Your wrists have a lot of blood vessels and they're near the skin surface, so keeping that area warm will make a difference.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I've used wool liner gloves for winter hiking and they work well as far as providing the desired warmth goes but, i'm guessing here, I don't think they would be very good for road biking compared to the synthetic alternatives. I've tried them snowshoeing (when I need to grip poles and am prone to sweating) and they aren't the best choice there, for me anyway.
    While they are breathable, if you do sweat once they are wet they are wet for good.
    Plus they aren't so great for grip compared to a more form fitting material.

    Might be worth a try though. They'd probably be okay for commute type rides plus even if they don't work out for biking they are good to have for just being outside when it's cool but not so cold you need big gloves or mittens.

    I had smart wool and some other brand I forget the name of. The smart wool are probably the best I've seen for quality but the others fit my hand better.

  4. #4
    It's Good For You!
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    I work outside all winter long (avalanche forecaster) and over the years, I have tried many different types of liner gloves. Hands down, I have found wool to be more comfortable and warmer than anything synthetic. That said, if you wear them under another glove, you must make sure that the second glove does not fit too tight as the result will be cold hands, regardless of what the liner is made of.

    If buying American means something to you, then your options are Ibex and Smartwool. Icebreaker is from NZ. Personally, I have found Icebreaker uses better quality wool over Ibex and SW, with SW at the bottom. Ibex is a close second. I say this only because all of my SW product wear out much quicker (one season) than either Icebreaker or Ibex products. Some of the wool products I own are socks, gloves, long johns, zip turtle necks, a vest and a pair of riding knickers.

    Wool does come at a premium, but if you can afford it, I believe it IS the way to go...Last longer, feels better, insulates better, smells better. In the long run, because it lasts longer, I believe you will save money. I have.
    Ski Good or Eat Wood

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I've got Icebreaker glove liners and love them. Paired with a thinner outer glove, they are warmer and less bulky than the skiing type Craft gloves I also own. I have several Icebreaker shirts and baselayers as well. All top notch stuff.

  6. #6
    Resident Curmudgeon
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    I'll go along with snosaw on the wool. I own quite a lot of wool, not necessarily for cycling, but some of it is cycling specific. IME wool is hard to beat. That said, I have some synthetic liners that I used for the 1st time today. They worked well. Re: the they don't dry comment...I don't think you should expect anything to dry when in your gloves, wearing them or not. There's just not enough air circulating in there to dry them. Coupled with the semi impermeable wind resistant outer layer, they just aren't going to dry unless you remove them when you get to work, and hang them over something at work.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

  7. #7
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    I wear medium Pearl Izumi gloves, and I can fit the SmartWool medium wool liner under the fingerless PI gloves no problem. The fingers are a teeny bit short for me though, but I probably have long fingers compared to width of my palms and wrists. I've found that wool socks still seem to insulate okay when wet for me, though I haven't gotten the wool glove liners soaked through enough to test that out...

  8. #8
    eRacer
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    SmartWool Liners...
    John Lapoint / San Diego
    God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy!

  9. #9
    vexatious enigma
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    The stuff that I have from Ibex is really nice in my opinion. Ive only used their leg warmers but they are really nice. Good and warm and comfortable.
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeDaddio
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  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Versatile
    I'll go along with snosaw on the wool. I own quite a lot of wool, not necessarily for cycling, but some of it is cycling specific. IME wool is hard to beat. That said, I have some synthetic liners that I used for the 1st time today. They worked well. Re: the they don't dry comment...I don't think you should expect anything to dry when in your gloves, wearing them or not. There's just not enough air circulating in there to dry them. Coupled with the semi impermeable wind resistant outer layer, they just aren't going to dry unless you remove them when you get to work, and hang them over something at work.
    I'm no scientist so won't get into wicking and body heat evaporating water on materials with different absorbsion rates but what I know for sure is my synthetic liners stay a lot more dry than my wool ones when I sweat a lot snowshoeing.

  11. #11
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    I work at an outdoor store for some extra cash. We carry Ibex and Smartwool. The Ibex stuff is definitely a bit nicer than the Smartwool stuff in my experience. I love the Smartwool stuff for socks (their dress socks are awesome), but think I would opt for Ibex in the glove/hat/etc. department. I've seen the Icebreaker stuff up close and that is really nice as well, so agree with those who have made it another choice in the mix. Smartwool would be my second choice after a tie for Ibex and Icebreakers.

    And wool is probably your best choice over a synthetic for your use. I definitely think it insulates more efficiently ounce for ounce then synth, doesn't smell, just as easy to care for, etc. It also insulates when wet, just like synth, plus it is a natural fiber, so breathability should be enhanced, although wicking might not be as enhanced as synth.

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