Let me state up front that I am a cold-weather wimp. While I may have spent my formidable years in New York City, where winters can get quite frosty, I’ve lived in SoCal’s sunny climate for the majority of my life now. Also, I suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon, which makes my fingers highly susceptible to cold. When our pretend-winters roll around, I have to break out cold-weather gloves, such as the iXS Vail 3.0 ST Women’s glove, so I don’t miss out on riding time.
Sliding into the iXS Vail 3.0 gloves—part of iXS’s Tour LT line— my hands are immediately happy. The fit is right—snug, but not so much that I can’t add a glove liner when necessary—and I can flex my fingers comfortably.
Using a combination of goatskin, fleece, and polyester, the Vail 3.0 is functionally designed for the task at hand. Importantly, it’s a gauntlet style, which immediately eliminates cold air rushing up my jacket sleeve.
The Vail 3.0 is mildly elasticized at the wrist, and the fit is further personalized via the adjustable Velcro strap on the underside of the wrist. The top of the gauntlet is adjustable with an elastic cord that allows you to snug the top up against your jacket sleeve. The strap has a plastic pull at the end that is easy to grasp with a gloved hand to tighten.
Not only does that keep your body heat in when riding in inclement conditions, but it will also prevent water from trickling down into your gloves.
Although iXS doesn’t tout the Vail 3.0 gloves as waterproof, they are. I submerged my gloved hand in cold water for two full minutes in the sink without feeling any moisture—though my fingers did cool down. If the gloves can handle at least two minutes of submersion, they’ll take anything a storm that you can ride in will dish out.
When you’re ready to remove the Vail, simply squeeze the spring-loaded cord lock to release.
The glove’s palm and underside of the fingers are durable goatskin leather, providing traction at the grips and levers. The back of the hand and fingers are predominantly textile, with a leather section over foam-padded knuckles, furnishing some impact protection.
Embossed neoprene along the sidewalls of the fingers supplies the necessary stretch for your digits to move comfortably. Goatskin is also used on the final top joints of all fingers except the index—it’s unclear what the function of this is—and this material transition is delineated by reflective piping.
The index finger has a reflective graphic running its length, and a larger reflective graphic lays across the top of the wrist and up the gauntlet. Not only do these elements add a bit of visual style to the all-black Vail 3.0 ST, but I appreciate the visual safety factor when riding after sundown or on a dark day.
The extra padding, covered by Amara (a microfiber suede) at the heel of your hand, offers some impact protection should you put your hand out to break your fall. A double layer of the synthetic leather also shows up between the thumb and index finger, guarding that soft web continually abused by friction with the grips.
The iXS Vail 3.0 gloves have a three-layer inner lining that blocks water and wind while still being breathable. That latter point is essential, as you don’t want your hands to sweat, especially when it’s cold. The layer against your skin is an inviting brushed fleece, and warmth comes from the thin insulating layer of synthetic fiber on the palm and back of the hand.
Two details I like: the 2.5-inch squeegee on the left index finger (yes, this comes in handy when riding in heavy mist and you need to clear your faceshield), and the handy snap tab at the top of the gauntlet for keeping the gloves paired when not in use.
Overall, the iXS Vail 3.0 ST women’s gloves do a lot to cut down on the chilly elements while still providing enough dexterity to operate the levers on your bike. For my sissy fingers, I needed to add glove lines when the temps dropped to the lower 50s, even when riding around town. I consider myself an outlier, though, as my fingers have been known to turn yellow in the ice cream aisle of the grocery store in the summer.
iXS Vail 3.0 ST Women’s Gloves Fast Facts
- Sizes: S-5XL
- Colors: Black
- Certification: CE Level 1
iXS Vail 3.0 ST Women’s Gloves Price: $69 MSRP