By RYAN DIONNE
Want to turn heads while biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or running to the grocery store on a chilly day? Slip on a pair of Pearl Izumi Amfib Lobster gloves and you’ll be sure to get a few perplexed looks.
But who cares! You don’t put on lobster gloves to look cool — err. . . different. You put them on to stay warm.
When I slipped on my first pair of lobster gloves about 10 years ago (which was about the time they were first on the market), the split-finger design wasn’t as strange as I anticipated. My index and middle fingers went on one side. My ring and pinky fingers went on the other.
Inside the gloves are individual finger slots, while the split-finger design keeps hands toasty. It’s like a cross between versatile gloves and warm mittens.
Pearl Izumi Amfib Lobster gloves
The lobster — or, as some people call it, ‘ninja turtle’ — design makes it easy for you to grab your bike’s brake levers, and it provides some added dexterity that mittens don’t have.
As with most performance-minded clothing, you can wash the Amfib Lobster gloves ($65, www.pearlizumi.com) if they start looking and smelling like a decaying lobster — just use mild detergent and no fabric softener.
I’ve worn mine in mountain bike races while snow flies in Wisconsin, during snowshoe adventures in Utah, making snowmen in Minnesota, and walking around town in Colorado. Until my eight-year-old pair developed a hole in the palm, they never failed me.
The updated Amfib Lobster gloves’ palm is made of mostly leather to provide durability and grip. The back of the glove is primarily rip-stop nylon to help keep it lightweight, but polyester and polyurethane added to the nylon help the gloves to breathe well and dry quickly.
Another update: Pearl Izumi added reflective piping on the back to help keep you safe whether biking down a dark road or cross country skiing on a snowmobile trail at night.
But don’t bank on the gloves on days when the temperature doesn’t dip below freezing. If you’re planning an active pursuit in anything but cold weather, your hands will likely get hot.
I’ve found the gloves excel somewhere between 15 and 30 degrees.
—Contributor Ryan Dionne is based in Boulder, Colo. He writes a blog on the outdoors and gear at http://explore-it.blog.com