An Extra Layer: Hestra Nimbus Split Mitts

When I was a kid, two of my cousins worked summers at Glacier National Park. I recall one worked in the laundry and the other worked at the post office. They told me that Glacier has two seasons: “Winter … and July.”

I would recall that many years later when I tried to describe the climate of the Beach Cities. I told a friend, “The Beach Cities have two seasons: Summer … and January, so for something slightly more than two dozen rides each year I would struggle with what to wear on my hands during early-morning rides.

The problem was simple: The rides started reasonably cool, like low-40s or sometimes even high 30s. But the moment the sun was over the mountains, the temperature rose a solid 15 degrees, often more. Any standard winter glove was appropriate for about a half hour, 45 minutes tops, but standard fingerless gloves left me struggling to brake. Even lightly insulated gloves felt like wet laundry by the time I pulled them off. My best solution turned out to be wearing glove liners beneath my fingerless gloves. It was not ideal.

I offer that prologue to frame my utter astonishment when I first learned of the Hestra Nimbus Split Mitts. Put them over whatever thin glove you have (or even something with a bit of insulation) and they extend a rider’s comfort downward another 10 degrees at minimum.

The mitts really can’t be any simpler than they are. They are cut from a stretch polyester (12 percent elastane) that is wind-proof and water-resistant. The lobster mitt design is smart in that it reduces bulk and promotes warmth, without 86-ing dexterity. They fit in a jersey pocket and still leave enough room for food or a phone.

While they come in only one color—Henry Ford black—they do come in six sizes, and Hestra has a detailed sizing guide on their web site. They go for $40 and I expect that unless I start using them while doing trail work, they will last years.

I’ll be honest; I wouldn’t want to wear these all day. At a certain point they would annoy, though maybe not until after the third hour, but that’s the thing. These are meant to be temporary; any time it will be cold all day, I would simply wear a heavier glove, right? But on a day where the temperature will rise 10 degrees or more over the first hour or two (or drop at the end of the day) these things are an unqualified success. In fact, they are a product of such startling genius, I struggle to figure why I’ve never seen anything like this before.

Final thought: Think of them as a windbreaker for your hands.

Join the conversation
  1. johnrom719 says

    After hearing your verbal review on the Paceline podcast, I ordered a set of these. I love them, too! It is winter here in Michigan, which to a Californian may sound like unmitigated pain, but actually has quite a bit of nuance. Just today I was hiking and tossed these few ounces in the pocket of my down puffy. When I got into the trees and the sun was blocked by cloud, my hands got cold. Out came the Hestras and once I slipped them over my insulated gloves, they warmed me back up. Fifteen minutes later I was hot, so peeled them off. Great product — thanks for the tip!

  2. papogi says

    I’ve wanted something like this, and have always wondered why it did not seem to already exist. So, these come with enough room that if you use their sizing process and arrive at a size, that will be big enough to fit over your fingerless gloves, and more importantly, over another pair of full finger gloves, like a knit glove or something like that? I don’t expect it to fit over a bulky winter glove. I wonder about getting the right size…

    1. Padraig says

      Yes, if you use their sizing guide, there will be room enough for full-finger gloves beneath them.

    2. papogi says

      Thanks so much! Looking forward to giving them a try.

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