Get a Grip with Oakley’s Pipe Glove

Oakley Pipe Glove

Over the weekend I dropped into the Oakley store at Santana Row to pick up replacement nose pads for my Radars and came away with a promising pair of gloves.

There's no chance I'm going to drop into a half pipe with the Oakley "Pipe Gloves" in fact there's more chance of me riding a recumbent than snowboarding. And let me just go on record to add there's more chance of me winning Paris-Roubaix than riding a recumbent.

Instead, I thought these snug-fitting medium-weight gloves were perfect for the cool mornings we're enjoying at the moment. I assumed they'd be water repellent but was surprised to learn they have a 5000 mm waterproof rating (that's the equivalent of 16 feet of water in 24 hours). Rain is expected for next week so we'll see how they fair in the slop.

Oakley describes them as a mix of synthetic leather and nylon. The label lists 45% synthetic leather, 20% neoprene, 15% polyamide, 10% polyester, 5% polyurethane, 5% PVC Rubber. The back of the thumb is intended as a goggle wipe (extremely smooth and soft)... I fancy this material will be just as effective as a google wipe if you get my meaning.

The pre curved fingers and brushed liner make for a comfortable fit. There's 3M Thinsulate insulation for warmth on the back of the fingers and the palms are covered with a screened pattern of PVC rubber that gives them a superb grip on the bars.

Two more design details work well. There's a nice gusset at the wrist and an extended pull tab with a snap fastener that doubles as an effective way to tug on the gloves and keep the gloves together when not in use.

Available in four colors

For cycling, the Oakley Pipe Glove's only shortcoming is the complete lack of padding in the palm. That might limit their use for long rides but for anything less than 2 hours I don't see a problem. Oh, and considering that they cost $30 and come in four colorways: blazing yellow; black; nickel and new olive; this is an outstanding value in a surprisingly technical glove. I'll have more to report as I put a few more miles on them.

5 Responses to Get a Grip with Oakley’s Pipe Glove

  1. BR says:

    I bought you a recumbent for Christmas….now I have to exchange it for a unicycle with a 29″ wheel.

  2. chris says:

    I am an avid freestyle skier as well as competitive cyclist. I have used those gloves for springtime skiing and I can tell you, while they are somewhat water resistant, I would not want to ride in the rain with them for more than an hour. This is not just because they get wet easily, it is because they lose almost all of their thermal function when wet (from the inside or out). I have found that the best combo for wet weather riding is merino wool gloves (from New Zealand of course!) underneath a gore-tex shell glove. The gore-tex keeps the wool from getting too wet and dirty, and the wool maintains its thermal properties even if it gets soaking!

    hope this helps

  3. D Powell says:

    Couple random thoughts… The “lack of padding” shouldn’t be a big deal if you have good positioning on the bike, which you do. One should never have too much weight on the arms and hands. Most of your body weight should be supported by your arse. If you were to take your hands off the bars while riding, you should still be able to maintain position without too much added effort on the part of your stomach muscles. The padding provided by your bar tape should be plenty to keep your hands happy.
    Most pro racers don’t even use gloves for “padding” purposes, but rather as protection against crashing. The hand is the most likely part of the body to contact the ground during a crash. Even a small meeting btw palm and pave can cause large discomfort – the palm is wicked sensitive. This was especially true back in the day before asphalt…

  4. John Santry says:

    Off Subject – I read through your 30 days of Rapha and really enjoyed the writing and photos. I have been contemplating the Rapha gear for the past 6 months after deciding I did not like all the kits that scream look at me (even though I have a few), I’m a rolling billboard. There is something to be said about a little subtlety in life, as well as wardrobe.
    I have chosen to keep from pulling the trigger on purchases because I am confused about sizing and concerned about returning items via overseas shipping. After all your experience with a multitude of pieces, could you expound on some advice for sizing? I am 5’5″, 146-152 lbs, 31-32″ waist (both depending on training volume), 39-40″ chest. I was thinking that small bibs and medium jerseys and jackets will work, but maybe I should go medium bibs and large jerseys. What is your suggestion?

  5. Hi John,

    It sounds like you’ve got the right idea for sizing but don’t worry if you end up having to exchange a piece or two. You can do that via Rapha’s US office in Portland. Quite painless.

    The Rapha Continental site has sizing profiles of all the riders and what they wear. Sounds like you’d be close to Ira Ryan on the West Coast Team in weight and waist, he’s a couple of inches taller but I don’t think that should matter much. Take a few minutes to look at the East Coast riders too…

    If you’re still not sure drop Slate Olson, US GM, an email. Slate is very close to your build and could be helpful.