For many of us, staying off the bike is simply not an option, regardless of the conditions mother nature throws our way. Weather be damned, we're getting our miles in. Luckily, we live in a time where there's no shortage of apparel and accessories to help keep us warm when facing the elements.
Abundant as the options may be, that doesn't mean we don't appreciate an improvement when it comes along. While essential, winter gear is not with out its drawbacks. Bulk, heft, and a major absence of dexterity have long been the necessary evils of staying warm. So when we received a box of updated foot covers and winter gloves from Q36.5, you can bet we're excited to see what the Italian textile geniuses had come up with and couldn't wait to test them out in the cold.
New to the range are three redesigned shoe covers, the Hybrid, the new Termico, and the Super Termico. In addition to the shoe covers are redesigned take on their winter glove, the Termico X.
The Hybrid Overshoe
Looking at the Hybrid shoe cover, it's much more akin to an aero oversock than a traditional shoe cover, but built from an array of high tech fabrics. The upper material is a thin, fleece lined two way stretch fabric, with a large stealth reflective panel on the outside. It's got a tight fit over the shoe and a laser cut hem at the top for a seamless, aerodynamic transition to your leg. The bottom panel, like all of the new models, is ultra tough Dyneema, a really nice touch as this is the failure point to most shoe covers. Name one cyclist who doesn't have a pair of shoe covers with ratty, torn up undersides.
With its zipperless, form fitting design, putting them on does throw a bit of a monkey wrench in your kitting up order of operations. You slide them on before your shoes, let your foot pop out of the bottom, and then pull the cover back down over your shoe. It does take a bit more time to get them on and off, but we worth it to get this level of protection at such a low weight and streamlined, aero silhouette.
The New Termico Overshoe
The Termico overshoe has been a mainstay in the Q line for quite some time. It's seen some minor updates over the years but has been more or less unchanged until now. Visually, the New Termico overshoe shares a similar design, to the Hybrid, but with heavier insulation, stronger outer shell, and the addition of a zipper for added convenience. Q included the zipper on the Termico to keep an offering in the range for racers who need a piece that can be easily removed mid race and handed off to the team car as needed. An excellent feature for those big days durring shoulder season months, whether you're a racer or not.
While the Hybrid is rated at having wind block properties, the Termico is beefed up with a triple layer weatherproof shell and a more substantial insulation.
The Super Termico Overshoe
For the coldest of days, there is now the Super Termico. At first glance, they're nearly identical to the Hybrid covers, sharing the same zipperless pattern and Dyneema bottom. Despite their similar looks, the Super Termico uses Q36.5's strongest, most weather proof textiles, double layering their warmest textiles for maximum warmth. They've got a tall collar, providing maximum coverage. They've also got a moderate level of compression helping with blood flow and muscle support, which is extra important as the temperatures get low. While having a zipper would be nice, leaving it out ensures better insulation and compression. If your toes are sensitive to the cold, then these are definitely for you.
The Termico X Gloves
Finally, the Termico X gloves. I was really excited for these as I've been using the original Termico gloves for years, but always found them to be a bit too bulky. I loved how warm they kept my fingers, but would often choose to suffer more with a lighter weight glove than deal with the hand feel on the bars and levers.
Much to my delight, the redesign resolved all of my prior issues. The newer materials are considerably lower profile. These things are warm. The cuff has ample length, nicely overlapping jersey sleeves, and also adopts the same laser cut hem of the overshoes to keep the bulk down. The palms have a small amount of padding, something I personally could do without but I know many appreciate. Riding them, you can hardly tell the difference between them and the lighter weight Hybrid gloves, that is aside from their significant boost in warmth.
At last, we no longer need to compromise comfort and dexterity in the quest to keep your toes and fingers warm. Q36.5's new winter accessories aren't just svelte, they really work against the elements too.