With over two-dozen gloves in its current catalogue , Pearl Izumi has something for every rider and any occasion. A large proportion of those gloves populate Pearl Izumi’s performance-oriented P.R.O. collection, yet there are only two versions of a fingerless glove: the P.R.O. Aero glove and the P.R.O. Gel Vent.
The difference in the intent for these two gloves should be clear from the name for each. The Aero glove combines synthetic leather for the palm with a “wind-cheating textured fabric” on back of the hand for a “second-skin fit”. The Gel Vent adds ventilated gel pads to the synthetic leather palm and a mesh panel to the back of the hand to provide extra comfort for long rides in warm-hot conditions.
Both gloves are available in five sizes for men (S-XXL) and two colours (black, white).
I think it’s best to say that these two gloves from Pearl Izumi occupy opposite ends of a spectrum. At one end, there is the P.R.O Aero, a supple glove that eschews padding and any kind of closure to hug the hands; and at the other, there is the P.R.O. Gel Vent, which has lots of gel padding, a stiffer feel, and a Velcro closure at the back of the hand.
Pearl Izumi’s P.R.O. Gel Vent glove is shown on the left and the P.R.O. Aero glove is on the right.
As a consequence, there’s no mistaking one for the other even though the overall fit is quite similar for both gloves. The differences are most obvious when pulling the gloves on: the Aero glove slides into place with a light touch while the Gel Vent glove embraces and supports the hand like a harness.
Pearl Izumi’s experience with glove design is easy to see. Both gloves were easy to pull on, and with a couple of hidden loops at the base of the middle fingers, almost as easy to remove. There was no bunching of material in the palms and the simple sweat mop on the thumb of each glove was soft on the skin and quite absorbent too.
The Aero glove was very easy to wear for long periods but by the end of a 4-5 hour ride, my palms started to sting a little from the absence of padding. The Gel Vent glove was a better choice for rough terrain including unpaved roads, but I was always more aware of the glove. Interestingly, while the Gel Vent is recommended for higher temperatures, I didn’t find it was any more comfortable than the Aero glove when it was hot.
Both gloves have hidden loops at the base of the middle fingers to help with removal.
Having used previous iterations of the Gel Vent glove, I know the netting over the gel padding will eventually wear away but otherwise the glove should be very hard wearing. The Aero glove looks robust too, but I expect it will stretch over time like an old pair of shorts as the elasticity of the fabric is inevitably exhausted.
Of the two gloves, I found myself favouring the P.R.O. Aero glove for its light, supple feel on the hand. Unfortunately, the reflective stripes printed on the back of the glove started cracking after just a couple weeks of use (and washing). While this is not unusual for reflective material, once it starts peeling away, it will detract from the appearance of the gloves well before they are ready to be retired.
Top panels, P.R.O. Gel Vent gloves; bottom panels, P.R.O. Aero gloves.
Price: P.R.O. Aero glove, AUD$60/$US35; P.R.O. Gel Vent glove, AUD$80/US$45.