The Best Winter Gloves for Cycling

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Cycling gloves are a valuable biking accessory in any weather, working to dull road vibration, protect the hands, and even act as a tissue for dripping noses. In cold weather, cycling gloves have the added job of keeping your fingers from freezing.

Best cycling gloves for winter riding

10 pairs of winter gloves put through their paces

A good pair of winter cycling gloves will make or break a ride when the temperatures really start to drop.

Winter gloves offer protection from the elements that regular summer mitts simply can’t match. Having cold, wet hands is uncomfortable. It can affect bike control too if you have slippery, numb hands it can be difficult to feel how much power you are braking with.

The gloves in this test can fight off wind, wet weather and low temperatures. We’re looking for features such as grippy, padded palms, snot wipes and good closures at the cuffs.

With different uses in mind, the materials on offer do varying jobs. There are a couple of neoprene gloves, designed for use in the rain. They will hold water, which will warm up and provide insulation. A few gloves here have synthetic insulation (such as Primaloft) sitting beneath a waterproof membrane. Windstopper material also features in some of the gloves that are better suited to dry, chilly days.

We’ve ridden with each of these products to assess out how they perform, so read on to find out which we think are the most capable across winter’s range of changeable conditions.

Features

A good cold-weather glove will provide your hands with the warmth to maintain finger dexterity without being bulky and cumbersome. For this reason, the material that a glove is constructed from is the most important thing to check for. Warm, waterproof materials seal out the cold and snow and last for many seasons. A glove with a high cuff will overlap with your jersey sleeve to keep warmth in. Look for a Velcro or a drawstring cuff closure to hold the glove in place while you move. Nonslip rubber grips on the palms increase control when braking, especially in damp conditions. Winter cycling gloves may be constructed in glove, mitten or lobster-style designs. While mitten structure is warmer, glove and lobster-styles will provide more control and dexterity.

What to Look for in a Winter Glove ?

Sweat wipe The manufacturers usually say this fleece or towelling panel is for sweat, but let’s be honest, in reality it’s not, it’s not. On a winter glove it’s mostly used for wiping your nose.
Lower Thick, multi-layered lowers can add warmth but compromise handlebar and lever feel, so buy according to the temperatures in which you’re likely to ride.
Padding As with summer mitts, padding helps absorb shocks and vibration from the road so your hands stay comfortable. You can often wear mitts underneath if needed.
Upper The uppers and the index finger are the most exposed sections of a glove and the most important areas for weatherproofing. Windproof and waterproof fabrics are valuable in bad weather, but there’s always a price to pay in decreased breathability. If you never ride in the rain, forget the waterproofing.
Wristband Elasticated or adjustable wristbands help keep cold air out. You can tuck sleeves into extended wristbands for extra draught exclusion. Try before you buy whenever possible.
Reflective Anything that helps get you seen at night has to be good news.
Seams Large ridges can occasionally ruin the comfort of an otherwise brilliant glove, so it’s best to try before you buy whenever possible.
Women’s gloves Are smaller than men’s in all respects – the fingers on men’s gloves tend to be too long for women, and they may not close tightly enough around your wrists, allowing the cold to get in. Women’s gloves’ smaller fit allows for more precise control of your finger movements, essential when changing gear or simply trying to get something out of your pocket.
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