With winter in full swing, cold hands can be one of the biggest concerns keeping you off the bike.
With that in mind, it’s worth finding yourself a proper pair of winter cycling gloves.
The days get shorter, the air gets colder, and whilst it might be hot-drink-and-blanket weather, we can get out on the bike if we wrap up properly.
Whether it’s a winter weekend ride, or your brisk commute to work, keeping your extremities warm is a must.
That’s why we’ve put together a round-up of our favorite winter cycling gloves, to keep you informed and help you find the gloves that work for you.
So read on as we dive into the X best cycling gloves for cold weather, everything from lightweight to Pogies. In this article we’ll be covering:
- Why Own Winter Cycling Gloves?
- The 6 Best Winter Cycling Gloves
- Finding What Works For You
Let’s dive in!
Why Own Winter Cycling Gloves?
When we talk about winter cycling, what temperatures are we talking about? And what features do winter cycling gloves have?
How Cold Is Cold?
Depending on the climate you ride in, winter means different temperatures around the world.
In general, winter cycling gloves are appropriate for air temperatures of less than 10°C, or 50°F.
We’ll also be looking at winter cycling gloves specialized for sub-zero (or below 32°F).
So consider whether you’ll be cycling in shoulder season or peak winter, and what temperatures you’ll be looking at when choosing your gloves.
Important to remember, as well as air temperature you also need to consider wind and wind chill.
Wind chill plays a significant role in losing body heat. Wind chill involves warmth being carried out of your body via convection, making you colder.
This effect is felt clearly as cold wind air over your hands and wrists above the handlebars.
This study models wind chill on a stationary human body using infrared technology, showing the strong cooling effects. Passing through the air whilst moving at speed on your bike creates the wind chill effect, in addition to any wind you’re cycling in anyway.
So remember when checking the weather before a ride that, say, 5°C, or 41°F, will feel a lot colder when you factor in moving speed and the wind.
And while wind chill may be mild in the summer months, it’s vital to wear gloves that protect your hands from wind chill in winter.
Keeping Your Hands Warm Keeps You Warm
It’s not just about keeping your hands warm: blood circulating through cold hands and wrists will cool and bring your overall body temperature down with time.
This study demonstrated that participants were able to stay cool whilst recumbent cycling in hot temperatures by repeatedly immersing their hands in cold water.
So, when cycling in cold temperatures the body-chilling effects of cold hands need to be avoided by using a good pair of winter cycling gloves.
What Other Roles Do Winter Cycling Gloves Play?
So apart from their primary role of keeping your hands warm, what else do winter cycling gloves do?
- They’re a form of protective safety equipment, cushioning your hands and preventing scrapes and cuts in the event of a crash.
- Cushioning your hands and protect against rubbing and Ulvar nerve damage caused by pressure on the handlebars during long hours on the bike.
- Providing you with extra grip against sweat and debris. Proper grip on your handlebars and access to your brakes and gears are vital to good, safe, cycling.
What Features Will Winter Cycling Gloves Have?
Along with insulation against the cold, wind, and in most cases waterproofing, winter cycling gloves come with a few other features you should consider investing in.
Reflective detailing on the gloves will make you more visible whilst out on your bike, and in cycling, there’s no such thing as too much visibility.
Most winter gloves come with a nose wipe too. The cold causes your nose to run and taking tissues out on the bike isn’t very practical. Just remember to wash your gloves regularly!
Some gloves also feature touchscreen capability which comes in handy for using apps such as Strava without having to take your gloves off.
The 6 Best Winter Cycling Gloves
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best winter cycling gloves, and what makes each of these good picks.
Best All-Round Winter Cycling Gloves: Castelli Perfetto Ros Gloves
- Lightweight Gloves
- Windproof and Water-Resistant
If you’re looking for a solid pair of gloves to take you on different types of rides throughout the season, you can’t go wrong with the Perfetto Ros.
Billed for 6-10ºC (42-50ºF), they’ll have you covered for a chilly commute or a mild winter morning ride.
A combination of linings and stitching allows the gloves to be warm without being bulky, so you retain a good amount of control in your hands.
They’re windproof and water-resistant in light showers. If you get completely drenched the gloves will keep the warmth in – but no one likes soaked gloves!
They weigh in at a feathery 55 g and feature reflective detailing, silicone grip pads on the palms, and touchscreen capability on the index fingers.
Best Lightweight Cycling Gloves: DHB Waterproof Gloves
- A Host of Helpful Features
If weight is a key concern, these are some of the best winter cycling gloves for you on this list at 48 g.
When in milder cold and light showers, these gloves are your best bet and make cycling in the cold much easier.
The DHBs have foam palm padding, reflective detailing, a microfiber nose wipe, a waterproof outer membrane, and an interior fleece lining.
A benefit of lighter gloves such as these is better control of the brakes and gears, a great touch is the DHBs’ silicone pads on the fingers to make this even easier.
Nimble and Lightweight Option: Endura fS260-Pro Nemo Glove II
- Ultra-Thin for Maximum Control
- Wetsuit Technology!
The FS260-Pro Nemo’s are made using neoprene wetsuit technology, insulating your hands against the cold.
Whilst they have a water-resistant exterior, reflective detailing, and touchscreen-compatible index fingers, they’re thinner than other gloves on the list, weighing just 37 g – even less than the DHBs.
The gloves themselves are stretchy and nimble, giving you better control than padded-up alternatives.
The drawback is that some riders will struggle with the water and windchill on a cold rainy day.
Best Affordable Winter Cycling Gloves: Endura Strike Waterproof Gloves
- Affordable Option
- Nice Features Included
The most affordable winter cycling glove on this list, the Strikes will do the job without breaking the bank.
If you’re an infrequent winter cyclist or aren’t looking to make a big investment, the Strikes should have you covered down to about 0ºC (32ºF).
They come with the features you’d hope to see on a good pair of winter gloves: waterproofing, impressive visibility, touchscreen compatibility, and a finger wipe.
Remember that these are a good value for money, low price point option, but won’t stand up against the higher-end products on this list.
Best Cycling Gloves For Warmth: Castelli Estremo Winter Cycling Gloves
- Thick Lining for Extra Warmth
- Windproof and Waterproof
If you’re looking for something a little bigger to tackle colder conditions, Castelli has you covered with the Estremos.
The gloves weigh 165 g, and all that extra lining is equipped for -5 to 5ºC (23-41ºF).
The gloves are windproof, and the back sides are fully waterproof and feature reflective detailing.
The palms also feature silicone grip pads, and pre-curved construction creates a more natural feel on the handlebars.
You do, of course, lose some dexterity with gloves of this caliber. They’re bulky and don’t have touchscreen compatibility.
But whilst you won’t be as nimble when you’re out and about, you will be able to feel your fingers at the end of a subzero ride!
Best Pogies for Winter Cycling: Bar Mitts Road Pogies
- More Control On Brakes And Gears
- Keeps Out Cold Air
For even more heat-insulating power, consider investing in a good set of pogies. We recommend the Bar Mitts.
Adapted from watersports, Pogies are a relatively new technology to hit commercial marketplaces.
Pogies fully insulate your fingers, hands, and wrists, and give you unencumbered access to your gears and brakes without awkward padded gloves getting in the way.
Pogies are recommended for cycling in temperatures below 0ºC (32ºF), and are effective as low as -30ºC (-22ºF) when used alongside other gloves!
They might look a little silly, but the science is sound: no other kit protects you from cold air, snow, and windchill like Pogies, and for extreme conditions, they’re a sound investment.
You can also pair them up with lightweight gloves such as the DHBs, best for cycling at seriously low temperatures!
Cycling in them is surprisingly easy – you can withdraw your hand quickly, and they also have reflective detailing for added visibility.
Finding What Works For You
Finding winter cycling gloves that work for your rides can take a little bit of time and experimentation.
Whilst air temperature, exposure and wind chill are all important considerations, there’s no substitute for experience.
Hopefully this buyer’s guide to winter cycling gloves will leave you in a better position to find your perfect pair and stay on the bike year-round.