Best winter cycling jackets for keeping warm on the bike

Warm and weatherproof clothing is often the difference that makes winter riding miserable or mega.

Included in this guide:

Best winter cycling jackets image shows a rider head on wearing a helmet and winter cycling clothing and on a black bike riding on the road.
(Image credit: Future)

Acting as a shield from rain and wind, the best winter cycling jackets provide protection from the coldest weather, allowing you to keep riding all year round. 

Blending fleecy, thermal fabrics with water repellent coatings – a quality winter jacket makes pre-ride wardrobe decisions a much more straightforward affair. No wondering whether showers may or may not materialise – unless it's concertedly raining or especially cold, the jacket will be all you need. 

Otherwise, you will need to pair up with an extra baselayer or rain jacket – but at least there's not much ambiguity regarding those most miserable days.

The depths of winter might not strike as the best time to pick up a good discount – but as retailers vie for your custom, insulated jackets often get offered up as 'loss leaders' to get you onto their sites. We've rounded up the best deals in our best January bike sales hub page, so check that out before you buy.

Best winter cycling jackets reviewed

Here's a look at some of the best winter cycling jackets we've ridden and rated. Almost all will come with both male and female fit options, so don't just automatically scroll past a great option if the image doesn't show the gendered version you're shopping for.   

Image 1 of 2

Endura Windchill Cycling Jacket II

(Image credit: Endura)
Image 1 of 2

Endura Windchill Cycling Jacket II

(Image credit: Endura)

Best winter cycling jacket on a budget

Specifications
Fabric : Stretch, windproof thermal grid-backed
Wind/ water protection : Wind proof, water repellent
Temperature range: 0°C/ 32°F - 8°C/ 46°F
Sizes: S - XL (men's only)
Colours: Black, hi-viz yellow (men's only)
Reasons to buy
+Warm down to freezing conditions+Windproof and water resistant+Underarm venting to help breathability+Practical for commuting +Great entry level price point
Reasons to avoid
-No waterproof pockets

The Endura Windchill Jacket II is an excellent example of how simple, yet effective, a winter jacket can be. For the price it offers warmth, even on a very slow snowy ride, water resistance, and practical features, such as the under arm venting. Ideally it would have been great to have a waterproof pocket for a mobile, so it's worth ensuring you have a sealable bag hanging around for all eventualities. 

This jacket is ideal for anyone looking for warmth, without a skin tight fit, making it a great option for just chucking over bulkier non-bike attire for a commute home. 

It's hard to compare to the likes of the highly technical Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Jacket Evo or the Castelli Alpha RoS 2 Light jacket, but it's a perfect option for anyone looking for an affordable but great winter cycling jacket. 

Read more: Endura Windchill Jacket II full review

Image 1 of 2

Rapha Pro Team Winter Jacket

(Image credit: Rapha)
Image 1 of 2

Rapha Pro Team Winter Jacket

(Image credit: Rapha)

Best winter cycling jacket for multiple temperatures

Specifications
Fabric: Insulated Polyester. Nylon, Elastane mix
Wind/ Water protection: None specified
Temperature range: Windchill -5°C/ 23°F to 10°C/ 50°F
Sizes : XXS - XL (Women's) XS - XXL (Men's)
Colours : Black/ white, purple (Women's) Black/ white, purple, green (men's)
Reasons to buy
+Thermally insulated+Good degree of breathability +Low Bulk when on +Great race cut fit+High build quality+Competitively priced
Reasons to avoid
-Cuffs could be stretchier

The water resistant Rapha Pro Team Winter Jacket performs superbly in a wide range of temperatures, but with a sweet spot was around 5°C/ 41°F or slightly higher, but capable of kept us either across a range of degrees, depending on base layer selection.

The cut is undoubtable race, making it low profile and avoids bunching when on the drops. The sleeves team will with gloves, but could do with being a little stretchier, especially if you're a watch wearer.  

There's plenty of storage front and back and a good deal of reflective detailing, making this racing style jacket highly practical. 

It's priced very competitively when considered alongside the likes of Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Jacket Evo, but you'll probably need to factor in a purchase of one of the best packable rain jackets  or opt for the somewhat pricier 

This item is available in men's and women's fit, with the women's version going under the guise of UMA GT.

Read more: Rapha Pro Team Winter Jacket full review

Image 1 of 2

Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Jacket Evo

(Image credit: Assos)
Image 1 of 2

Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Jacket Evo

(Image credit: Assos)

Best winter cycling jacket for protection and breathability

Specifications
Fabrics : NEOS Light, RX Heavy double-layer, 3L softshell, PU bonded, NEOS Ultra
Wind/ Water protection: Windproof, water repellent
Temperature range : Down to sub zero/ below 32°F
Sizes: XS - XLG (women's) / XS - XLG & TIR (Men's)
Colours : Fluro pink, black (women's) or Fluro red/orange, black, fluro green (men's)
Reasons to buy
+Very warm even in freezing conditions+Great fit without restrictions+Clever double sleeve design
Reasons to avoid
-No zipped pocket for protecting valuables (especially on wet rides)-High price tag 

As winter jackets go, the Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Jacket Evo is one of the toughest. The inner lining is luxuriously soft and provides you with instant warmth the moment you slip the great fitting winter cycling jacket on.

The technology behind these fabrics isn't to be underestimated. To gain a weather barrier that's fully windproof, water resistant and still retain impressive breathability properties is really impressive. 

On test we found the double cuff design on the arms really effective, doing away with the gloves over or under jacket dilemma.  

Ideally we would like to have seen weather proofed rear pockets, the inclusion of a waterproof zipped pocket would have put our minds at total rest for valuable protection. 

It's one of the more expensive options in our line up of the best winter cycling jackets, but it's not comparable with the likes of the Endura Windchill II jacket. It's the ultimate winter cycling jacket for those who won’t let the weather get in the way of their riding. 

Read more: Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Jacket Evo full review

Image 1 of 2

Castelli Alpha ROS 2 Light jacket

(Image credit: Castelli)
Image 1 of 2

Castelli Alpha ROS 2 Light jacket

(Image credit: Castelli)

Best Castelli allrounder winter cycling jacket

Specifications
Fabric : Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper 150, ProSecco Strada lightweight, ProSecco Strada lightweight, ProSecco Strada lightweight, Nano Flex Xtra Dry
Wind/ water protection: Wind and water resistant
Temperature range : 8°C/ 46°F - 15 °C / 59°F
Sizes: S - XL (women's) / S - 3XL (men's)
Colours: Black, fluro red (women's) or green, blue, fluro red, silver/gray (men's)
Reasons to buy
+Great range of temperature versatility+Warmth generated constantly+Impressive breathability
Reasons to avoid
-Baggy sleeves compared to tighter race fit of torso

Castelli's range of winter gear is becoming bewilderingly vast, but if you're looking for a 'suits most conditions' middle ground, this is the one to go for

The defining feature of the Castelli Alpha ROS 2 light jacket is its double layer make-up. On the inside, is an insulating ProSecco Strada lightweight fabric. Over the top, and on the sleeves, there’s an extra blanket of Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper 150 material. The back of the jacket uses Nano Flex Xtra Dry material, with a focus on breathability and rain shedding thanks to a water-repellent finish.

The race cut style, means that this is a really easy winter cycling jacket to reach for, although ideally we'd like the arms slimmed down to match the torso figure hugging fit. 

In our minds it's a clear alternative to the much loved Castelli Gabba jacket, and even the more recent Perfetto.

Read more: Castelli Alpha ROS 2 Light jacket full review

Image 1 of 2

dhb Aeron Lab All Winter Polartec Jacket

(Image credit: Wiggle)
Image 1 of 2

dhb Aeron Lab All Winter Polartec Jacket

(Image credit: Wiggle)

Best winter cycling jacket for competing with pricier peers

Specifications
Fabric: NeoShell®, Alpha® Direct and Power Shield® Pro
Wind/ water protection : Water and wind proof
Temperature range : 0°C/ 32°F - 12°C/ 53.6°F
Sizes: UK 8 - UK16 (women's) / XS - XL (men's )
Colours : Navy blue (women's) or Dark green, navy blue, red (men's)
Reasons to buy
+Excellent warmth and breathability +Great waterproofing capabilities+Cheaper alternative to higher priced peers
Reasons to avoid
-Could do with longer tail-Women's version only available in navy blue

The dhb Aeron Lab Winter Polartec is one of the best winter cycling jackets that stands up to it's more expensive rivals. 

On test we found it offered great warm all the way down to freezing temperatures. Thanks to it's lofty waffle soft inner, it offered great warmth down to freezing temperatures as well as being capable of being worn with a much lighter weight base layer for milder days on the bike. 

The design is reminiscent of the Castelli Alpha ROS 2 winter jacket, in that it's a race cut design, low weight and low bulk, although ideally we would have liked a longer tail. 

It's impressively breathable, considering that it proved to be fully wind and as waterproof as you're probably going to get out on the open roads making it one of the best winter cycling jackets on the market.

Read more: dhb Aeron Lab Winter Polartec jacket full review

Image 1 of 2

Le Col Pro Rain Jacket

(Image credit: Le Col)
Image 1 of 2

Le Col Pro Rain Jacket

(Image credit: Le Col)

Best winter cycling jacket for high intensity riding

Specifications
Fabric : 3Layer stretch, taped
Wind/ water protection : Wind and water proof
Temperature range : Down to Freezing
Sizes: XS - XL (Women's) - XS - 3XL (men's)
Colours: Orange, black
Reasons to buy
+Nice feel against skin+Fleecy high collar for neck protection+Really stretchy for a great fit+Easy to operate zip+Exceptionally breathable, even at full gas riding 
Reasons to avoid
-High price tag -Tight cuffs make getting it on/ off a challenge

The waterproof Le Col Pro Rain Jacket lives up to its billing as one of the best winter cycling jackets for racing and high intensity training. The breathability and feel of the fabric are phenomenal, as is the degree of stretch in the material, which allows it to conform closely to the body. making this one of the best winter cycling jackets we've ever ridden.

On the bike the Le Col Pro Rain Jacket dealt admirably with some horrid conditions, shrugging off the heaviest of downpours without a struggle. Even when the rain became hail, the thermal softshell even provided impact protection, but with a price similar to that of the Castelli Alpha RoS 2 Light jacket and Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Jacket Evo it's another headline act, and one you'll have to pay for. 

The tightness of the cuffs does make it difficult to pull on and off, something to think about when you are at the post ride lacking strength stage. 

We love the fact that the women’s model mirrors the same features as the men's version, but it's worth noting that we found the women’s version a bit generous in cut and would suggest sizing down.

Read more: Le Col Pro Rain Jacket review

All you need to know about winter cycling jackets

While your legs are constantly moving on a bike, your torso and arms spend a lot of the time pretty static on the bike. Keeping them warm by wearing a great fitting winter cycling jackets is paramount, not only for your riding enjoyment, but as the key controllers of your bike, in keeping you safe too.

Differing from the best long sleeved cycling jerseys, that plug the weather gaps of spring and fall/ autumn, the perfect winter cycling jacket will allow you to keep riding in much colder and wetter conditions, thanks to their thermal insulation, wind and water proof properties, as well as capable of maintaining good breathability. 

What should I look for in a winter cycling jacket?

Often ‘thermal’ and made from a Roubaix-style soft, fleece-backed fabric, the best winter cycling jackets will come with a reinforced windstopper front, which is often paired to a more breathable fabric at the back to allow for heat dissipation.

The difference between winter racing and a gentle commute in the coldest months of the year is vast. Meeting your specific needs is careful balancing act of keeping the weather out and the warmth in and the best winter cycling jacket for you will need to match these exacting requirements.

Waterproofing is something you'll also find in the many winter cycling jackets, along with storm flaps on the zips, either internal or external. Pockets will often be waterproofed with zips or flaps, as well as deeper - designed for stowing one of the  best waterproof cycling jacket or best cycling gilets.

Shorter days and longer nights in winter will mean that at some point you're probably going to be riding in the dark, or at least lower light levels, so winter cycling jackets often come with more reflective details than most of the best summer cycling jerseys.

What's the difference between 'waterproof' and 'water resistant'?

If you plan on riding through truly biblical conditions, you’ll need a jacket that can stand up to the deluge.

The way a fabric's waterproofness is tested is by measuring the Hydrostatic Head. That is, how tall a column of water can be stood on the material before it starts to penetrate through the fabric. For a proper waterproof jacket, you should be looking for at least 10,000mm and going up to 20,000mm for greater protection from the rain.

That said, the more waterproof a fabric is, the less breathable it tends to be. Lately, more and more water resistant “soft shell” jackets have been released. These are breathable enough to ride in the dry without feeling clammy and can fend off a shower — although not a downpour. This makes them a great winter cycling jacket for changeable days when you’re not sure what the weather will do — and certainly makes the pre-ride choice of what jacket to put on significantly easier.

Some of the waterproofing properties will be down to spray treatment, often referred to as DWR ( durable water resistant coating). While this will wash/ wear out after time, the good news is that you can reapply it yourself. Our guide on how to re-waterproof your cycling jacket will tell you all about it. 

How is breathability measured?

There are few feelings less pleasant than the clammy clasp of a jacket with poor breathability. It’s no good being protected from the elements if you just end up getting drenched from the inside.

The key is getting the perfect winter cycling jacket to match for your style of riding.

Breathability is measured by the number of grams of water vapour that can pass through a square meter of the material in a 24-hour period. A value of 10,000–20,000g/m²/24hrs tends to be fine for a steady ride, but if you are putting in some spicy efforts you’ll want to be looking in the range of 20,000–40,000g/m²/24hrs.

Get the breathability balance right and it will pay dividends on the comfort of your ride.

What makes a winter jacket warm?

Although it might be cold out, sometimes it’s worth not opting for the warmest jacket available. As a highly technical piece of clothing, a winter jacket does represent a considerable investment, so you’ll want to maximise the amount of use you will get out of it.

Remember, you can always combine a thinner jacket with more layers, but you can’t make a thick jacket any less warm. Don’t make the mistake of paying through the nose for the absolutely best winter cycling jacket you’ll only use on the five coldest days of the year.

Although, if you know you do run irremediably cold, then by all means get the warmest jacket you can to keep you riding through the winter!

What fit should I get?

Even with the best winter cycling jackets, you'll need to decide what kind of fit you want. Some winter jackets are cut to leave space for extra layers to be added underneath. Others share the same tight fit as the lighter-weight options in the range. 

The same principle applies for whether a collar is intended to be skin-tight, preventing any draughts from shooting down your neck, or if the jacket is supposed to be used in combination with a buff and therefore cut to leave a little extra room.

Either way, spend some time reading our reviews and checking sizes before buying so you know whether you're meant to layer up, or if there's only room the best cycling base layer underneath. 

Any other features to consider?

Generally, when the conditions are such that you need a winter jacket, visibility is not going to be great either. Opting for a jacket that uses brighter colours and reflective detailing can go a long way to helping you be seen on the roads.

Most of the best winter cycling jackets will have elements of high-viz or reflectivity build in.

How we test

All of the best winter cycling jackets in this buyers guide have been put through it's paces, having been ridden by our tech team in the harshest of conditions 

We all have a wealth of experience of cycling year round, so know what makes an ideal winter warmer, and what doesn't. 

These winter cycling jackets are all standout quality because not only will they keep you warm in the coldest season, but also feature either technical innovation, a super practical detailing or are just a great jacket for the price. 

We're testing kit all year round, so as soon as the mercury drops, we'll be pulling our thermals on and reviewing more of the latest winter cycling kit, and will ensure this page is kept up to date with only the best on test.  

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.


When not typing or testing, Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.


Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6. 


Height: 166cm

Weight: 56kg