Best winter cycling jackets 2022 to keep you warm on the bike

The best winter cycling jackets are often the difference that makes winter riding miserable or mega

Image shows a rider wearing one of the best winter cycling jackets.
(Image credit: Future)

The best winter cycling jackets act as a shield from rain and wind, to 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 on of the best cycling base layers or best waterproof cycling jackets – but at least there's not much ambiguity regarding those most miserable days.

Winter might not strike you 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. 

Alternatively, look for a bargain on last year's winter jacket during warmer weather - you might find something among the best Cyber Monday bike deals. The tech doesn't usually change much, it's just the colours that might be different for next year's winter cycling jackets.

Castelli Alpha RoS 2 jacket: Was $392.60 (opens in new tab)

Castelli Alpha RoS 2 jacket: Was $392.60, now from $163.00 at Wiggle (opens in new tab)

Castelli's Alpha RoS 2 jacket is a great all-rounder that can handle the variety of temperatures you're likely to encounter during your winter rides. Thanks to the Gore-Tex fabric it's both wind and water proof but still breathable, with other neat features such as back vents and double-layer cuffs. It's little surprise that it's featured in our guide to the best winter cycling jackets (opens in new tab). Unsurprisingly, Castelli quality comes at price, making this detail especially attractive.

dhb Merino Long Sleeve Jersey: $115 (opens in new tab)

dhb Merino Long Sleeve Jersey: $115, $66.00 at Wiggle (opens in new tab)

Dhb's long sleeve merino jersey is a versatile piece of kit. Made from a 170gsm wool blend it helps regulates your temperatures across a range of seasons, keeping you warm when you need it but allowing you to breathe when things hot up. It features a full-length zipper, three rear pockets and some reflective details, making it well suited to long days in the saddle. A true three-season jersey!

Castelli Puro 3 long sleeve jersey: £130 (opens in new tab)

Castelli Puro 3 long sleeve jersey: £130, £84.00 at Wiggle (opens in new tab)

A thermal long sleeve jersey is a winter riding staple and Castelli's Puro more than does the job. Not only will it help you to be visible in poor light conditions it will also keep you warm without you overheating. Details include a full length zip and reflective panels. Wear on its own in cooler temperatures or pair with a winter jacket on the coldest days.

GORE Wear Men's C3 Thermo Cycling Jersey, Large:  £89.99 (opens in new tab)

GORE Wear Men's C3 Thermo Cycling Jersey, Large: £89.99 £59.98 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
With cold weather on its way its a good time to pick up a bargain in preparation! With a breathable, fleece-backed fabric, the C3 Thermo Jersey is not stifling in milder conditions – but pairs well with a hard-shell rain jacket when the really foul weather hits.

Best winter cycling jackets reviewed

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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 shows a rider wearing the Le Col Pro Jacket II.

(Image credit: Andy Turner )
Best for fast paced rides with changing conditions

Specifications

Fabric: Polartec Neoshell
Wind/ water protection: Wind proof, waterproof
Temperature range: 0°C/ 32°F-15°C/ 59°F
Sizes: XS-XXXL
Colours: Cobalt, Merlot, and Black

Reasons to buy

+
Great wind and water proofing
+
Can be worn over a base layer
+
Race fit should be more aero
+
Arms and torso are a good length
+
Reflective detailing
+
Waterproof pocket
+
Great for colder conditions

Reasons to avoid

-
Zip feels a bit chunky when zipped all the way up
-
It is expensive

The Le Col Pro Jacket II makes great use of Polartec Neoshell to keep you dry and the chill off, whilst the Dynamic air exchange technology keeps you from overheating during the faster paced efforts. The cut makes for a figure hugging fit, ideal for when the temperatures are low but you want to go fast. 

The sleeves utilise an elastic cuff which is just the right level of tight, while the sleeves themselves are long enough for even lanky riders, such as our 190cm / 6'3” reviewer. The three large pockets are easy to access, and there’s an additional waterproof zipped one for keeping valuables.

This jacket excels in temperatures from freezing up to 10 to 14 degrees depending on the intensity of your ride. It’s close fitting, however there is a little bit of bunching at the front when hunched over, and the zip was a little tight on the neck for our tester when fully zipped. Aside from that, comfort is excellent and really does keep you warm when it’s cool – and protected from the elements. Despite the close fit, the jacket is also versatile enough to use over a base layer, if you so wish.

Price wise this is very much at the higher end, but if you can afford it, then you will not be disappointed.

Read more: Le Col Pro Jacket II full review

Image shows a rider wearing the Sportful Tempo winter jacket.

(Image credit: Future )
A high quality, all round winter jacket

Specifications

Fabric: GORE-TEX INFINUM panel on the front, polyester on the rear
Wind/ water protection: Splash proof and highly wind proof material
Temperature range: 3°C/ 37°F-13°C/ 55°F
Sizes: S-XXXL

Reasons to buy

+
Very well made - no signs of wear after many washes
+
Comfortable from three to thirteen degrees with the right layers 
+
Polyester back panel and windproof front means the jacket is warm without being stuffy

Reasons to avoid

-
Empty List

The Sportful Tempo Jacket is a windproof, breathable jacket that’s designed for use across autumn, winter and spring. Priced at $200 / £160, it’s significantly cheaper than a Castelli Perfetto yet is a rival in terms of quality and performance.

The Tempo jacket has a windproof front panel constructed with ‘GORE-TEX INFINIUM’ material and a breathable polyester panel on the back. Our reviewer found the balance to be spot on, delivering excellent protection from wind chill without such a tendency to overheat.

This combination makes it a great option for those who like to do their intervals on the road during the winter. It won’t keep you dry in a downpour but, thanks to its close fit, a rain shell will easily fit over the top. It’s a great ‘all round’ winter jacket for all but the wettest of days.

Read more: Sportful Tempo Jacket full review

The Endura Windchill Jacket II in the picture is the men's high-viz yellow version

(Image credit: Future)
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

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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, even on a very slow snowy ride, it offers warmth, water resistance, and practical features, such as the underarm 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 (opens in new tab)

Rapha Pro Team Winter Jacket in the image has a front zipped pocket and reflective cuff on one arm.

(Image credit: Future)
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 (opens in new tab) performs superbly in a wide range of conditions, with a sweet spot around 5°C/ 41°F or slightly higher, but capable of keeping us warm across a good temperature range, depending on base layer selection.

The cut is undoubtedly race, making it low profile and avoiding 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 the 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 to be fully covered for all conditions.

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 (opens in new tab)

Assos Mille GT Ultraz Winter Jacket Evo is water resistant and wind proof. This image shows the men's fluro red/ orange version.

(Image credit: Future)
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 (opens in new tab) 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 retains great breathability 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 weatherproofed rear pockets. The inclusion of a waterproof zipped pocket would have put our minds at total rest for valuables protection. 

It's one of the more expensive options in our lineup 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 (opens in new tab)

Castelli Alpha ROS 2 winter jacket in the image is the female version.

(Image credit: Future)
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 (opens in new tab) 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's figure hugging fit. 

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 (opens in new tab)

The dhb Aeron Lab Winter Polartec jacket in the image is the women's navy blue version

(Image credit: Future)
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 (opens in new tab) is one of the best winter cycling jackets and bears comparison to its more expensive rivals. 

On test we found it offered great warmth all the way down to freezing temperatures. Thanks to its 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 with 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 resistant 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 (opens in new tab)

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. 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 (opens in new tab), 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 its thermal insulation, wind and waterproof properties, as well as being 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 usually come with a windstopper front, which is often paired with 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 a careful balancing act of keeping the weather out and the warmth in. The best winter cycling jacket for you will need to match these exacting requirements.

Waterproofing is something you'll also find in 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 - allowing room to stow one of the best waterproof cycling jackets 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. 


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 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 in the comfort of your ride.

What is a softshell?

A water resistant “softshell” jacket sacrifices some waterproofness for warmth and increased ride comfort. As the name suggests, they are made of softer, more comfortable fabric than a "hardshell" rain jacket. They're stretchy too.

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 which 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. 

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. In fact, layering is the key to getting the right degree of warmth for the conditions. 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 to 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 for 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 built in.

How we test

All of the best winter cycling jackets in this buyers guide have been put through their 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, 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.