As all cyclists know, in winter it’s the extremities that freeze first, so a decent pair of winter cycling gloves needs to be able to trap in the warmth first and foremost – helping you to keep riding through the coldest months.
However, unlike ski gloves, cycling gloves cannot depend on super-thick padding because we need to retain sensitivity so that brakes, shifters and Di2 buttons can be operated and cycling computer screens swiped.
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
More winter kit suggestions
- Best cycling bib tights
- Best thermal cycling jerseys and jackets
- Best waterproof cycling jackets
- What to wear for winter cycling
So keeping out the wind is crucial: fabrics such as Gore Windstopper and the similar WindTex do this as well as offering water repellency and breathability. The inner padding and/or membrane varies from glove to glove and on what sort of temperature the glove is aimed at, whether deep winter or chilly and wet.
Cuff design is also a key element of the glove’s design, not to mention its performance, and the sort you go for depends on personal preference. Some have zips, others have Velcro, some have an elastic gathering and it’s common for a glove to have no mechanism at all, relying on the stretch of the cuff fabric.
In many ways, this is the best and most user-friendly method. But if you wear a watch or smartwatch when cycling, the cuff can make it awkward to wear and use.
Best winter cycling gloves reviewed
With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.
Castelli Perfetto RoS gloves
Using the latest Gore Infinium Windstopper fabric, the Castelli Perfetto RoS gloves manage that difficult balance between adequate insulation, water repellence and windproofing on the one hand and bar feel and ride comfort on the other.
With a light fleece lining, there’s enough warmth to keep the hands warm and even after hours of light rain, they stay dry. Once the water does make it in, your hands stay warm and there’s enough dexterity to work the controls and keep yourself fed as you ride.
Buy now in the UK: Castelli Perfetto RoS at Wiggle for £65.00
Buy now in the US: Castelli Perfetto RoS at Backcountry.com for $69.99
Dexshell Thermfit Neo gloves
These aren’t deep winter gloves, but we were hugely impressed with the waterproofing, warmth and breathability on offer.
At first check, these gloves look to be a light knitted layer that won’t be hugely technical – but that’s definitely not the case.
The brand has used a three-layer system, with Porelle fabric followed by a breathable membrane, then a drip-dry outer layer plus a more comfortable merino inner.
There’s silicone detailing for grip, no seams, and touch screen compatibility at the thumb and forefinger. The cuffs are long at 10cm, which helps keep the chill out too.
Buy now in the UK: Dexshell Thermfit Neo Glove at Amazon from £33.59
Buy now in the US: Dexshell Thermfit Neo Glove at Amazon from $45.99
Proviz Reflect360 gloves
The unique selling point for these Proviz360 gloves is the outer fabric, which contains millions of reflective glass beads, which make them glow under vehicle headlights.
However, there is more to them than visibility alone. Beneath the reflective layer is an internal waterproof polyurethane layer made up of three fabrics, designed to let moisture out without letting it in.
The palm features silicone grip and a light padding and there’s a soft brushed fleece lining. Our tester found the gloves a little big, even in a small, but otherwise we thought they were great.
Buy now in the UK: Proviz Reflect360 glove at Amazon for £49.99
Buy now in the US: Proviz Reflect360 glove at Amazon from $65.00
Loffie Adult 2.0 cycling gloves
It’s hard to miss what sets these gloves apart. The massive silicon smile on the palm – matched with a reflective one on the back – makes friendly waves more meaningful.
Our reviewer also found that the comic absurdity of carrying around a massive smiley face made it easier to not get riled up by inconsiderate motorists.
In terms of performance, the gloves did a good job of warding off the winter chills and, although only rated as water resistant, they coped well with light showers thanks to the DWR coating.
They are a little roomy, but there is a liner that these gloves can be paired with which takes up some of the space and also provides a little extra warmth. For those with particularly small hands it could be worth giving the children’s version a try though.
Buy now in the UK: Loffie Adult 2.0 cycling gloves at Loffie for £35
Castelli Estremo winter cycling gloves
Wind and water resistant Gore Windstopper fabric features on the back of the Estremos and the pads use a sticky silicone print creating an assured grip on the bars. There’s a brushed nosewipe panel on the back of the thumb. The lining is made from Polarfleece 340G and feels warm without being overly bulky.
A Velcro cuff makes them easy to take on and off, providing a close fit when long sleeves are tucked in. We did find the Velcro a little fiddly to operate, though.
Overall, the Estremos impressed us, performing well in the cold and the fabric didn’t hold on to moisture and was quick drying.
Buy now in the UK: Castelli Estremo winter cycling glove at Wiggle for £83.60
Buy now in the US: Castelli Estremo winter cycling glove at Competitive Cyclist for $99.99
GripGrab Ride Waterproof Winter cycling gloves
The gloves from Danish company GripGrab are well suited to UK conditions. The Ride Waterproof Winter gloves feature a breathable membrane, and retain heat when it’s cold. The long cuff extends some way over the wrist and uses a Velcro tab to close.
The company’s DoctorGel pad features at the heel of the palm, and it’s in just the right place when riding on the hoods. The palm, forefinger and middle fingertips use silicone for grip and there’s a touch screen tip on the thumb as well as a terry back. There’s a reflective dot pattern on the bottom half of the back.
These gloves balance warmth with breathability well and the waterproofing is effective.
Buy now in the UK: Grip Grab winter cycling glove at Wiggle for £58.95
Buy now in the US: Grip Grab winter cycling glove at Wiggle for $73.20
Endura Deluge II winter cycling gloves
These gloves from Endura use 40g Thinsulate padding for insulation and a single panel of durable windproof fabric on the back, with a terry nosewipe. There’s a reflective fabric between the fingers and on the thumb and palm outer.
A soft, synthetic suede covers the palm, with printed silicone lines for grip – plus gel pads at the heel of the hand. Elastic and Velcro control volume at the cuff.
These are lightweight compared to others on test, and aren’t designed for the coldest weather – but at 5°C are perfectly adequate. As the name suggests, they really perform in wet weather – the insides feature a (truly) waterproof, breathable membrane. You could virtually wash the dishes in the Enduras.
Buy now in the UK: Endura Deluge II winter cycling gloves at Tredz for £39.99
Buy now in the US: Endura Deluge II winter cycling gloves at Moosejaw for $39.99
Endura FS260-Pro Nemo winter cycling gloves
Constructed from neoprene, these waterproof gloves keep moisture out – and in. This makes them mega warm, though they’re not everyone’s cup of tea.
Buy now in the US: Endura FS260-Pro Nemo winter cycling gloves at Moosejaw for $30.99
DeFeet E-Touch Dura winter cycling gloves
Great lightweight glove for the months before and after it gets really cold. Can be used as a liner glove in the depths of winter and allows for use of touchscreen devices.
Buy now in the UK: DeFeet E-Touch Dura Gloves from Wiggle from £14
Buy now in the US: DeFeet E-Touch Dura Gloves from Competitive Cyclist for $24.99
Dissent 133 glove layering system
Named, cheerily, after the 133 days of rain we see on average a year in the south of the UK, this layering system provides 11 different glove combinations in total.
The idea is that there’s no one perfect glove for all conditions. So instead, Dissent offers a four part layering system made up of a pair of fully waterproof outers, a pair of windproof/showerproof outers, a pair of lightweight thermal gloves and a pair of silk liner gloves.
We found the system worked well, offering comfort without bulk and the opportunity to layer down if things warmed up.
What to look for in winter cycling gloves
Thermal and Wind Protection
There’s nothing worse than finding yourself in the middle of a long ride in the depths of winter, miles from home, with blocks of ice on the end of your arms where your hands used to be, making it all but impossible to brake, let alone change gears.
So with this in mind, finding a pair of winter cycling gloves with good protection against the cold is essential.
The first layer of protection should be an impermeable windproof layer designed, as you can guess from the name, to keep cold air and wind away from your hands.
One of the most popular fabrics for this is Gore’s Windstopper fabric, something that is used in the winter cycling gloves of many brands aside from Gore itself, although there are plenty of other options that work just as well.
These fabrics should work to keep the elements out while still being breathable enough to prevent your hands from overheating and getting sweaty.
The second line of protection is a thermal layer designed not only to keep the cold air away from your skin, but also to make sure that any warm air generated by your hands is maintained and not allowed to escape.
What’s important with the thermal layer is that, unlike with skiing gloves for example, it can’t be too thick, as you need to maintain your dexterity to be able to feel which lever your finger is on to change gear and to be able to manipulate the brake lever.
No one like riding in the rain, but if you’re going to keep your training up through the British winter (or summer for that matter), then you’re going to want some decent gloves for the weather.
In mild weather it’s not actually necessary to have completely waterproof gloves. The saying goes that your skin is waterproof, so as long as you have gloves that keep your hands warm, they don’t necessarily need to keep you dry.
However when the temperature drops a bit more, and the rain (and even snow) begins to fall, then you’re going to want some more serious winter cycling gloves with an outer layer that will keep the precipitation at bay.
Like any windproof outer layer, a waterproof layer should be impermeable to the outside elements to keep your hands dry, but should also be breathable to prevent your hands overheating, particularly over the course of long rides.
Particularly if you’re heading out in breezy conditions, you’re generally going to want your winter cycling gloves to have nice long cuffs to help keep that chilly north easterly out of your sleeves.
However it’s not just a case of the bigger the better, and you’re going to want to get a pair of gloves that complement your choice of jersey or jacket if you’re going to be nice and cosy while putting in those long winter miles.
If your jacket has loose sleeves then it may well be worth getting a pair of gloves with a tight cuff, over which you can pull the sleeves of your jacket.
However if you’re wearing a long sleeve jersey or tighter jacket, particularly one without elasticated cuffs, then pulling this over the top of the gloves might be difficult.
In this case look for gloves that have a looser cuff into which you can tuck your sleeves, and ideally try to find ones with a velcro strap to enable you to tighten the cuff around the jacket once the gloves are on.
That said, if you’re more of a fair weather rider who isn’t best keen on cycling through Arctic conditions, or just a rider who is prone to overheating during riding, then slightly shorter cuffed winter cycling gloves may be better.
Because your blood runs so close to the skin at the wrist, this can be an excellent place to control your body temperature.
So if you find yourself getting a bit hot in the middle of a winter club run, then pulling down some low cuffs can be a good way to cool off relatively quickly.
Riding on wet or even icy roads can be treacherous, so being completely in control of your bike is more essential than ever.
The bad news is that if your handlebars are wet then it can be difficult to keep a secure hold on the bars, particularly if you’re using smooth bar tape.
With this in mind you want a little bit of a tacky surface on the palm of your winter cycling gloves to make sure you can maintain a secure grip on both the bars and the brake levers.
If you feel the need to upload a gritty Instagram selfie to show your mates just how hard you are for heading out when it’s blowing a gale and hammering it down with rain, then you’re going to need to be able to prod away at your smartphone screen.
With this in mind many winter cycling gloves now come with fingertips specially designed to be used with touchscreens.
For when the temperature rises, it’s useful to have a sweat patch, usually located on the thumb with which to mop your brow and stop sweat from dripping into your eyes. It’s also useful for wiping rain and road grime off cycling glasses.
Another important thing to have to keep your hands comfortable is minimal seams. The last thing you want is big seams on the inside of the gloves that will dig into your hands and could prove to be an irritance after a few hours in the saddle.
You could also find them unravelling after a few months of use.