Best winter cycling gloves: Keeping hands warm in the coldest months

An essential piece of cycling kit once the thermometer heads south. The best winter gloves provide just the right blend of warmth, dexterity and breathability for your hands for even the coldest rides.

Best winter cycling gloves
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

As all cyclists know, in winter it’s the extremities that freeze first. No matter how warm the rest of your body, if your hands become too cold, it's game over on enjoying your ride. Getting a pair of the best winter cycling gloves to keep your fingers functioning, will make a world of difference in the colder months.

Do cycling gloves make a difference?

Unlike ski gloves, the best winter 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.

>>> Best cycling computers: the best bike computers on test

So keeping out the wind is crucial: fabrics such as Gore Windstopper and the similar WindTex will do this, and feature on the best winter cycling gloves,  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 best winter cycling glove 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 on of the best smartwatches for cycling: wrist based performance pushers, the cuff can make it awkward to wear and use.

>>> Check out our buyer's guide to the  best summer cycling gloves here

Best winter cycling gloves

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best winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Wiggle)

Castelli Perfetto RoS gloves

Specifications
Price: £65.00/$69.99
Reasons to buy
+Fit+Lack of bulk allows good levels of dexterity+Protection
Reasons to avoid
-Will eventually let in water

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.

Altura Firestorm Reflective Gloves

(Image credit: Altura)

Altura Firestorm Reflective Gloves

Specifications
Price: £39.99 (UK only)
Reasons to buy
+Warm+Quick drying+Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-Screen compatibility-Limited thumb wipe

Softshell main body fabric, and an Amara suede palm, the Firestorm gloves provide plenty of protection from the elements. They’ll not be a total barrier in downpour, but they will keep the worst off and ditto for windchill and the ‘Altura Dry Technology’ fabric is true to its word in being quick wicking.

On test these gloves have kept my hands warm and mostly dry throughout the harsh winter months, and they've remained in good condition proving their durability. A great pair of gloves for the money, but watch the sizing on this unisex pair.

Santini 365 Origine Long Finger Gloves

(Image credit: Santini)

Santini 365 Origine Long Finger Gloves

Specifications
Price: £30/ $TBC
Reasons to buy
+Windproof+Water resistant+Warmer than many lightweight winter gloves+High cuffs+Smart looking+Made in Italy+Competitive price
Reasons to avoid
-Thumb gets chilly first-No touchscreen sensitivity

On test the Santini 365 Origine Long Finger Gloves get the balance exactly right between low bulk, warmth, light weight and good dexterity. They are also comfortable thanks to stretchy fabrics, a smooth construction and a good fit.

In showers they’re pretty good thanks to the lack of synthetic suede, although the Windstopper fabric does eventually wet out in heavy rain.

Lusso Windtex Thermo Stealth Gloves

(Image credit: Lusso)

Lusso Windtex Thermo Stealth Gloves

Specifications
Price: £57/ $40.32

Lusso's gloves look, feel and perform in a way that's very much on par with gloves twice the price. They're warm, breathable and comfortable to wear. The primary material is a Windtex Membrane Thermal fabric, which extends from the high cuff all the way to the fingers on the outside. It’s stretchy and the high elasticity means this fit close to the skin without needing to be so tight they’re hard to remove.

The windproof gloves are water repellent and come with a snuggly fleecy liner for great warmth. The padding might be a little excessive for some, but then riders who struggle with numb hands - via cold or pressure on the handlebar - will take this as a plus.

Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Gloves with Fusion Control

(Image credit: Sealskinz)

Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Gloves with Fusion Control

Specifications
Price: £75.00/ $95.00
Reasons to buy
+Merino wool lining keeps hands very warm+Goatskin palms allows for good grip of handlebars
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly bulky-Cannot be machine washed

Sealskinz describes its trademarked Fusion Control technology as revolutionary. It consists of three layers: a merino wool inner layer, a hydrophilic waterproof membrane, and a durable goatskin with soft-shell outer layer.

On test these provided very good protection on a cold and windy day, with a secure, but not overly tight feel. The goatskin palms were great for control of bars and shifters too. The triple layers are bulky, so best to crack out when the temperatures really plummet.

Rapha Pro Team Winter Gloves

(Image credit: Rapha)

Rapha Pro Team Winter Gloves

Specifications
Price: £80/ $110
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable+Low bulk+Grippy, unpadded palm+Good dexterity/lever feel+Stylish
Reasons to avoid
-High price-Shortish cuffs require long jacket sleeves

The Rapha Pro Team Winter Gloves are priced high but they're comfortable, stylish, low-bulk and perform exceptionally well at temperatures down to just above freezing.

In rain, the backs keep out the water thanks to a DWR coating that makes raindrops bead off, but the synthetic suede palms absorb it.

Great for chilly days with minimal rain, perfect for a winter league racing.

Assos Assosoires Winter Gloves

(Image credit: Assos)

Assos Assosoires Winter Gloves

Specifications
Price: £70/ $89
Reasons to buy
+Windproof+Comfortable+Long cuffs+Good dexterity+Low bulk+Lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Palms absorb water easily-Padded palm inserts might not be for everyone-No reflective

The Assos Assosoires Winter Gloves have all the quality and style you'd expect at this price and from this brand, but they are not for the very coldest days or the very rainiest days – Assos has specific gloves for those conditions. Instead they are versatile all-rounders that should get a lot of use in milder winters.

The offer great dexterity, workable touch screen fingertips and great wind-blocking, but the palm foam and gel paddling arrangement might not be to everyone's taste.

Specialized Prime Series Thermal Gloves

(Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized Prime Series Thermal Gloves

Specifications
Price: £40/ $45
Reasons to buy
+Windproof+Comfortable+Low bulk+Lightweight+Accurate sizing+Good cuff design+Touchscreen compatible
Reasons to avoid
-For under 5°C you may need a heavier glove-No reflectives

More of a mild winter option, the Specialized Prime Series Thermal Gloves have about a 5°C lower limit, ideal for the majority of chillier autumn and spring riding.

The Polartec Neoshell backs are as totally waterproof as Polartec claims, but as the AX suede palms are ‘hydrophobic’, they're not waterproof, so badged as water resistant. On test we found they can happily withstand a light shower or drizzle no problem.

Breathability is good for the upper temperatures – but if your hands do get hot these gloves are light and packable enough to stash in a pocket.

Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium glove

(Image credit: Gore)

Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium glove

Specifications
Price: £50.00/ $52.46
Reasons to buy
+Excellent wind protection+Grip+Palm features
Reasons to avoid
-Fit across the knuckles

The all-encompassing ‘Gore-Tex Infinium’ is a direct replacement for Gore’s venerable Windstopper range of fabrics, creating a weather proof and breathable technical kit.

The Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium glove utilises a couple of variations of this material for its construction in order to provide protection without packing on the bulk of a ‘typical’ winter glove.

We found there was no denying that the Gore C3 Gore-Tex Infinium glove is completely windproof, with its fleece backing able to help your hands cope with some serious biting winds. The only downer was that the fit wasn't perfect for us, but might be for you.

best winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Wiggle)

GripGrab Ride Waterproof Winter gloves

Specifications
Price: £58.95/$73.20
Reasons to buy
+Good insulation+Grippy palms+Touchscreen capable+Large reflective area on back+Comfortably waterproof
Reasons to avoid
-Come up quite small

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.

best winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Wiggle)

Endura Deluge II winter cycling gloves

Specifications
Price: £49.99/$64.95

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.

best winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Wiggle)

Endura FS260-Pro Nemo Gloves

Specifications
Price: £29.99/$49.99
Reasons to buy
+Competitive price+Keep your hands warm+Supple and flexible
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of breathability-Extra padding would be ideal

We saw these a while ago now, but are still a popular choice for their simple but effective design. Constructed from neoprene, these waterproof gloves keep cold moisture out, but aren't the most breathable.

Padding gives way to a silicone print on the palm, so a true minimalist construction, but the unhindered flexibility means these are a great grab and go winter glove.

DeFeet E-Touch Dura Gloves

(Image credit: DeFeet)

DeFeet E-Touch Dura winter cycling gloves

Specifications
Price: £19.99/24.95
Reasons to buy
+Very comfortable+Wide range of colours+Fairly warm+Touchscreen-friendly design
Reasons to avoid
-Vulnerable to cold winds

Great lightweight glove for autumn/ fall and early spring. The DeFeet E-Touch mean using your touchscreen device no longer require glove removal. They are reasonably bulky, but if you can get them below a pair of deep winter gloves for a liner, it will help keep your hands functioning when you have to use your screen.

best winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Wiggle)

Loffi Adult 2.0 cycling gloves

Specifications
Price: £35
Reasons to buy
+Overall aim of encouraging positive interaction on the road+Warm+Breathable+Water resistant+Value
Reasons to avoid
-A bit roomy

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.

What are the best gloves for cycling?

Finding a pair of the best winter cycling gloves with good protection against the cold is essential. 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.

The best winter cycling gloves are crucial in order to maintain warmth and keep the dexterity required to ride a bike safely.

Here's what to look for in the best winter cycling gloves.

best winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Wiggle)

The first layer of protection on the best winter cycling gloves 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, or Infinium as it's also known as, something that is used in the the best winter cycling gloves of many brands aside from Gore itself, although there are some other options that can 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.

best winter cycling gloves

You'll want gloves with a good layer of thermal protection to keep warm air in

(Image credit: Wiggle)

The second line of protection in the best winter cycling gloves 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 winter, then you're going to want the best winter cycling glove for the weather.

best winter cycling gloves

Neoprene gloves, such as these GripGrab ones, are good options for wet but mild weather

(Image credit: Wiggle)

In milder 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.

>>> Better than a Castelli Gabba? Wet weather racing jackets on test

best winter cycling gloves

If you're heading out in really grim weather, you'll want some winter cycling gloves to keep you dry as well as warm

(Image credit: Wiggle)

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 on the best winter cycling gloves 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, the best winter cycling gloves will have long cuffs to help keep that chilly north easterly out of your sleeves.

>>> The best cycling overshoes: a buyer's guide

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.

best winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Wiggle)

This means you've got a decision to make as to whether you wear the cuff of the gloves over the top or underneath the cuff of your jacket.

If your jacket has loose sleeves then it's worth getting a pair of gloves with a tight cuff, over which you can pull the sleeves of your jacket. This is also the case when it's raining. If your jacket is waterproof, then the rain bead off the arms and end up filling the gloves from the top like a bucket. Velcro straps or zipps will help mitigate this slightly, but tucking in is the best form of rain defence.

When the weather is dry, then running cuffs over sleeves is by far an easier option, especially if you have to remove your gloves to use a touchscreen.

>>> Winter bikes: do you really need one

best winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Wiggle)

If you do find yourself running hot in the middle of a winter club run, pulling down cuffs can be a good way to cool off relatively quickly as your blood runs so close to the skin at the wrist, this can be an excellent place to control your body temperature.

Riding on wet or even icy roads can be treacherous, so being completely in control of your bike is more essential than ever. Even holding on to the handlebars in the wet can be difficult, particularly if you're using smooth bar tape.

best winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Wiggle)

With this in mind the best winter cycling glove will have a slightly tacky surfaces on the palm 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 some of the best winter cycling gloves now come with fingertips specially designed to be used with touchscreens.

best winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Wiggle)

The best winter cycling gloves will also have an absorbent patch, usually located on the thumb with which to wipe your ever running nose, and it's also useful for wiping rain and road grime off cycling glasses.

Another important thing the best winter cycling gloves will have, or not have in this case is seams. The last thing you want is big seams on the inside of the gloves that will dig into your hands or between fingers, which could prove to be an irritating after a few hours in the saddle.

How to keep your hands warm when riding a bike:

If your fingers are frozen, it's vital to get them warm and functioning again asap. As one of only three touch points with your bike, loosing radio communication with your hands is not only painful, but it can be dangerous too. Investing in a pair of the best cycling gloves for winter will not only make your rides in the coldest temperatures more enjoyable, but also much safer for you.

There are also some good to know ways of keeping hands warm when riding other than just your bike gloves:

Finally, if none on the above helps your hands stay warm, consider other factors such as your handle bar set up, read more in our Expert bike fit advice and no how pages. You might find that a tweak in your front end set up is enough to regain the blood flow to your hands.

Combined with the best winter cycling gloves, these tips should keep you pedaling through even the coldest of months, and enjoying cycling 356 days of the year.