Best winter cycling gloves 2023 - Just the right warmth for the full range of winter weather

Best winter cycling gloves
(Image credit: Josh Ross)

The best winter cycling gloves are one of the most important pieces of gear you have when the temperatures start to dip. Unlike other sports, cycling requires holding your hands out in the brunt of the weather without moving much.  It could be raining, brutally cold and windy, or even snowing and your hands have to sit there, out in front, taking on everything the winter weather has to throw at them.  

Naturally, a pair of winter cycling gloves is deemed essential for almost anyone who rides in the cold, but even the best winter cycling gloves are only one piece of the system that keeps you warm and comfortable. If you want to keep your hands warm you've also got to keep your core and your arms warm with one of the best winter cycling jackets and a base layer. Still, gloves are their own unique animal and it takes a lot of trial and error to get them right.  

If you've spent a long time searching for just the right option, you aren't alone. I've spent hours in the rain and cold testing a huge range of options. Keep reading to see what I find works for me in a variety of situations. Match up your needs to my testing to find a solid option for whatever riding you plan to do this winter.

Best winter cycling gloves available today

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Best winter cycling gloves - Castelli Perfetto RoS gloves

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best winter cycling gloves for above-freezing rides

Specifications

Colours Available: Black
Water Resistance: DWR and water resistant Infinium membrane
Temperature range: Early Winter
Padding: Foam padding at heel of palm
Closure Style: Pull on
Touch screen compatibility: Thumb and index finger

Reasons to buy

+
Fleece interior
+
Only light padding
+
High stretch neoprene on inside of wrist

Reasons to avoid

-
Long finger fit

Castelli is a tight partner with Gore technologies and the whole winter lineup uses Gore fabrics throughout. It makes sense because it's difficult to do better than the performance and if you are looking for the right option in less extreme weather, Gore-Tex Infinium is one of the best options. 

The Castelli Perfetto RoS gloves use Gore-Tex Infinium for almost the entire construction. That means there is a membrane and it's completely windproof but highly breathable. It also offers a high degree of water resistance although it's not considered waterproof. Aiding in the water resistance, Castelli applies durable water repellent to the outer surfaces and there's a minimal seam design. The wind resistance alone does go a long way towards providing warmth but the inside is a fleece that feels great against the skin and adds even more warmth. 

There's no change of material for the palm, just added panels of synthetic suede covered in silicone dots at the base of the knuckles and heel of the palm. The first two fingers also have a strip of silicone to help with grabbing the levers. The one thing to watch out for is the length of the fingers. This will depend on your hand but for me, they are long and since I am on the line between sizes, down a size is better. 

Read more details in our Castelli Perfetto RoS gloves review.

Best winter cycling gloves - Sportful Sottozero winter gloves

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best winter cycling gloves for light winters

Specifications

Colours Available: Red, Cedar, Black
Water Resistance: Windproof membrane and DWR coating
Temperature range: Early Winter
Padding: None
Closure Style: Hook and loop
Touch screen compatibility: Thumb and index finger

Reasons to buy

+
Light rain protection
+
Excellent grip on the bars
+
Thumb and Index finger smartphone compatibility

Reasons to avoid

-
Hook and Loop closure is difficult to undo

Every Sportful glove I've ever tried feels amazing gripping the bars. It was exactly that feeling, almost like a surgical glove, that almost got the Sportful Fiandre Light gloves on this list. In the end, they aren't quite warm enough but Sportful does have another option that's just as grippy. 

The Sportful Sottozero winter gloves represent the warmest option that Sportful offers. Although they continue to be a lighter winter option, they have the same style of ultra-grippy palm. The only spots where there are no silicone dots are on the tip of the forefinger and thumb where there's touchscreen compatibility. The rest of the construction builds on the palm by first wrapping the same faux suede from the palm over the whole thumb and into the forefinger. From there, it gives way to a tight knit external fabric with a windproof membrane and a DWR coating. 

The interior uses Primaloft Silver insulation as well as a soft, cozy, fleece liner that doesn't pull out. Keeping the wrist tight is the job of a hook and loop closure that works well but might see you using your teeth to get it open. 

Read more in our full Sportful Sottozero winter gloves review.

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best winter cycling gloves for all-around use at a value price

Specifications

Colours Available: Red, Cedar, Black
Water Resistance: Waterproof membrane
Temperature range: Full Winter
Padding: Light foam outside of heel
Closure Style: Hook and loop
Touch screen compatibility: None

Reasons to buy

+
Hardwearing exterior
+
True to size with an excellent fit
+
High visibility option available

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks touchscreen compatibility

Gore invented the idea of a breathable membrane. Many of the other options on this list use either a Gore-branded membrane or a duplicate of the same concept. Not every membrane Gore makes is waterproof, but the membrane in the Gore C5 Gore-Tex gloves is absolutely and completely waterproof and guaranteed to be so. 

That makes these the warmest fully waterproof gloves that Gore offers. There is some small print to consider though. A waterproof membrane doesn't mean your hands will stay dry. Water has a way of getting in and while it won't come through the membrane, it can come through the wrist. The face fabrics can also hold water but one of the advantages of the Gore C5 Gore-Tex gloves is both the faux leather palm and the upper fabric is heavier than other options. These gloves hold up not only to rain but also to daily use. They also tend to show up at great prices. They do lack touchscreen functionality but anyone who rides long distances in cold and rainy climates will be well served by purchasing multiple pairs when the price is right.

Read more in our full Gore C5 Gore-Tex gloves review.

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best winter cycling gloves for five finger gloves on the coldest days

Specifications

Colours Available: Black
Water Resistance: Waterproof membrane
Temperature range: Full Winter
Padding: None
Closure Style: Zipper
Touch screen compatibility: None

Reasons to buy

+
Zipper is easy to move and there's no chance of snagging anything
+
The silicone grip on the palm feels great against the controls
+
Squared fingertips balance fit and warmth

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks touchscreen compatibility

When I talked about the Castelli Perfetto RoS Gloves I spent some time discussing the Castelli and Gore partnership. I also talk about that in our list of the best winter cycling jackets because Gore technologies end up in most cold-weather Castelli gear. The same thing is true with the Gore C5 Gore-Tex Thermo gloves above and the Castelli Espresso GT gloves here. They both use a very similar construction and that includes the waterproof Gore-Tex membrane. 

Where they differ is in the details: the Castelli Espresso GT switches from a hook and loop closure to a zippered closure that won't ever snag clothes. They also use a longer cut at the wrist, a squared-off fingertip shape, and lots of silicone grip material on the palm. Despite the similar construction, I find the Castelli gloves slightly warmer and overall better gloves. 

They do come with a cost though. Quite literally, they are much more expensive. They also lose the hard-wearing exterior of the Gore gloves, although both have held up fine for me. They still carry many of the drawbacks of the Gore glove though, such as the lack of touchscreen compatibility.

Read more in our full Castelli Espresso GT gloves review.

Best winter cycling gloves - POC AVIP Glove long

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

POC AVIP Glove long

Best winter cycling gloves when the temperature starts to dip

Specifications

Colours Available: Zinc Orange
Water Resistance: None
Temperature range: Early Winter
Padding: Very light pad at heel of palm
Closure Style: Pull on
Touch screen compatibility: Conductive pad on thumb

Reasons to buy

+
Bright colour is good for visibility
+
Strong integrated pull tab
+
Close fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of touchscreen pad on index finger

Finding the right place to start the winter cycling glove journey is a challenge. There are a variety of excellent options that sit in between our list of the best cycling gloves which covers summer needs and this list. The POC AVIP long gloves are one small step warmer. What helps them make sense in this list is that it is possible to layer gloves and the POC AVIP long gloves make a good candidate for that use. They lack a membrane of any kind but they do add insulation. The palm uses a synthetic suede that's well ventilated and feels great against the bars but it is a little bit thicker than is typical for this type of construction. The back is also just a bit thicker than expected. There is no pad but the heel of the palm features a double layer that adds a small amount of padding without any possibility of creating a hotspot. The palm extends into a pull tab to get the gloves on as there's no other closure. The other thing that's great about the POC AVIP long is that in a sea of black gloves they are incredibly visible. 

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best winter cycling gloves if you hate the feel of gloves

Specifications

Colours Available: Black, Highlight Yellow
Water Resistance: Waterproof membrane
Temperature range: Early Winter
Padding: None
Closure Style: Pull on
Touch screen compatibility: Thumb and index finger

Reasons to buy

+
Great feedback and control
+
Comfortable to wear
+
Useable in the rain

Reasons to avoid

-
Touchscreen control doesn’t work

Knit gloves are a staple of winter riding in the cold and wet and there is a somewhat endless range of choices for them. Lots of companies make them and I've yet to find a particular advantage to one brand. The Giro Xnetic H20 gets the nod because they have a high visibility colour and some of the best pricing. There are lovers of these style gloves that manage to make them work through an entire winter. I run cold though and I find that in the US Pacific Northwest, these are strictly an option for milder days. 

When the temperature is right though, they are a joy to wear. It doesn't feel like you are wearing a heavy performance glove. Instead, it's a comfy knit glove that just happens to build in complete wind-blocking. They do also have a waterproof membrane but you have to keep in mind that the exterior isn't waterproof and will hold water. This is true of almost all waterproof gloves but knit gloves are particularly prone to this phenomenon. This feature is part of what makes them work in early-season riding. When the temperatures aren't too low, they might end up wet but warm and it works. Aside from understanding how to get the most out of this style of glove, don't expect the touchscreen controls to work. There is a conductive spot but I always needed to take the gloves off to use a phone.

Read more in our Giro Xnetic H20 gloves review.

Best winter cycling gloves - Sealskinz Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Insulated Gauntlet Gloves

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

Sealskinz Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Insulated Gauntlet Gloves

Best winter cycling gloves with natural materials

Specifications

Colours Available: Black/Neon Yellow & Black
Water Resistance: Waterproof membrane
Temperature range: Full Winter
Padding: Foam on outside of heel
Closure Style: Hook and loop
Touch screen compatibility: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Sheepskin leather and merino wool
+
Primaloft Gold and Aerogel insulation
+
Long gauntlet helps keep water and cold out

Reasons to avoid

-
Difficult to clean

The Sealskinz Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Insulated Gauntlet Gloves start with a sheepskin leather palm. It's luxurious to touch and makes for great dexterity in the fingers. That dexterity is further helped by more sheepskin covering the top of the fingers up to the knuckles. Sealskinz adds to the usefulness of the gloves by including a large flat cushion in the outer heel and touchscreen compatibility. 

You can also find natural materials on the inside where the lining is 84% merino wool. Between the two layers is a waterproof membrane as well as a combination of the two best insulation options that Primaloft offers. The insulation isn't a natural fibre but it will retain some heat even if wet and it's also made from recycled materials. The long gauntlet design does help make sure you don't have to test how much heat the insulation will hold when wet. Just be sure not to machine wash or tumble dry them. 

Best winter cycling gloves - Pearl Izumi AmFib Lobster Glove

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best winter cycling gloves for the coldest days

Specifications

Colours Available: Black/Black & Dark Tan
Water Resistance: durable water-repellent technology
Temperature range: Deep Winter
Padding: 3D shaped gel palm pad
Closure Style: Hook and loop
Touch screen compatibility: Thumb and index finger

Reasons to buy

+
Water resistance
+
AX grain palm feels like leather but it's vegan
+
Warmth vs price

Reasons to avoid

-
Lining comes out with your hand

I'm hardly breaking new ground here by recommending the Pearl Izumi AmFib Lobster Glove. Talk to most cyclists who've been riding in seriously cold weather for a long time and these will come up. The reason they are so well known and loved comes down to what it takes to keep you warm. You can make exceptionally warm five-finger gloves but after a certain point, the price starts to seriously jump. It takes careful design and high technology for the warmest five-finger gloves and Pearl Izumi offers the opportunity to trade dexterity for cost. 

The Lobster glove design pairs your first two fingers and your last two fingers for warmth at a much lower price. It's still easy enough to handle braking and shifting, and there's even touchscreen compatibility, but it does require a little bit more thinking about it at first. 

You will want to mostly save these for drier days though. Pearl Izumi uses a technology called PI dry to apply DWR at the fibre level. It won't ever wash off but it's still a durable water repellent and that only goes so far. After enough time these will soak through and it becomes hard to get your hands out when they are wet. 

Read more in our full Pearl Izumi AmFIB Lobster Gel gloves review.

(Image credit: Josh Ross)

Sportful Lobster Gloves

Best winter cycling gloves for layering when it's cold and wet

Specifications

Colours Available: Black
Water Resistance: Waterproof fabric and sealed seams
Temperature range: Deep Winter with a liner
Padding: None
Closure Style: Elastic drawstring
Touch screen compatibility: Thumb pad

Reasons to buy

+
Waterproof
+
Works as an outer layer for other gloves
+
Lots of silicone grip on palm

Reasons to avoid

-
Low price still requires a second pair of gloves

Throughout this guide, I've mentioned over and over again that a waterproof membrane is completely and totally waterproof. I've also explained that just because that is true it does not mean a glove with a waterproof membrane is waterproof. The reality of riding in the rain is that water will find a way around the membrane. Given enough time, you will end up with a soaking wet glove even though the membrane is waterproof. 

In tackling this problem, Sportful has gone a different direction with the Lobster glove. There is no fabric that can absorb water, just a waterproof shell that you put over a glove of your choice. You can run the shell under running water and it will stay dry inside, plus it adds significant warmth by locking in heat and blocking wind. 

You can stretch a fall/spring glove like the POC AVIP Long well into winter for a lot less money. When it gets truly cold, switch to something heavier like the Sportful Sottozero gloves. I checked; they will fit. Of course, that does mean you need at least two pairs of gloves but if you are riding in the rain that's going to be useful anyway. The shell also brings more to the table than just protection. There's touchscreen compatibility on the thumb and the same excellent use of silicone on the palm that Sportful always does well. 

Best winter cycling glove - Rapha Deep Winter Gloves s

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best winter gloves for luxury warmth in dry weather

Specifications

Colours Available: Black
Water Resistance: Waterproof membrane
Temperature range: Deep Winter
Padding: Outside of palm
Closure Style: Elastic band and hook and loop
Touch screen compatibility: None

Reasons to buy

+
Extra room for internal layering
+
Faux leather is grippy and luxurious
+
Excellent wrist cuff design

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks touchscreen compatibility

When discussing the Pearl Izumi AmFib Lobster glove I mentioned that it was possible to make a warm five-finger glove but it was expensive. Rapha has your answer if that doesn’t scare you away. These are the warmest five-finger gloves I've tested, so if you're riding in sub-zero temperatures but want to keep the dexterity of a five-finger design, the Rapha Deep Winter gloves are the best choice. 

It starts at the wrist with a double-cuff design that's easy to get on but equally easy to seal against your jacket. The palms use a faux leather that's a joy to touch and does a great job providing grip, although it does lack touchscreen compatibility. The insulation comes from Primaloft and it's dense in a way that you don't find in other gloves. If you want to add even more warmth, Rapha has shaped the gloves to account for a merino liner too. 

Rapha also considers these an option for wet weather and uses an Outdry design to achieve performance. Despite that, these gloves will eventually soak through just like a Gore-Tex glove, so as good as these are, if wet weather riding is your need, you'll find yourself better served with two pairs of cheaper gloves and a mid-ride change. 

Read more in our full Rapha Deep Winter Gloves review.

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best winter cycling gloves when you can't warm your hands

Specifications

Colours Available: Black
Water Resistance: Waterproof membrane
Temperature range: Deep Winter
Padding: Under each knuckle and three spots across palm
Closure Style: Elastic drawstring
Touch screen compatibility: None

Reasons to buy

+
Low bulk design
+
Heating element goes to end of fingers
+
Excellent wrist cuff design

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks touchscreen compatibility

The best winter cycling gloves work in partnership with your body. You build heat and a good pair of gloves helps to hold it around your hands through a combination of trapping warm air in and keeping the elements out. The problem with that arrangement is that your body isn't always capable of generating enough heat. That's where the Sealskinz Waterproof Heated Cycling Gloves make sense. 

One of the places where they make a lot of sense for a lot of people is when commuting and especially if using an ebike. The heating elements do go all the way to the end of the fingers but your best experience is going to be with the gloves turned all the way up, so plan for that in any battery life calculations. 

As with a few of the other best winter cycling gloves, these use a waterproof membrane construction and while it is possible to soak them through, it won't hurt them. 

If it's wet enough and cold enough, they struggle a little, but Sealskinz makes the only heated cycling-specific gloves on the market and I've heard from a lot of people what a help they are for persistent cold hand issues. If you need a bit of help beyond what your body can do, the Sealskinz Waterproof Heated Cycling Gloves are your answer.

Read more in our full SealSkinz Waterproof Heated Cycle Glove review.

How to choose the best winter cycling gloves

The first thing I tend to tell people about finding the right winter cycling gloves is to go warmer than you think you need. If you are someone who tends to run warm, and constantly has warm hands, you probably know this and you can choose appropriately. For everyone else, go warmer. Your hands sit without moving much for long periods of time and at least for me, when it's cold my hands are cold. I don't think I've ever been on a long cold ride and felt like my hands were too warm. 

The other useful thing to remember is that you should bring more than one pair of gloves. In some ways, this is the counter to my first piece of advice. Not everyone is as cold as me and having another option solves that challenge. It's not always about options though, changing gloves mid-ride is the only way to manage a long winter ride if it's raining. I promise you will not mind the extra bulk of a second set of gloves when you change into them.  

Is there such a thing as waterproof gloves?

The answer depends on the timeframe we are talking about. A good pair of gloves with a waterproof membrane, or even a DWR coating, will keep your hands dry for a while. Ride long enough though and they all saturate. The only option that is actually waterproof is a shell. Sportful makes a shell I included here but there are some others out there. They are truly waterproof but they also require another glove for warmth and that second glove will eventually get wet also. When you leave the house on a bitterly cold day, you might make it through a ride with only a single pair of gloves. If you leave the house and it's raining you will need a change of gloves if you ride longer than about three hours. 

How many winter gloves do you need?

I didn't phrase the question asking "do you need more than one pair of gloves for winter riding?" That's because in my opinion, you absolutely do. The question is only how many do you need? You could think about it from the point of view of changing conditions. The longer you ride in the winter the more gloves you are going to add to your collection. Throughout the winter the temperature changes a lot and there are gloves available for very small differences. 

Then there is the number of gloves you will need on a ride when it's raining. Rides under three hours you might get away with only a single pair of gloves even if it's raining hard. A portion of that won't be totally comfortable though and it ends up being more about getting home before it's a serious problem. My rule of thumb is that I need a new pair of gloves every two hours for my coldest and wettest rides. Those are the rides where it's almost snowing and it's constantly raining. I don't always have enough gloves so I will stretch it out depending on the ride but if I could, that would be my goal. Whatever your ride looks like, find something from our list of the best bikepacking bags and bring extra gloves in it. Make sure it's waterproof and consider bringing a plastic bag to put the wet gloves in. 

What are the warmest winter cycling gloves?

This is a reminder that a five-finger glove will never be the warmest option. If you are struggling with cold fingers, you want to look for a lobster glove. You do give up some dexterity but it's not hard to ride and it will be substantially warmer. It's also worth considering your jacket choice, as cold arms and a cold core will limit your body's ability to keep your fingers warm. 

How do we test the best winter cycling gloves?

I ride long distances through the winter. I ride when it's wet and I also ride when it's cold. I put gloves to the test so that when I recommend an option, I know I can stand behind it and the performance it provides. Some gloves are better in the warm, and some are better in the wet. I spend time riding and testing so that you don't have to test with your wallet. This list represents my search for the best possible gloves in every situation.  

Josh Ross

Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutiae of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 140 lb.
Rides: Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx