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Best winter cycling gloves 2022 - Options to help you fend off frozen fingers this winter

Cyclist in high vis cycling clothing and Gore Windstopper gloves blows into his hands to try to warm them up
(Image credit: Gore)

Staying warm on a cold-weather ride can often feel like an uphill battle, balancing warmth, resistance to the elements and breathability. The best winter cycling gloves can transform your ride, since your hands will take the brunt of the cold wind, rain, snow and whatever else your winter cycling endeavours throw at you, so it's crucial to find the right level of insulation, wind and waterproofing, without compromising dexterity. 

You can don any of the best winter cycling jackets, lace up the best winter cycling shoes and throw on the warmest of the best winter cycling socks, but your hands are vital for controlling your bike and they're also the first body part that hits the wind when cycling, so keeping them warm is imperative to remaining safe and comfortable on the bike. Luckily, our picks of the best winter cycling gloves listed below are designed to do just that. 

Best winter cycling gloves

Castelli Perfetto RoS gloves

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)
Water and wind protection with a fleeced interior

Specifications

Waterproof: Resistant
Palm: Silicone print with CDS

Reasons to buy

+
Gore-Tex Infinium Stretch fabric
+
Grippy palm
+
Lack of bulk
+
Warmth

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly short in the wrist
-
Fingers a few millimetres too long

Just like how Castelli's range of Perfetto RoS jackets are some of the best winter cycling jackets, the Perfetto RoS gloves live up to the high bar that has been set. The grippy palm incorporates the Castelli Damping System (CDS) to provide cushioning over long rides. The Gore-Tex Infinium fabric does a great job of keeping out the cold, wind and rain, and inside, there's a fleeced interior which does a great job of keeping feeling in your fingers. 

There's a couple of grip-strips on the fingers to aid braking, and a touchscreen-compatible fingertip on the index finger. In our testing, there were no gaps at the sleeves, but the cuffs are a little shorter than much of the competition so if you're long in the arm or your winter jacket isn't up to scratch, you might find a small gap at the wrists. 

Check out our Castelli Perfetto RoS gloves review to find out why we gave them full marks.

(Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
Best winter cycling gloves for all-day rides in heavy rain

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes
Palm: Neoprene with silicone print

Reasons to buy

+
Warm whatever the weather
+
Fantastic close-yet-comfortable fit
+
Low-bulk high-protection ratio

Reasons to avoid

-
Neoprene will always make your hands sweaty
-
No touchscreen functionality

Neoprene gloves are rarely the most popular option when it comes to choosing the best winter cycling gloves, but the Spatz Neoz gloves make a solid case for choosing the material that's more commonly found in wetsuits.

Each section of the Neoz gloves use neoprene of varying thickness for comfort and dexterity, with a brushed interior for added warmth, and the cuff comes up your forearm further than most, and despite trying them with every single jacket in our testing pool, we never once had a gap at the wrists. 

As they're neoprene, your hands will still get wet, but rather than being from the cold rain, it'll be from your sweat inside, which ultimately means your hands will stay warm no matter the conditions, and given the skintight fit and grippy palms, you'll lose no dexterity or control. 

Read our review of the Spatz Neoz gloves to see why they earned the elusive five-star review.

Castelli Espresso GT Winter Cycling Gloves

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
The warmest five-finger glove in the Castelli portfolio

Specifications

Waterproof: No
Palm: Synthetic

Reasons to buy

+
Zipper is easy to move and there's no chance of snagging anything
+
Silicone grip on the palm feels great against the controls
+
Pull tab works well
+
Excellent mobility
+
Squared fingertips balance fit and warmth

Reasons to avoid

-
Not actually waterproof
-
Expensive
-
No touchscreen fingertip

Taking the mantle as Castelli's warmest five-finger glove option, the Espresso GT gloves are genuinely among the best winter cycling gloves you can buy. After putting them through the wringer, our tester Josh Ross found them to be good enough to extend his colder rides, getting more time on the bike as a result.

Unlike most winter cycling gloves, which are fastened with a Velcro strap or elasticated wrist, Castelli's Espresso GTs feature a zippered closure system, which certainly works really well. It reduces any chance of your gloves snagging against your sleeves, helping you to stay comfortable, and the silicone print palm works well to offer grip and control.

For more details, take a look at our Castelli Espresso GT Gloves review.

Velocio Alpha winter cycling gloves

(Image credit: Laura Fletcher)
A deep winter glove for sub-zero temperatures

Specifications

Waterproof: Resistant
Palm: Synthetic

Reasons to buy

+
Super Soft Polartec Alpha fleece lining
+
Withstands cold temperatures
+
Wind proofing and water resistance
+
Great grip on palms and fingers
+
Generous cuff length

Reasons to avoid

-
High price
-
Removal with wet hands is tricky
-
No smartphone functionality

These winter gloves from Velocio are lined with Polartec Alpha fleece and designed to keep your hands warm in sub-zero temperatures. The outer membrane is windproof and water-resistant, while the generous cuff length gives you maximum coverage to keep the chill at bay.

While gloves designed for the deep freeze are usually very bulky, our tester Laura actually found Velocio's Alpha Winter gloves to be low-profile in design, thanks to the 3D Polartec insulation which creates a thin layer with a very high warmth to weight ratio. This helps you maintain dexterity, grip and full control while riding.

We've included even more detail in our Velocio Alpha winter cycling gloves review.

Pair of Gore-Tex Infinium Split gloves on a leafy ground

(Image credit: David Arthur)
They might look a bit odd but it’s a small price to pay for total warmth

Specifications

Waterproof: Resistant
Palm: Synthetic

Reasons to buy

+
Superbly warm
+
Easy to operate gears and brake levers
+
Luxuriously comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite expensive
-
It's not always cold enough for them

These strange-looking 'lobster claw' gloves are designed to keep the majority of your fingers together, so your natural body heat can keep them warm, as opposed to segregating them all from each other. Many split gloves separate the index and middle finger from the third and fourth fingers in a Spock-like pose, but these are slightly different. They isolate the index finger, grouping the second, third and fourth digit together. This split allows you to operate your gears and brakes with greater control, and the gloves offer highly impressive warmth and comfort.

However, if you ride somewhere with relatively mild winters, you might find these to be a bit overkill, and they'll certainly need to be reserved for the coldest of the cold. 

Our review of the Gore Infinium Thermo Split gloves will tell you everything you need to know about them.

(Image credit: David Arthur)
Best winter cycling gloves for dry and breezy conditions

Specifications

Waterproof: No
Palm: Silicone print

Reasons to buy

+
Windstopper X-Fast fabric
+
Grippy palm
+
Extremely warm
+
Details and durability

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of reflective details

Not every winter ride includes a thorough drenching, sometimes you just need a glove to stop the piercing cold wind, and that's where the Castelli Estremo excels. Made from Gore’s Windstopper X-Fast fabric on the back of the hand, the interior is lined with plush fleece.

Designed for sub-freezing temps, the Estremo palm is silicone printed, and there is gel padding on the heel of the hand. The neoprene wrist makes its way well up your arm and sees a wide velcro closure to batten down the hatches. All in, the grip and control are great, and the gloves are great for those who ride in breezy but dry conditions. 

You can read more about them in our Castelli Estremo gloves review.

(Image credit: Mildred Locke)
Close-fit high-comfort gloves that work well in milder winters

Specifications

Waterproof: Resistant
Palm: Synthetic leather

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable, low-bulk fit
+
Windproof and able to withstand light-to-medium rain
+
Adjustable Velcro cuff
+
Touchscreen compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suited to deep winter weather
-
Slightly longer-than-average fingers

Depending on where you live, you might not need a glove ready to handle freezing temperatures, relentless rain and biting breezes. If that's you, and you're after a glove that will keep your hands cosy in milder winters, then the Specialized Prime Series Thermal Glove is one of the best winter cycling gloves for the job. 

Its low-bulk construction is comfortable for road and off-road riding, yet the Polartec Neoshell upper panel provides just enough protection against cold winds and light rain. There's not too much padding, but the AX Suede palm offers a secure grippy hold on bar tape, even when wet. The index finger is smartphone friendly, and the adjustable Velcro cuff makes them easy to fit and remove. 

Our reviewer Mildred awarded 4.5 stars (out of 5) to the women's Specialized Prime Series Thermal gloves - which aside from slight sizing differences, are the same as the men's.

(Image credit: David Arthur)
Windstopper gloves from the membrane masters

Specifications

Waterproof: No
Palm: Synthetic leather

Reasons to buy

+
Windstopper membrane
+
Slim fit

Reasons to avoid

-
Elastic cuff

As you can gather from the name, these gloves are made using Gore's Windstopper fabric which features a laminated membrane to protect your hands from the cutting cold wind. Beyond just blocking the breeze, the gloves also feature synthetic insulation that, we're happy to report, stays warm even when wet, as well as a brushed 'thermo lining' for next-to-skin comfort. 

The synthetic leather palm sees silicone details on the forehand for added grip and light padding to keep your hands happy after a few hours on the road. The thumb sees a terry cloth nose wipe, and the elastic wrist is close-fitting. 

We've given a full rundown of what we like about these gloves in our Gore Windstopper Thermo gloves review.

Sportful Sotto Zero Gloves top down view

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Sportful's warmest winter cycling gloves

Specifications

Waterproof: Light
Palm: Synthetic

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

Literally translating to 'Below Zero' the Sottozero are the warmest gloves in the Sportful line-up, and unsurprisingly, are designed to keep you comfortable all the way down to sub-freezing temperatures. The outer membrane offers light rain protection, while the synthetic Clarino palm feels like suede and maintains a firm grip on the bars.

The upper features a 2.5-layer membrane construction, with a layer of Primaloft Silver insulation beneath. Mimicking the properties of down, Primaloft provides a lot of warmth, even when wet. Inside the glove, you'll find a fleece lining that feels soft against the skin and provides a bit of loft. Our reviewer, Josh Ross, found them to be a joy to wear.

Find out more about what he liked, in our Sportful Sottozero winter gloves review.

Sealskinz heated cycling gloves

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Best winter cycling gloves for those who really struggle with cold hands

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes
Palm: Goatskin

Reasons to buy

+
Heating elements go to the end of the fingertips
+
Goatskin palm is luxurious
+
Long battery life
+
Not much bulk in the hand of the gloves

Reasons to avoid

-
Pressure relief dots actually create pressure points
-
Bulky cuff design
-
Proprietary charging
-
Not washable

If your hands really suffer from the cold, you might be interested to try a set of gloves like these, with an integrated heating element to offer your digits a boost in warmth. We think they're an excellent idea for mid-ride warm-ups and short, low-intensity rides. 

They boast a luxurious-feeling goatskin palm and pressure-relief points. They're not as bulky as you might expect them to be, as well. Of course, since they rely on battery power, you do need to bear in mind that the battery must also be carried, which does result in a slightly bulky cuff. However, if you're really struggling in the winter, then it's a sacrifice you might be willing to make.

You can read all about how these work in our SealSkinz Waterproof Heated Cycle Glove review.

(Image credit: David Arthur)
Funk-free glove liners

Specifications

Waterproof: No
Palm: Merino wool

Reasons to buy

+
Odour resistance
+
Lightweight
+
Versatile options
+
Highly breathable
+
High warmth to weight ratio
+
Soft feel with a very comfortable, snug fit

Reasons to avoid

-
No added grip
-
Light on details

A bit like a sleeping bag liner, a good set of glove liners will make any set of winter mitts considerably warmer. The Altura Merino Liners can be worn on their own in mild conditions or inside a warmer pair like the Pearl Izumi AmFib Lobster for when the weather is truly nasty. 

Beyond merino's insulation properties, we like wool liners because they don't pick up a stench, and when you inevitably forget to wash them, they won't leave your hands smelling like your first pair of cycling shoes.  

For more hands-on details, check out our review of the Altura Merino Liner gloves.

(Image credit: David Arthur)
Gloves for mild winters

Specifications

Waterproof: No
Palm: AX Suede

Reasons to buy

+
Warm enough for cold rides
+
Reflective detailing, windproof fabric
+
Good fit without being restrictive or loose
+
Gel padded palm is comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for a polar vortex
-
Short cuff can leave a gap to the sleeves

For riding in shoulder-season or areas with mild winters, the Giro Blaze II is the ideal mid-weight glove to keep your hands happy as temperatures begin to fall. With light insulation and a soft fleece lining, the back of the hand sees Polartec's Windbloc fabric, and the stretchy cuff neoprene is long enough to keep your wrist covered.

The AX Suede palm has light padding on the heel of the hand and is smartphone friendly. Available in black or neon yellow, both have reflective stripes for added after dark visibility. 

Read our Giro Blaze 2.0 gloves review for a full breakdown of what we like about them.

Sportful NoRain gloves

(Image credit: David Arthur)
The Goldilocks glove for mild and wet winters

Specifications

Waterproof: Yes
Palm: Synthetic

Reasons to buy

+
Keeps most of the rain out
+
Good for unpredictable mixed conditions
+
Comfortable and good fitting

Reasons to avoid

-
No padding
-
Few reflective details

As the name suggests, these are winter gloves designed for riding in the wet. They're perfect for those days when the weather cannot make up its mind, as they provide good wind- and water resistance, as well as decent insulation and comfort. We call them the Goldilocks because they really do feel just right.

The glove gets its name from the NoRain fabric used in its construction. It features nanotechnology that provides water repellency without affecting the material's fit, feel and breathability. The fabric feels soft against the skin, and the gloves will serve you well for rides in temperatures as low as 10C/50F.

Keen to learn more? Our Sportful NoRain gloves review has all the info you need.

Sportul Fiandre Gloves

(Image credit: Josh Ross)
Superb levels of winter protection with zipped entry and grippy palm

Specifications

Waterproof: Repellent
Palm: Synthetic with silicone print

Reasons to buy

+
Polartec membrane offers great levels of protection
+
Excellent bar feel
+
touchscreen friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
Zipper is tough to undo

Coming out of the same factory as Castelli, Sportful's winter kit shouldn't be overlooked. Its Fiandre line has gained a reputation for top quality winter wear, and these Fiandre Gloves are no different. 

Opting to use a Polartec membrane instead of GoreTex, the Sportful gloves still offer brilliant levels of protection against the wind, rain and cold. The cuff is a perfect length, covering the gap at the end of your sleeve without cooking your entire forearm, and it's made using a close-fitting neoprene that keeps the wind and water out, while the zipper makes getting them on and off a breeze. 

The entire palm is covered in a silicone print for extra grip, the Sportful 'S' logos are reflective, and the index fingers are smartphone touchscreen compatible. They do come up a little bulky compared to the similarly priced Assos Winter Glove and Castelli Perfetto ROS, but they're comfortable and impressively protective against the elements. 

Find out more in our review of the Sportful Fiandre gloves.

How to choose the best winter cycling gloves for you

Do cycling gloves make a difference?

In winter, there's an obvious benefit to wearing cycling gloves. With your hands on the handlebars, they are exposed, and they're first thing that hits the wind whilst you're riding along. If you don't wear gloves in winter, the cold wind, rain, sleet and snow will quickly chill your hands to the point that they go numb and lose feeling. Without this dexterity and feeling, you won't be able to control your bike as well, which is dangerous. 

The best winter cycling gloves are built to withstand the onrushing wind and rain to protect your hands. Some work to keep them dry, while others focus on keeping them warm so that you retain dexterity, and thus, control of your bike. 

How much winter protection do I need in my cycling gloves?

If you live in Florida a set of lobster claw gloves will probably never leave the drawer, and a pair of liners will probably suffice for keeping your hands happy on a winter ride; on the other hand (pun intended) if you're a roadie who lives in Iceland, a pair of bar mitts are very unlikely to keep your hands warm enough.

Same goes for wind and waterproofing, for our UK readers, wet weather riding is a given and a glove with a waterproof membrane is likely to leave you happier than one that doesn't, while if you live on the Gold Coast in Australia, you can probably get away with just a windproof membrane. 

Finding the right level of insulation and breathability is key as if your hands overheat and saturate your gloves with sweat, you're still going to end up with cold fingers.


What type of weatherproofing do I need in my winter cycling gloves?

Is DWR coating better than a pure windproof or waterproof glove?

There is a significant difference between windproof fabrics, waterproof fabrics and DWR or Durable Water Repellent treated materials though quite often they all get lumped in as one. 

Wind and waterproof fabrics are laminated and feature a perforated internal membrane which is what ultimately keeps the elements at bay. Windproof fabrics are rated according to the volume of air that can pass through one square meter of the fabric in one second; a membrane is considered windproof with air permeability rating less than 5 l/m²/s.

Waterproof fabrics are rated using the water column test, a 1-inch-diameter column of water is placed over the fabric for 24 hours, and the millimetre rating is the height of the column before the fabric begins to leak. a true waterproof fabric needs to have a 15k rating or higher.

DWR is a surface treatment that sheds moisture and prevents the fabric from wetting through for a period of time without inhibiting breathability. When a DWR treatment binds to a textile, it creates microspikes that protrude from the fibres and force water droplets to maintain their surface tension, creating beads which roll-off. DWR treatments are not a substitute for waterproofing and will wear away after a period of time. 

Do I want winter cycling gloves with fingers, or are mittens better?

Mittens will often be warmer than gloves because there's less wind-catching surface area surrounding the fingers, and the heat from each finger is shared. However, this added warmth comes at the cost of dexterity.

If gloves simply don't keep your hands toasty, there are three-finger or lobster claw options that pair a few of your fingers together while still offering some dexterity. 

How long should a winter cycling glove's cuff be?

The cuff is arguably the most overlooked aspect of a glove, providing a major opening for cold to sneak inside. A good winter cycling glove will have some way to close up this wrist-opening using velcro or a drawstring. For deep-winter cycling gloves, also look for an extended cuff that will overlap with the sleeve of your jacket.

Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.