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Rapha Deep Winter Gloves review

They are expensive and luxurious but can they deliver on the performance front, too?

Rapha Deep Winter Glove
(Image: © Josh Ross)

Our Verdict

A high-performance dry-weather glove that comes with the price to match

For

  • - Leather palm oozes luxury
  • - Ulnar nerve padding works well
  • - Well designed cuff system

Against

  • - Lacks touchscreen compatibility
  • - Price

The beginning of winter is a hopeful time. The weather is cold but not so bad that it feels insurmountable. You come back from rides feeling like you've conquered something and you are ready for the next opportunity. Winters can be long though and that feeling eventually fades. It gets colder and the idea of conquering the elements is less appealing. That's where a glove like the Rapha Deep Winter Gloves enters the discussion. 

The Rapha Deep Winter Glove is such a specialised design that it hasn't made our list of the best winter cycling gloves. That doesn't mean it's not worthy though. We spent time riding through the cold of January to get a sense of how these gloves fit into the larger ecosystem of options. If you are needing something to keep your hands warm on the coldest days then keep reading to see what we think of the Rapha Deep Winter Gloves.

Rapha Deep Winter Glove detail of the Embroidered logo

This is an understated, high quality, design with precise details.  (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Design and aesthetics

If you want to understand Rapha as a brand all you have to do is spend some time with the Rapha Deep Winter Gloves. Through and through they are high performance luxury and that starts with the outside. It's an understated design. There's very little in the way of detail to catch your eye but there's also not a single loose thread and if you look closely there's a cohesive design language. 

The back of the hands uses a synthetic fabric with a DWR (durable water repellent) treatment for wet weather protection. It's all black with a small Rapha logo in contrasting white stitching that sits at the outer edge below the knuckles. Over all the areas where the fingers bend there is a series of stitch lines breaking up the fabric for more dexterity. The outer edge of the pinky gets a strip of reflective material to help with visibility. 

As you move to the cuff this is where Rapha uses a unique design and really stands apart. It might seem small but doing anything different in a glove is worth a note. In this case you've got a double layer design. The outer shell continues to the end of the glove but the inner section ends earlier. The last, short, section uses a knitted merino cuff that's highly elastic. There's a bit of ribbon stitched to the underside for pulling the gloves on and a hook and loop closure on the outer shell.

The palm takes a different approach compared to the cuff. Instead of doing anything all that unique they've taken a standard design but applied luxury materials. There's no synthetic leather or silicone grip material in this glove. Instead, it's an expanse of, beautiful to touch, leather. Over the ulnar nerve area is a low bulk area of padding while the back of the thumb is suede for when you need to wipe your face. With the pull strip integrated into the inner cuff there's no need for any reinforcement to the cuff. The leather gives way to the outer fabric at the back of the palm. 

Rapha Deep Winter Glove detail of the leather palms

The leather Rapha uses for the palms is gloriously smooth.  (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Performance

As soon as anyone touches the Rapha Deep Winter Gloves the very first thing they do is spend time caressing the soft leather. Cyclist, non-cyclist, it doesn't matter. Everyone does it. You can't escape how luxurious it is and if you are looking for a material to enhance grip on carbon, or aluminium, controls it does the job well. 

It's not without drawbacks though. The biggest glaring deficiency is the lack of touch screen compatibility. In 2022 every glove should have that feature and when it's missing it deserves mention. The leather also means more care if you use these gloves in the rain but this is not a great option for wet weather anyway. Like the Gore C5 Thermo gloves, the Rapha gloves are technically waterproof. They will soak through to the membrane and feel uncomfortable though plus you'll have to condition the leather. 

The next thing you'll notice is the interior of the Rapha Deep Winter Gloves. Close to every winter glove on the market uses a fleece interior but the Rapha version feels different. The fleece is a lower pile and there's a density behind it. While the difference is subtle it's noticeable and it delivers on the promise of deep winter performance. These are among the warmest five-finger gloves on the market. 

Part of what makes that warmth possible is the density and bulk but the fit is a big part of it also. Without feeling like there's extra material, these are a bit large for the size. It doesn't come across as incorrect sizing though. It feels like there's room for an air gap to keep you warmer. There's also room for another glove if you want. Rapha also sells a merino liner that pairs with the Deep Winter Glove but there's room for more than a liner. The Dissent 133 knit insulation layer works well if you want more warmth that doesn't rely on loft. 

Rapha Deep Winter Glove detail of the cuff

The double cuff design does a good job of being easy to get on and not needing adjustment for the sleeve of your jacket (Image credit: Josh Ross)

View the Deep Winter Gloves at Rapha.

Verdict

There are winter gloves and then there are deep winter gloves. The Rapha Deep Winter Gloves, obviously, fall into the latter category. If that's what you need and you want to stay with a five-finger style then these are one of the few options available. What differentiates the Rapha option is the ability to fit another glove inside and the luxury materials. It's okay to enjoy nice things and if a high-quality, butter-soft, leather palm sounds good to you there's no loss of performance. With the extra space in the interior, you could even start getting creative with different liners and see if there's something that fits your needs. Perhaps a neoprene inner for wet weather? I tested, there's room without needing to change sizes.

That luxury doesn't come cheap though. The flip side of saying that the performance isn't lacking is that the performance isn't better for the money. The MAAP Apex gloves are in the same category and are less expensive without any loss of performance. They take a different approach though. You are paying for the materials and the performance matches. Nothing wrong with that but understand where your money is going.  

Rapha Deep Winter Glove detail of the reflective edge

There's a bit of reflectivity on the edge of each pinky finger.   (Image credit: Josh Ross)

Tech Specs: Rapha Deep Winter Gloves  

  • Price: £140 / $155 / €165 / $245 AUD
  • Available Colours: Navy, Black
  • Available Sizes: XS-XL
  • Weight: 84g per glove, size medium

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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 minutia 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: 137 lb.
Rides: Orbea Orca Aero, Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Trek Checkpoint, Priority Continuum Onyx