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Best winter cycling gloves 2023: Keep your hands warm in cold weather

The best waterproof and windproof cycling gloves on the market for cold winter weather

Emma Cole
19 Jan 2023

A solid pair of winter gloves is a must-have item for any cyclist looking to continue riding through the colder months.

Our extremities tend to feel the cold first, and worst, so gloves will ideally need to be windproof, insulating, breathable as well as offering water resistance, or be completely waterproof depending on the weather.

They’ll need to be fit for purpose. This means that they will need to offer considerable flexibility to ensure you can easily and safely brake and change gears, as well as offer good grip on the handlebars.


7 of the best winter gloves

  • Sportful Fiandre gloves: RRP £110
  • Castelli Estremo Winter Cycling Gloves: RRP £100
  • GripGrab Polaris 2 waterproof winter gloves: RRP €99.95
  • Café du Cycliste Classic gloves: RRP £69
  • Universal Colours Mono Thermal gloves: RRP £65
  • Le Col Hors Categorie Deep Winter gloves: RRP £80
  • Velocio Alpha gloves: RRP £98

Keep reading for detailed buying advice and full reviews


What should I consider when buying cycling gloves?

Warmth

The primary reason we buy a pair of gloves is to keep our hands warm. Some brands will provide useful guides such as temperature gauges as to when the gloves should be used but, if not, look for features like windproof materials, fleece linings and double material constructions for a toastie feel.

Waterproof

Getting any of your three contact points (backside, hands and feet) wet on a ride can be miserable and enough to put you off cycling for at least a week.

Brands will utilise waterproof technologies – such as Gore-Tex – to provide an impermeable barrier to even the heaviest downpours without diminishing the gloves’ ability to breathe. Some gloves are water resistant rather than completely waterproof but ultimately, keeping warm is the key thing, and that doesn't necessarily depending on being 100 percent waterproof.

Dexterity

Changing gear and braking are two very important aspects of riding a bike. This means that gloves need to provide a real-life feel, akin to gloveless hands, which will let you be in total control of your levers and shifters.

Comfort and grip

Like dexterity, gloves without grip are pretty useless for cycling and, in fact, quite dangerous. Some brands will use silicone grippers to increase grip and also make handling stuff such mobile phones easier. Glove designers may also incorporate strategic padding to cushion your hands.

Snot wipe

It’s gross but it’s useful. Some winter gloves will include a soft panel for wiping the runny nose you’ll inevitably get on cold days and you’ll be grateful when it saves you chafing your chilly face. 

Size

As with any piece of kit, make sure your new pair of gloves fit properly and assess the size guides before buying. Some riders prefer to err on the larger side for winter gloves as the extra space within makes them warmer.

Sizing up is also a good idea if you’re planning to use glove liners (i.e. a thin additional inner glove), which can be a good option for particularly cold weather, or for riders who really struggle to keep their hands warm. 

Why should you trust our advice?

We’re cyclists who know and love cycling kit. We hit the road, the trails, we commute by bike and we enjoy chilled leisure rides too. And that’s how we test products: out riding.

Our choices are based on our extensive experience of reviewing cycling gloves over the years. From frozen fingers to aching palms and soggy hands, we've gone through it all and we know what it takes to keep extremities warm on a cold winter ride.

Our guide takes you through the best winter cycling gloves on the market listed and all have been tried and tested by the Cyclist team.


Products appearing in Cyclist buyer's guides are independently selected by our editorial team. Cyclist may earn an affiliate commission if you make a purchase through a retailer link. Read our reviews policy here


Best cycling gloves for winter 2022

Sportful Fiandre gloves

Photo: Joseph Branston

Fiandre is Italian for Flanders and indicates Sportful’s range is designed for the very harshest conditions.

These particular gloves have been made with technology from material experts Polartec to ensure warm, dry hands regardless of conditions. They have a Polartec outer membrane that creates an impermeable surface from rain and a fleece-lined inner which helps keep hands warm.

We found these gloves cope well with all conditions and offer protection from the wind and cold without being too bulky.

The palms are heavily silicone printed from fingertips to cuffs, so there’s masses of grip and the gloves have a slight pre-curve which offers better grip on the handlebars.

The gloves are not fully waterproof (only water resistant) but feature a waterproof zip and an extra-long cuff ensuring a good overlap with a jacket.

Castelli Estremo Winter Cycling Gloves

Pinned as Castelli’s ‘warmest cold-weather glove’, the Estremos provide exceptional levels of warmth and wind proofing and the palms and fingers offer ample grip.

Made for very cold riding conditions, the Estremos are double-lined and extend far up the forearm and the back of the gloves is made from Gore-Tex Windstopper fabric to keep elements at bay.

Whilst the gloves have generous padding (hence the warmth) it isn’t too much that they become cumbersome and limit dexterity. These gloves are so warm that Cyclist deputy editor James Spender found the fleece lining ‘devilishly soft’.

He also thoroughly enjoyed the incorporated sweat wipe on the gloves and found they fit well.

That said, there are a couple of drawbacks worth considering. There aren’t any reflective elements on the Estremo gloves beyond the silvery weave on the middle fingers panel and they are not waterproof.

The sizing also wasn’t as expected – they come up small – so we recommend trying before you buy.

Everything taken into consideration, the Estremos are ideal for dry, cold rides.



GripGrab Polaris 2 waterproof winter gloves

Made for the coldest and wettest days out on the bike, these are the only fully waterproof gloves in our guide.

The GripGrab Polaris 2 have a rating of 15K (15,000mm) which translates to dry hands even in torrential downpours.

The gloves are brilliantly warm thanks to the three-layer construction and PrimaLoft Gold insulation on the palm and back of the gloves, ensuring hands remain toasty.

All this insulation does mean they are on the bulkier side but this isn’t overtly so that the gloves become burdensome to actually cycling.

They also have padded and grippy palms which silicone strips on the first three fingers and upper palm which gives them good handlebar grip.

Notably, GripGrab says 75% of their material is recycled which makes them a great choice for the environmentally conscious.

Shown here are the black pair but you can also nab these in hi-vis if that’s your jam.

Café du Cycliste Classic gloves

Designed for cold rather than freezing temperatures, these Classic gloves use a layered construction to trap warm air between the inner and outer fabrics and provide thermal insulation.

The palms are made of synthetic leather and reinforced with a third layer of synthetic leather in the usual contact points with the handlebars.

Paul Norman found these gloves strike a good balance between insulation and the necessary dexterity for effective use of the bike’s controls.

He also noted that they have enough insulation to keep your hands warm in classic southern UK winter temperatures and are more than adequate for the typical temperatures of around 5C to 10C.

However, compared to others these gloves do lack padding in the palms so aren’t well suited to super long days in the saddle.

Universal Colours Mono Thermal gloves

Good things come in threes and so Universal Colours have designed these thermal gloves to be triple-layered.

The internal fabric is soft brushed material for comfort and warmth, the middle is made from Polartec Alpha recycled insulation and the outer from Polartec NeoShell softshell which offers premium wind and rain protection.

These are a warm pair of gloves without the bulk. For sub-zero temperatures however these gloves would need an additional thin pair of gloves underneath.

We found they offer considerable bar grip as they have lots of silicon dots on the palm and it is really easy to operate bike levers and a bike computer – the gloves are very flexible and have touchscreen inserts on the thumbs and index fingers.

That said, they don’t have gel inserts to aid with vibrations on the bike.

The Mono gloves also have reflective details and we found they didn’t bunch.

Plus they come with the brand’s trademark swig of goodness. They are made with majority recycled fabrics and in an internationally audited factory to ensure social and environmental good practice.

Overall the Mono Gloves are a warm, comfortable and dexterous pair of gloves.

Le Col Hors Categorie Deep Winter gloves

Made from polyester and elastane. the Hors Categorie Deep Winter gloves are Le Col’s warmest offering.

Featuring windproof and thermal fleeced materials to keep the winter out, the gloves have a comfortable snug fit and keep hands toastie.

While the gloves offer decent levels of warmth, they aren’t bulky and instead have a notably slim design. They are very dexterous so using levers is a breeze.

Added to this are the silicone grippers on the palm which ensure good grip on the handlebars.

Like many in this guide, the Le Col gloves have an elongated neoprene cuff for a neat overlap between glove and jacket to ensure you stay warm and reflective panels on the side for added visibility.

There is also a microfibre suede nose wipe over the back of the thumb.

Of note is that these gloves are not fully waterproof but have a DWR coating for some water resistance.

Also, Le Col’s size guide is unique so it’s definitely worth measuring your hands before buying. 

These a versatile pair of winter gloves which are ideal for a classic British winter weather ride (unless the heavens open). 

Velocio Alpha gloves

Windproof and water-resistant, the Velocio Alpha glove borrows tech from the brand’s Alpha alpine-inspired layering system.

The gloves feature Polartec insulation called Alpha Direct (hence the name).

This insulation is said to trap air where you want it without adding weight while also remaining breathable.

The warmest glove in Velocio’s range, the brand says these are capable in temperatures below freezing whilst remaining both light and dexterous.

We found these gloves nicely low-bulk and the rubberised palm and finger grip gives good grip on the bars.

Plus the fire red colour is rather ravishing.

Want to learn more about the science behind cold hands? Read our in-depth feature explaining why your hands and feet get cold when you're cycling and don't miss our guide to winter cycling essentials.

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