Winter takes on many different attitudes, depending on the location. Sometimes it means riding in a little more rain, other times it means sub-freezing temperatures and snowfall. In any scenario, it’s rarely impossible to ride — rider willing — as long as you have the right pair of gloves. We’ve rounded up a handful of gloves that can work from a snowbird’s winter in Arizona to a hands-on battle with Old Man Winter in icy New England.
Hestra Bike Long SR
These Hestra gloves aren’t necessarily a fall or winter glove, but I find that they work best when summer has gone. The Hestra Bike gloves are made of a leather-like Clarino material that wraps around the wrist and fingers and can get a little too hot for summer riding. On warm days when temperatures are upwards of the 60s and 70s, the Clarino soaked up my sweat, and didn’t really allow for evaporation that well, which is why they seem to be a great glove for the fall, and for western or coastal locations where winter isn’t too harsh.
What I like about them is that they are great looking, made by a reliable brand, and they feel like they would last a full two seasons. No doubt about it, the Hestra gloves are tough.
The fit through my fingers is perfect. Be sure to verify with the size chart on their website, because sizes run in numbers rather than S, M, L, and so on. The space between my thumb and forefinger was not cut deep enough on the pair I tested. This resulted in those muscles in my hand working a little too hard to operate shifters and dropper post remotes, and my hands seemed to fatigue more, since they had to stretch the glove when I was shifting. This may vary from size to size.
Otherwise, they have been solid, and should also make a great trail-digging glove. Best of all, it’s a pretty killer price for a glove of this quality. MSRP: $40 (available at REI, Competitive Cyclist, and other online retailers).
Materials: Clarino: Hardwearing synthetic material with suede leather feeling. 60% polyamide, 40% Polyurethane. Mesh/Spandex: 85% polyester, 15% elastane.
Gore Gore-Tex Infinium Stretch Gloves
Gore’s Gore-Tex Infinium Stretch gloves have been a great fall pair, and also as a liner for winter-weather riding. The Gore-Tex Infinium have a light and thin feel, but offer a pretty decent amount of protection. I have found these best for chilly fall rides above about 50F.
The Infinium gloves also have the slimmest fit of the pairs that I wore in this bunch. They are sized from XS to XXXL and buyers should definitely refer to the size guide listed on Gore’s website before purchasing.
I dig the slim feel of this glove, the all-black look, and the silicone grippers around the fingers ensure a sticky contact with the handlebars. The Infiniums are water-resistant, but I would grab a different pair if I knew thick rain was in the cards for a ride. They do cut the chill from windy rides though and maintain solid breathability. MSRP: $50 (find at Competitive Cyclist).
Materials: Palm: 60% Polyamide, 40% Polyurethane. Shell face: 87% Polyester, 13% Elastane. Shell backer: 100% Polyester
Norrøna fjørä Infinium
Norrona’s fjørå Infinium gloves are aimed at dry autumn and winter riding when blocking wind-chill is paramount. I’ve gripped the bars with them in temps between 30F and 55F (-1C to 13C), and they kept my fingers warm and happy. The shell is not fully waterproof, though these have kept my hands dry on shorter rides in the rain. There is a soft snot-wipe on either thumb so riders can clean their face off without sanding it.
The overall construction of the gloves is decidedly tough. Their seamless synthetic-leather palm has worked well for blister-free dirt shoveling sessions. That same material stretches to the fingertips, where it can manipulate a touchscreen with the best of them. The top, or backside, is lined with fleece, which adds warmth while making the glove feel like something you want a full-sized onesie stitched out of.
I ordered a size large, based on the company’s circumference measurement, and the palm fits mine precisely. The fingers are a touch short, and while that’s not a huge issue, I would recommend ordering a size up if you have long piano-pounding digits. MSRP €69.
Materials Outer: 51% polyester, 35% nylon, 8%EPTFE, 6% Elastane. Palm: 60% Nylon, 40% PU.
Velocio Zero+ Glove
The Velocio Zero+ glove really builds up the winter resistance. The outer material feels similar to Neoprene but handles heat much better and is more breathable.
At this point in the lineup, when you need a glove that will really handle cold weather riding, you’ll notice that dexterity becomes compromised, as is the case with the Zero+. These gloves, however, strike a great balance between warmth and dexterity. Though there is certainly more material than a summer or fall riding glove, my fingers could easily distinguish the shifters and brake levers and were never fighting against the material.
Velocio sizes these from XS – XL, so they aren’t as slim or calculated of a fit as the Gores, but the size medium gloves I tested aren’t too baggy feeling either.
Velocio is spot on with their temperature recommendation. The Zero+ gloves started to be defeated when temperatures were right around the freezing mark, especially if there was a descent and oncoming wind. These would be my choice for temperatures from the low 30s to low 40s. MSRP: $79.
Materials: 85% Polyamide, 15% Elastane + Spacer, Membrane. Palm: 50% Polyamide, 50% Polyurethane. Made in Italy.
Sealskinz Waterproof Heated Cycling Glove
The Sealskinz Waterproof Heated Cycling Glove is out to defeat winter lethargy and excuses. Yes, you could remain stuck to the couch, watching old episodes of Seth’s Bike Hacks, or you could don something like the Sealskinz and pedal off those holiday cookies.
The Sealskinz start with an outer made of half leather and half Polyester, for a durable and waterproof material. The inside is lined with micro-fleece feeling Polyester, which is very comfortable. Fit is pretty basic with these gloves, and they are sized from S – XL. The mediums I wore fit true to size, and conform like a hefty winter or snowboard/ski glove.
My biggest worry was dexterity. Obviously, these are a last resort glove and if you’re willing to ride in a temperature that demands the Sealskinz glove, then you probably don’t care about losing a little shifting performance. That said, the digits move comfortably, and I didn’t have much of an issue operating levers, but snacks and phones will require you to take the gloves off for a minute.
Out on a freezing temperature ride around 30F, with plenty of wind chill, I upped the glove strength by pressing the button. The heat from the warmer feels most prevalent around the wrist and palm. I didn’t think it was super noticeable, but my hands were never cold, even after a few hours. When I pulled them off after getting home, my palms were sweaty — not what I expected.
The Sealskinz do a great job at keeping digits warm and dry. They aren’t a cheap glove, but are certainly valuable when it’s frigid out and you want to get moving. MSRP: $160 (available from Competitive Cyclist).
Materials: Outer: 50% Leather, 46% Polyester, 4% Elastane. Membrane: 100% Polyurethane. Inner: Lining: 92% Polyester, 8% Aluminium.