Best cycling gloves for winter riding

10 pairs of winter gloves put through their paces

A good pair of winter cycling gloves will make or break a ride when the temperatures really start to drop.

Winter gloves offer protection from the elements that regular summer mitts simply can't match. Having cold, wet hands is uncomfortable. It can affect bike control too – if you have slippery, numb hands it can be difficult to feel how much power you are braking with.

The gloves in this test can fight off wind, wet weather and low temperatures. We're looking for features such as grippy, padded palms, snot wipes and good closures at the cuffs.

With different uses in mind, the materials on offer do varying jobs. There are a couple of neoprene gloves, designed for use in the rain. They will hold water, which will warm up and provide insulation. A few gloves here have synthetic insulation (such as Primaloft) sitting beneath a waterproof membrane. Windstopper material also features in some of the gloves that are better suited to dry, chilly days.

We've ridden with each of these products to assess out how they perform, so read on to find out which we think are the most capable across winter's range of changeable conditions.

What to look for in a winter glove

Sweat wipe The manufacturers usually say this fleece or towelling panel is for sweat, but let's be honest, in reality it's not, it's not. On a winter glove it's mostly used for wiping your nose.
Lower Thick, multi-layered lowers can add warmth but compromise handlebar and lever feel, so buy according to the temperatures in which you're likely to ride.
Padding As with summer mitts, padding helps absorb shocks and vibration from the road so your hands stay comfortable. You can often wear mitts underneath if needed.
Upper The uppers and the index finger are the most exposed sections of a glove and the most important areas for weatherproofing. Windproof and waterproof fabrics are valuable in bad weather, but there's always a price to pay in decreased breathability. If you never ride in the rain, forget the waterproofing.
Wristband Elasticated or adjustable wristbands help keep cold air out. You can tuck sleeves into extended wristbands for extra draught exclusion. Try before you buy whenever possible.
Reflective Anything that helps get you seen at night has to be good news.
Seams Large ridges can occasionally ruin the comfort of an otherwise brilliant glove, so it's best to try before you buy whenever possible.
Women's gloves Are smaller than men's in all respects - the fingers on men's gloves tend to be too long for women, and they may not close tightly enough around your wrists, allowing the cold to get in. Women's gloves' smaller fit allows for more precise control of your finger movements, essential when changing gear or simply trying to get something out of your pocket.

Assos Fugu S7 – best for temperatures below 10ºC

£91.99 / $150

The Fugus from Assos are some of the best-made gloves we've seen and the high standard of their finish is reflected in the price. Even though they're not bulky, they provide a decent amount of warmth thanks to their three-layer design. They're lined with soft fabric, which is insulating and comfortable. www.yellow-limited.com

Click here to read the full review of the Assos Fugu S7 gloves

Endura Luminite Thermal – best for commuting

£39.99 / $64.99

On fresh autumn and early winter days when it’s chilly but not freezing, the Luminite gloves are a good choice. The outer fabric does a good job of keeping the wind off your hands, while the DWR treatment fends off road spray and light rain. Inside, they have a waterproof lining. The thumbs, sides of the hands and middle fingers all have highly reflective sections, while the material between the fingers is also reflective. www.endura.co.uk

Click here to read the full review of Endura Luminite Thermal gloves

SealSkinz Handlebar Mitten – best for temperatures below 0ºC

£45 / $73

The Sealskinz Handlebar Mittens would get a full five out of five if we were marking them purely on how warm they are. They benefit from the insulating properties of Primaloft fabric and have a lobster claw design to maximise warmth. The trade-off for this is that the design affects dexterity. www.sealskinz.com

Click here to read the full review of the Sealskinz Handlebar Mittens

DHB Neoprene – best for rain and wet rides

£26.99 / $44.21

The DHB Neoprene gloves are constructed the same material that wetsuits are made from. The idea is not to keep your hands dry, but to keep them warm when they're wet. The neoprene traps a layer of water, which your body warms as it's kept against your skin. If you know your ride is going to be wet, these are great for keeping your hands warm. www.wiggle.co.uk

Click here to read the full review of the DHB Neoprene gloves

The best of the rest

Sportful Windstopper Pursuit Tech

£53 / $86

These are lightly padded, warm enough down to 0ºC, but not bulky. Sportful's Pursuit Tech gloves enable you to retain good lever feel and have useful cuff adjusters and reflective details. They're water resistant, so heavy rain will eventually get through. sportful.com

Altura Raceline Windproof

£34.99 / US$N/A

The low-profile Raceline Windproof gloves do a great job of keeping chilly wind off your hands when the temperature dips below double figures. The padded palms are comfortable and the long cuffs sit well above or below arm warmers and jackets. www.zyro.co.uk

Phew Early Winter Windster glove

£24.99 / US$N/A

The uppers of the Phew gloves feature a Windstopper membrane, which does a good job of keeping out the wind. The palms have a number of padded panels, which make them comfortable and add grip. They have a good fit, especially at the fingers, but we found that there's excess material at the wrists. www.phew.cc

Specialized Radiant

£40 / $57

The Radiant gloves from Specialized are rated down to freezing, and use Primaloft fabric to provide insulation. They have long cuffs that are suited to going over outer layers, and black reflective material on the backs of the hands. www.specialized.co.uk

Click here to read the full review of the Specialized Radiant gloves

Systemex Zero gloves

£24.99 / US$N/A

The Zero gloves are warm in wet conditions, thanks to their neoprene construction. The palms have a high degree of grip because they're covered in silicone dots. The cuffs are the longest of all the gloves here, meaning they fit easily under waterproof jackets. As with the DHB gloves, in the dry they're a bit sweaty and the neoprene takes a while to dry out. www.extrauk.co.uk

Santini Krios Windstopper Xfree

£49.99 / $82

The Krios gloves use Gore’s Windstopper material to keep your hands warm, but are outclassed at this price. They are a simple design, with little pre-shaping. Their lack of bulk means they don't compromise feel and dexterity. The silicone dots on the palms provide grip, and there are reflective details on the upper sections. www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk

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