Riding with cold hands is miserable, but staying comfortable isn’t as simple as just wearing the heaviest gloves possible, you also need to make sure that you can grip the bars, use your gears and brakes properly and control your bike safely.
There’s no single choice that will work everywhere for everyone. So we’ve tested gloves from the big names that are designed for a range of winter conditions, from wet and mild through to dry and bitter.
Read on for a summary of our top glove picks for winter training, cold commutes and muddy mountain biking. There are links to the full reviews, too.
Otherwise, if you’re in search of fingerless gloves, check out our guide to the best summer cycling mitts.
Best winter road cycling gloves in 2022 according to our expert testers
- Altura Firestorm: £39.99 / €50
- Castelli Spettacolo RoS gloves: £85 / $89.99
- Dissent 133 Glove Layering System: £95 / $123 / AU$181
- Endura Deluge II gloves: £49.99 / $64.99 / €59.99
- Pearl Izumi Amfib Lite gloves: £54.99
- Endura Windchill: £30 / $49.99 / €39.99
- Chrome Midweight Cycle Gloves: £47
- Gore C5 Gore-Tex Thermo Gloves: £64.99 / $79.99 / AU$110
- Madison Zenith 4-season DWR: £25
- Rapha Brevet Reflective: £80
- Shimano Windstopper Thermal Reflective gloves: £54.99
- Lightweight, reflective
- Well-priced insulation
Altura’s Firestorm gloves deal with cold temperatures despite their minimalist feel and comfort on the bars. Their performance is on a par with rivals, such as the Rapha Brevets, which cost twice as much.
The hi-vis panel on the back really catches the light. They’re also touchscreen compatible.
Castelli Spettacolo RoS gloves
- £85 / $89.99 / AU$167
- High breathability and good warmth without bulk
- Easy-on with a long zipper
Castelli’s Spettacolo RoS gloves (RoS meaning Rain or Shine) are designed for variable conditions, featuring a windproof, breathable membrane.
The premium insulation is thin but still keeps your hands warm. There’s a very grippy palm and the long zip makes it easy to get the gloves on and off.
Dissent 133 Glove Layering System
- £95 / $123 / AU$181
- Lots of glove combinations allow tailoring to different weather conditions
- Versatility means that you’ll get more use than from a single pair of gloves
This four-glove set from Dissent 133 gives you options for a huge range of weather conditions, from cold and dry through to wet summer rides.
The set includes two pairs of outer gloves, a thermal inner (that can also be worn on its own), and a silk baselayer. While the price for the whole kit looks hefty, it’s still less than some brands charge for a single pair of gloves, and the Dissent system offers far more versatility.
Endura Deluge II gloves
- £49.99 / $64.99 / €59.99
- Comfortable and grippy
- Lots of reflectives
Endura’s Deluge II gloves have good rain and wind resistance, along with a grippy palm, gel padding in the heel of the palm and lots of reflectives.
They’re well enough insulated to keep your hands warm, without sacrificing bar and lever feel.
The Endura Deluge has been updated since we reviewed these gloves, but we have little doubt the new version would perform equally well.
Pearl Izumi Amfib Lite gloves
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Great all-rounder
The Pearl Izumi Amfib Lites have all the usual winter glove features – thermal padded insulation, water-resistant outer and a long, adjustable cuff – but Pearl has pared them back as much as possible, while still maintaining their cold-combatting qualities.
The 60g PrimaLoft Gold insulation has little bulk, the soft and supple synthetic leather palm is unlined so you have a good connection to the handlebar, and the thumb and index fingertips are touchscreen-friendly.
These are great gloves for cold and damp morning rides, keeping your hands warm but not sweaty.
They do wet out after a couple of hours in full-on rain, but our tester hasn’t tried many gloves of this weight that last longer in adverse conditions.
- £29.99 / $49.99 / €39.99
- All-round performance
- Great value with clever touches
Endura’s Windchill gloves combine ventilation with wind resistance to make them a versatile budget option. They also fit snugly.
Handy features include a patch over the back of the hand and fingers to guard against gusts. Padding on the palms adds comfort when riding on the drops.
In addition, there are reflective strips on the outside of the gloves.
Chrome Midweight Cycle Gloves
- Very toasty
- Fit well
The Chrome Midweight Cycle Gloves are the most traditionally styled glove here, with a shorter cuff, double-skin construction and a warm thermal lining.
It’s a design more suited to leisure and commuter cycling, when you’re likely to be wearing a non-riding winter coat.
The fit is excellent, the fingers are long, and Chrome’s comprehensive online sizing guide ensures you can find the right fit.
Their 70D ripstop nylon backs keep water at bay as rain beads on the surface, allowing you to shake them dry.
They have minimal padding, thumb and fingertips that are touchscreen- compatible and subtle reflective details.
Among the warmest gloves around, the Chromes would be a strong choice for commuting with a heavier winter jacket.
Gore C5 Gore-Tex Thermo Gloves
- £64.99 / $79.99 / AU$110
- Great insulation and breathability
- Comfortable, padded, grippy palms
DWR-treated fabric and a breathable waterproof membrane give Gore’s C5 Gore-Tex Thermo Gloves a high level of wet-weather protection, while there’s plenty of insulation to retain body warmth.
The synthetic leather palms retain grip well in the damp and include extra foam padding at pressure points.
Madison Zenith 4-Season DWR
- Suitable for wet, chilly rides
Madison’s Zenith 4-Season gloves are water-resistant and windproof thanks to a DWR treatment. When soggy, they managed to remain warm.
A great-value choice for foul weather, they also feel comfy anywhere you hold the handlebars.
Rapha Brevet Reflective
- Insulated, but not for near-zero temperatures
- Dainty and comfortable on the bars
Rapha’s Brevet gloves are warm, light and reflective, and would be hard to beat, if not for their high price.
Given their weight, the Brevets cope well in the cold, easily withstanding temperatures as chilly as five degrees centigrade.
Shimano Windstopper Thermal Reflective gloves
- Curved cut avoids rucking of fabric
- Well-designed palm for bar comfort
The sophisticated cut and shaping of Shimano’s Windstopper Thermal Reflective gloves’ palms makes for a comfortable hold on the bars and levers, with well-positioned pads helping to keep your hands comfortable on longer training rides.
A metallic finish to the padding helps retain hand heat, without adding bulk.
The following winter gloves scored fewer than four out of five stars, but they’re still worth considering, particularly if you can find them at a discount.
- Altura Thunderstorm gloves
- Rapha Deep Winter gloves
- Sportful Sotto Zero gloves
- dhb Extreme Winter gloves
- Kalf Zero Waterproof gloves
The best winter gloves for mountain biking according to our expert testers
- 100% Brisker: £29/ $35/ AU$47/ €35
- Endura Singletrack Windproof: £30/ $45/ AU$60/ €40
- Giro Proof Gloves: £80
- Troy Lee Designs Swelter: £50
- Altura Polartec Waterproof Gloves: £50
- Fox Defend Fire Gloves: £50/ AU$85/ €55
- Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather MTB: £45
- Specialized Trail Thermal: £42
- £29 / US$35 / AU$ 47 / €35
- Superb in the wet
- Less good in dry cold
The 100% Briskers fit snugly and keep your hands toasty in the rain, while remaining grippy. They are also hardwearing and touchscreen-friendly.
A great choice for overall winter performance, but your fingers might tingle on the chilliest of days.
Endura Singletrack Windproof
- £30 / US$45 / AU$60 / €40
- Top of the class for on-the-bike comfort
- Live up to their claim to be windproof
These flexible gloves fitted our tester so well, they could’ve forgotten they were wearing them.
They withstand the most Baltic of breezes, but don’t ward off water as well as the Briskers and don’t work with touchscreens.
Giro Proof Gloves
- Protection from all but the worst winter weather
- Retain a tactile feel
These extremely warm and waterproof gloves are ideal for the depths of winter when diminished dexterity is preferable to frostbitten fingers.
Their fantastic insulation brings bulk, which may cause overheating when riding hard and on milder winter days.
Troy Lee Designs Swelter
- Slim-fitting and comfy
- Keep fingers warm and agile
Providing insulation and windproofing without the heft associated with some winter gloves, the Swelters would suit warm-blooded riders or high-intensity riding.
The gloves don’t compromise on ride feel or grip, but they’re not cut out for days when the temperature tumbles. They are not waterproof either.
Altura Polartec Waterproof Gloves
- Good value
- Waterproof and comfortable
The feel of these gloves is good for their level of warmth and waterproofing. They are also windproof, but their insulation doesn’t impede dexterity.
The fit on the fingers is a bit tight and they don’t work particularly well with touchscreens. Despite their name, the Polartecs will be out of their depth in near-zero temperatures.
Fox Defend Fire Gloves
- £50 / AU$85 / €55
- Padded to protect knuckles
- Could be warmer and grippier
Pleasant to wear on and off the bike despite the padding, the Defend Fires fit well and can be used with screens.
Compared to the best gloves, such as the 100% Brisker and Endura Singletrack, they’re slippier and less warm.
Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather MTB
As well as being waterproof, even when submerged, the Sealskinz have a tactile feel on the bike. They are adequately warm for frosty conditions, as long as you’re maintaining the effort.
Our tester found them a close fit on the back of the hand, so size up or try on before you buy.
Specialized Mens Trail Thermal Gloves
- Comfy and manoeuvrable
- Sufficiently insulated for higher-intensity riding
Despite not being warm enough for the nippiest of days and slower-paced pedalling, the Trail Thermals still provide decent wind resistance for a relatively thin glove.
The upside of this is excellent control of the bike, not dissimilar to a pair of summer mitts.
The palm’s hydrophobic AX Suede material is grippy when dry. In the rain, though, the gloves perform less well.
How to choose the best winter gloves for your riding
Match your gloves to your typical riding conditions
A super-thick pair of gloves is not necessarily the best bet, particularly if you live somewhere where winter temperatures typically hover in the mid-single digits and the climbs and descents are quite short, such as the southern UK.
However, if you ride somewhere where it gets properly cold, or are tackling long winter descents, in the Alps or Rockies for instance, you’ll likely need more insulation to keep your hands comfortable. A good overlap with the cuffs of your jacket will also help keep the chill at bay.
Your needs will also depend on how hot you run. If you’re putting in larger efforts, your hands will probably warm up after half an hour’s riding or so, even if they start out a bit too cold, and a thickly padded glove might start to feel sweaty.
Wet conditions will also leave you colder, so most gloves will have a waterproof membrane and/or DWR surface coating to help keep your hands drier.
The palms of most gloves will be made of synthetic leather, although some are real leather and there are other options too. Synthetic leather typically gives good bar feel, although it may wet-out in the rain. On the plus side, it should dry quicker than the real thing.
The glove’s back will usually be windproof and most winter gloves will include a water-resistant liner to help keep your hands dry. Beware, though, because some liners are more breathable than others.
The best will let sweat out readily, but a cheaper liner may leave your hands uncomfortably sweaty, and they can get sore if you’re out on a long ride.
Grip, padding and other features
In wet conditions, you’ll want to make sure that you have a firm hold on the bars, so palm grip is important. Most gloves will have silicone printing on the palms and fingers for a firm hold on the bars and controls. Plus, it’s nice to have some padded areas in the palms to absorb road vibration if you’re planning longer rides, so look out for gel inserts.
A touchscreen-sensitive fingertip will mean that you can operate your computer as you ride, or use your mobile without taking your gloves off. An absorbent area will let you wipe rain from your glasses (or snot from your nose), while reflective elements or bright colours will up your road presence and help highlight your hand signals.