Deep Winter Gloves
The Rapha Deep Winter gloves give you heavy-duty insulation and a quality build with a double cuff and leather palms, although you may find them a bit over-padded for milder winter weather. For serious cold they make sense but if you don’t need this much insulation, other gloves give you more features for less money.
The Deep Winter gloves are really the Rolls Royce of what’s an extensive range – there’s a lighter-weight Rapha Winter glove that’s only around half the price. For the extra cash, the Deep Winters get a leather palm and waterproof shell, which Rapha says it tested in Norway, a country not famed for its warmth, to prove its weather resistance.
If you’re riding regularly in conditions hovering around zero Celsius, the Deep Winters have bags of insulation to keep the chill away. But in drizzly southern UK weather around 5°C, the level of padding offered was rather overkill and has its drawbacks in real-word use.
You can feel its bulk when gripping the bars, particularly between the index and middle fingers, which feel somewhat splayed.
The padding limits dexterity and I found that I needed to take a glove off to handle keys or unwrap food. You don’t get a touchscreen-active finger pad either, so you’ll also need to unwrap to use your smartphone.
With some winter gloves, excess material can make using the shifters awkward, but the fit of the Rapha Deep Winters is good, so I didn’t find that I was mis-shifting.
The insulation and thick leather palms mean your hands are well protected from road vibration, too. There’s a large area of gel padding on the heel of the hand that helps here and the gloves are designed so that, unlike some I’ve reviewed, the padding lies flat on the bar rather than rucking up.
Rapha includes a wide nose or glasses wipe on the thumb that soaks up moisture well. The palms, being leather, do wet out in damp conditions and are slow to dry.
There’s an internal waterproof membrane that keeps your hands dry despite this, although I found that the DWR-treated fabric on the backs of the gloves wetted out rather than repelling rain.
Rapha’s cuff design is among the most sophisticated out there. You get the usual long outer cuff with a wide, effective Velcro closure. There’s a second elastic cuff inside that hugs your wrist and comes with a band of Rapha’s signature pink.
Rapha’s gloves don’t give you quite as much reflective material as some alternatives – there’s a reflective dart integrated into the little finger, but otherwise, they are all black.
The Rapha Deep Winter gloves are well made and very insulated, but you do pay for that with a rather bulky design that feels a bit awkward and over-padded when riding. They’re also very expensive compared to some of the alternatives.