Winter Cycling Gloves Revisited

Winter cycling gloves in the snow

Want to know one of the most searched for items this time of the year? Winter cycling gloves. If you manage to wake up from your huge Turkey Christmas dinner induced coma and look out the window you’ll understand why. On my hunt for winter cycling glove nirvana, that magical moment when your hands are warm but not sweaty, I’ve tested a number of gloves. I wanted to share my results with you here. Your hands will thank me for it..

Before I begin to discuss the subject of gloves, may I just say that in reviewing anything for London Cyclist, it’s either something I already own, something I’ve just bought to try out or something that I’ve asked a manufacturer or supplier to give me to test.  I don’t review unsolicited stuff  and I don’t have any affiliation to any company.  If I like it I say so, if not, I say so too, so that my review remains independent.

I’ve almost lost count of the number of gloves I own.  It seems that I need a pair for every situation, sport or circumstance.   My priority is to have toasty warm hands at almost all cost, in something windproof.  I ride downhill in the mornings so I go quite fast and need that windproof factor.

The best pair of lightweight cycling gloves

In the summer I bought the best pair of lightweight cycling gloves ever, by Cinelli. They were quite pricy, about £30 I think, which is a lot for a pair of fingerless gloves but they are a dream to ride with.  I can reach the levers without feeling constricted by the glove, they are long enough to pull down over my wrist and they look great.  When you find something this good, you try to replicate the feeling in everything else and unless you’re very lucky, it doesn’t happen very often.

The winter arrives

When the weather started to turn a little colder and there was a chill in the morning air, I started wearing a pair of nylon running gloves,  fine in the crisp morning air and I didn’t really need them on the way home.   Colder still, I started to wear a pair of Gore Lady Countdown gloves that I bought in the sale last year.  They were fine for a short ride in the cold but on a long fast ride let me down a bit.   They are waterproof and windproof but still not -4 proof.  The soft-shell fabric is good but just not warm enough.

I have some fantastic skiing gloves by Spyder but they’re really only useful for spring skiing and I still haven’t found anything that matches their performance for skiing in the depths of winter.  I was using them to cycle in but at the moment, they’re not warm enough because my fingers are stretched to the ends inside.   That’s the thing with any old glove.  They just don’t have the reach that’s needed to ride with thumbs and index finger round the bars, and the other fingers on the brakes, which is how I ride.  Does anyone else do this?  It’s a habit I picked up from an MTB skills session and it gives me a little bit more control, especially in the weather.  Anyway, I digress.

Beating the extreme temperatures

I think I’m near Nirvana but it has been a long, and I’m sad to say, fairly expensive haul.   There’s nothing worse having fingers or toes that one can’t actually feel.  It’s that fiddling about when I get to the railway station to lock up the bike that does it, or at the other endof the day, unlocking and putting lights on.  If my hands get cold in those few minutes, in these sub-zero temperatures, then they just don’t get warm again. So, on to the next.

Last week I ordered a pair of Himalayan down-filled mittens from The North Face (Google Shopping Link).  They were expensive, are ridiculously big but very, very warm.  I rode home last Thursday in a snow storm and a ferocious headwind and my fingers were fine.  They have Gore windstopper fabric on the outside with leather palms for grip.  I have fleece liners from some old skiing gloves which fit inside perfectly.  The mitts are roomy enough for that all-important pocket of air.  When I need to take them off, the liners have grippy stuff on the palms (I’m sure there’s a technical name for that) so that I can do what I need to do, stay relatively warm and the put the mitts back on again when I’m done.

I have to say that the Himalayan mitts are extremely large, but then we’re dealing with extreme conditions here and I want to keep on riding.  I can just about change gear in them and use my normal grip but they wouldn’t work (I don’t think) for a long ride on drops.

So it seems that the mittens + liner is working for me in these temperatures and when the weather starts to warm up a bit, I’ll be back to the Spyder gloves, then the Gore gloves and then just the fleece liner or the nylon running gloves.

For the Wilier, when I need to ride with my fingers on the levers, I’ll have to stick with the Gore Countdown gloves.  That’s not so much of a problem  at the moment because I’m not taking that bike out.  8kgs of bike and snow and ice is not a good combination, for me anyway.  I have heard good things about the Gore lobster gloves, but I haven’t tried them myself.

A quick tip:  One can get similar gloves to my fleece liners, with grips on the palms, from any good saddlery.  They keep the chill off in the spring and autumn but give some grip on the bars, and they fit under bigger gloves.  They are no more than £5.  Sealskinz, which I know a lot of you like, do a windproof hunting glove with grippy, nobbly bits on the palm for around £30.  Hunting gloves have the closest affinity with cycling gloves because they are made with extra reach between the index finger and thumb, where we need it most.  And for all of the iPhone owners out there they have a flip-over index finger, for trigger (screen) access.

So there it is.  A round-up of winter gloves chez moi.  Next week: Winter legwear.

Post by Nicole. Make sure you checkout her introduction to London Cyclist.

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17 Responses to Winter Cycling Gloves Revisited

  1. Craig 28/12/2010 at 12:40 pm #

    Need one of these from a girls point of view. I have (or rather my wife had) found that there is a big difference between women’s gloves. Some appear to be scaled down uni fit, others look good, others fit perfectly but don’t keep the rain out. It would be interesting to hear a sample of products – I will post up some of our experiences when we have out on some rides with the new gloves.

    • Andreas 30/12/2010 at 11:36 am #

      It’s one of those bits of cycling gear that is hard to get right!

    • Angi 31/12/2010 at 3:17 am #

      Ah I’m a girl. Currently use a pair of Pearl Izumi Softshell gloves for winter. They fit ok (although still a bit on the bulky side), are fleecy on the inside and relatively waterproof (erm…maybe that should be water resistant) even in the heaviest of rain.

      On the warmth side…they are warm enough for temperatures of down to about minus two (though I still get chilblains if it gets too cold). I sometimes use a pair of merino glove liners.

      Although, a couple of weeks ago, when the temperatures had dipped here in London, the Big Issue woman on Tottenham Court Road decided to give me a lecture about how ‘shit’ my gloves must be, as I was bent over in agony and pain from chilblains.

      Men’s gloves seem to come up large even in the smaller sizes, as I take the smaller sizes in the women’s ranges. But if you’re a female with larger hands, I don’t see any reason for men’s gloves not fitting.

      • Nicole 31/12/2010 at 10:14 am #

        Hi Anji

        it is difficult to get the balance between gloves that fit and gloves that are warm. And I do think that men generally have warmer hands. Maybe because their fingers are bigger and have more blood flow…but what the heck do I know?

        I noticed a comment of yours on about a Raleigh Wisp. I’ve just done a quick restoration on one. If you click my name, it goes through to my blog where you can see it. Do you still have yours?

        • Angi 31/12/2010 at 11:09 am #

          Awesome. You have my bike twin. So far I’ve spotted two in London and indeed I still have mine and have also replaced the saddle with a Brooks. Will have a good look at your blog…thanks for that. 🙂

  2. Jamie Carruthers 30/12/2010 at 9:59 am #

    I recently bought the Sealskinz Ultra Grip Winter Gloves, which for £25 were not the cheapest, but had good reviews and were touted as waterproof.

    By mid-December I was cycling in approx. -2c in the early morning and the tips of my fingers were painfully cold. I had to stop a couple of times to warm them up!

    I found them slightly itchy around the cuff, perhaps because of the merino wool used in their composition but overall a good glove for all but the coldest of London weather.

    I have now ordered the SealSkinz Extra Cold Weather Gloves!

    • Andreas 30/12/2010 at 11:37 am #

      Let us know how the waterproofing is..

      I think at -2c you need to be thinking double glove layers. The tips of the finger is where the battle tends to be lost!

  3. Dave Escandell 30/12/2010 at 12:07 pm #

    I’m not a big fan of big bulky gloves, I just can’t get on with them.

    I have recently come across these cycle muffs

    They will clearly provide a barrier from cold winds and if they really are waterproof I may seriously consider getting hold of one of these as part of my ‘extreme’ winter kit. If they work in Canada, they’ll be fine here!

    Andreas, maybe if you highlight to the manufactuerers the potential audience they can reach via a London Cyclist kit review they’ll send one over for you to try and feedback on?

  4. Tim 30/12/2010 at 7:43 pm #

    Do find that gloves bring out the completist in me.

    At present time have 5 different pairs – two pair of fingerless, one pair full finger for off road use and when the weather turns slightly chilly , one pair for wet weather (Sealskinz that are pretty much my go to pair at present) and a pair of a Specialized winter gloves that have worked extremely well during the recent cold weather.

    Am now on the lookout for a new pair of full finger leather gloves which will hopefully last longer that all the synthetic ones that I have owned which only seem to last one year.

    Ooh and maybe a pair of glove liners just in case it gets really cold.

  5. Kevin Campbell's Blog 31/12/2010 at 7:47 am #

    I just use a cheap pair of gloves, I use some thin gloves from primark and put some thick gloves over the top of them, works quite well, would have liked proper winter gloves though of course

  6. chanel 2.55 31/12/2010 at 12:18 pm #

    thnx for sharing th is blog site publish.

  7. Charlie 31/12/2010 at 3:55 pm #

    I was looking for some cold weather gloves and followed up on Nicole’s (Welcome Aboard, Nicole!!) advice on SealSkinz. Went to the REI site and WOW…what an eyeopener! There are 27 reviews and these gloves only rate 2 out of 5 stars. Some of the reviewers are downright angry. Here is the link:

    I will keep looking.

    Happy New Year from sunny but cold (for us 😉 ) St. Petersburg, Florida, USA


    • Nicole 31/12/2010 at 9:29 pm #


      There are a lot of contributors on the site who really go for Sealskinz. I can’t see how they would work myself because they just wouldn’t be warm enough for me.

      This was what I was thinking of, here,, .

      They seem to be more suited to the job, but we all have our favorites and we buy what we buy because we do, no other more scientific process than that I think. Some of the guys on the site recomend gloves that wouldn’t keep me warm in the autumn! Happy hunting (for that elusive glove).

      And a Happy New Year to you too, in sunny Florida.

  8. Toni 05/01/2011 at 1:56 pm #

    At this year’s Cycle Show at Earls Court, I bought myself a pair of Sealskinz ladies winter cycling gloves (just to confirm…I am female!); Sealskinz waterproof socks; and Merrino wool liners for the socks after reading lots of recommendations of them as a brand. To say I am hugely disappointed with every item is an understatment. I felt so strongly about it that I wrote a very nice email to them explaining the reasons I was so disappointed, and asking if I could get my money back. I heard nothing from them. There’s no doubt the socks are waterproof, but they certainly don’t keep my feet warm, even with the merrion wool liners. My feet are as cold in them as they are in normal socks. My overshoes do a far better job of keeping my feet warm and dry. With the gloves though, my fingers are always cold below temperatures of about 6C. I’ve tried heating them on the radiator until it’s time to put them on – as I did with the socks too – but it makes no difference at all. I would not recommend them as a brand, and I thought I was the only one who felt they’re actually not all they’re cracked up to be, but the above post makes me realise this isn’t the case. Will take a look at the link later.

    I agree with Nicole though (great to see a female writer on here by the way – let me know if there’s any room for more Andreas??!), a winter glove that everyone rates highly is always going to remain pretty elusive I guess.

  9. tang2011 24/03/2011 at 2:25 am #

    more better choice for cycling accessories , gloves , jerseys, pants

  10. corporate hospitality 03/08/2011 at 10:51 pm #

    I am glad to be a visitor of this everlasting web blog ! , thankyou for this rare info ! .

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