A good pair of gloves will make all the difference to your ride – cold, numb hands can be not only painful, but can really limit your responsiveness on the handlebars, shifters and brakes.
The key things to look for in a winter glove are:
Obvious, but there are different types. Windproof, water resistant, and waterproof. Windproofing will keep off the chill which is often responsible for the “real feel” temperature being much lower than the actual degrees on the thermostat. Water resistant material will give you some protection from showers, whilst waterproofing promises total protection.
You want to have enough room to move your hands freely, but you don’t want to allow so much room that the cleverly designed insulating features of your gloves are prevented from working. There should be a thin layer of air around your hands, but no gaps on the cuffs to allow new, cold air in. Quality gloves will either stretch to hug your wrist, or have an adjustable strap.
“French Terry Thumb Wipe”
The all important sweat wipe – otherwise known as a snot wipe. Gloves usually have a thicker, softer patch on the thumb – you might think it’s a bit gross, but it’s a lot less desirable to not have an absorbent layer to soak up any unwanted “moisture”. Most people get a bit more snotty riding in winter, and the worst offenders are those that like to “blow it out” on group rides, when you’re sitting on their wheel – it’s much nicer for everyone else if you use your specially designed and sweetly named “French Terry Thumb Wipe” as intended.
Here’s a round up of some of the best gloves our there:
Waterproof supreme: Castelli Diluvio Deluxe Glove – £36
I know I bring up the Castelli Diluvio kit a lot, but these gloves really are one of the most fantastic pieces of design I’ve found in a long while. Castelli have based their Diluvio kit on wetsuit design, using Neoprene with no breathability to create a layer of warm moisture around your hands, which is used to keep them toasty. These are not for you if you don’t like the idea of having sweaty palms, but they certainly do the job and they’re perfect for the person who doesn’t like bulky gloves that limit the feedback from the handlebars. The palms and fingers have a non-slip surface, and of course these are waterproof.
Ultimate for warmth: SealSkinz Winter Handle Bar Mitten – £38.25
SealSkinz and renowned for making waterproof and breathable socks and gloves, so you know you’re in good hands here.
Admittedly, if you go for these, you will need to accept your resemblance of Dr Zoidberg. However, the “lobster claw” design has been created to minimise heat loss. These waterproof, windproof gloves claim to be breathable too, and they have a close fitting and extended cuff to prevent cold air getting in. The outer layer is tough and durable, so these should last you a good number of years.
For visibility: Altura Night Vision Waterproof Winter Cycling Gloves – £24.99
Altura created the Night Vision range to answer 2 needs: the need for functional clothing that fought against the elements, and the need for clothing that looks good and is visible.
These are thicker gloves with a waterproof and breathable outer, as well as a durable padded palm with multiple layers for insulation, all topped off by a thinsulate inner – taking away the need for a liner. The key feature of these is the high-viz features, particularly on the yellow pair – these are for commuters who want to be seen (perhaps from Outer-Space).
Don’t forget – Liners
If you still find your hands are feeling the chill, it’s time to up the ante with a pair of liners. These are thin extra layers that are used to keep the warmth in. Usually fairly inexpensive, these can sometimes be worn on their own in moderate conditions. The Louis Garenau Smart Glove, £7.49 is an example of a versatile glove that can be used as a liner, whilst the the dhb Roubaix Liner Glove, £12.99, is a purpose made baselayer for your fingers.