GearSnow Sports
Gear Guy
Q:

Should I Invest In Winter Cycling Gloves?

I want to keep biking deep into the fall—maybe even winter. What’s the most important piece of gear to stay warm?

A:

Don’t underestimate the importance of a good pair of cycling gloves. Almost everything else can be fudged in your cold-weather cycling wardrobe. Go ahead and substitute a ski shell for that cycling jacket. But don’t repurpose ski gloves on the bike. Designers have devised ways of wicking sweat from inside the glove during hard aerobic sessions while keeping out wind, rain, and freezing cold. The insulation on such gloves gets thicker toward the fingers, but stretchable fabric allows you to retain the feel of the brakes and shifters. And unlike generic winter gloves, the cycling version has foam or gel padding on the palm to cushion road chatter. Last but not least, these crucial accessories usually feature a soft fleecy area on the thumb for wiping your nose.

When choosing cycling gloves, pay attention to fit. If they're too tight, they will cut blood flow and make you colder. The cuffs are typically made to tuck into your favorite jacket, so think about what you’ll be wearing on cold-weather treks. Also think about what kind of cycling you do. Gloves for freeride or downhill mountain biking are thick and tough, with durable leather or synthetic on the palm; those for cyclocross have a grippy exterior for holding the bike frame in competition.

After the jump we’ll give examples of the best new cycling gloves in a few different categories, so your hands will be warm and dry wherever you meet nasty weather in the coming months.

Pearl Izumi Women’s Cyclone Gel
Assos fuguGloves_S7
Castelli Cw 6.0 Cross Gloves
Louis Garneau LG Super Shield Gloves

The Best Winter Cycling Gloves: Pearl Izumi Women’s Cyclone Gel

I want to keep biking deep into the fall. What’s the most important piece of gear to stay warm?

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One of the most popular insulated gloves for the bike just got an upgrade. For the coming season, the latest $40 Women’s Cyclone Gel Gloves from Pearl Izumi now have more flexible fingers and gel padding on the palm. The Japanese company says that the gel is there in order to form a bridge over the ulnar and median nerves (in response to the common problem of sensory and motor failure in cyclists’ hands). Other nice features also include tacky silicon on the index and middle fingers for grip, durable synthetic leather on the palm—which washes better than real leather when the gloves get a little funky—and a reflective stripes for visibility.

The Best Winter Cycling Gloves: Assos fuguGloves_S7

I want to keep biking deep into the fall. What’s the most important piece of gear to stay warm?

assos_fe

Just out of curiosity, I wanted to find out what $169 will get you in the realm of cycling gloves. The fuguGloves_S7 have some pretty sophisticated tech for low temps—specifically between 32 and 46 degrees, according to the Swiss manufacturer Assos. When the gloves get cold, a nylon “smart” fabric in the exterior closes its pores; when it gets hot, it opens them up to allow more breathability. Inside, there’s a thick layer of fleece for insulation and moisture wicking. Overall, the gloves employ six different materials to guarantee dry, toasty digits.

The Best Winter Cycling Gloves: Castelli Cw 6.0 Cross Gloves

I want to keep biking deep into the fall. What’s the most important piece of gear to stay warm?

castelli_fe

We wanted to include a cyclocross glove in the mix to show the differences required for this demanding sport. The $50 Cw 6.0 Cross Gloves are for temps between 41 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Canadian manufacturer Castelli, and feature extensive silicone grips on the palm for dismounting and carrying the bike during competition. The gloves have a high degree of breathability from fine microfiber material in the palm and vents in the fingers to prevent clamminess during intense bouts of effort. The neoprene on the back of the hand stays warm even when covered in cold, wet mud.

The Best Winter Cycling Gloves: Louis Garneau LG Super Shield Gloves

I want to keep biking deep into the fall. What’s the most important piece of gear to stay warm?

garneau_Fe

Lobster-claw designs are common for cycling gloves; they give more dexterity than a mitten, but keep the fingers close for warmth. This Milan, Italy, cycling outfitter uses advanced materials in its claw-shaped $55 LG Super Shield Gloves to provide warmth and breathability while minimizing bulk. The lining is made from 3M Drytex and Thinsulate. The exterior is made from a waterproof, breathable membrane to let sweat pass, but maintain impermeability to the elements. In terms of temperature ranges, Garneau stamps this one “Extreme +.”

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