As all cyclists are aware, the extremities are the first to freeze in the winter. If your hands become too cold, it’s game over for enjoying your ride, no matter how warm the rest of your body is. Investing in a pair of the best winter cycling gloves to keep your fingers warm will make all the difference during the colder months.
Do cycling gloves make a difference?
The best winter cycling gloves, unlike ski gloves, cannot rely on super-thick padding because we need to retain sensitivity so that brakes, shifters, and Di2 buttons can be operated and cycling computer screens can be swiped.
So keeping the wind out is critical: fabrics like Gore Windstopper and the similar WindTex will do this, and will be found on the best winter cycling gloves, as well as providing water repellency and breathability. The inner padding and/or membrane vary depending on the glove and the temperature it is designed for, whether it is deep winter or chilly and wet.
Cuff design is also an important aspect of the best winter cycling glove design, not to mention its performance, and the type you choose is a matter of personal preference. Some gloves have zips, some have Velcro, some have elastic gathering, and some have no mechanism at all, relying on the stretch of the cuff fabric.
The heated gloves quickly became one of those items that increased my tolerance for cold weather rides. The gloves provide enough heat without being too bulky that temperatures above the freezing point are too hot for them! Sealskinz socks are also very waterproof; your feet can be submerged in water for several minutes without soaking through, so unless you’re riding through raging rivers on an epic ride, your little piggies won’t be pruned when you get home.
This is the best and most user-friendly method in many ways. However, if you wear a watch or one of the best smartwatches for cycling: wrist-based performance pushers, the cuff can be uncomfortable to wear and use.
Types of Heated Gloves
1. Chemically heated gloves
These gloves have a pocket in which you can store a disposable air-activated heating packet, which will warm up once removed from its packaging. The heat only lasts about eight hours before it needs to be replaced. These gloves can also be worn without the heating packets.
2. Electrically/ battery operated heated gloves
Instead of replacing heating packets, you will need to recharge or replace the batteries. The battery compartment is linked to a network of heated wires embedded in the fabric of the gloves. The majority of electric heated gloves have a number of heat settings that use varying amounts of battery power. Heated gloves of this type are typically much more expensive.
Heated Gloves Features
Most importantly, make sure your heated gloves are properly fitted. If you are purchasing online, we recommend measuring your hand and referring to the size chart. To stay warm, make sure you can comfortably bend your hand into a fist and cover your entire wrist.
To stay completely warm, make sure your gloves are wind and weatherproof (especially if you plan on wearing them in the snow). Look for nylon or polyester blend outer shells with a soft fleece or wool interior liner. The thickness of heated gloves varies, with thinner styles better suited for working outside or skiing. Waterproof gloves will keep your hands safe from the elements, but they will be less breathable and may leave your hands clammy.
3. Battery Life
Most battery-powered heated gloves use rechargeable lithium batteries rather than single-use batteries. Typically, rechargeable batteries provide two to ten hours of heat. You’ll need to buy an extra set to have a spare on hand for longer heating times.
Top 5 best waterproof heated cycling gloves
Check out some of the gloves that have been hailed as must-haves for any outdoor adventure in the list below.
1. Sealskinz Waterproof Heated Cycle Gloves
Sealskinz waterproof heated cycle gloves are made with a three-layer construction to repel water, keep you warm and resist wear and tear. Inside, Primaloft Gold insulation makes these gloves pretty warm even without their electric heaters activated.
The palms are quite thin, with some padding at the base of your fingers and on the lower palm. The liner and membrane are bonded to the palm and fingers, preventing the liner from pulling out or squirming around while riding and ensuring good grip control. Velcro cuff closures and stealth reflective panels on the outer sides of each glove are also included.
The gloves have three heat settings: High, Medium, and Low, which are controlled by a single switch on the gloves’ backsides. The switch is simple to access and use, and the LED lighting clearly indicates which heat setting is being used.
The heating elements are powered by rechargeable polymer batteries, which are hidden in zippered pockets on the underside of each cuff. The first full charge takes 12 hours to complete, but subsequent charges take 6 hours. The fully charged gloves can keep you warm for up to 2.5 hours on High, 3.5 hours on Medium, and 5.5 hours on Low. The batteries will work in temperatures as low as -20°C.
Due to the electronics, these gloves cannot be machine washed, tumble dried, or dry cleaned. While the exterior of the gloves is waterproof, they cannot be submerged in water or used if completely saturated.
2. Thermo1 Battery Heated Gloves
With hundreds of rave Amazon reviews, these heated gloves from Velazzio have many innovative features. The liner is designed to be moisture-wicking to prevent sweaty hands and has a durable water repellent finish to keep your hands protected. Because the outer fabric is touchscreen friendly, you can use your smartphone while wearing them. These are the ultimate heated gloves, with three heat settings, an eight-hour battery life, and a convenient carrying case.
3. Assos Assosoires winter gloves
If you’re looking for the ultimate in quality and comfort, then look no further than Assos. The Assosoires are a follow-up to the legendary EarlyWinter gloves, which are designed for shoulder-season rides when temperatures don’t drop quite as low.
They have a slightly extended cuff that isn’t too long, so they should work well with most winter jackets without being too bulky. They have a microfibre palm that provides a lightly padded feel with a secure grip, as well as a grippy section that provides durability and extra cushioning in key areas.
The backs are made of a wind-blocking material that keeps you cool, and the fingertips are made of a touchscreen-friendly material. They’re pricey, but with Assos’ legendary quality, you should be able to use them for several winters before needing to replace them.
4. Pearl Izumi AmFib Lobster mitts
These Lobster-style mitts feature Primaloft Gold insulation which maintains its loft even when wet and is made with the brand’s P.R.O. Waterproof Softshell fabric.
The gloves are lined with soft fleece on the inside, a tall hook and loop closure keeps the cold out, and the cuff length fits comfortably under your sleeve. The Clarino leather palm improves dexterity, and a soft fleece nose wipe reduces discomfort when cleaning your face.
5. Velotoze Waterproof
Velotoze has taken the neoprene approach of glove design and turned it up to 11. The neoprene isn’t the thickest on the market, but it’ll keep your hands warm down to minus five degrees Celsius (20F)
They may have a Marigold-Esque appearance (except for the yellow finish), but the long wrist cuff is there for function, not form. The wind will have to get in and chill your wrists halfway up your forearm if you’re wearing a truly ill-fitting jacket.
When the weather turns cold or wet, having the right gear can mean the difference between a fun ride and a begrudging decision to sit one out.