Arguably one of the most, if not the most important bit of winter riding kit. If your fingers are frozen, wet and you can’t feel anything, you can’t operate your bike’s controls safely. Winter gloves need to be waterproof, warm, not too thick and still offer good levels of impact and abrasion protection as well as have strong seams to hold everything together in the event of a crash. They also need to be easy to get on and off and not turn inside out when taking them off.
Compare your winter gloves against our checklist:
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- Waterproofing: is the outer layer water-repellent? What type of waterproof internal membrane is used? If your gloves leak, as well as your hands getting wet, any insulating properties are lost because the tiny pockets of air separating your hands from the cold will now be full of water.
- What are your gloves made from? Textile materials are usually better at repelling water than leather and dry out more quickly, although may not offer as much protection. Look for gloves that have a leather palm with leather reinforcements on the back of the hand.
- Insulation. A well-insulated glove should prevent windchill (the job of the outer layer) and internal insulating materials (eg microfleece) should trap heat leaving your hands and keep it next to your skin.
- Feel. Thicker gloves tend to be warmer (more insulating material) but may compromise your feel on the controls. Always check you can easily operate your bike’s controls with your gloves on before buying – precurved fingers often offer a better fit on controls. Claw-type gloves (eg Hein Gericke’s Pathan) are popular as by grouping the fingers into two parts, they reduce the amount of wind that can get between them. However, feel is often compromised, so try before you buy.
- Cuff enclosures and wrist fastenings: cuffs aremuchmore about fitment and comfort, whereas an effective wrist restraint is vital as gloves are no good if they get pulled off in a crash. Velcro straps across the wrist on the palm side are better than a strap on the back. Cuffs ensure gloves fit tightly and keep draughts out.
- Look for gloves that offer reinforced knuckles and protection in key areas such as the scaphoid and palm.
- Inner liner gloves are also an option if you don’t want a full-on bulky winter glove or just want an extra layer for more warmth. Check that your riding gloves aren’t too tight or pinch your fingers with the liners on underneath.