There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear, right? Mountain biking in winter can be a lot of fun if you have the right gear to keep warm! That is why we have rounded up the best winter MTB Gloves to keep your hands warm and toasty.
A good winter mountain bike glove will be at least water-resistant (preferably waterproof), windproof, and keep your hands warm. But you don’t want your gloves to be too thick, as it makes handling the bike and the breaks a bit trickier.
Another thing to look for is how high the gloves sit on your wrists. If it does rain, you won’t want water coming off your rain jacket and pouring straight from your sleeves into your gloves. A tight-fitting or longer cuff on a mountain biking glove is usually a good idea.
Breathability is another big factor in choosing a winter cycling glove. This is why we would generally steer away from a neoprene glove. But on the other hand, too much ventilation will mean your hands will struggle to warm up! For this reason, we would stick away from fingerless gloves for winter riding!
What are the Best Winter MTB Gloves?
This round-up of the Best Winter Mountain Bike gloves will help you keep your fingers warm for your next winter bike ride!
1. Gore-Tex Universal Thermo Glove Review
Windproof, water-resistant, comfortable, and warm. What more could you want? The Gore-Tex Universal Thermo glove is a high-performance pair of winter cycling gloves. With great dexterity and silicone grips on the palm, you certainly get maximum value from these gloves.
The inside of the glove isn’t properly insulated, so it is a bit thinner than a ski glove. But this does improve the dexterity of the MTB glove, so it is a bit of a trade-off. On the thumb, you will find a soft and gentle ‘nose wipe, and on the tops of the hands, you will find reflective material to improve visibility at night.
The Gore-Tex Universal Thermo Glove is an all-around winner for us in terms of the best winter MTB gloves.
2. 100% Hydromatic Glove Review
The 100% Hydromatic is a less bulky cycling glove with great dexterity. It looks good, and you can get a Fluro yellow, which improves visibility when riding in low light conditions (or finding the gloves in the garage!).
The gloves are great in terms of grip and are easy to hold onto the brake lever. And the Hydromatic gloves are super easy to use with a touch screen phone.
The downside is that the glove isn’t fully waterproof. It is windproof and shower-proof, but I wouldn’t take it out when it is raining cats and dogs! If you plan on riding in super wet conditions, I would consider moving up to the Brisker version reviewed below.
3. 100% Hydromatric Brisker Glove Review
The 100% Hydromatic Brisker is the step up from the non-Brisker version, as it is a fully weather-tight biking glove.
The Brisker is the king of weatherproof gloves and actually performs better when wet. The silicone grips on the palm improve their performance as they get wetter. The slip-on airprene cuff (more breathable material than neoprene) is quite tight to slip over your hand, but it does keep the water out!
The index finger and thumb are both touch screen compatible. This means there is no need to strip off the glove in the freezing temperatures to check where you are heading next! The 100% Hydromatic Brisker glove is an ideal winter bike glove for cooler conditions.
4. Giro Ambient 2.0 Winter Gloves Reviews
The Giro Ambient 2.0 is a windproof, water-resistant glove. It has gel padding and silicone grips, making the ride a little more comfortable and you’re not slipping around on the bars. The extended cuff uses a Velcro closure system to help you get the glove over your hand easier.
The Ambient has a fleece lining to help out in the cold weather conditions, and the fingertips have been double wrapped to ensure they don’t get hit by the cold. Despite being a little more insulated, the glove still has great dexterity.
Additionally, both the index finger and thumb are able to use touchscreen devices easily. The Ambient is a great glove for icy winter rides but wouldn’t be our choice to take out on rainy rides.
5. Pearl Izumi Ride Pro Lobster Glove Review
A ‘lobster glove’ separates the fingers into three portions.The first being the thumb, the second being the index finger and middle finger, and the third being the ring and pinky fingers.
The lobster glove isn’t generally too popular with mountain bikers. I find the lobster setup a bit annoying as I generally brake with just my index finger, but with the lobster gloves I am forced to use both the index and middle finger.
However, if you don’t mind the finger configuration, the lobster glove may be quite comfortable. The idea behind the design is to keep the fingers warmer than a standard glove.
It is a weather tight and very well insulated glove. The cuff has a hook-and-loop closure system which helps you get the glove over the hand easily.
6. ShowersPass Crosspoint Knit Glove Review
Yes, it is a knit glove. And yes, it is a waterproof glove! They have achieved weather tightness by using a three-layer system. The internal layer is the anti-microbial merino wool lining. The middle layer uses a waterproof membrane, and the outer layer is a wear-resistant knit layer.
They are comfortable in reasonably cold temps (the minimum recommended is 40 degrees Fahrenheit/ 5 degrees Celsius). The only niggle I have with these gloves is the lack of touchscreen capability. But these gloves don’t get soggy, so they aren’t difficult to take on and off to use your phone, even when wet.
The Crosspoint knit glove has silicone grips on the palm and fingers which assist with grip, even when wet. These are a great pair of cycling gloves for any rider not wanting a bulky pair.
7. Fox Defend Pro Fire Glove Review
Fox is a classic when it comes to mountain biking apparel and accessories. While the Fox Defend Pro Fire is not designed for freezing temperatures, it is a good mid-temperature winter glove.
It is a low-profile glove, offering plenty of protection from harsh ground surfaces (if you happen to go for a slide) and from the cold. The synthetic leather palm assists with grip, and the top of the hand are made of water-resistant materials.
The fingertips are touchscreen compatible, saving you from taking the gloves off and exposing your fingers to the cold! A great-looking, slimmer glove made for those pretty chilly winter rides.
8. Giro Cascade Gloves Review
The Giro Cascade is a windproof, waterproof, low-profile glove. It is fleece lined to keep your fingers protected from the blistering cold winter temps.
The glove has a soft nose wipe on the thumb, just in case the cold brings on a bit of winter blues. The thumb wipe is also windproof, which stops the brisk air from reaching your hands.
The Cascade also is touchscreen compatible. The extended cuff slips over your hand, so there are no Velcro straps to fiddle with while sending it down the slopes!
What to Look for in Winter MTB Gloves
As briefly touched on near the top of this post, there are a few things you want to keep an eye out for in gloves.
Materials are key to the warmth, windproofing, and waterproofing of the glove. You won’t want a thin, unlined glove for harsh winter conditions.
Gore-Tex and Artex are branded waterproofing materials which we highly recommend. Gore-tex works by repelling water on the outside but allows water vapor on the inside to seep out. This leads to greater breathability, which leads to our next point.
You will also want breathable material. Neoprene is not a breathable material, whereas Merino wool certainly is. Merino is also a great insulator, so it is another material we highly recommend wearing in cooler weather. However, a neoprene cuff wouldn’t affect your riding as the wrist isn’t likely to get too sweaty. So the location of the materials is also important!
Synthetic leather or silicone grips on the palm can drastically improve your grip on the bars in wetter weather. The only downside to the silicone grip is that I have found they don’t have a long lifespan. The silicone grips on my last pair of gloves (Specialized Grail) lasted a few months, but it didn’t hugely impact the performance of the glove, in all honesty.
The lifespan of gloves should probably be around 3-5 years. To ensure you get a long-lasting pair of gloves, make sure you get ones that won’t stretch out of shape, won’t lose pieces, and will still be able to do up after a few years’ worth of wear. Hook and loop gloves tend to lose their stickiness after a couple of years. But slip-on ones can stretch out of shape if the gloves struggle to get over your hands.
The fit will help with the durability of the glove as they won’t stretch out of shape too much if they fit right!
Having gloves that are too large may mean they fold when you put your hands around the bars. To test this, simply cup your hands and check how much excess material there is. If there is a lot, it isn’t the right fit for you, and you may need a smaller size or a different style.
5. Full finger glove or fingerless glove?
Pretty much a no-brainer here. Fingerless gloves may mean you’ll get a bit of frostbite. It is not recommended at all.
The only advantage may be a better feel of the bars- up until you can no longer feel your fingers!
If you are forking out for some gloves, you may as well get one of the best winter MTB gloves to ensure you don’t get cold hands during your ride. A good pair of MTB gloves do not have to cost you an arm and a leg, and gloves should last you a good few years- especially if you are only using them for a part of the year.
Good gloves can make a world of difference to your riding. Whether they make riding more comfortable, give you a good feel on the bars, or protect your hands from the rough terrain or chilly conditions.
In our opinion, the Gore-Tex Universal Thermo glove is an excellent choice for very cold conditions. It allows you to keep your hands warm and dry without them getting clammy.
For slightly less cold conditions, the Giro Cascade, Fox Defend Pro, and the Hydromatic gloves are all excellent choices. They aren’t as bulky, which means you get a better feel of the bars, but it does mean a bit less warmth.
Hence the conditions you plan to ride in will dictate which gloves are best for your cycling. But we think you will be happy with any of the mountain biking gloves listed above!
If you enjoyed this post on the best winter MTB gloves, check out this post on some more waterproof gloves.