Riding in the winter with cold, wet hands is miserable. I’ve been there, and it’s grim. But with modern technology, you no longer have to endure the pain.
Here are some of the best winter gloves on the market.
Best Winter Motorcycle Gloves Reviewed
Held Air N Dry Gloves
Hands up (excuse the pun!), I like Held gear. German quality at reasonable prices, but in this case, they are the most expensive glove here. While the Held Air n Dry gloves might initially seem pricey, there is a valid reason that counters this. They are two gloves in one.
The Air n Dry’s are what is known as dual-chamber gloves. In the winter, you wear the gloves as usual, but in the summer, you can lift a tab inside the glove and put your hand into what is effectively a summer glove, with plenty of ventilation.
This video illustrates the concept more clearly.
The outside of the glove has multiple safety features, including a hard plastic knuckle protector, Superfabric ceramic protection in abrasion points, and an abrasion-resistant leather palm. These gloves provide excellent protection if you’re unfortunate enough to drop your bike.
Waterproofing is courtesy of a breathable Gore-Tex liner, a well-proven technology used in waterproof gear worldwide.
- Solid knuckle protector with ventilation
- Goretex membrane
- Perforations on the palm and back for ventilation
- Superfabric protection on abrasion points
- Kangaroo leather palm
REV’IT! Boxxer 2 H2O Gloves
Another excellent brand name with a reasonably priced winter glove, the Rev’It Boxxer’s, come in the mid-range price band but offers some great features.
The company’s waterproof breathable layer is included, known as the Hydratex Z-liner, giving 100% waterproofing, whatever the conditions.
Externally, the gloves mostly use soft and supple goatskin with a polyamide mix used in the cuff for comfort and flexibility. They are very comfortable to wear and give you an excellent tactile feeling on the handlebars for a winter glove.
Winter gloves should also offer some crash protection while keeping you warm and dry. This comes in the shape of a hard knuckle protector shell and external pads on the fingers and should work well if the worst happens.
- Hydratex Z-liner waterproof layer
- Goatskin/polyamide outer
- Hard shell knuckle protectors
- Short cuff
- A little thin in icy weather
Joe Rocket Windchill Gloves
If you’re looking for a great value winter glove, then the Joe Rocket Windchills could be perfect. At the budget end of the market, they are strong, waterproof, and warm.
Constructed from cowhide leather, the Windchills give excellent abrasion resistance; something often skipped at the lower end of the market. Crash protection is improved further with the addition of high-density knuckle protectors and double leather patches in vulnerable areas.
Keeping your hands dry is a Dry Tech layer, which works perfectly even in heavy downpours.
Winter gloves need to keep your hands warm, and the Windchills don’t disappoint, using a Thinsulate layer and foam padding.
Pre-curved fingers, a gel palm pad, and stretch panels on the fingers make these gloves super comfortable to wear for long periods.
- Thinsulate lining for warmth
- Vulnerable areas reinforced with leather
- Gel palm
- No hard armor
- Short cuff
- Small fit – order one size larger than normal
Rukka R-Star 2 In 1 Gore-Tex Gloves
Like the Held Air n Dry, these Rukka gloves are dual-chamber, giving two gloves for the price of one. During colder months, you put your hand in the chamber with extra insulation, while in the summer, you use the “grip” chamber, which offers a better feel on the handlebars and more ventilation.
A Gore-Tex liner provides a waterproof, windproof, and breathable layer, perfect for all-year-round use, and it’s unlikely to let you down.
The Rukka’s use advanced tech to keep your hands safe, with carbon fiber protecting your knuckles and Superfabric in abrasion areas.
The Rukka R-Star has fewer features than the Held Air n Dry, which is reflected in the lower price.
- Gore-Tex waterproof, windproof, breathable liner
- Two gloves in one for all-season use
- Carbon fiber knuckle protection
- Superfabric protection
- Cowhide leather construction
- Expensive but cheaper than the similar Held Air n Dry gloves
Klim Caribou Mittens
As we are reviewing winter gloves, I thought it would be best to include a set of mitten-style gloves. These are not to everyone’s taste, thanks to the looks, but in freezing weather, mittens do make sense. Keeping the fingers together in one compartment keeps your whole hand warmer for longer.
Styling aside, the Caribou’s are excellent for winter use, with Gore-Tex and Gore Warm liners, plus a 3M Thinsulate insulation layer. You should consider buying heated gloves if you get cold hands in these gloves.
Where the Caribou are lacking is in safety protection. You don’t have any hard knuckle protectors. There are no double-layer leather patches and only minimal padding. These mid-priced gloves will keep your hands warm and dry, which is a safety feature in itself.
- Very warm
- Gore-Tex waterproofing
- Thinner insulation on the palm for better control
- Reasonable price for excellent winter warmth
- The style is subjective
- No armor or extra abrasion-resistant padding
Scorpion EXO Tempest Gloves
The Scorpions have a unique design with a double gauntlet section. The inner gauntlet goes inside your sleeve, while the outer goes over your sleeve. Where the two gauntlets meet, drain holes allow water to escape.
This is a rather cumbersome attempt to cure an age-old problem of gauntlets, where water runs down your sleeve and into the glove.
Although it looks like a good idea, it makes the gloves thicker and more fiddly to put on. Plus, some users reported the eyelets didn’t last very long, with subsequent fraying. A good idea that may work for you, but there are simpler solutions.
The gloves kept us warm and dry on the plus side, with both Hypora and Thinsulate liners, and offer good protection with hard knuckle protection. But the jury is out on the double gauntlet design.
- Double gauntlet construction
- Hypora waterproof layer
- 100g of Thinsulate liner
- Hard knuckle protection
- Double gauntlet construction – fiddly to fit
Considerations and Cost
Waterproofing and warmth are the essential requirements of a winter glove, but what else should you look for?
Wet hands are cold hands, simple as that. If you can keep your hands dry, it is much easier to keep them warm.
Make sure the gloves you choose have a fully waterproof lining, such as Gore-Tex, which is bonded to the outer material and is breathable. Non-breathable material will allow condensation to form inside the glove and make your hands feel wet.
Staying warm is the main aim; to achieve that, look for technical linings, such as Thinsulate. These give added warmth without the extra bulk of foam padding. If you have handguards fitted, or use heated grips, then the palms of the glove can contain less padding to allow you a better feel of the controls.
While waterproofing and warmth are vital ingredients of a winter motorcycle glove, don’t skimp on the safety aspects. As a minimum, look for extra material in vulnerable areas. Double leather or a material such as Superfabric significantly increase abrasion resistance.
Extra padding or hard shell protection across the knuckles and on the fingers is worth having; some top-spec gloves include scaphoid protection.
Leather is strong and durable, offering natural anti-abrasion protection. Synthetic materials such as Cordura can give equal performance to leather, but there is a massive variety on the market, so check which you are buying carefully.
A slightly loose fit is preferable, allowing a layer of warm air to surround your fingers and hand. Gloves too tight will restrict your movement and blood flow, making your hands cold sooner.
Can I wear ski gloves?
Because they are designed to keep you warm and dry, ski gloves might seem like a good idea, but they won’t offer the same protection as a motorcycle glove if you drop the bike. For this reason, we don’t recommend wearing ski gloves.
Why are my hands still getting wet?
The usual reason is either the gloves are not actually waterproof, or water is running down your sleeve into the glove. In the first case, send the gloves back if they are under warranty; if out of warranty, perhaps they are due for replacement.
If you tuck your sleeve inside large gauntlet-style gloves, water will trickle down your sleeve and into the glove, making your hands wet.
Gauntlet gloves are often too bulky to go inside your sleeve, and the trend has been towards shorter, less bulky cuffs that go inside your sleeve instead. The Scorpion Exo Tempest gloves try to get around this issue by having a double gauntlet section, one inside your sleeve and one outside.
A third possible reason to feel like you have wet hands is condensation. If your hands can’t breathe, their heat will create moisture inside the glove, making them feel wet.
Further reading: In-depth guide to choosing gloves
The End Bit
We’ve chosen the Held Air n Dry glove as our favorite because they offer excellent protection, and you can use them all year round.
An honorable mention goes to the REV’IT Boxxer 2, which are still great winter gloves at less than half the price of the Held’s.