The Best Motorcycle Gloves for Winter
Extend your riding season with a pair of winter motorcycle gloves. If you chose to remain indoors during the coldest winter weather, you may still need a pair of warm motorcycle gloves. Riding on cool fall days can subject you to winter-like temperatures from the windchill effect caused by riding at typical highway speeds.
Hands exposed to cold temperatures make riding uncomfortable and may, depending on how low the temperatures get, put you at risk of developing frostbite or cause numbness that may create a safety issue. Even moderately cold temperatures can lead to numbness making it difficult to hold onto hand grips and controls. Gloves also help you maintain control of the bike in wet and damp weather conditions that occur with greater frequency in late fall and winter months.
We’re here with tips for gearing up for cold-weather riding with our recommendations for the best motorcycle gloves for winter. We understand how motorcycle riders have their own ideas about what they like and dislike when customizing their bikes and in the motorcycle gear they wear, we’ve got options from which you can choose the best motorcycle gloves to suit your taste, needs and budget.
What Are Winter Motorcycle Gloves?
If you have ever tripped while walking and fallen, one or both of your hands probably made the first contact with the ground. It’s the same thing that happens in the event of a mishap that causes you to fall off of your motorcycle. It’s one of the key reasons that so many riders make riding gloves part of their standard motorcycle gear.
Motorcycle gloves help to protect your hands in case of an accident that throws you to the road or trail. It is one of the reasons why gloves for motorcyclists are different from gloves designed and manufactured for other uses.
For example, you want the palm of a glove to have a surface that is thin and flexible enough to let you grip the handlebars and work the brakes, clutch and throttle. However, motorcycle gloves should have enough padding in the palm area to absorb vibration and offer some protection in case of an accident that causes you and your hands to hit the ground.
Many styles of all-season and winter motorcycle gloves have additional protection on the knuckles and back of the hand. This minimizes injuries if the hands strike the ground.
Motorcycle gloves do more than assist in the safe operation of your bike while riding or protect your hands in an accident. When temperatures drop, gloves keep your hands warm and prevent stiffness that can make control of the motorcycle difficult.
Gloves for motorcycles come in a variety of styles and fabrics. Back in the day, leather was the favored material for gloves because it was tough and durable. Today, leather gets competition from nylon and other synthetic materials for the outer layer of gloves thanks in part to their ability to keep your hands dry even in the wettest conditions.
Do You Really Need Cold-Weather Motorcycle Gloves?
If you already own gloves for riding during warm weather, do you really need to spend money on a pair of motorcycle gloves for cold weather? Perhaps, you live somewhere with winter temperatures that rarely dip below 50 degrees during the daytime and question whether to add winter gloves to your gear.
Whatever the temperature may be as you stand in your driveway or in a parking lot getting ready to begin your ride, it will feel cooler once you get on your motorcycle and start to move. The flow of air causes your body to feel cooler than the reported temperture because, unlike riding in a car, your body sitting atop a motorcycle is exposed to the cooling effect of the wind.
Here is an example of how riding a motorcycle affects how you feel. According to the wind-child calculator available from the National Weather Service, riding at 55 mph when the reported temperature is 40 degrees makes it feel as though it’s only 25 degrees which is cold enough for unprotected or inadequately protected hands to become numb or develop frostbite.
Motorcycle gloves for cold weather offer protection that gloves produced for moderate to warm temperatures cannot offer. When evaluating gloves, be wary of advertisements for all weather gloves until you check the product label to determine they have enough insulation to keep your hands warm in the type of weather conditions you anticipate for where you intend to ride.
Here are a few other tips for things to look for when searching for the best winter gloves for motorcycle riding:
- Armor: Many manufacturers add hard materials, such as polyurethane plastic, to cover the knuckles and other parts of the back of the hand to protect it in case you fall and strike the ground when riding.
- Waterproof: Rain, snow and other types of moisture-producing weather makes you feel colder while riding. Nylon and other synthetic materials can make gloves waterproof.
- Windproof: Cold winds make you cold and miserable while riding, so only buy windproof motorcycle gloves.
- Appropriate cuff length: Gloves come with different length cuffs. Longer cuffs let you tuck your sleeve into them to protect the wrist from the cold. Short cuffs typically expose part of your wrist to the elements as you ride.
- Finger bridge: Some glove manufacturers connect the ring finger and little finger or pinkie together based on the belief that it reduces the risk of the pinkie being pulled back and broken in case the bike goes down because of a skid or a crash.
- Cut: Control of your motorcycle depends upon your ability to grasp the handlebar grips and control its operation. Gloves must be flexible enough to allow you to grasp the brake and clutch handles and twist the throttle. Better gloves have pre-curved fingers that reduce the force and effort needed to grasp grips and controls.
- Insulation: Gloves sold for use when the temperatures drop need to be insulated to retain the heat given off by your hands. If you have gloves with heating devices in them, insulation is essential in order to retain the heat within the gloves where it does the most good.
- Electric heating: If you ride in extremely cold weather, you should look into heated gloves. They are powered off of a rechargeable battery or through a connection to the battery of your motorcycle.
- Grip on the palms: Palms need to be made of soft material that will not interfere with your ability to grasp the handlebar grips and feel the brake and throttle controls.
- Branded materials: How a glove is made is equally as important to its quality as is the use of brand-name materials. However, you at least know what you’re getting when you see that a pair of gloves has Gore-Tex, Thinsulate, 3M, Drystar, Outdry and similarly well-known materials used to make them.
The key to shopping for motorcycle gear, including winter gloves, is to take stock of what you want to get from the product. Once you know what you want it to do for you, it’s easier to find what you need.
The Best Motorcycle Gloves For Winter
We understand that tastes and preferences in motorcycle clothing and gear differ, so we want you to have choices in the gloves you choose to wear while riding. We’ve chosen the best winter gloves for motorcycle riders in different styles and price ranges to make shopping easier.