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We live in Buffalo, NY where winters are harsh. My husband rides early in the morning and afternoon about 6 miles each way. The temperature is often below freezing, especially early in the morning – wind and snow make the cold worse and make his hands very wet. He says he arrives at work every morning with numb fingers and can't type for the first 20 minutes or so until they thaw.

I want to buy him some gloves that will keep his hands warm in the conditions he deals with. What should I be looking for? What features make a good glove for winter commuting in a cold, wet climate?

  • It may help for you to describe the temperatures and weather in your area. Product recommendations are generally off-topic here, but you may receive enough advice to point you in the right direction. – Deleted User Nov 2 '15 at 20:14
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    Ok, we live in Buffalo, NY where winters are harsh. My husband rides early in the morning and afternoon about 6mi one way. The temperature get below freezing, especially early in the morning, but the wind and snow make the cold worse and make his hands very wet. He said he arrives at work every morning with numb fingers and couldn't type for the first 20 minutes until they thaw. So basically I'm looking for warm, insulating, waterproof, and hopefully good mobility (not stuck in mittens). I understand if you can't give me product recommendations, but can you point me in the right direction? – TheSmallestOne Nov 3 '15 at 2:16
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    You want to listen Shrek - "Layers" Everything after that is how to arrange your layers. One pair of gloves will not do everything you want it to. – Criggie Nov 3 '15 at 4:00
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    This question, What gloves work well for winter riding?, and the answers might be helpful. – dlu Nov 3 '15 at 6:49
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    That question may be helpful, but Burlington, VT is much colder (but less windy) than Buffalo, NY. – Batman Nov 4 '15 at 18:52
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You'll need gloves that allow you to still hold the bars and use the brakes and shifters. Standard mittens don't work well since you have to grab the brake with all your fingers.

Durable waterproof ski gloves with five fingers are one of the best options, especially those which come with a hand warmer pocket for extra warmth capability. Some folks prefer lobster style gloves since they are split and allow you to wrap two fingers around the bars and two on the brake on a flat bar setup. They still suffer a bit when using STI shifters, but they are usable.

Gloves that have a separate outer an inner layer are very helpful for longer duration riding as you can keep a set of dry liners handy to swap out if your hands sweat a lot, since moisture will transfer cold from the liner to your fingers. I've found this a lifesaver on long rides where my hands begin to freeze up. If using on commutes, it's nice to have separate liners for to and from trips, in case your liners don't dry through the day.

For extra cold conditions, a lot of people prefer to combine thinner gloves with pogies / bar mitts. These provide a lot of wind shielding as well as some insulation, enabling you to forgo super heavy gloves. They are available for both drop bar and flat bar setups, but they are more optimal on flat bars.

Some popular brands of gloves to check out are:

  • 45nrth - See Sturmfist gloves (some of the best deep winter cycling gear)
  • Pearl Izumi - See Pro Softshell Lobster Glove (one peice, makes layering hard)
  • Planet Bike - See Borealis Glove (lobster style, separate liner)
  • Swany - See X-change Gloves (some of the best ski gloves, also awesome for winter cycling)

    Popular Pogies:

  • 45nrth Cobrafist (Flat bar only)
  • Revelate Designs (flat bars and jones loop bar compatible models)
  • Dogwood Designs Pogies (Flat bar only)
  • Barmitts (Both Flag bar and drop bar models, simple neoprene design)
  • AMF Threadworms Moose Mitts (Drop bar and flat bar models available)

    • I'll upvote this after a list of popular mitts and poagies are added. – Deleted User Nov 6 '15 at 1:10
    • Done, added popular pogies with options specified depending on bar type. – Benzo Nov 6 '15 at 16:33
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      Another pogie option Wolf Tooth Single Track Pogies – dlu Nov 15 '15 at 19:03
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    In all honesty, I think your best bet is Bar Mitts or something similar. They're neoprene covers that attach to your handlebars and cover your hands. They allow you to get away with wearing thinner gloves so you stay a little more dexterous. If you ride drop bars, you're kinda stuck riding on the hoods to stay protected. You can still move your hands to the top or drops, but they just won't be protected from the wind. I rode all last winter with them and I don't think I could've done it without them.

    If you don't want something like that, then as someone mentioned, layering is key, even in gloves.

    • Bar Mitts or Poagies are the answer to riding in below freezing temperatures. – Deleted User Nov 6 '15 at 1:08
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    Based on weather in Helsinki, Finland: You'll want gloves with waterproof membrane (Gore-Tex is fine but others work, too) and room for additional thin gloves under them. Gloves made for downhill skiing work well for riding and may be easier to find than winter bike gloves.

    If your brakes and shifters allow, lobster gloves and even mittens are great.

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    I always find mittens way warmer than gloves.
    In some cases I even get my thumb out of its own area and tuck it in with the rest of the hand to keep it warm.

    I still go for skiing mittens, which are pretty good wind and waterproof.

    • I can't see how you can grip the bars properly with your thumb in the wrong place, and a mitten means all fingers are either on the brake or the bar -- not what most people want in tricky conditions. – Chris H Nov 6 '15 at 16:40
    • My brakes are where I grip my handle bar, and I can use the brakes with just my fingers, anyhow, the thumb will go back in its spot in less than no time when I see a crossing with traffic coming up or when I want to change my gears. Most of my commutes happens where there is no conflict with cars possible, just a few roads with some cars to cross, but I would use that trick on roads with much more traffic as I can handle my bike safely with it. – Willeke Nov 6 '15 at 17:16

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