There are two areas you want your winter motorbike gloves to excel in: they have to be warm and they have to be waterproof. If they let you down in one of these departments, they’re as good as useless.
If your gloves are also comfortable, flexible and offer decent crash protection then you’ve hit the jackpot. With this review of the best waterproof winter gloves, you don’t have to take a lucky dip on your next set of gloves – the jackpot is within reach.
CE Approval for Motorcycle Gloves
There is a CE-standard for motorcycle gloves, EN 13594:2015. It is broken down into two categories, Level 1 and Level 2.
The areas tested include The cuff length, resistance to removal, knuckle impact protection, abrasion resistance, cut resistance, seam strength and tear strength. So as you can see, a lot goes into the CE approval.
Motorcycle gloves with Level 1 performance provide a lower level of protection but offer greater flexibility than Level 2, whereas Level 2 gloves provide increased protection but due to their increased amount of protective qualities, they may not be as flexible as a Level 1 glove.
If your glove features the KP symbol on the CE approval label it means it has been tested on the Knuckle Protection test.
While you don’t have to wear CE approved kit in the UK, it’s worth noting if you ride in France you legally have to wear CE approved gloves. That includes pillions!
The Best Warm Motorcycle Gloves
When it comes to buying, the usual mantra of buying the best you can applies to gloves as it does any product. Always look for the certification tabs (even if, annoyingly, some still don’t state exactly which they adhere to…).
Some people also like the RiDE magazine reviews. You can find some gloves with a RiDE Recommended rating or a RiDE Best Buy which might be all the validation you require.
The Heated Option
If you want a bit of a boost, check out our guide to the best heated motorcycle gloves. If you’re riding long distances (50-miles+) even the best winter gloves will struggle on a seriously cold day.
You can also beef-up your glove’s abilities with handlebar muffs (not cool, we know, but they do work) or heated grips. Or both!
Do your homework before purchasing and try on as many pairs as you can, to get a good understanding of what works for you.
Our review criteria
We’ve set strict criteria for this winter gloves buying guide because – with 100s of pairs of motorbike gloves on the market – we can afford to be picky.
- They have to be waterproof not just water-resistant.
- Every set of gloves has to have at least one area of hard armour – preferably on the knuckles.
- They have to be full length. Some manufacturer’s winter gloves are only three-quarter length or short which won’t be much use when it starts raining.
- Minimum CE Level 1 certified
- Bonus points if they use Gore-Tex
There are a lot of winter gloves on our longlist but we boiled this down to 5 great gloves for our shortlist.
The best gloves for you
It’s impossible to say ‘this is the best motorcycle winter glove’ as different gloves fit different riders in different ways and we all prioritise different features, brands and budgets differently.
However, the best gloves all have build quality, protection and comfort in common.
Your gloves need to be comfortable, you’ll be wearing them for a long time. They need to be warm and waterproof but not so chunky that you feel like you’re wearing boxing gloves.
As you have seen from our strict criteria above, all the gloves in this review have met a very high bar.
Budget: from under £30 to over £250
What should you pay for a quality set of winter motorbike gloves? There are plenty of great options under £100, so why pay more?
As you’ll see from our review below, the most expensive gloves aren’t just down to brand snobbery – they often pack in more features and use higher-priced materials such as Gore-Tex and goat leather instead of cowhide. It’s up to you to decide what you must have and what’s nice to have and from there you’ll be able to make the easiest decision, which is: what can I afford?
Although the price has been a factor in our considerations, we’ve recommended the gloves that we think are the best available right now – we haven’t just gone for the most expensive.
If our top picks don’t work for you in terms of budgets, brands or features, then refer to our shortlist where you’re sure to find a great option.
Winter motorcycle gloves – 3 key areas to focus on
The correct fit for your winter motorcycle gloves is essential. The ideal glove should be snug, without restricting movement or interfering with your ability to control the bike. This can be a challenge with both too tight and loose fitting gloves. Also make sure to choose a glove with a D-ring or Velcro retention wrist strap, so that the glove stays securely on your hand in case of an accident.
Protecting your palms, knuckles and fingers with armour is vital. Soft armour is made from closed cell foam, while hard armour is made from carbon fibre or hard plastic, which is fitted over soft armour for additional impact protection. When it comes to your hands, the scaphoid bones in your palms tend to absorb most of the impact, so protecting them with armour is essential.
The ideal glove needs to be waterproof – if your hands get wet, they’ll get cold, no matter how good the insulation is. It also needs to be breathable to prevent sweaty hands. A fabric or leather glove is made waterproof by bonding a watertight membrane to it. There are several types of membranes available. These range from the best-quality but more expensive Gore-Tex to the more affordable but less effective Hipora.
Aside from waterproofing, your gloves need to offer good thermal insulation as it’s not always wet in winter but it can be seriously cold.
A Gore-Tex glove isn’t a guarantee that it’s brilliant but in order to use Gore-Tex, manufacturers have to make their gloves to a set standard, therefore you can be confident they will be made to a high standard and therefore worth spending the extra.
Gore-Tex lined fully waterproof, two-year warranty
Rukka is well-known for their quality kit and these Virium gloves are another great product from the Finnish brand. Textile construction, with a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable membrane, they feature knuckle, scaphoid and finger protection. They feature a visor wipe, extra-grip palms and they’re also touchscreen capable.
Thermally-insulated waterproof glove
Built with a mix of leather and fabric, the Vega features Primaloft insulation and users Drystar which is Alpinestars’ version of Gore-Tex to keep them waterproof. It features hard-knuckle armour, a finger bridge, PU coating on the palm and thumb for added grip. A quality waterproof glove without the bulk and at a great price.
The best cheap winter motorcycle gloves
Generally speaking, cheap motorbike gloves that claim they’re fit for winter are often only water resistant, not waterproof and they’re either really bulky or thin but not in the least bit warm.
If you go to a motorbike shop and take a look at a budget set of gloves and a more expensive set, you’ll be able to see and feel the difference.
That said, you can still buy quality winter motorcycle gloves on a budget, you just need to know what you are looking for.
You don’t need to spend £100 on a pair of motorcycle gloves; there are lots of decent sets around the £50 mark. This pair of Probe waterproof gloves from Richa cost just £29.99 on SportsBikeShop and represent great value for money.
They’re made from abrasion-resistant textile with a leather palm. They claim to be waterproof (a claimed that’s backed up by the fact it uses a Hipora lining) and features a useful drawstring cuff closure system.
The only thing missing is any hard armour, but they get great owner reviews and for the money they look like a great buy.
For a bit more cash but still under £50, you can grab a pair of these Spada Blizzard 2 WP gloves. Again, no hard armour but they feature a claimed 100% waterproof membrane, Thinsulate, a leather reinforced palm and a visor wipe. Really good set of features for those after a cheap pair of waterproof gloves.
Winter Motorcycle Gloves - Buying Guide
While the price of waterproof gloves varies from under £50 to over £250, the best ones all have the same core features in common. These are the features that we think you should be looking out for.
- Long cuff: A shorter cuff means you're likely to have to keep readjusting the glove to stop a gap forming between your jacket and the glove. A longer overlap is always better.
- Waterproof: Not all winter motorbike gloves claim to be waterproof. If you don't see any mention of it on the label, it might just be an insulated glove.
- Finger bridge: This is where the little finger (pinky) is joined to the ring finger. This reduces the chances of your little finger being dragged back when sliding and ending up broken.
- Hard armour: None of us wants to fall off but if you do, hard knuckle armour at a minimum should help prevent any nasty injuries.
- Branded materials: Branded materials don't guarantee a good glove but it will more than likely be made to a higher standard as the likes of Gore-Tex don't want their materials used on products that aren't any good. If it uses Gore-Tex, 3M, Drystar, Outdry or any other patented technology, the chances are it'll do the job well.
A finger bridge lowers the risk of your little finger bending back and breaking in the event of a spill. Some people find them restrictive - you can always snip this with scissors.
You can buy waterproof sprays which are pretty good at improving the waterproof qualities of your existing gloves.
Our shortlist: The best winter motorbike gloves
We found over 650 pairs of winter or waterproof gloves on the market in the UK, it’s easy to see how you can get stuck by the huge amount of options.
Our strict criteria quickly eliminated 75% of these gloves. We then picked a maximum of two pairs of gloves from each manufacturer that made the grade, leaving us with 30 options.
From here we picked 7 great gloves to cover all budgets.
So if our two picks above don’t work for you, one of the pairs of gloves from our shortlist will.
Alpinestars Vega V2 – Our Runner Up – Built with a mix of leather and fabric, the Vega features Primaloft insulation and users Drystar which is Alpinestars’ version of Gore-Tex to keep them waterproof. It features hard-knuckle armour, a finger bridge, PU coating on the palm and thumb for added grip. A quality waterproof glove without the bulk and at a great price. Approx £120.
Dainese Tempest D-Dry Long – Lightweight and waterproof gloves for bikers who like a bit of style. Built with Dainese’s D-Dry membrane (their equivalent of Gore-Tex), these gloves feature pre-curved fingers, an abrasion resistant Amica suede palm, an integrated visor wipe, knuckle protector and they’re compatible with touchscreen devices. Approx £80.
Held Air ‘n Dry Gloves – These are genuinely clever gloves from Held. They feature a Gore-Tex membrane and, odd as it sounds, you choose which ‘chamber’ to put your hands in when you put the gloves on. Put it in the upper chamber and you’re protected by a Gore-Tex membrane, which is fully waterproof. Put them into the lower chamber and you’ve got a breathable glove, perfect for warmer days. Truly an all-weather glove – it gets rave reviews from journalists and owners alike. Approx £160.
Rev’it Stratos GTX leather gloves – Featuring Gore-Tex and Thinsulate, these low-profile gloves feature a simple and secure closure system, comfortable Seesoft knuckle protection and added foam protection in the palm, fingers and thumb. Quality goatskin outer delivers lightweight without sacrificing protection. Approx £110.
Richa Cold Protect Gore-Tex Gloves – Richa dominate the budget market and these quality Gore-Tex lined waterproof gloves are great value for money. They feature PU knuckle protection and hard armour in the finger joints. There’s added abrasion protection on the little finger and palm and a thermal lining to keep you warm on cold rides. At around £100 they’re one of the cheapest Gore-Tex winter gloves you can buy.
Rukka Virium Gore-Tex – Our Pick – Rukka is well-known for their quality kit and these Virium gloves are another great product from the Finnish brand. Textile construction, with a Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable membrane, they feature knuckle, scaphoid and finger protection. They feature a visor wipe, extra-grip palms and they’re also touchscreen capable. Approx £140.
Use Layers To Beat The Winter Weather
We’ve put together a brilliant guide that shows you how to use the layering system to keep warm on the bike.
You don’t need heated gear (although it does help) and you don’t need to spend a fortune. Just check out our ultimate guide to keeping warm on your motorcycle.
You’ll pick up tips that’ll help you beat the cold weather for years to come.
RiDE Magazine Best Winter Motorcycle Gloves
RiDE magazine are well known for their product tests and they have various Best Buy and RiDE Recommended winter gloves. The two Rich Gloves below both were awarded RiDE Best Buys.
These gloves won RiDE’s Best Buy and they also have solid feedback from over 200 owner reviews. They’re touring motorcycle gloves with hard-knuckle protection, two wrist straps and a visor wiper.
Made with the more premium Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, these gloves also won a RiDE Best Buy. They feature hard-knuckle protection, 3M reflective material and they’re double-stitched. They also get great owner feedback.
Motorcycle gloves FAQs
What are those two finger gloves called?
You could be talking about ‘Lobster Claw’ gloves, which have two ‘fingers’ and a thumb, meaning that your fingers sit side by side rather than individually. Some bikers swear by these gloves as they have a lower surface area allowing your fingers to move around and share their warmth. They are a bit odd to use in the first place but you quickly get used to them. These Held Nordpol gloves are a good example.
How do I stop rain running up my sleeves?
This is a common issue for all-weather bikers. Some motorcycle gloves have a double cuff system which really helps. The inner cuff goes inside your jacket and the outer cuff goes outside your jacket. It keeps the glove in place and provides an extra barrier against water seeping in.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this review of the best waterproof winter motorcycle gloves:
Motorcycle clothing CE Ratings:
Government advice on motorcycle clothing: