How to Buy Winter Motorcycle Gloves

Warmth for those crucial digits during cold-weather motorcycle rides.

Winter riding can be extremely pleasant, but only if you have the essential gear. Thankfully, in these modern times, there is plenty of high-tech apparel on the market to keep us toasty. A worthy pair of winter gloves should be a top priority. When you're cold, your body will concentrate on circulating warming blood to the vital organs first and leave your extremities to suffer. But since your hands operate the primary controls on a motorcycle, it's just as crucial to keep them warm and in working order. Here are some of the most important features to look for in a winter glove.

We like a long, wide hook-and-loop closure around the wrist since it will not only lock out the chill but also keep the glove on your hand if you happen to take a tumble.

Circulation is compromised when your body is cold, so it's very important that your winter glove fits properly and doesn't impede blood flow. Look for a streamlined glove that features high-tech material, not the bulky sort that will cause clumsiness. If the glove feels tight at all, we advise moving up to the next size.

Insulation is the key feature of any cold-weather glove. Simple fluff won't do. Look for a high-efficiency lining (such as 3M Thinsulate) in all parts of the hands and ideally in the fourchettes (between the fingers) too. (Many gloves feature insulation only on the top of the hands, and when the cold starts to pinch, you'll want more.) However, a lighter insulation in the palm area will maximize your feel on the controls.

The best gloves will offer pre-curved, or "articulated," fingers to provide improved feel and immediate comfort. When you try on a pair of winter gloves, curl your fingers tightly to check for constriction or bunching of the fabric, which will drive you crazy on the road. In addition, try to get your hand around a throttle before you buy, since you may not notice potential sore spots until you've got the grip in your hand.

The ideal winter glove will be made primarily of a tightly woven synthetic fabric, such as Cordura. Nylon offers a lighter weight, enhanced flexibility and superior lever feel over the kind of thick hides you'd need to keep your hands warm. However, a leather palm insert will boost abrasion resistance.

When you wear an electric vest you're actually doing your hands and feet a favor. By warming the vital organs, you're allowing your body to distribute blood that would have been hoarded in the torso.

For additional evaluations of, comparisons of, and shopping advice for motorcycle gear and accessories, see the Accessories and Gear section of

Most veteran riders have gloves in a variety of weights and warmths to adapt to any temperature.