The Great Winter Cycling Glove Dilemma

Raynaud’s phenomenon is not a great thing to suffer from. It’s even worse if you are a cyclist. And cycling in winter can become a pain, literally. Also known as ‘vibration white finger‘ (as it can be a symptom of having used a vibrating device – such as a pneumatic drill –ย over prolonged periods of time in your job [I use them all them time when teaching Year 9]), it results in circulation of blood being cut off to the ends of the fingers leaving them very cold indeed. For me it seems to kick in at temperatures below about 5 degrees and this week, for the first time this winter, I’ve begun to suffer on my cycling commute to and from work. It’s a cold ride at the best of times (even in the so-called ‘summer’) as I have to cross from Reading to Henley-on-Thames through the Oxfordshire countryside and choose to do so in the morning between 6:30 and 7am. For years I’ve suffered in silence (what a hero!) and have gone through numerous pairs of gloves in the hope that one of them would be the ultimate cold weather glove. I’ve not yet found it. But extreme weather gloves are available, albeit at a price…

Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 08.26.26As with all things cycling, there is a myriad of choice out there. I sometimes wish shops would just make the decision for me and only stock the stuff that is any good. But then I suppose what is good for me is no good for the next person and visa versa. I was in my local Evans Cycles shop earlier this week standing in front of the dozens of gloves that they stock. Fingers, fingerless, waterproof, windproof, summer, winter, extreme, non-extreme, Gore-Tex, Teflon… I’ve just checked on their website; they sell 214 different pairs of gloves made by 30 different manufacturers (see right)! I suppose that I can discount many of the 214 pairs however because I’m in the market for the warmest gloves on sale and my eye is caught by those made by a company called SealSkinz. Putting aside the possibility that they actually sell gloves manufactured from real seal skins, with a name like that you’d think they’d be warm and the top of the range glove is the SealSkinz Extra Cold Weather Cycling Glove which comes in at a whopping ยฃ49.99. Whenever I spend money on cycling related apparel, I always think of the cost in terms of tanks of petrol. I don’t own a car and so don’t have to go to the expense of filling one up every month (or probably for many, every week or even every few days). This ‘saves’ me shed loads of cash (it’s more of an opportunity cost I suppose but this isn’t an economics lecture for goodness sake!). Back to the gloves. ยฃ49.99? That’s about one tank of petrol, no? What might surprise you even more than the price is the fact that Evans sell 21 pairs of gloves that are more expensive than the SealSkinz Cold Weather ones; the most expensive is an eye-watering ยฃ120. Yes, that was one hundred and twenty pounds. Fortunately I’m the wrong sex for the ‘Team Sky 2013 Women’s Grand Tour Mitts by Rapha‘. Rapha must have a smile on his face especially when you consider that he is flogging gloves that don’t come with fingers. I suppose that’s another reason not to invest. I like the sound of the Castello Estremo Full Finger Glovesย but then again I’m a sucker for anything with a foreign name. These Gore Bike Wear gloves are cool but on my early morning commute across the Oxfordshire countryside there aren’t many people out there to appreciate my coolness. So I am still very tempted by the SealSkinz. The big question remains; should I break my long-term vow never to buy anything that is purposefully spelt incorrectly? A dilemma indeed…Screen Shot 2013-11-23 at 08.50.14

Categories: Cycling

5 replies »

  1. How was it this morning?
    I’m late to this discussion, but you might want to consider the skiing suppliers as well- not for the ski gloves but for the wonderful glove liners you can buy. I have a pair in merino wool liners and they also sell them in silk- both types really thin and can be worn under any gloves to make them a few degrees warmer.
    I don’t know why I know this as I generally have the reverse issue when cycling- my hands get too warm generally. The sealskinz keep my hands dry when it it really wet but then they cook! My main issue with gloves is that I have shortish fingers but longish thumbs; finding a pair that fit is a real issue.
    I’ve lost count of how many pairs I have bought for my combined pursuits of cycling, skiing and motorcycling. I probably have more pairs than Evans!

    • I went with the level 5 SealSkinz, despite the spelling… They are good although the winter has yet to really start here in Berkshire. Just the occasional cold morning so far.

  2. Sealskinz are a great brand, and in my experience “do exactly what it says on the tin”, to use a well known phrase or saying. I’ve had their waterproof socks and cap, and yes they were waterproof. I’m not looking forward to the temperature drop on my commute at all, fortunately I haven’t a circulation problem, but the arthritis in my fingers does cause some stinging when it gets really cold……ouch!! Yes I’m another hero! Cheers.

  3. I have just been through a similar dilemma. The combo of my normal full-fingered gloves with woollen ones underneath was just not cutting it. My issue with many of the gloves is their bulkyness, If there is too much padding I find it hard to use the brakes.

    I went with these bright beauties,, they were the right como of protection, finger mobility and on special. While my finger tips still suffer a bit of a chill to begin with the soon warm up. I don’t think anything will completely eliminate the code, even when I am skiing with big bulky gloves my fingers get cold.

    Definitely been worth the investment, but maybe go with a colour that wont show up the grime and dirt so much.

What do you think?