If you’ve ever been out cycling and felt like the tips of your fingers were about to fall off, you’re not alone. You’re also not alone if you’ve taken an unexpected tumble and cut up your palms, or lost grip on the handlebars due to hot and sweaty hands. The good news is that a decent pair of cycling gloves will solve these issues and many more. They’ll also provide extra relief when it comes to uncomfortable vibration and can look pretty cool, too.
If you’re based in the UK (or anywhere in the world where the seasons differ significantly in temperature), you’ll need two pairs of gloves – one for the colder months and another for the summer. That’s if you’re riding year-round, of course.
Whatever your requirements, these are the best women’s cycling gloves for 2021.
Table of contents
- How to choose the right cycling gloves
- Women’s cycling gloves for cold weather
- Women's cycling gloves for warmer weather
The ideal cycling gloves should be tight enough to retain some sensitivity between yourself and the bike.
You still need to be able to brake and change gear effectively, after all. Your chosen glove will feel like a second skin, but at the same time it shouldn’t be so tight that it cuts off your circulation and causes discomfort. Finding this balance can be tricky, so we recommend trying on as many gloves as you can before buying.
You might want to consider getting gloves made of touch-sensitive material. This material will allow you to use your smartphone without needing to remove the gloves, which is perfect for following an unfamiliar route via a navigation app or taking an emergency phone call.
You should also bear in mind that cycling in the heat causes your hands to warm up, meaning you’ll need a little extra room in the gloves for your fingers to expand slightly. A breathable fabric is also important; there’s nothing worse than sweaty hands inside a glove that isn’t moisture-wicking.
A winter ride, meanwhile, will cause your extremities to drop in temperature and contract in size. We’ve all been there; the cold wind bites and your fingers start to feel completely disconnected from the rest of your body. Insulating fabric is your best friend in this situation – think fleece-lined but not overly bulky. This article outlines some further essential cold weather cycling gear.
This is a simple decision when it comes to winter cycling gloves. As mentioned above, you’ll want your entire hand covered with a warm material when the mercury dips. However, choosing between full finger and half finger gloves at other times of the year isn’t so straightforward and can be a case of trial and error. The benefit of a full-finger glove is that it provides better protection from scratches and scrapes. Mountain bikers and road race cyclists, for example, will more often wear full-finger gloves due to the higher chances of a fall. These gloves also offer better grip.
However, the major downside of full-finger gloves is that they can make your hands unbearably hot and reduce your dexterity.
Many cyclists will tell you this is the most important factor when it comes to choosing gloves. Padding and cushioning not only helps to reduce vibration felt through the handlebars when riding on rougher terrain, but it also offers more protection from skinned palms if you come off the bike.
Some gloves also come with gel padding which adds a “squidgy” layer but the jury’s out among cyclists as to which is better. Again, it’s a matter of preference.
This can be a tough choice. The benefits of a Velcro fastening are obvious – it’s quick to secure and requires no fiddly buttons or poppers. That can be a godsend when you’re, say, heading out on a freezing cold day or need to quickly re-adjust your gloves at a traffic light.
But Velcro also comes with drawbacks. For instance, the seams of Velcro tend to rub after a while, which can have a detrimental effect on comfort. Likewise, as the material is naturally “sticky”, it can (and does) stick to things besides itself. Your gloves can therefore end up attracting the fabric of other items of clothing plus dirt and debris. Again, whether you prefer Velcro or non-Velcro is down to personal choice. We’d advise trying on both types of gloves to figure out which type you prefer.
What are the best women’s cycling gloves?
Luckily, there are tons of women’s cycling gloves out there with different attributes and materials to suit all tastes. Although you should expect to pay more for the extra insulation and technology that comes with winter gloves, most of them come at a reasonable price. That means you won’t need to splash out to cash in on their benefits.
Here are the best women’s cycling gloves for 2021.
Rapha Winter Gloves - £80
Like all Rapha products, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the price, which is pretty steep.
But the second thing you’ll spot is the sleek design and excellent attention to detail, which go some way towards justifying the price tag.
These winter cycling gloves do exactly what they say on the tin; they’re extremely well insulated with a fleece lining and the ribbed merino cuff blocks all unwanted cold air from getting near your hands.
They’re also highly waterproof and come with a loop that makes them easy to pull on and off – plus reflective elements to improve safety on dark winter rides. The palm is reassuringly thick with gel padding for ultimate comfort, but the fingers allow you to use a touchscreen phone or device.
Castelli Perfetto RoS - £65
Castelli has been making cycling gear longer than Alexander Graham Bell’s modern telephone has been in existence. Therefore, it’s safe to say the company knows a thing or two about excellent quality and time-honoured design.
The Perfetto RoS gloves are engineered with smart, windproof Gore-Tex fabric that’s not only very weather-resistant but surprisingly free of bulk. This feature means they score highly on dexterity without compromising on the kind of fleece-lined warmth you’re after with a winter glove.
The padding is second-to-none, adding to superior comfort levels, and they’re also pretty breathable given the insulation they provide.
Granted, the mitten-style design on these Gore Wear GTX Infinium Thermo Split Gloves does look a bit unorthodox. But it’s actually super smart, as it allows your thumb and forefinger to move more naturally for gear changes and braking, while your remaining fingers stay together to preserve warmth.
Silicone tips mean you can also use your smartphone or digital device without removing the gloves.
You don’t need to be an expert to know that Gore Wear is synonymous with excellent quality and unparalleled insulation technology – and these gloves offer those attributes in abundance. Designed specifically for cold weather, they’re water-resistant and windproof, yet provide exceptional breathability.
The key benefit of these gloves is in the name – they provide fantastic protection against cold winter winds.
They also offer a good amount of grip and a comfortable ride due to their soft gel padding.
Reflective elements on the flanks are a nice extra feature, as is the touchscreen technology, and they’re a snug fit with a stretchy cuff.
One big drawback, however, is that these gloves don’t have the kind of waterproof credentials of many of their counterparts on this list. But if you’re based somewhere relatively dry and don’t need the extra waterproof layer, these are a solid choice.
The SealSkinz Women's Waterproof All Weather Cycle Glove is a brilliant option that not only claims to be 100% waterproof but is also highly light and breathable.
The material is fully reflective, aiding visibility. Plus, the anti-slip linin means you get excellent agility, handlebar feel, and control. Touchscreen compatibility adds to the impressive list of features, making these gloves well worthy of your consideration.
Giro Womens La DND Cycling Gloves - £26.99
The La DND glove is made of a highly breathable, moisture-wicking material which is super stretchy and light.
The fabric is also touchscreen compatible, meaning you won’t need to worry about removing anything to use your device.
The design is simple - you just slip it on with no additional fastenings to worry about. Although you may find this limiting if your hands are hot and sweaty, it’s a pretty neat feature that adds to the aesthetic of the glove. Overall, these gloves offer a flexible feel and look really sleek.
Bontrager Meraj Cycling Gloves - £34.99
Bontrager – owned by one of the world’s most trusted bicycle manufacturers, Trek, which sponsors our ambassador Lizzie Deignan – continually comes up trumps when it comes to innovative accessories. These gloves are no exception.
Despite their gel and memory foam padding that delivers optimal comfort by evenly distributing pressure, they offer great breathability for warmer weather. They’re also easy to pull on and off and come with a handy soft wipe on the thumb should you get a runny nose when pedalling.
Available in three different colours, the GripGrab Rouleur gloves are simple yet effective.
They’re made of Lycra, meaning they’re incredibly flexible and offer a second skin-like feel. Their standout features include reflective elements and tabs that make it super easy to pull them off in the heat.
They also come with a Velcro fastening for a snug and secure fit. They’re arguably less suited to longer rides given the simplicity of the palm padding, which means they fall down slightly in terms of comfort. But if you’re looking for a leisurely trundle, these do the job very well.
SupaCaz SupaG Long - £34.99
These gloves stand out from the pack thanks to their snug fit and funky design.
They also offer decent grip and touchless technology, owing to their silicone hand grips – which is a nice feature.
The SupaCaz SupaG Long gloves are ideal for warmer weather, given that they’re so incredibly light and stretchy. Their design also means that can double up as liners for thicker gloves in winter.
They’re missing robust palm padding, however, which may be an issue if you’re looking to head out on a longer ride on rougher terrain. But overall, they’re a solid choice.
No list of sports equipment is complete without a nod to Decathlon, due to its solid quality and insanely low prices.
Triban, the company’s cycling brand, is a no-brainer for leisure riders who are looking for something that does the job without all the unnecessary bells and whistles.
Anti-slip, breathable fabric means you’ll maintain good grip on the handlebars and a padded palm section provides cushion comfort. Plus, these gloves come with adjustable tabs at the wrist fora snug fit and easy-pull lugs, meaning they’re a breeze to take on and off.
Whichever women’s cycling gloves you decide on, it’s important to protect them against theft, loss, and accidental damage. We can cover your cycling accessories up to £1,000, meaning the only thing you need to sweat is the intensity of your next ride. Check out our policy options and build yourself a quote right here.