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  1. #1
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    Non-wool winter gloves

    I am allergic to wool. What would be a good glove for winter cycling? Do people prefer lobster claw gloves, mittens, or regular gloves?

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    Note: I live in Wisconsin, fairly more northern and colder than a lot of US states. 14 mile commute weekdays, 6-25 mile fun rides weekdays and weekends, plus lots of utility cycling. Avid winter cyclist, although we had a pretty warm winter up here last year.

    I've tried just about everything-various liners, different brands of winter cycling gloves, Bar Mitts (I was VERY disappointed in Bar Mitts, some friends have done well with pogies), regular gloves, ski gloves, and lobster-style gloves. For me lobster claw gloves worked the best, with ski gloves coming in a close second.

    One feature both the lobster claw and ski gloves that I have which is very appreciated is the fact that they are waterproof. If you use knit gloves and they get wet when it is cold out that could be painful, and I doubt that knit gloves have much wind resistance.

    Name brand cycling gloves worked very well until the temps dropped below 45 degrees. Because they are made for cycling, they will probably give you the best "feel" for braking, shifting gears, etc. It seems, however, that they only work well to a certain temperature, after which something else needs to be added to them like a liner or pogies. Plus, the ones I used were not waterproof. If you live in a warmer climate that doesn't get too cold, or if you only ride later in the day when the temps are higher, a cycling glove may be a good choice.

  3. #3
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    I use three pair of gloves for winter. The first pair are my go-to gloves for when it starts to get cold. They are just a simple, inexpensive cotton jersey gloves that you see in convenience stores for about $1.79. I get the insulated ones. They're good from 45f down to about 30f. Colder than that I switch to a pair of Loki convertible mittens. These sometimes keep my hands too warm. I can wear these when its 18 degrees and I have to open the vent on the mitten to let some cool air in. I use the cotton gloves as my liner for the mittens when it gets really cold out and the temps drop to the single digits or lower. I also have a pair of $6 waterproof fishing gloves that are neoprene. They leak after about a half-hour, but they've kept my hands warm with the jersey gloves on underneath during a freezing rain. Personally I would stay away from anything bike-specific for winter and go with a good reputable ski glove. As mentioned above, having a pair that are waterproof is a big plus.

  4. #4
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Too bad you can't wear wool. The only wool on my hands is a wool glove liner but you could substitute a synthetic liner (avoid cotton altogether). I have Ice Armor gloves and the liner/glove combo is good down to about 20 degrees F give or take a few degrees depending on wind, sun, moisture, etc. For really cold weather I've got a pair of Ice Armor extended cuff Extreme mittens that I bought in XXL which makes them large enough to go over the liners and IA gloves. Never had a finger get chilled with this combination down to -14 degrees F last winter. Believe it or not, there is still enough dexterity to shift and brake my flatbar touring bike, though you almost have to do it by sight as you can't feel much through all the layers. Luckily, the ground around here is almost flat, so I can start in a middle gear and pretty much stay there for winter riding as with heavy gear and wind chills I'm not going to be going that fast anyway.

    Whatever you pick make sure there is a water/windproof outer layer, adequate insulation (Thinsulate brand synthetic insulation is pretty good if you get enough of it) and plenty of room to wiggle your fingers. Tight fitting gloves are a no-no in very cold weather and will actually make your fingers colder than lighter but looser gloves.
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    These responses have been very helpful. I wish I had this information before my ride yesterday, but will prepare for next weekend's adventure accordingly.

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    I live in Minneapolis...my winter glove set-up varies, but I found that what I live, very much, are Choppers (a type of mitten)...I don't know if they are a midwestern thing but I didn't hear about them until I moved here. Basically, they're large leather mittens with thinsulate liners. I got the largest pair I could, something like XXL, then, inside those, I wear glove liners (wool or syntethic) and a layer of thinsulate mittens or gloves. They sell the Choppers at both places that sell stuff to outdoor workers (e.g., winter construction) as well as old school outdoors places. Here, it is Fleet Farm; not REI. You know, the kind of place where you can buy hunting stuff, fishing gear, and maybe even new tires. I mix/match depending on the temp. Liners, Mittens, Choppers take me down to about -15 to -20, my lower limit.

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    Winter motorcycle gloves, and a silk liner. If it can keep my hands warm at 70 on the bike, it can keep them warm pedaling.

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    I've never used wool gloves.

    I have 5 different weight pairs of gloves for all different temps. The best and most expensive are LL Bean winter gloves I got on sale for $20, and I wear them with $5 polypro liners down to 15f, without liners down to 20f. The others are local department store gloves for $5 - $10
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Notso_fastLane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragtoplvr View Post
    Winter motorcycle gloves, and a silk liner. If it can keep my hands warm at 70 on the bike, it can keep them warm pedaling.
    This, or ski gloves. They should both still give you decent feel on the bike, and keep your hands warm well into the below freezing range.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Polyester fleece ala 'polarguard', liner + a separate shell glove, or mitten shell ..
    so you can separate the 2 and dry the liner, easier..

    Mittens OK with say a grip shifter, or single speeds but ,
    you , probably need finger dexterity for many shifter set-ups..

    5 finger gloves the heat from the extremity cools off faster than if they are all in a mitten.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-08-12 at 03:51 PM.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomper View Post
    I am allergic to wool. What would be a good glove for winter cycling? Do people prefer lobster claw gloves, mittens, or regular gloves?
    Gloves are something of a personal thing. I can ride in the thinnest gloves down to stupid temperatures but other people I've known can't ride in the mid40s without gloves that are more appropriate for a ski area. That said, my favorite glove is Seirus All Weather Glove for temps down to around 20F. They are light, windproof...something that wool gloves usually aren't...and water resistant. Seirus makes other gloves that work well and are thicker. The price isn't bad at around $30 per pair.
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  12. #12
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    Most mainstream brand, cycling-specific gloves don't use wool, and you can get a few pairs that will work down to pretty chilly. Unfortunately, I don't know of any good cross-brand temperature rating.

    For me, PI lobsters go down to 14F (the coldest I've commuted in), and are too warm above 25F. Nashbar lobsters work from 20-30F, and Performance Century are good for 30-50F (when new). A pair of REI Novara is OK from 30-40F, but it's heck to get them on and off. Most of my other experiments aren't warm enough below 40F or so.

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    I like wind proof fleece ones for most of my winter riding.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Notso_fastLane's Avatar
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    I wear gloves similar to these when it gets rainy and the temps are below about 50F. They have good feel on the controls, and if you get some mink oil or similar leather treatment on them a couple times a year, they will last a long time.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Fynn's Avatar
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    At temps below 40F down to below zero, I've been wearing convertible mittens for many years. Just wear a lightweight glove underneath and you can ride with the mitt flipped back for more dexterity or throw them over your fingers if they chill. I would never use anything else. http://www.amazon.com/Manzella-Casca.../dp/B002VR82J6

  16. #16
    Senior Member Bat56's Avatar
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    ^same here. convertible mitten. But I wear nothing under mine... I wear windproof mitten shells over the top. The shells are connected to my sleeves so I can pull them off without losing them (yes, like a kindergartener). This set-up is good down to -20F and probably lower.

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