It sounds obvious, but try them on - there's no substitute for this to get the right fit, look, level of warmth, protection and comfort for you for winter. In a sensible motorcycle clothing outlet there's a seasonal order to gloves, e.g. winter gloves on the left, through to light ventilated summer gloves on the right. Check you're in the right section and if there's a light summer glove you love; see if there's a winter waterproof version, about 25% of the time there will be.
Next top tip is read the labels. Motorcycle gloves are plastered in labels, about 4 per glove. Take the time to look at them for key winter glove features when buying. If you are buying on-line you need a site with quality technical descriptions - more than just a picture and a few words, check for the vital, value for money winter features listed below:
WP stands for waterproof, and you're going to want a waterproof motorcycle glove in winter - it may say something like 'Hipora lining', which happens to be waterproof and breathable.
Insulation - you'll need this in winter - look for the label describing it e.g. 'Thinsulate lining'. Good linings and insulation tend to be a fine mesh material that traps heat and is breathable.
Materials: keep an open mind here. Leather is not necessarily better for winter - it gives great protection and feel, but leather jackets, boots and gloves all eventually absorb water leaving you heavier and colder. Synthetic materials, preferably with Kevlar added are just as good in a motorcycle glove, if not better, for winter protection and warmth.
Brand and style labels - you will get different features depending on the style of glove. Bear in mind that you pay for Brand names; some of it justified and some of it not. If you are a fashionista with a decent income, you don't need to concern yourself with this, but the rest of us need to remember that you don't always get better materials or features based on brand. The price can be fixed at what the market can stand; after all someone has to pay for all that marketing... Check out good value motorcycle clothing brands like RST and Spada compared to Alpinestars and Dainese for example.
Price: you get what you pay for (setting aside the debate about brand above). Winter motorcycle gloves go from about A�20 to over A�200, but you can expect a very decent pair from A�40-A�60.
Size: snug is good, too tight is a recipe for cutting off circulation and speeding up the freezing process to the extremities in winter.
Other winter motorcycling glove features to check for are:
Gauntlet style with longer wrists, which fit over your jacket and stop the draught going up your sleeves. Try them on with your jacket to make sure they fit easily enough not to annoy the hell out of you every time you put them on!
A visor wipe (a strip of absorbent material on the back/side of the glove to swipe your visor clear of rain) is useful for winter.
Warmth and comfort of the inner lining - winter motorcycle gloves
vary radically in this department.
Level of protection - look for knuckle armour and abrasion resistant materials like Kevlar and tougher materials at key impact areas.
Reflective strips or fluorescent material to give you more visibility in the dark winter mornings and evenings.
Finally, consider buying a pair of liner gloves at the same time as you buy the next pair of winter gloves. Try them on together in the shop; it may be that for a non-restrictive fit to incorporate liner gloves you need an outer glove one size bigger than normal. If your gloves are too tight-fitting they will restrict circulation, one of the best ways to speed up the freezing process.
So, to summarise those top tips: there is no substitute for trying gloves on: look at the labels, check for the winter features listed above and keep an open mind about materials and brand to get yourself the best value winter glove.
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