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If your kids are going to continue to cycle throughout the cold winter months, then a pair of good quality warm children's winter cycling gloves become an essential purchase. This is because they need to be able to keep gripping the handle bars, change gears and of course brake - what ever the temperature. They also need to be able to handle a cup of warming soup!
Winter gloves are also important for toddlers and younger children sitting in cargo bikes, bike seats or trailers, who loose heat quickly.
Winter cycling gloves need to be wind proof and reasonably waterproof and sized for smaller hands.
Credit is due to Polaris for realising that winter cycling takes many forms, and that one glove doesn't suit the needs of all kids. Whilst many manufacturers have a range of adult gloves, most only have one winter kids glove on offer. It's great therefore that Polaris have four different kids winter gloves - the Mini Windgrip, Mini Attack, Mini Hoolie and Mini Torrent, which go up in level of protection.
All Polaris kids winter gloves come in four sizes, based on the circumference of your child's hand (excluding the thumb), and tend to come up a bit on the larger size.
Small = 11.5-13.0cm (approx 5-6yrs)
Medium = 13.0-14.5cm (approx 7-8 years)
Large = 14.5cm-16.0cm (approx 9-10 years)
XL = 16.0-17.5cm (approx 11-12 years)
The Polaris Mini Windgrip gloves are designed for year round use - they are, as the name suggests, windproof, so will stop fingers getting cold on milder days. They're not waterproof or thermal, so are best suited for those who cycle on dry, mild autumn and spring days only. The palms are grippy, so good for those needing optimum control of their bike (think racing!)
The Mini Attack is a warm winter glove but it is not completely wind or waterproof. Whilst this might sound bad, it's worth remembering that if it was, then little hands would probably get very hot and sweaty on all but the coldest days. With the Mini Attack the wind and waterproof fabric is to the back of the hand to prevent the worst of the cold and wet getting in.
The glove does have a knitted cuff rather than the velcro, meaning water ingress during torrential downpours, plus it can be difficult to let the heat out your child is getting very hot through exertion. However, the Mini Attack is a good choice if you're riding on crisp, dry winter days, or when it's light rain. Our youngest wore them all last winter for weekend mountain biking and didn't complain of cold hands, but did overheat several times on the very steep climbs (here's our review of the Polaris Mini Attack if you want more detail on how it performed).
The Polaris Mini Hoolie Children's Cycling Glove is a fully windproof winter glove, and is weatherproof (meaning it will repel water up to a point, but isn't 100% watertight). It's particularly suited to riding in the dark, due to the high visibility trim, and their RBS glove (RBS stands for "Really Bright Stuff") is good for low light conditions, particularly when signalling. They come in yellow or orange with black trim, or black with orange.
The velcro adjustible cuff gives more options for keeping out the cold and rain, or releasing heat. The silicon print on fingers and palm add additional grip in the wet and there is a fleece nose wipe on the thumb (lovely!!) This glove would be ideal for those who cycle to school all year round.
As the name suggests, the Mini Torrent is Polaris's most extreme winter cycling glove. Designed to be fully waterproof, it contains a Hipora membrane lining to ensure no water seeps through from the glove surface to hands. This glove is ideal below freezing due to its thinsulate padding and insulation - if it's worn in warmer conditions you're likely to get compaints of hands getting too hot. An ideal glove for those who cycle through extreme conditions, or where your child is expending no energy themselves and getting cold extremities (i.e. in a cargo bike, tagalong)
The Altura Night Vision 3 has a sleek look, with added colour and a long cuff.
We used the Altura Cresta gloves for several years when our boys were younger and frequently buy adult Altura products, as they are so well designed for the British climate, so expect this glove to perform well. It's designed to have maximum visibility - check out the reflective material which will be picked out by car headlights - and warmth, whilst maintaining breathability. Cuff extentions will provide extra warmth (and hopefully keep the rain out), and an inner thermal lining should keep little hands dry and warm. The external fabric is designed to be wind proof. This glove is likely to be a good all rounder for daily use through the chilly and wet winter months.
The Altura Youth Night Vision 3 has and RRP of £19.99 and is available in three sizes (5-6, 7-9 and 10-12)
Endura are another good bet for winter cycling kit - they're designed to keep you dry and warm in whatever a Scottish winter can throw at you, and we've been impressed with everything we've bought from them in the past.
Their Autumn/Winter kids cycle glove offering is the Nemo. It's got an interesting feel superstretch neoprene outer, which should be very waterproof, with a wicking terry inner to stop too much sweat building up. There's silicon grip on the palm, and a deep cuff with a velcro wrist strap adjuster to stop rain or snow getting down inside. The reflective trim is functional. These gloves are ideal for hardened winter cyclists who go out in all weather conditions - Endura even say they're ideal for snowballing! Not one for warmer days.
The Nemo gets the thumbs up from Dad of two Toby, who told us "You won't find warmer and more dexterous, I promise. They are amazingly good, and for snowballs too." Good to know they live up to the marketing hype!
The Endura Nemo full finger kids cycling gloves have an RRP of £16.99 and are available in Small (approx 7-8 yrs), Medium (approx 9-10 years) and Large (approx 11-12 years).
The nice thing about the Maddison kids winter cycling gloves is they're not all black! With yellow and pink options available they're a bit more colourful, which can be useful on dark winters days. The Protec is their heavier weight offering, and Maddison claim these gloves are waterproof, windproof and breathable. They have a micro-fleece lining to keep hands warm and dry. As with the other gloves they've got a cuff adjuster plus reflective print and detailing for enhanced visibility. These gloves come with silver thread on the tips of the thumb and index fingers to allow for basic control of touch screen devices without the removal of the gloves, so these are a good all round choice for mobile savvy kids, or those navigating using a device.
The Maddison gloves sizing is done in cm's not years. Their website states - "measure across back of palm for glove size" and you don't include the thumb. Their ranges for their youth sizes say XS - 6cm-7cm; S 7-7.5cm; M 7.5-8cm; L 8-9.8cm
The Element is the Protec's younger sibling - it's a lightweight thermal glove that is windproof and breathable, so is ideal for milder and drier days. It's shower proof rather than downpour proof. The Element has the same touch screen friendly features as the Protec and has a double layered fabric in the high wear area between index finger and thumb ensure a long life. It's therefore not surprising that when Cycle Sprog follower Stephen recommended these, he told us that his 7 year old daughters have been using them for several years.
The Madison Element kids gloves have an RRP of £15.99 and come in the coral colour pictured above, or blue.
Whilst kids cycling gloves are designed specifically for the purpose of cycling, it's of course possible to use other kids winter gloves for cycling in. Here are a couple that Cycle Sprog readers have recommended:
Cycle Sprog reader Joanne recommends the Kipsta "Keep Warm" gloves. They're designed for football and rugby, so don't have all the features of the dedicated kids cycling glove, but Joanne tells us: "They are really flexible, have a great grip, fleecy lining and polyester outer so they cope with light rain. The gloves wash well, and are cheap (£3.99) so I can justify a couple of pairs each. They start at age 6 which is tiny and fits my 4yr old well."
Another reader, Richard, seconds that, saying "The Kipsta makes a great glove for cyclo-cross races - not too thick and still grippy when muddy. But not hugely warm for a longer ride though, I'd say good for 5 degree ish on anything more than a quick spin."
Alice recommends the Gap Warmest Gloves (RRP £16.99) for Cycle Sprogs on and off the bike. She says "We’ve always used these Gap gloves for cycling in the winter (and everything else). Gap often have heavy discounts if you sign up for emails".
Buy now: Gap Warmest Gloves
One of the REALLY REALLY annoying things about kids sized winter cycling gloves is that it's almost impossible to find a pair for children under 5 years old. What about all the 2, 3 and 4 year olds out there who want to ride all year round?
This has long been a problem, and unfortunately Sealskinz, whose smaller sized gloves we used to recommend, have stopped making them. However, we have been told about Gordini, who made toddler sized gloves for ages 1 (XXS), 2 (XS), 3 (S), 4 (M), 5, (L) and 6 years (XL). Obviously hand size varies, so they are for guidance only.
Whilst not cycling specific gloves, the manufacturers claim they are ultra breathable, waterproof and windproof. The gloves have palm and thumb reinforcement. We're not sure if they're flexible enough for braking and changing gear, but should be suitable for balance bikers and those on tagalongs.
The Gordini Toddler gloves come in a range of colours and are available from Amazon.
For younger children who are sitting in a cargo bike, trailer or bike seat, you need to make sure their hands are really warm. Unlike young cyclists, they are sitting still and not generating body warmth. Extremities like fingers will get cold quickly. Mittens are a good way to keep smaller hands warm, as you're not fiddling trying to get fingers into the correct holes.
The Didriksons Biggles Zip Mittens come with a zip down the side, to help you get your child's hands into them - something we think will really help when you're rushing to get out the house. They're made of 100% Polyamide Weave, which is water resistent, but the tapes aren't seamed, so they're not 100% waterproof. Warmth is provided by fleece pile. The mittens come in ages Baby - 2 years, 2-4, 4-6 and 6-8 years, and five bright colours. They have an RRP of £20 and are available on Amazon They also do a slightly cheaper version without the zips.
It's always useful to have a little pair of "normal" gloves to have tucked away in your rucksack. Picture the scene - you've stopped for a break, the winter cycling gloves are too cumbersome and so come off, but it's too cold to go without gloves - you know the result if they get freezing fingers, so best be prepared. Alternatively, you may find their hands warm up too much in their winter gloves up a hill, and they won't keep them on. They can also be used under other mitts and gloves in extremely cold weather.
We also find really cheap thin gloves are good for turning short fingered cycling mitts into autumn/winter cycling gloves in an emergency situation (i.e. you've turned the house upside down and can't find the warm kids winter cycling gloves anywhere!)
Go Outdoors have some really cheap kids sized stretch gloves which should do the job just fine - they also have a grippy palm if your child ends up needing to use them for cycling in. They are one size and cost just £4.25.
Finally, if your kids are prone to talking their gloves off and loosing them (especially if they're sitting behind you in a rear bike seat or bike trailer and you can't see them!) then the good old fashioned piece of elastic is a good idea.
Glove Glue is a great alternative - it's a correctly sized piece of elastic which comes with clips, meaning you don't have to sew anything. Glove Glue is available from Amazon.
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This article on the warmest children's winter cycling gloves was originally posted on 10th October 2012, and was last updated in January 2019 to reflect the latest stock
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If you're cycling all year round with your family, you'll love our article on kids winter cycling jackets:
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