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Home > Buyer's Guide

Winter Cycling Gloves, Lobster Gloves, and Bike Pogies Buying Guide

by Levi Bloom

Winter cycling gloves, such as pogies or split-finger mittens (like Pearl Izumi's lobster gloves,) take the dexterity offered by typical gloves and combine it with the warmth offered by mittens, and the result is something that looks like a lobster's claw. But the real benefit is how the gloves keep your fingers close for warmth but still give you some level of dexterity (for braking, shifting, etc.)

Pearl Izumi's lobster gloves really are an ideal glove for cold weather cycling. If you are in Canada, check out the MEC lobster gloves.

This page is dedicated to bicycle pogies and a variety of gloves, such as lobster style gloves, that will keep your hands warm in the winter!

 

Split-finger Mittens (e.g. Lobster Gloves)

Lobster gloves, first made popular by Pearl Izumi, are designed to keep your hands warm in cold temperatures without limiting your dexterity like mittens do. Lobster gloves can be thought of as a cross between regular gloves and mittens.

"Lobster gloves" is actually a trademark of Pearl Izumi. That's why you don't see many others advertised as lobster gloves. Typically, they are called split-finger mittens, which is a generic term.

You will see that lobster gloves are like mittens split down the middle - one pocket for your first two fingers and one pocket for your last two fingers (along with one for your thumb.) Keeping your fingers together increases warmth while the split-finger design allows you to perform basic tasks without removing the gloves.

They are great for cyclists because we deal with very cold temperatures on our hands, yet we still need to brake and shift to ride safely. Normal gloves don't keep us warm enough, and mittens don't let us shift very well. That's why lobster gloves are so great.

 

What Are Pogies?

Pogies are an interesting invention that allows you to ride outside in VERY cold temperatures without the need for heavy gloves. Since heavy winter gloves make it hard to brake, shift, grab something out of your pocket, or just about anything that requires your hands, pogies are a dream come true for many cold weather cyclists.

The basic concept is that they fit over your handlebars and provide warm compartments for your hands. That way you can ride without gloves in moderately cold temperatures or get by with summer gloves if it's below freezing. Then, without the bulky gloves, you can easily brake and shift and do whatever you need to do with your hands.

Pogies are designed for flat handlebars, but even if you're a roadie, you're probably riding a mountain bike if you venture out in the extreme cold.

In a nutshell, pogies are the ideal way to keep your hands warm in cold and wet weather.

 

Winter Cycling Gloves and Bike Pogies List

While there aren't as many gloves designed for riding in the cold weather, there are enough to keep you riding all through the winter.

Lined gloves are nice for cool weather, and lobster gloves are excellent for moderate cold, but sometimes you need more when you're dealing with below zero temperatures! That is where pogies come in.

Here is a list of popular gloves and pogies, broken down by category.

Warm, Lined Gloves

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Duluth Ironclad Cold-weather Gloves:

These have the same durability and agility as all Ironclad gloves, but with some added features for cold weather work, like a barrier of weatherproof Dupont Hytrel material, which allows heat and perspiration from your hand to exit while not allowing cold and wind to enter, and a layer of micro fleece lining that keeps you warm down to 30 degrees while actively working.

Here are the details:

Coming in at $32, there's competitive with other winter glove options.

Buy online: at DuluthTrading.com

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180S Storm XTG Cold-weather Gloves:

I first heard about 180s when they came out with neat ear muffs, so I was excited to see them doing a nice glove. I'd call this a winter glove for running, hiking, XC skiing, and even cycling. Multi-purpose, if you will. Overall it's a very cool and innovative glove.

Here are the details:

Coming in at $40.

Buy online: at 180s.com

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Specialized BG Radiant Cold-weather Gloves:

Specialized takes their "Body Geometry" fitting to a new pair of cold weather gloves. These gloves have all five fingers and are designed for temps down to 30 degrees F.

Here are the details:

Coming in at $57.

Buy online: at Specialized.com

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Voler Thermal Cold-weather Gloves:

Voler's Thermal Gloves will provide the warmth needed for winter weather training in moderate cold.

Here are the details:

Note: This product is not seam-sealed and therefore, is not water-proof.

Coming in at $30, they're competitive with other winter glove options.

Buy online: at VeloWear.com

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Castelli Pioggia Cold-weather Gloves:

If you are looking for a regular glove with all five fingers, Castelli makes a very fancy model.

Here are the details:

Coming in at about $60.

Castelli: castelli-us.com | Buy at ColoradoCyclist.com

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Lobster Gloves

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Pearl Izumi Inferno Lobster Gloves:

Pearl Izumi, a very popular apparel brand in the cycling community, has been making lobster gloves for years (probably decades.) They have produced many typical gloves, but the latest model in a new take on lobster gloves.

While lobster gloves are a cross between normal gloves and mittens, the new Pearl Izumi Inferno gloves are a cross between lobster gloves and regular gloves! You can see the 2-finger design below:

pearl izumi inferno glove

Here are the details:

The craftsmanship comes at a price though - $65. They are a little pricier than general lobster gloves, but for increased comfort and control in cold weather, it's probably worth it.

Buy online: at PerformanceBike.com

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MEC Lobster Gloves:

mec nanu lobster gloves

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is Canada's leading supplier of quality outdoor gear and clothing. The company sells a complete line of outdoor gear and apparel, including a large selection of gloves. They even have cycling gloves for summer and winter!

But right now we're looking at the MEC lobster gloves, which are highly regarded when it comes to quality lobster gloves. Even though they aren't specifically a cycling company, I hear a number of cyclists raving about their great MEC lobster gloves.

The gloves I found on their site are called "MEC Nanu Cycling Lobster Gloves (Unisex)" and can be purchased online.

MEC: Official website | MEC Coldspell Cycling Gloves

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Bicycle Pogies

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Cabela's Handlebar Mittens:

Cabela's has some handlebar mittens made for ATvs and Snowmobiles, but they look like a great option for cyclists who also venture out into the cold weather. These mittens fit over the handlebars to allow easy access to controls while protecting your hands from cold weather and brush.

cabelas atv sleeves

Featuring:

These can be found for $12-25, depending on the season. This is the cheapest option I've found when it comes to pogies.

Buy: www.cabelas.com

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SideTrak CliMitts:

The CliMitts, made by SideTrak, bring the warmth of pogies to the budget-minded cyclist. They offer protection from the cold, wind, and rain for only $36.

Here are some of the features:

Being based in Seattle, I'm betting Sidetrak knows a thing or two about dealing with wet weather!

Sidetrak: Contact info | CliMitts page

2010 Update: The Sidetrak website has been shut down. I am not sure of the company status, but it seems Climitts may no longer be avialable.

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Moose Mitts:

Moose Mitts are a very nice, hand-made pogie available online. You can get a mountain bike model for $60, but they also have a pair of $75 road bike Moose Mitts (out for 2008.)

Here are some of the features:

The drop bar version are made from the same great 1000D courdura and fleece as the popular Mountain version. These Road Mitts allow you to ride in the drops, hoods, and flats of the drop bars. The road mitts do not have the inside pocket however.

Trails Edge: Main site | Moose Mitts page

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Bar Mitts:

The Bar Mitts are pogies designed for road bikes with drop handlebars. They are made to fit Shimano braking and shifting systems, although Campy and SRAM versions are in the works. The price is reasonable at about $65.

Here are some of the features:

You can purchase the mitts online at the site listed below.

Official website: BarMitts.com

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Dogwood Designs Pogies:

The pogies from Dogwood Designs are very popular in Alaska, and they look like a quality product. They are available in a variety of colors for $90.

There is no website for Dogwood Designs, so you can email them for more information about their pogies.

Contact: dogwooddesigns [at] gci [dot] net

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Bike Toasties by Apocalypse Designs:

The Bike Toasties from Apocalypse Design in Fairbanks, Alaska are a nicely designed pogie.

Features:

These come in at $84.

More info: Main site | Bike Toasties page

*Scroll a little more than halfway down the page to see them.

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Expedition Pogies from Epic Designs:

expedition pogies

Looking for the best pogies money can buy? Then take a look at the Expedition Pogies. They are hand-made by Eric Parsons and can be customized for your tastes, for a price tag of $200.

Eric has "over 15 years of adventure cycling experience ranging from Alaskan winters, to high and remote Himalayan passes, to thousands of miles across South America," so these pogies should stand up to whatever you can throw at them.

expedition pogies

Features:

Not to mention they look great! Check out his site for some high-resolution pictures.

More info: Epic Designs website | Expedition Pogies page

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Drybike Weathershields:

Drybike Weathershields are a concept similar to pogies, but they are a little smaller and lighter weight.

Carefully constructed from durable materials, these waterproof, breatheable, insulated covers offer superb comfort and warmth for your hands during inclement weather riding. The form allows for easy access to handlebars, brakes, and shifters. Not only do they keep your hands dry, but they block out the wind chill that ordinary gloves don't.

More features:

And at about $30 they are one of the less expensive options.

More info: Main site | Weathershields page

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MEC Northstar Cycling Pogies:

You need these insulated, rubberized pogies. They wrap on with Velcro, giving you access to the brake and shift levers, and their generous size leaves room inside for gloves or mitts in really grim conditions. Longer cuts on the tops make it easier to slip your hands in.

These look good and are offered at a fair price, but the hand openings look a little small and floppy, which would make it more difficult to slip your hands inside and grab the handlebar quickly.

More info: MEC.ca

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Now you should be able to choose some good gloves for your conditions!

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Further reading: IceBike.org and the Alaska Bike Blog.

 

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