A great pair of winter MTB gloves can help keep you out as long as your legs can manage. As our guide to the best winter MTB gloves shows, there’s no single best pair for everyone; they’re all about the choices between things like warmth and bulk, or waterproofing and breathability.
Gore Wear’s C5 Gore-Tex Thermo gloves have been my go-to winter warmers for more than a decade, for everything from commuting to warming up for cyclocross races, to long rainy MTB bikepacking trips. Except for their excellent stormproofing, they’re possibly not the best at any one single thing, but they’re pretty good at everything, and for me, they’re warm but versatile enough to see me from the colder shoulder-season days all the way through winter and into early spring.
A very few cycling gloves (like the bulkier Giro Proof) are warmer; many (such as the MTB-orientated 100% Brisker) are more dexterous (but not as warm) or have more features... but the combination of protection, fit, and easy wearing make the C5 Gore-Tex Thermo a likeable choice.
Design and specifications
The C5 Gore-Tex Thermos are a three-layer sandwich, with a cosy microfleece on the inside, a full Gore-Tex waterproof membrane in the middle, and a heavy-duty water resistant outer facing fabric on the back of the hands and fingers. The cuffs are a softer, dense fabric with a velcro closure, and the palms and undersides of the fingers are a lightly dimpled synthetic leather.
The edges of the index fingers and thumbs have generous stretches of soft posh snot-wipe material, the little finger has a reflective edge, and the gloves come in black or neon yellow.
The gloves aren’t advertised as being touchscreen-friendly but they do allow some touchscreen control, just not always that detailed.
They’re fairly light for their size. They weigh in at 62g for a size large, which is 30 per cent less than the more ski-glove-like Giro Proofs, but not a huge amount more than some less substantial options .
I get cold fingers quite easily, so for me the C5 Gore-Tex Thermos start to come out when the mercury dips below about 8C / 46F. They’re just a reassuring place to be; aside from the insulation, you know they’ll keep your hands dry and the wind off, so they’re a good companion on longer rides or multi-day trips, or on rides like dark commutes when you’d prefer to still be in bed.
On the mountain bike they’re not the last word in responsive feel or fingertip dexterity, but they’re fine for keeping you out in comfort for a bit longer than you might normally expect, and I’ve never had any trouble with gear shifts. The palm is reasonably grippy, and there’s a little bit of added padding under the lateral side of the palm, but no particular padding if you’re on the hoods on a gravel bike.
The Gore-Tex membrane will absolutely stop rain getting through to your skin, but you might be surprised that the outer face doesn’t bead like a raincoat, and eventually wets out, even when new. The inner microfleece sometimes does get a bit damp, either from gradual buildup of sweat, or if you’ve put wet hands back into the glove, but it still stays pretty warm, largely I suspect because of the excellent windproofing.
I bought my original C5 Gore-Tex Thermos years ago a little on the large side, and over time as the insulation has flattened down a bit they’ve become only more versatile. On cold days – below say 5C / 41F – I start with a thin pair of gloves underneath, something like the Defeet DuraGloves, or thinner. Then depending on how much things warm up during the ride, I either wear the Gore Wear gloves alone or the inner gloves alone, so the combination is good from just above freezing to 12C / 54F or more. They’ve put up with tons of abuse and dozens of runs through the washing machine. The snot wipe and the outermost surface of the palm has worn off but they’re still warm and easy to wear and even though I also have a new pair, I’m sure I’ll keep using the old ones too
As I said at the start, apart from the waterproof and windproof membrane, the Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex Thermo gloves probably aren’t the best at any one thing, and I’d definitely improve the beading on the outer surface if I could, and maybe give them a slightly longer cuff. But the combination of everything hits a Goldilocks spot that means I’ll keep coming back to them for all sorts of on- and off-road riding through winter where staying out in comfort is a higher priority than a nimble feel on the bars.
Tech specs: Gore Wear C5 Gore-Tex Thermo gloves
- Price: $90.00 / £74.99 / €74.95
- Colors: Black, Neon yellow
- Weight: 124g (pair, size large)
- Sizes: XS-3XL
- Materials: 94% polyamide, 6% elastane