From below-zero freezing temperatures to wet double-digit rides, the POC Thermal Glove has proved to be an excellent option in the best winter cycling glove space, offering a balance of warmth, comfort and waterproofness. They do come with a hefty price, though, and the non-adjustable wrist might not suit everyone.
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POC thermal glove - Technical details
POC’s thermal gloves are meant for those colder rides and, despite the bland looks and name, they pack a lot in. The core feature of these gloves is the Primaloft Aerogel insulation at the back of the hand, and Primaloft Gold ECO at the palm. Both of these synthetic insulation features serve a different purpose: the Aerogel is extremely water repellent, whereas the Gold is considered, well, the gold standard of synthetic insulation and in this case, is made 90% of post-consumer recycled fibres.
And while it sounds like there is a lot of insulation on these gloves, they are not the bulkiest. The palm has a thin leather layer which ensures grip, and the rest of the glove is made with water-repellent, stretchy materials. The thumb also has a soft nose wipe on it.
POC has added a reflective detail to the pinkie and ring finger - adding some safety to indicating directions in the dark. There are five sizes available ranging from XS to XL, and only one black colour option.
POC thermal glove - Performance
Winter gloves are tricky to get right but POC has done quite well with this pair in keeping the bulk to a minimum and warmth to a maximum. I’ve enjoyed wearing these gloves well through the winter and now, nearing the end of it, I still reach out for them because they work well even in near double-digit temperatures.
I suffer from cold hands which is why I can wear winter gloves well into spring but this POC pair has been especially enjoyable because of the breathable and waterproof properties. These are some of the most breathable winter gloves I’ve worn and because of that, they’re very easy to take off and put back on even though they don’t have a velcro strap at the cuff.
Ventilation is something that a lot of winter gloves overlook and the result is, well, colder hands because of the moisture inside the gloves getting cold - and also making it really hard to pull the gloves off let alone slide them back on. It's a real pet peeve of mine with gloves that the liner inside comes off the fingers when I take the gloves off and is sometimes really hard to get back in place - which means I can't get my fingers to the right slots. With these gloves, I had no such issue and the soft fleece insides stayed in place.
The leather palm offers a very secure grip on any bar tape I have ridden with in both dry and wet conditions. The sizing has been spot on (I’ve tested size small) and although there is plenty of insulation on these, they don't feel bulky. That said, I felt that on mountain bike brakes the slightly more padded fingers are not necessarily the most ideal - but really, it's either that or cold fingers and I know which one I choose.
The lack of a Velcro band on the gloves to adjust the wrist cuff could be considered a negative as you can’t get the cuff fit very snugly against your skin but it wasn’t really an issue for me. It does mean that moisture can also get in a little easier - but again, this is not something I had an issue with even though I rode the gloves in very wet conditions. These are obviously not fully waterproof gloves which meant that after about 1.5 hours of riding in constant rain, I could feel the moisture seeping in, but because of the synthetic insulation, I still felt the gloves held heat in well.
Finally, the little details - the thumb and index finger are touch screen compatible which has been handy both with a phone and a touch screen cycling computer. The soft nose wipe on the thumb has been a saviour on sniffly rides and I really appreciate the reflective detailing for those dark rides.
POC thermal glove - Verdict
These are premium winter gloves, which is reflected in the £80 price tag but as someone who has grown up with very cold winters, I know that a good winter kit doesn’t come cheap and should be seen more as an investment than anything else.
Alpinestars Cascade Warm Tech gloves retail for £50 but lack waterproofness, Chiba Bio-X-Cell Winter Warm-Line Thermal Waterproof Glove (£54.99) has similar qualities to the POC pair but also features a velcro strap. There are a few gloves even pricier than the POCs, for example, Castelli Spettacolo Ros (£110) and the Dissent 133 Ultimate Cycling Glove Pack (£109) and, well, Rapha’s winter gloves set you back £150.
POC's Thermal Gloves are not cheap but they're not alone in the high price bracket and deliver a lot of great qualities for the price. These include waterproofness, warmth from sub-zero to double-digit temperatures, and great breathability. Overall, I think these are a great winter glove set if you can afford the cost.