Clothing Guide Cycling In Winter

This article is all about what type of clothes you should wear while cycling in cold weather or winter based on different temperatures.

If you can’t spend money on every garment for cycling, I have marked: Always, Recommended, and Optional to all the clothes/gears I’ve talked about so you can buy based on that as well, I have also mentioned an alternative to that which you can wear if you don’t have much money to invest in that.

Following are the wear and gear that every cyclist should have in their wardrobe for cycling in cold weather:

Temperature Chest Legs Gloves Feet Other Accessories
60 F Normal Clothing/jacket Shorts/Pants Optional Cycling Shoes & Socks Eyewear (Optional)
50 F Softshell Windproof Jacket + Lightweight Base Layer Bib Shorts / Regular Pants Gloves (Recommended) Cycling Shoes & Socks Eyewear (optional) & Skull cap
40 F Softshell Windproof Waterproof Jacket + Midweight Base Layer + Sleeveless Mid layer Cycling Tights Cycling Gloves Cycling shoes, Cycling Socks, Overshoes (Recommended) Eyewear (optional)
Neck cover & Skull Cap
32 F Softshell Windproof Waterproof Jacket + Mid Weight Baselayer + Gilet Cycling Tights + Leg Warmers Cycling Gloves Cycling Shoes, Cycling Socks, Overshoes Eyewear, Neck cover & Skull Cap
> 20 F (Not Recommended For Cycling) Base layer + Mid Layer + Ski/Softshell Jackets Long Underwear + Cycling Tights Double Layer Gloves / Mittens Cycling Shoes, Cycling Socks, Overshoes (Powder under socks) Ski goggles, Neck cover & Skull Cap
What to wear cycling in Winter depending on temperature

Link to Products I mentioned:

Temperature Products
50 F Jacket | Lightweight Baselayer | Bib-shorts | Socks | Eyewear | Skull Cap
40 F Jacket | Baselayer | Sleeveless Mid-layer | Bib-tights | Gloves | Socks | Overshoes | Eyewear | Skull Cap
32 F Jacket | Baselayer | Mid-layer | Bib-tights | Gloves | Socks | Overshoes | Eyewear | Skull Cap | Neck Warmer | Pogies
20 F Jacket / Ski Jacket | Baselayer | Long Underwear | Mid-layer | Bib-tights | Mittens | Socks | Overshoes | Eyewear | Skull Cap | Neck Warmer | Pogies | Ski Goggles
Products to wear while cycling in Winter

Windproof / Waterproof Jacket – Always

Wear a windproof/waterproof jacket because as soon as your body starts to feel cold, all that cold blood is going to flow down to your hands and start controlling circulation as well as your body tries to stay warm in by its organs.

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If you live in a wet area (check dew of your area) then it is recommended to wear a waterproof jacket but if you live in a dry area like me, I would highly suggest you wear a Windproof jacket as they are more breathable than the waterproof jackets.

Having a good winter jacket means you don’t have to wear excessive layers because that jacket would be enough to do the trick. A good winter jacket is considered to be the one that includes:

Along with the above things, your jacket should be windproof and waterproof, insulated, and breathable enough to stay comfortable.

Also, you should look for a brighter color because in Winters the day is not as bright as Summer so to make sure other vehicles can see you clearly, I highly suggest you buy a bright-colored jacket rather than a traditional black or dull-colored jacket.

The one I use and is probably the best in the entire market is the ASUXEO Softshell Cycling Jacket, it has all the features a good cycling jacket should have and is used by thousands of other cyclists as well. Also, it is not very expensive so In my opinion, it is a go-to option for all the cyclists. I have attached the image of it above.

It is windproof and waterproof at the same time that’s why it will be best for many people but as I mentioned, waterproof jackets are not as breathable as windproof jackets and so is the case with this one. I wear it when I see there is dew in the atmosphere.

If your area is dry and no dew most of the time, the best option would be a windproof jacket alone as it is more comfortable and not that tight, I was surprised at how cheap I was able to get the Baeleaf Windbreaker cycling jacket from the listing of Amazon and it is also very comfortable and definitely, it is a quality product.

If you order, look for a slightly bigger size because it runs smaller than the details indicated – I needed to replace it and it occurred to many other people as well.

For females: This jacket is best for Women.

Base Layer – Always When Temperature Below 50 F

A base layer is a first-ever layer next to your skin that you wear before wearing heavy layering.

Base layers basically wick the moisture out of your body. The base layer’s main work is to keep you dry and wick the sweat away which will keep you warmer. Base layers don’t provide much insulation nor they are designed to do that.

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It is very important to wear a base layer because it wicks out the sweat you’ll build while cycling, if it stayed on your body, then you are going to feel a lot colder.

Many beginners just skip to the base layers and wear a normal shirt under their clothes but you should completely not do that as something tight-fitting like a base layer will provide much better insulation and do a far better job in wicking the sweat away of your body which your shirt is never going to do, if the sweat gets collected which will definitely get collected if you cycle and wear a normal shirt, then you’ll feel a lot colder.

So it is better to have a high-quality, long-sleeved base layer, especially for winters. Wool material is said to be ideal as it is soft against the skin giving you warmth because it is breathable. It is not available only in winter, but you can get them for summers as well.

A good base layer will keep you stay cool and dry during winters.

I use the Athlio base layer and it is quite comfortable, I used to be very careful in selecting a base layer as this is the one that is what we are going to feel from our skin and after buying more than 3 base layers, I came up with this. It is made of Polyester which is a great material for a base layer. And also this base layer doesn’t cost that much on Amazon, it is super inexpensive and was even better than my $100 base layer.

And also it comes with a prebuilt neck warmer so I don’t need to buy a separate neck warmer, it is like a cherry on the top.

For female cyclists, this Coldpruf thermal base layer is the way to go.

If it is not much cold in your area, you can also buy a sleeveless base layer, I use this one when it is not that cold (In October-November). I wear them when the temperature is between 50F – 60F and they are probably the best in that range.

Base layers are mostly made from polyester, merino wool, silk, and synthetic, You should always look for either Polyester or Merino wool, they both turn out to be the best. I have compared them in the below table.

Property Polyester Merino Wool Synthetic (Combination of a lot of different fibers) Silk
Wicking / Drying Average Little Slow Fastest Wicking Poor Wicking
Odor Odorless Odorless Stinkiest A little Stinky
Comfortability Soft Light & Extremely Soft Light Softest (Most Comfortable)
Warm A little Warm Warm Depends on the mixes Warmest

I suggest wearing a mid-weight base layer while cycling in above 32 F and when it is below 32 F, a heavyweight base layer is recommended. You can see the following table where I have compared different base layers based on weight.

Lightweight Midweight Heavyweight
Thinner Slightly Thicker Very Thick
Wick Moisture & Dry Faster Take a little longer to Wick / Dry Very less to No Wicking / Drying
Very Little to No Insulation Some Insulation Best Insulation

I have already written an article on choosing the right base layer where I have talked about different metrics to compare, you can read that article by clicking here.

Bibs Tights – Below 40 F / Bib Knickers (Optional)

If you plan to cycle in Winter, then bib tights are a must and necessity, it will keep you warm throughout the ride and will not let wind disturb your ride. you should not wear normal pants while cycling if you are cycling below 40 F because the wind will sue you.

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Although our legs don’t need much insulation in comparison to our chest still it is important to wear proper pants when it is under 40 F.

Make sure your tights are not that tight, provide good insulation, windproof, and waterproof – any normal sports pants would work although. The one that I use and recommend to others is the

I see many people wearing knickers as well on their legs because of the comfort – that’s okay but just don’t wear only knickers when it is below 40 F because you may feel too cold in that case.

Another option could be if you cycle below the 40 F range, then you can wear knickers and leg warmers (knee warmers.) but that would not look that good.

You don’t necessarily need a base layer for pants – if the temperature is below 20 F, then you may consider wearing one but most of the time Pants and Leg warmers / Knee Warmers (Which I will cover further in the article) will work.

I use the pants by Urban cycling and it fits very well for me and has all the features I mentioned earlier a tight should have, it is super comfortable, I earlier had one $150 bib tights and was great as well, I somehow lost it so I had to buy another and bought these and honestly, it was as comfortable as my $150 bib tights and I was surprised as it costs less 1/3rd of my $150 tights.

I bought it on Amazon for this cheap price. For women: you may buy these cycling tights on Amazon, it is also very cheap yet very comfortable (according to the reviews)

You don’t necessarily need to buy bib tights only for cycling, you may buy cycling tight pants as well, I just feel more comfortable in Bib tights. You can buy the Baeleaf cycling tight pants from Amazon, they are perfect for cycling between the 30-45 F range.

Eyewear – Recommended For Always

Eyewear is an essential thing for a cyclist despite what weather you’re riding your bike. Even on cloudy days, UV rays exposure can be high and can harm your eyes. Eyewear-like wraparound sunglasses will protect from UV rays. And during winters, the sun hangs low in the sky which can play havoc with visibility.

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Many people including me have this problem of getting watery eyes in Winter while running or cycling, that’s why I personally always wear eyewear and recommend it also.

Secondly, they obviously protect from sand and dust and even snow if there is any. A single pair of glasses would cope up with everything that a cyclist would face during a ride on dirt roads.

The eyewear I use and recommend using is the Glasses from Xialayi Store on Amazon, the main reason is that they are cheap and secondly they are interchangeable which many cheap glasses don’t have.

And I suggest you not huddle up while choosing eyeglasses – just look for the ones that are interchangeable and have a color option you like. the one I recommended has a dozen of color options.

Although the color I use and recommend is yellow because now everything you see will be brighter which normally isn’t in winter, but you can choose any one of them – all work just fine.

Cycling Socks – Always

I don’t need to tell the importance of that – You should always wear cycling socks whether in Summers or Winters, you can even layer up if you feel too cold on your feet or when the temperature is below 40 F. You can wear Merine wool socks beneath it, I wear them too in Winter.

QUICK TIP: Use baby powder or Normal powder all over your feet before wearing socks – it does not allow your feet to build up a sweat – thus makes you feel warmer. Originally this technique is used in skiing but you can use it in cycling as well.

Mid Layer – Below 30-40 F (Light Midlayer For 50 F)

You should always wear a thick mid-layer when the temperature is less than 32 F. If you ride in 40-50 F, then you should also wear a lightweight mid-layer, by wearing a mid-layer you get one advantage, if you feel uncomfortable while wearing your cycling jersey, you may just take it out and cycle while wearing a mid-layer alone.

You may use a normal cycling jersey you use in Summer if it is not that cold, I use a Winter specialized cycling jersey by Gore and it is awesome, with a decent base layer, I am easily able to cycle with it in the 40 F range and many times, I remove my outer layer when I feel too toasty. But it is a little expensive but trust me the investment is worth the cost and I am really happy that I had invested in these.

One advantage of wearing a good mid-layer is as mentioned, whenever you feel too packed in (toasty), you may just pull off the chain of your jacket or take off the jacket completely and keep cycling, it gives me an option and an extra layer obviously.

I like to wear a Cycling vest aka a Sleeveless undershirt when the temperature is more than 45 F (Found one at a very cheap price on Amazon), it becomes super comfortable and is breathable but still if you are cycling in >35 F, you should always wear a mid-layer even if you’re cycling in 40 F, a mid-layer just gives you an option, you will definitely not feel cold and you can always remove your outer layer whenever you feel a little toasty.

Head/ skull cap – Below 50 F

If you think a helmet will keep your head warm while cycling during cold weather, then you are wrong. Well, that’s not enough, you should be wearing a head cap under your helmet to keep your head warmer. 

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Because we lose a huge amount of heat through the top of our head, wearing a head cap will trap the heat in and will cover your ears and forehead too. A lightweight, breathable material could be comfortable to prevent overheating.

Although, a normal traditional headband can do the job as well a skull cap does this in a much more efficient manner.

Gloves – Below 50 F

Wearing a long finger glove is an important thing for cyclists during winter. Your hands should feel warm to be able to break and change gears which you won’t be able to do if you can’t feel your fingers. You will probably feel cold when you will hold the handle of your cycle, that’s why it becomes very important to invest in good cycling gloves.

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Long-fingered gloves come with wind and waterproof protection, also in thin or lightweight options specifically designed for cycling. Pay full attention to keeping your hands and feet warm.

If you feel too cold on your hands while holding the handle, consider layering up or buying a Poggie which I will talk about further in the article.

Arm and Leg warmers – Below 40 F

After you’ve taken care of your hands and feet, think about all the large muscle groups that can get cold with winter weather.  Arm and leg warmers are a very essential items to wear during this temperature range. They come in varying levels of thickness and insulation providing extra warmth and protection from the wind.

These also are very inexpensive and easy to carry in your pockets while stepping out for a ride. The best option for arm and leg warmers are you should choose one with a Wind stopper combined with a fleece under layer.

Arm warmers are not necessary, they are optional but still, they are very helpful in keeping your arms warm but if you wear a full sleeve base layer that would be enough.

You can find these leg warmers easily on Amazon for a really cheap price.

You can wear them under knickers but that may not look that good, certainly, you don’t need them until and unless you are wearing good tights and you are cycling above freezing point.

Neck Warmer / Neck Tube – Below 40 F

With a high neck jacket, you should be wearing a neck warmer in the cold weather. They are great for keeping your neck warm a stretchy and lighter weight warmer can protect your face too. You can turn it into a lower face mask, a scarf, or a headband.  With this, you’ll be able to take a warm breath while cold outside.

Fun fact: they are super cheap, you can easily find a Neck tube under $8 / 6 Euro on Amazon.

Overshoes/ Toe covers – Below 40 F

Your shoes are the closest thing to the ground and they’ll be bearing the brunt of all the spray coming off the road and from all the cold wind. During winter, your feet will get cold oftentimes while cycling (it is one of the most common problems of cyclists.)

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I see many people wearing double-layered socks but that can even worsen the situation as now the sweat you’ll build up will get stores in your socks making you feel even colder. So, what’s the solution?

The solution is cheap yet incredibly effective – Wear Overshoes.

Toe covers or Overshoes come with thermal fleece lining thus providing some insulation and prevent wind from entering. Although it doesn’t provide much insulation, its main work is to stop cold from entering your feet, it limits a lot of cold from entering, thus making your feet feel warm.

You can easily find it on the listing of Amazon for a very cheap price.

That’s why it becomes important to wear Shoe covers when you cycle below 40 F.

Because if your feet get cold while cycling you won’t be able to ride a bike properly and you’ll lose the race. Keep your feet warm from the outside by wearing a toe cover instead of wearing thick socks inside the shoes. 

Windproof Facemask – Below 32 F

When you cycle below 32 F, it becomes very important to wear a face mask, No I am not talking about that surgical face mask, I am talking about a winter windproof face mask that will protect you from cold.

A facemask will cover your complete face protecting you from harsh cold winds and you will not need to wear a skull cap with it although obviously, you can wear a skull cap over it if you feel cold.

The facemask you choose should be windproof as wind is probably the biggest challenge while cycling in Winter. I have already written an article on Cycling in the wind where I have also talked about some very helpful tips to overcome wind so make sure you check that out as well.

I was really surprised at how cheap I was able to get the Irelia Winter Windproof Face mask from the listing of Amazon.

Bar Covers / Poggies – Below 32 F

Poggies are basically a thermal lining usually made of thick silk cotton to provide insulation for your hands. If you plan to cycle below 32 F, then these are a must, they provide a lot of insulation on your hands. In this extreme condition, gloves are just not enough for insulation that’s why cyclists use this with their gloves.

Poggies are basically a thermal lining usually made of thick silk cotton to provide insulation for your hands. If you plan to cycle below 32 F, then these are a must, they provide a lot of insulation on your hands. In this extreme condition, gloves are just not enough for insulation that’s why cyclists use this with their gloves.

They might seem expensive but they really aren’t, you can find them on Amazon at a very low price. They are used by almost every person who cycles below freezing point, some even use it at 40 F so if you plan to cycle below 32 F, you should also be using them.

What Should I Wear Cycling In 40-degree Weather?

Regardless of the weather temperature, the overall strategy is to dress in layers. This way you can remove the layers when the weather gets warmer. 40 degrees tend to be a little cold for short clothing unless you’re wearing any layers underneath the shorts.

While cycling in 40-degree weather, You should wear a good cycling jacket, a lightweight mid-layer, bib tights, and a good base layer. Along with medium-weight or lightweight hand gloves, cycling shoes, merino wool socks, and a skull cap. You can also wear eyewear to prevent watery eyes.

What Should I Wear Cycling Below 20 F?

According to Steven Hausmann, you should wear skiing gear – a ski helmet. ski goggles (prevent eyelashes from freezing), ski jacket, mittens, good base layers (for both chest and legs), decent mid-layer, and a very warm jacket when cycling below 20 F.

What not to wear while cycling in winter?

During cycling, it is important to wear clothes that fit you comfortably. You have to try out different gears and attires to find a perfect fit. To have a perfect ride, you must avoid the attire mistakes for cycling in winter.

Things not to wear while cycling in winter are:


A too-tight wet suit is very uncomfortable for the rider. During rainy weather, you should avoid wearing a wetsuit that is too tight for you and doesn’t give enough warmth while riding. It is suitable for swimmers not for cyclists.

The Onesie

A onesie is a one-piece bodysuit that is not going to help you while cycling in cold, rainy weather. Instead, you’ll feel uncomfortable with it while dealing with doesn’t provide enough warm which is not a good option for cold weather.

Down Jacket

A down jacket is insulated with soft and warm under feathers from duck or geese. It would work on the top of mountains when you go for a track, but they don’t work on the bike. Because it’s too big, quite uncomfortable and with no stretchiness.

A down jacket will get wet in rain and remain wet. And besides that, what would you do with it when the weather is warm.

Waterproof Trousers

They will protect you from rain but once the rain gets stopped, your legs will get fairly sweaty. They are also not much warmer or a stretchy material due to which you’ll get uncomfortable while cycling.

And the water on your trousers will get into your shocks and shoes while cycling which will make your feet freezing.

Welly boots

People often think that wearing welly boots as shoe covers will protect your feet from rain and cold. Well, it is not a good idea, because the water still gets inside of your boots while moving your feet for paddling.

Moto helmet

Moto helmets are used to reduce the risk of head injury in riding the motorcycle. But for cycling, it is unnecessary as you need more visibility on your bicycle. No need to wear a moto helmet, instead just find the right bicycle helmet that gives you protection while cycling.

I have seen many people wearing this that’s why I included this point – never ever wear a motorcycle helmet while cycling. Invest in a good cycling helmet.

How Much Cold Is Too Cold For Cycling

Cycling under 20 F and even below 32 F is too cold for cycling and very hard for many people but it can be done. While cycling below 15 F gets really harder and can be extremely dangerous for your health.

Bottom Line

I hope this article was helpful for you, I tried to fit in as much information as possible and tried my best to write this article. If you have any queries or need personalized suggestions feel free to drop a comment, I will definitely reply within 24 hours.

Honestly, I don’t cycle when it is below 32 F because in my area the average temperature ranges from 35-50 F but I asked some people who do that, did a lot of research, and gathered this knowledge.



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