Top Winter Cycling Apparel Companies
I often get asked what type what are the Top Winter Cycling Apparel Companies and which do I prefer. There are about 5 really good companies that I tend to get winter cycling apparel from including
- Louis Garneau
- Pearl Izumi
- North Wave
While these are my favorite, there certainly are tons of other cycling companies that make excellent winter apparel and gear.
I have also included some fantastic Pro Tips to make your Winter Training more attractive.
Assos Of Switzerland
Assos became a world name when the founder created one of the first carbon aero bike frames around 1976. Tony Maier-Moussa the founder also is claimed to have created the first lycra cycling shorts. Fast forward to today and Assos makes some outstanding winter cycling apparel. Oh and if you are wondering what the name means. It comes from the greek language meaning the first, the best.
Castelli Winter Cycling Apparel
Castelli traces its roots back to a fine tailor (Vittore Gianni) in the heart of Milan, founded in 1876. Through the years, Vittore Gianni clothed AC Milan, Juventus, and the Milan Ballet. The business changed course in 1935 when a young Armando Castelli joined Gianni’s staff and in 1939 purchased the company.
The Castelli scorpion was created around 1974 and versions of it have been used ever since.
My favorite items from Castelli are in their winter line including shoe covers, jackets and vests. I am also a really big fan of their cycling socks, especially the wool ones. One thing that makes Castelli stand out is their color combinations and logo, very European.
Capo Winter Cycling Apparel
Capo was founded in 2004 by Gary Vasconi and Robert Carbone. The initial offering of technical socks and casual apparel was widely accepted within the marketplace. Soon thereafter, the product range expanded to include a collection of men’s kits along with the launch of their custom apparel program. Over the years, the level and breadth of product have matured with new category, design, and technology introductions each season.
Capo products are designed and developed in the United States, with the majority of manufacturing taking place in northern Italy.
This year their winter line Padrone SL Roubaix Bib Tights and Padrone SL Wind Jacket are excellent at combating cold days.
Giordana Winter Cycling Apparel
The beginnings of Giordana Cycling Apparel started in 1971 when Giorgio Andretta created Gita Sporting Goods, LTD to provide North American cyclists with the highest quality Italian bicycle equipment. Starting as an elite cyclist from the Veneto region of Italy, Giorgio developed relationships with many of the local companies while racing and after moving from Italy in his early 20’s became the first North American distributor for Grandis, Duegi, De Rosa, Diadora, Campagnolo, Pinarello, and many others.
If you’re looking for great bib shorts and jerseys, Giordana is a fantastic place to start. Their wool line is pretty spectacular and has a lot of old school flair. Usually in the winter I will either run a single or dual wool layer with a jacket on top.
Louis Garneau Winter Cycling Apparel
In 1983, In his parent’s garage in Saint-Augustin-des-Desmaures, Quebec, Louis Garneau launched his namesake factory with one goal: to make great fitting, well-designed, top quality cycling apparel… that wouldn’t break the bank for his cycling friends. In the ensuing years, Louis’ innovative spirit and sense of design pushed the company through some key phases of expansion as it left the little garage and became a worldwide leader in cycling.
Louis Garneau: http://www.giordanacycling.com/
If there is one thing Louis Garneau makes probably better than anyone else it’s their accessory line to protect the extremities from the cold. They have a huge selection of gloves, booties and head warmers.
Louis Garneau’s Lobster “SUPER PRESTIGE 2” cycling gloves are probably some of the best overall cycling gloves I have used to date. The gloves can be worn as normal or in lobster mode covering 4 fingers. It adds an additional layer of warm and wind blocking capabilities.
Pearl Izumi: https://www.pearlizumi.com
“To know where you are going, you first have to know where you came from.” Pearl Izumi has origins in Tokyo, Japan over 50 years ago. Their products began to be seen in the US around 1981 and is now formally known as Pearl Izumi USA, Inc. They have sponsored many bicycling teams, including the 1984 USA Olympic team. Pearl Izumi USA was founded by Davis Phinney, Andy Hampsten, Stan Mavis, & Hugh Walton.
The name Pearl Izumi is derived from the gem “pearl” and an area of Japan known for its clear water “Izumi.” Literally translated, the name means, “fountain of pearls.”
Pearl Izumi prior to 2017 Pearl Izumi had both a cycling and running line. They have since ceased production of running related products to focus exclusively on cycling. They have a reputation for making outstanding cold weather riding gear.
Rapha Cycling Winter Apparel
Founded by Simon Mottram in London in 2004, Rapha launched with a month-long exhibition in East London’s Old Truman Brewery. Entitled Kings of Pain, it showcased six heroes from cycling’s golden era and beyond: Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, Raymond Poulidor, Tom Simpson, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. These riders perfectly captured the glory and suffering – and style – of road racing and today they, along with many others, continue to provide a source of inspiration for Rapha’s design.
Three of my favorite pieces from Rapha are their Merino Base Layer, Merino Hat and Gilet. I have had the base layers now for probably 5 seasons and they are definitely my goto layer when the temps drop.
Top Winter Cycling Apparel BONUS
Obviously keeping your feet warm is a major task during the winter and NorthWave seems to be at the top.
In 1993 Gianni Piva launches the bi-color Integral shoes, the first MTB shoes by Northwave. Since then Northwave probably more than any other shoe company has made excellent winter cycling shoes.
From our perspective Northwave currently has the best winter road cycling shoe out there called the Northwave EXTREME RR GTX. For those who prefer a winter MTB shoe, Northwave also makes the EXTREME XCM GTX, which is almost identical to the road with more traction.
PRO TIPs For Cycling Winter Training
How to Keep Your Feet Warmer
Putting Aluminum/Tin foil over your feet prior to putting your shoes on can keep your feet much warmer. Another option is to cut up one of those light silver safety blankets and use those.
How to Keep Your Head Warmer
Louis Garneau and probably a few other companies sell helmet covers. The helmet covers block the wind going through the helmet vents keeping your head much warmer. Wearing a beanie such as the Rapha Merino Hat will also help keep your head warm.
How to Keep Your Face and Neck Warmer
Neck gators help block the wind and can be pulled up to your nose. I first started seeing cyclists wearing neck gators this year, but they have been around for quite some time.
How to Layer Up
For winter riding 3 layers seems to be the ideal number for the upper body. The first or base layer should be tight against the skin. Wool is generally the best material and will keep you warm even when wet. The second layer should be a little more loose. Again, wool is usually a great option for the second layer. The final layer should be an outer shell that has wind blocking capabilities.
For the legs, winter bib shorts that are either full length or 3 quarter length knickers are ideal. In general doubling up on the legs is not recommended unless it’s super cold, below 20 degrees.
Start Using A Trainer
If it hasn’t occurred to you, mix up your outdoor training with indoor training. It’s much easier to get motivated for an indoor session when the weather is really cold. I put together a great article on some of the Top Electronic Indoor Cycling Trainers.