Madison's Avalanche gloves are great mid-weight all-rounders that will see you through wet, chilly rides from autumn to spring, and for a very reasonable price. Living in the UK, I don't see much point in buying winter gloves that aren't waterproof as well as windproof, and the Avalanche combines both these attributes in a glove that isn't too bulky, meaning you get enough feel on the bar and sufficient dexterity to grab zip pulls.
- Pros: They are actually waterproof, very well-designed cuff
- Cons: Nothing really, maybe could be warmer
The fact that they really are waterproof bears emphasis because not all gloves live up to this claim, in my experience. I've worn these in sustained torrential rain, and when I got home five hours later my hands were totally dry inside, if a bit chilled. The outer was quite soggy – proving that the 100% polyurethane membrane does its job – but a hot radiator soon solved that.
Another major point in their favour is that the cosy microfleece liner is integrated so doesn't pull out when you remove the gloves, which can be supremely annoying.
Breathability is also very good – on that ride mentioned above the temperature was just touching double figures and I had no clamminess at all, but then my extremities do suffer with the cold when other people's are toasty. To that end when the mercury plummets I'll pair the Avalanches with some liner gloves for extra warmth, but considering they weigh under 120g and don't claim to be deep winter gloves, just 'offer cold weather protection', that's not a criticism.
The stand-out feature, for me, is the superbly designed cuff. Made from a stretchy neoprene-like material, it is long enough to cover your wrists but streamlined so that it fits like, er, a glove, especially as the easy-to-grab Velcro adjuster then cinches it in super-snug. This means you can easily pull jacket cuffs over them to keep draughts and water at bay – there's nothing worse than rain dripping down your arms then inside your gloves.
Other well-thought-through features include the generous gel palm padding and ulnar cushion for comfort on long rides; reinforcement on the fingers and thumb for durability where you contact gear and brake levers; and the liberal reflective stripes to make them very commuter-friendly. Also, even when they get soaked, the palms are still good and grippy on the handlebar. And there's the obligatory snot wipe, of course.
One thing the Avalanches aren't is touchscreen compatible (Madison's website lists this as a feature but I think it is a mistake – there's no evidence of silver thread on the tips of the thumb and index fingers).
At £32.99 they're also cheaper than most of the winter gloves tested on road.cc (in recent years anyway); for the performance you get that makes them excellent value. GripGrab's Windster Gloves, to name one example, are £49.95.
These gloves are available in four sizes, S-XL, and also come in fluoro yellow and fluoro orange if you're after daytime as well as night-time visibility. You can even find them discounted to around 20 quid if you shop around, which makes them ridiculously good value. The Avalanches are definitely my new favourite winter gloves.
Fantastic winter gloves for the money – properly waterproof and well designed
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Madison Avalanche gloves
Size tested: Small, men's
Tell us what the product is for
Madison says: "Waterproof and windproof, the Avalanche offers cold weather protection with minimal bulk."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Waterproof, windproof and breathable with micro-fleece lining keeps your hands safe from the elements
Materials: outer 52% nylon, 25% polyester, 18% polyurethane, 5% other; membrane 100% polyurethane; lining 100% polyester
Multi layer construction keep your hands warm but still offer positive feel around your fingertips
TPR cuff adjuster allows you to dial in the perfect fit
Reflective print and detailing for enhanced visibility
Comfort gel padded palm keep you comfortable for longer
Tailored palm and fingers for the perfect fit
Super soft large soft sweat wipe
Limited lifetime warranty
The fingers are amply long, something I struggle to find with other gloves.
Size chart spot on.
Cheaper than most winter gloves reviewed on road.cc and the performance is right up there.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Label says hand wash but I used the machine to no obvious detriment.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These gloves match their description perfectly – they are waterproof, windproof, breathable and warm.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The snug, high cuff and waterproofness.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The majority of winter gloves tested on road.cc are more expensive. The Avalanches perform similarly to GripGrab's Windster Gloves which cost £49.95 RRP.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I rate these as exceptional because, unlike quite a few so-called waterproof gloves I've tried, these really do keep your hands dry. Plus the fit, especially the cuff, is superb. And all this at an excellent price.
About the tester
I usually ride: Marin Point Reyes 29er My best bike is: Whyte T-130 RS
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, mountain biking, audax