Your cycling gloves may be the smallest item in your cycling wardrobe, but they have a vital role to play in helping you cycle in comfort for longer.
In winter, you’re unlikely to consider leaving the house for a ride without pulling on a pair of warm gloves. Your hands can quickly get cold and trying to shift gears and operate brake levers with numb fingers isn’t anyone’s idea of fun.
But in summer, when temperatures are balmy or even hot, you may be tempted to leave your gloves at home. Rookie error… You see, gloves aren’t just designed to keep your hands warm. They wick away sweat and improve your grip on the bars, as well as cushioning your palms to help prevent chafing. And if you do take an unexpected tumble, they’ll protect your hands from grit rash.
Cycling gloves are a personal choice. What fits one person may not suit another. But with that in mind, we’ve rounded up ten of the best cycling gloves on the market.
Our Favorite Road Cycling Gloves
Sportful R&D Cima Glove: Perfect for racing and hot weather rides, this lightweight glove is designed to keep your hands cool and glued to the handlebars.
Budget pick – INBIKE 5mm Gel Padded Gloves: A great value option with tons of padding to help relieve pressure on your nerves and reduce numbness.
Cycling Gloves: What To Look For
While choosing a pair of cycling gloves isn’t as complicated as buying cycling shoes, pedals or bike computers, there are still a few things you’ll want to consider when picking your perfect glove:
Full finger or fingerless glove or: most road cyclists prefer fingerless cycling gloves with full finger gloves being reserved for cold weather use. When mountain biking it’s a different story as your gloves need to provide protection from whipping branches and rocky ground.
Fit: you’re looking for a comfortable, close fit when buying cycling gloves. You don’t want the gloves slipping about on your hands but if they’re too tight then they may become uncomfortable if your fingers swell in the heat and could impede blood circulation.
Padding: padded palms can help relieve the pressure on your ulnar and median nerves and prevent rubbing. Many gloves use gel inserts, but these don’t suit everyone – some people find they make numbness problems worse, not better.
Breathability: typically the upper part of cycling gloves is made from a lightweight mesh or moisture-wicking fabric to wick away sweat and keep your hands cool.
Grip: most gloves have a leather or synthetic palm to improve grip. Full finger gloves often feature silicone grippers on the fingers to help with gear shifting and gripping brake levers.
Best Road Cycling Gloves
The Vorticce glove is designed for racing, with a unique aerodynamic design, SpeedTech fabric, and elongated seamless cuffs. They have a minimal amount of bio gel padding that’s just enough for comfort. The best thing about these gloves is that they fit, well, like a glove. After a few miles, you’ll forget you’re wearing them at all.
The Pro Aero gloves have everything you need in a racing glove and nothing more. There’s a soft Clarino synthetic leather palm for grip, a stretchy synthetic upper that’s designed to wick away sweat and reduce drag, and a thumb wipe. When it comes to leaving things out, there are two diversions from typical glove design: no fastening strap and no padding.
The lack of padding won’t suit everyone, but it improves the security and grip on your handlebars and riders who find gel pads hinder more than they help may well prefer this style of glove. And with no hook and loop straps to get caught on your clothing, they’re easy to throw in the washing machine at the end of the ride.
Best Cycling Gloves for Hand Numbness
Tingling or numbness in the hand is a common complaint among cyclists. If you’re feeling symptoms mainly in your ring and little finger and the outer side of your hand, then it’s likely to be caused by either compression or hyperextension of the ulnar nerve. Numbness or tingling in the thumb, index and middle finger is more likely to be caused by compression of the median nerve at the wrist. Although a badly fitting bike can often be the cause of these problems, padded gloves can also help reduce pressure on your ulnar nerve.
The Comfort Bridge Gel Padding and articulated shape of the Select glove are deliberately designed to relieve pressure on the ulnar and median nerves on long rides. The synthetic leather palm is durable and water resistant and there’s a hook and loop closure and thumb wipe to boot.
These gloves have a soft gel that extends across the entire palm for wider weight distribution. Many users have reported that the padding has helped solve problems with pain and numb fingers that they’ve experienced with other gloves, and given the low price point, they’re definitely worth a try. The sizing runs a bit small so measure around your hand before ordering.
Best Cycling Gloves for Long Rides
For long training rides, multi-day races or touring, you want a durable glove that’s not going to fall apart after a few rides. Breathability is important for warm days along with some padding for comfort.
Built for long days in the saddle the Scott Endurance gloves are designed to be both tough and comfortable. The padded, durable palm helps reduce the impact of vibrations and the moisture-wicking fabric prevents sweaty hands. There’s a snot/sweat panel on the back of the thumb and snug, elasticated cuff.
Best Summer Cycling Gloves
The best gloves for summer are the ones that give you extra grip on the bars while keeping your hands cool. Ideally, you want to feel as if you’re not wearing gloves at all.
Drawing from their experience working with pro cycling teams, Sportful designed the Cima gloves for hot temperatures and steep climbs. A lightweight mesh covers the back of the hand and part of the palm to help keep your hands cool. The rest of the palm is constructed from a synthetic suede material with silicone grip and a minimal amount of padding. The gloves don’t have toweling on the thumb, but the mesh material on the back of the hand works well to soak up the sweat from your brow.
Best Mountain Biking Gloves
Full finger gloves are a must for mountain biking where protection is just as important as breathability. We’ve got a full roundup of our favorite mountain biking gloves here, but our top all-around pick for summer downhill and trail riding is the Leatt DBX 4.0 Lite.
Renowned for great fit and comfort, the super thin ‘NanoGrip’ palm almost makes it feel like you’re not wearing gloves at all. The fingers are touchscreen compatible and the upper is made from a lightweight mesh that wicks away sweat. The knuckle protection looks a little extreme but doesn’t impede flexibility. They’re not cheap but the fit makes these gloves worth the extra dollars.
Best Winter Cycling Gloves
Frozen fingers, awkward gear changes, and hot aches: just some of the joys cycling in winter has to offer. A decent pair of gloves is essential for keeping you both warm and safe on winter rides. The challenge is finding a pair of gloves that keep your fingers from freezing but are thin enough to not impede gear shifting and braking. Check out our full guide to winter cycling gloves here.
The Estremo Gloves have a fleece liner and a long neoprene cuff to keep your hands and wrists warm. The WindStopper upper is wind- and water-resistant and users report that these gloves are snug down for 1-2 hour rides in temperatures down to the low 30s. The gloves aren’t too bulky and they’re true to size with room for a thin liner glove if the temperatures really drop. The sticky silicone print on the underside provides good grip and there’s large, brushed panel on the thumb to wipe streaming noses.
Best Women-Specific Cycling Gloves
A comfortable, well-padded glove with Giro’s ergonomic Super Fit design for women. The suede palm provides a decent grip and the 4-way stretch mesh upper helps with breathability. A great all-around glove for summer riding. The fit is snug but true to size.
When the summer evenings start to cool off, these midweight gloves will keep your hands warm. The thermo-laminated spandex fabric provides some wind and water resistance and the bio gel padding helps relieve pressure on your nerves, reducing the risk of numbness. The printed dot pattern is reflective and conductive fingertips mean you don’t have to take your gloves off to check your phone.
|Cycling glove||Price ($-$$$$)||Size range||Colors||Recommended for|
|Louis Garneau Vorttice Glove||$$$||S - XXL||Black/Gray||Racing|
|Pearly Izumi Pro Aero Gloves||$$||S - XXL||Black, White||Racing, short rides, hot weather|
|Pearl Izumi Select Gloves||$$||S - XXL||Black/Charcoal, Black/Red, Hi-Vis/Black||Hand numbness, long rides|
|INBIKE 5mm Gel Padded Cycling Gloves||$||M - XXL||Red/White/Black, Blue/White/Black||Hand numbness|
|Scott Endurance SF Glove||$$$||XS – XXL||Black, Black/Red||Long rides|
|Sportful R&D Cima Gloves||$$$||S-XXL||Black/Red||Hot weather, racing|
|Leatt DBX 4.0 Lite||$$$$||M||Fuel/Red (other colors available)||Mountain biking|
|Castelli Estremo Gloves||$$$$||S - XXL||Black||Winter riding|
|Giro Women’s Tessa Glove||$||S-L||Turquoise/White (other colors available)||Hot weather, long rides, racing|
|Louis Garneau Rafale 2 Glove||$$$||S - L||Black, Black/Pink||Cool weather riding, hand numbness|