Choosing the best cycling gloves is crucial to enjoying your ride. Though they may seem nonessential, I’ve learned that these little accessories can save your skin, not to mention your joints!
Read this guide to learn about the benefits of wearing cycling gloves, and what to look for when making your purchase.
Can you recommend any specific brands?
Sure! There are many popular brands, but here are a few favorites.
1. Giro Bravo Gloves – These are a great fingerless option, with a gel pad that is well placed to provide a comfy ride, and to absorb the shock of the bumps along the way. They come in a variety of colors, and are made with a moisture-wicking fabric with great breathability. They include a super-absorbent microfiber pad on the thumb, and a velcro closure. Be sure to use the Giro sizing guide when selecting your glove.
2. Oceantree Cycling Gloves – These fingerless gloves are a popular budget option. They are made with breathable fiber and a mesh top that keeps your hands cool on a hot day. They are machine washable, and are made of an elastic fiber for maximum comfort and fit. The padding is minimal, so they work well for someone who does not find the thick gel pads comfortable. They also come in a variety of sizes and colors.
3. Gore Bike Wear Men’s Mistral Windstopper Gloves – These gloves provide a full fingered option for those cycling in cooler temperatures. They have a padded palm, silicone coated fingers to increase your grip, and are made with a windproof material that will keep your hands warm when the weather gets chilly. This pair is missing the absorbent pad on the thumb so that feature is important to you, try another pair. They are machine washable in cold water.
4. Pearl Izumi Pro Softshell Lobster Glove – If you are looking for a pair of biking gloves for winter, check out these Pearl Izumi Lobster Shell Gloves. Sure, it may seem a bit strange that your fingers make the Vulcan salute while wearing these gloves, but the idea behind them is that you have the dexterity and mobility of gloves, but with the benefit of allowing your fingers to keep each other warm. These gloves are made windproof and come with a waterproof insert. These gloves are not as breathable as some, so if you tend to sweat a lot, you might look elsewhere.
Why would I want to wear cycling gloves?
1. Improve your Grip and Control
Having good control over the handle bars will save you from possible disaster. Sweat or rain can make your handlebars slippery, increasing the likelihood of your hands slipping when you hit a bump. Gloves can increase your grip and help make your ride safer.
2. Protect your Skin
Cycling can be tough on your hands. Gloves lessen the friction between your hands and your handlebars, protecting your skin from chaffing and blisters. They also offer added protection and can prevent more serious injuries to your palms, if you take a tumble off your bike.
3. Shock Absorption
Even if you manage to stay on your bike, some gloves have a gel pad that works as a shock absorber, lessening the shock of hitting bumps to your wrists, arms, and shoulders. Over time, cyclists can suffer from overuse injuries, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Wearing gloves can help to prevent these problems before they start.
4. Weather Protection
If you are riding in cold weather, keeping your hands warm and protecting them from frostbite can be essential. You need gloves that keep your hands warm but still offer mobility and breathability.
5. Clean your Face on the Go
Many gloves have a fleece or cloth patch on the thumb. Have you ever wondered what that is for? This may be a bit TMI, but on a serious ride, you will probably sweat profusely and you won’t always have the time to pull over to wipe down your brow. Not to mention that if you ride in the cold weather, you often need something to stop the nose drip. Not very pleasant to think about, I know, but a life saver when you are on the move.
So I’m ready to buy them. How do I choose the right pair?
1. Style: Fingered or Fingerless?
You will need to choose between fingered gloves and fingerless gloves. Cycling in extremely cold weather necessitates fingered gloves. If you will be cycling in hot weather, you may appreciate the breathability of fingerless gloves. If the weather you cycle in is milder, this decision may come down to personal preference.
Often, mountain bikers prefer fingered gloves for their superior grip and added protection. Fingerless gloves are used more commonly in road biking. Not only do they allow you to feel the brakes and shifters more easily, but they also allow the use of your fingertips if you are using cycling apps or a GPS on a touchscreen device.
You will want to choose gloves that utilize a material that is comfortable to the touch. Most gloves tend to be made of synthetic leather on the palms for grip, and polyester or spandex for comfort and mobility. It will be important that the fabric is breathable to reduce sweating, and especially helpful if it wicks moisture away from your skin. Depending on where you cycle, you might appreciate a waterproof glove.
Padding is an important element in a good cycling glove because it serves as a shock absorber to protect your upper body joints, and it increases comfort during a long ride.
When you purchase padded gloves, you’ll need to choose between a traditional padding and a gel padding. This mainly boils down to personal preference. Some prefer traditional padding because they believe that they retain more of the “feel” of the bike and because gel padding feels heavier. Others prefer the gel padding because it offers extra protection, and can be helpful in combating overuse issues, such as CTS.
So, there you have it. Biking gloves are an important piece of gear to consider for matters of comfort and safety. Follow my guide, and you’ll be well on your way to choosing the best cycling gloves for your ride!