Gloves

Written By Higgins Cooper1
Last Updated

The best motorcycle gloves

  • Unbiased and Fact Checked

In this buying guide, we’ll be covering the best motorcycle gloves on the market, and more importantly the best motorcycle gloves for you. Every rider is different and will be riding in a variety of difficult situations so the gloves they’ll be needing will vary greatly. 

That’s why we’ve split this buying guide into two sections, one covering the top considerations when purchasing motorcycle gloves and, secondly, what we believe to be the best motorcycle gloves available. 

We highly recommend you have a read of our considerations section because these critical points will steer you in the right direction when deciding on the suitable gloves for you. 

Considerations when choosing the best motorcycle gloves

Your gloves and the weather

Factoring in your climate and the weather you’ll be riding in, is the first step in choosing the best motorcycle gloves for you. Choosing gloves specifically designed for a season usually matters only when you live in extremes of either hot or cold weather. Most climates have one extreme but some will have both.  

For example, a climate like Australia, where it doesn’t get cold in the winter but extremely hot in the summer, means you’ll definitely need a pair of summer gloves but those same gloves will also perform adequately in the winter because the temperature never drops low enough where your hands will begin to freeze. You’ll have to decide if you want two pairs of gloves for each part of the year or do with just a single pair. 

Winter gloves

For those unfortunate enough to ride in cold climates, winter gloves are a must. Your choice of cold weather gloves will depend on your climate, obviously some places are colder than others and your standard pair might keep your hands warm enough throughout the winter. It all will depend on what you’re comfortable with. 

Winter gloves possess a lot more padding and insulation because obviously they need to keep you warm. They generally provide more protection than gloves designed for the summer, but at the cost of movability and dexterity. Winter gloves are nearly always waterproof, and if not, they’ll contain some type of waterproof lining. If by any chance they aren’t, it still requires a lot of rain to get through all the padding and insulation. 

If you live in seriously cold climates or you just enjoy a bit of comfort, you might want to consider heated motorcycle gloves. Personally I’ve never tried these due to living in a warmer climate, although I’ve heard many good things about heated gloves from riders in colder parts of the world.

Summer gloves

Gloves designed for warmer weather are generally cheaper than their cold weather counterparts because they require less padding and insulation, not to mention they’re usually thinner to keep the rider’s hands adequately cooled and ventilated. 

You’ll also notice a lot more warm weather gloves are made of synthetic materials or mesh rather than standard leather. This is because artificial materials are more effective at dissipating heat, although their cool ventilation comes at the cost of hand protection. 

Another bonus for summer gloves is that they’re going to be more flexible, you’re going to have a lot more mobility in your hand. My first pair of gloves were a summer pair, mainly because they just felt so comfortable and mobile when I tried them on. 

If you do want a slick pair of leather gloves but live in a warm climate. Choose perforated leather instead, this should help with your hands’ breathability and airflow while keeping the sophisticated leather aesthetic and improved protection.

Which Glove type is best?

greyscale photo pair of gloves on grass field

You’ve probably realized by now that there are a few different types of motorcycle gloves, it can be tricky for a new rider to distinguish which type will be best for them. Here’s a summary of each type of motorcycle glove and what they’re best for. 

Street gloves

You’ll soon realize in the motorcycle world, multiple names might be used for the same thing. At Bikes Future we refer to these types of gloves as street gloves, but others refer to them as short cuffs. 

Street Glove’s overall formula is the same, they’re more comfortable and bring more mobility than gauntlets, but at the cost of protection past the wrists and forearms. They’re popular amongst inner city riders, so they usually come with touch screen fingertips which are convenient.  

Street gloves usually use a hybrid of mesh, leather, and synthetics, providing excellent protection and something I’ve never had a problem riding with. 

Short cuff / Summer gloves

Short cuff gloves share a lot of similarities with street gloves, although I’ve decided to put them in their own category to avoid confusing any new riders. Short cuff gloves provide a lot of dexterity and are the most comfortable motorcycle glove to wear. 

Short Cuff gloves are ideal in hot climates and it is advised to avoid wearing them in placeswhere temperatures begin to drop. Now obviously they provide a lot less protection than other gloves but that’s mostly around the wrist and forearm. Short cuff gloves come in a range of materials although the leather versions are arguably the best looking. 

Racing gloves

The casual motorcyclist won’t require racing gloves. They’re specially designed for track use and high speed racing, and we’re talking speeds of 200MPH and more. Out of all the glovestypes, they provide the highest level of protection and not surprisingly the most expensive. 

Racing gloves always use a durable leather construction and their design will nearly always be full of gauntlets. Since race gloves are specifically designed for high speed crashes, they bring along features that the average glove would not include.

You can expect knuckle protection, double or triple stitching, double layer impact protection, especially around the palms, and added wrist protection such as palm sliders. 

The downside to race gloves is that they are the most expensive glove type and all their added protection reduces the amount of feeling and dexterity you have when wearing the glove. For beginner riders, race gloves just aren’t necessary unless you’re a stickler for protection. 

Gauntlets

While the term ‘gauntlet’s’ has become an actual glove type, they are just a glove that ends at the middle of your forearm. However, this glove is associated with the best protection and not just because it ends at your forearm. 

Gauntlets are usually bulkier than street or short cuff gloves. They generally provide less dexterity and feeling when wearing the glove, but they will offer more protection. Usually, Gauntlets have reinforcements around the knuckles and the fingers. 

Gauntlets will also come with two straps so you can have extra confidence they won’t move around in a crash, one strap around the wrist and one strap around the forearm. Since gauntlets usually come with extra padding and thicker material, they’ll perform better in the cold or rain, so gauntlets are an excellent choice if you live in cooler or wet environments. 

Touring gloves

If you’re just a casual rider who rides around on weekends, touring gloves aren’t probably necessary for your riding style. They’re designed for riding over long periods, as their name suggests, for a motorcycle tour. 

They’re generally more expensive than your standard street or gauntlet types. Theywon’t feel uncomfortable if you’re riding for five or six hours at a time, and they’ll also adapt when it comes to the weather. Manufacturers understand that it will rain in hot environments on a cross country tour, so touring gloves are known for quality ventilation and breathability while still being waterproof. 

Touring gloves are also known for the bells and whistles because on a long distance motorcycle tour, small discrepancies are compounded over several hours of riding. Generally, touring gloves avoid leather.  For the most part, they’re composed of textile or a hybrid version mixing textile, leather, and even some mesh at times. 

Touring gloves aren’t a bad option for the average or beginner rider, but beware they come with a heftier price tag.

What are the best glove materials?

The differences between material types are a little confusing, and which is the best option for you? A glove is meant to protect your hands in a crash, and quite honestly, any material used by reputable manufacturers will do just that.

But different features will make your riding experience a lot more enjoyable depending on the material, there are pros and cons to both leather and textile which we’ll discuss below. 

Leather gloves

Leather gloves have always been the popular choice amongst motorcyclists. Nothing compares to the style of a leather glove. They’re cool, iconic, and there’s no denying they look a lot better than textile. 

Leather will last longer than textile and what makes it the popular choice is that it molds to your hand. In the very beginning, a leather glove will feel a little uncomfortable, but just like a pair of boots, you’ll break them in with use. 

In terms of abrasion resistance and impact protection, leather is superior to textile, but unfortunately, leather performs poorly in various weather conditions. It’s got poor water resistance, and if it regularly gets wet, it can severely damage the quality. Leather will also perform worse in the heat than textile, although modern gloves nearly always have some form of ventilation. 

The last con to leather gloves is they’re significantly more expensive than textile, especially if you want to purchase high quality leather you can expect a high price to pay. 

Textile Gloves

Textile is relatively new to the scene compared to leather. Where leather falls short, textile gloves shine through, not to mention how much more affordable the material is. When anyone uses the word textile gloves, they’re referring to the umbrella term that incorporates various textile types such as gore-tex, mesh or polyester, to name a few. 

The beauty about textile gloves is that they’re cheaper, but manufacturers are free to produce them for any riding condition necessary. They excel in extreme weather conditions. If you’re riding in the bitter cold, pouring rain or scorching heat, you’re going to need a textile glove. 

Another benefit to textile is they’re far more adaptable, so you can wear them all year round. Often, textile gloves use a mix of different material types, providing the best protection and dexterity possible. 

With all these benefits of textile, what’s the drawback? Unfortunately, there’s a reason no race gloves are made of textile, at high speeds, leather will always perform better for abrasion resistance and impact protection. 

Textile gloves are a great option, although they lack the same levels of protection as leather. If you’re a racer or someone who rides at very high speeds, you may want to reconsider textile gloves. 

Hybrid Gloves(Best of both worlds)

Leather and textile gloves both have their advantages, because of this. We recommend you go with both. Hybrid gloves will emphasize leather in areas such as the palms, fingers, and knuckles because they’re high impact areas. But then will also use mesh in low impact areas for improved ventilation. 

These hybrid gloves might utilize textile’s superior waterproofing as well. Suppose you ride in more extreme weather conditions. In that case, you can take advantage of a pair of gloves that protect you from the elements utilizing textile and then superior abrasion resistance combining leather. Unless you need racing gear, we recommend hybrid options for the best motorcycle gloves.

Best Glove Sizing and Fitment

Poorly fitted gloves will hamper your ride and, even worse, reduce your hand protection in the case of a crash. It’s vitally important you choose a pair of gloves that properly fit your hands, something you don’t want to get wrong. 

You may not know but going into a physical store to fit gloves isn’t necessary. Glove manufacturers are concrete with their sizing, so continue below on how to choose gloves that will adequately fit your hands, without even having to try them on. 

Remember that leather gloves will take a couple of weeks to properly break-in and mold to your hand, make sure you’re the only person wearing them and give them some time. On the other hand, textile gloves are first-day fit. If a textile glove poorly fits, don’t expect it to improve because it won’t. 

American and European glove types

American and European gloves fit slightly; differently, it’s not too noticeable, but we’ve decided to include it for the sake of this guide. 

American fit

American gloves generally have short fingers and have slightly more room around the digits and the palm; generally, they’re a more relaxed fit.

European fit

European gloves will have longer fingers and less room around the palm. They’re generally less relaxed and tighter. At Bikes Future, we prefer the European fit because they’re generally a little more snug, although this will come down to personal preference. 

Motorcycle glove sizing

Finding out your hand sizing is super simple and something anyone can do. You can use a hard ruler by wrapping a piece of string around your then measuring it against the ruler. For this example, we’re going to show a soft measuring tape for convenience. 

Like in the photos below, you’re going to want to measure your hands width, from the lower part of your pinky finger until the lower part of your index finger. Look at the photos below to get a better idea of what we mean.

Remember manufacturers will use different measurements depending if they’re from the United States or the rest of the world, something to keep in mind so that you mix them up. 

Once you’ve measured your hand, you can see what sizing you are but check the manufacturer size chart just to be certain. 


How to know if your gloves fit properly?

When describing how a glove should feel, you’ll see the world ‘snug’ used a lot. It perfectly describes how your gloves should be feeling, somewhat tight but still comfortable. 

If you remove, the strap does your glove immediately become loose and begin to dangle? Or does it stay firm on your hand? The strap is more of an extra safety precaution, and even without it your gloves should stay snug and firm around your hands. 

If the gloves are too tight, it will quickly become apparent. If you feel uncomfortable riding and using your controls is a real effort, you’ve purchased gloves that are too tight. 

Glove Safety and Protection

The most critical part of choosing the best motorcycle gloves is going to be the level of protection they offer in a high speed crash. Quality materials and construction are essential but there are other protective features you’ll need to consider when choosing the best motorcycle gloves. 

We’ve covered every feature that will provide significantly more protection when the unfortunate event of falling off your bike occurs.

Impact Protectors

If you didn’t know, impact protectors are armor you wear to soften the blow of a crash. While they’re more commonly used for motorcycle jackets, they’re included for areas such as your knuckles, wrist, and the back of your hand. They’re usually made of hard plastic and will absorb the impact if your hands are flung at the ground. This can prevent soft tissue injuries and reduce the damage of joint fractures. 

Stitching

Poorly stitched gloves have two significant problems, their longevity is poor, and you can expect them to deteriorate more quickly; subsequently, gloves that are falling apart will obviously perform worse in a crash and could come apart when you’re sliding down the road. 

Poorly stitched gloves that use only exterior stitching can be a serious risk in high speed crashes. The road’s surface could wear through the external stitching and they could come apart mid crash. 

Always look for gloves to be at least double stitched, ideally triple stitched, and that one layer of stitching is concealed inside the glove. Stitching within the glove means that in a crash, internal stitches will have far more protection than exterior stitches and the chances of the stitching unraveling is almost zero. 

 

Knuckle protection

Knuckle protection does fall under the impact protection category. Although we felt it’s too important not to cover it in its own category. High speed crashes without knuckle protection are a grizzly affair in more ways than one. The road will wear down your knuckles and you’ll also risk fracturing your knuckles and the top of your hand. 

Remember the best gloves use knuckle protection that has a protective shell covering the entirety of your knuckles; poorly made gloves will have a piece of protection for each knuckle which isn’t adequate and could cause more harm than good.

Double layer impact protection

Double layer protection is important because a lot of the damage to the glove happens in the initial impact when you crash. A second layer reduces the chance of the first layer bursting open when your hands first hit the surface of the road. 

In the unfortunate event that your gloves burst open, you can expect the sliding to do the real damage. Double layers will simply help protect your hands in that initial impact.

Pre Curved Construction

To be frank, pre-curved construction isn’t a top priority, and it’s not a safety feature but falls more into the convenience side of things; nonetheless, it’s worth considering. A manufacturer that pre curves the gloves features mean riding will be more comfortable, but generally, wearing the glove won’t be as comfortable. 

If you’re only wearing your gloves for riding and nothing else, a pre-curved construction is convenient and will make your rides that little bit more comfortable. 

Palm sliders

Palm sliders, otherwise known as scaphoid protection, will be a prerequisite when choosing a motorcycle glove, because the injuries you can sustain without them aren’t too pretty. There’s also many different ligaments and important arteries around your wrist and palm area, which you want to keep protected. 

There are two major benefits to palm sliders. Firstly when you come off your bike, you’ll instinctively put your hands in front of you to break your fall. When your hands hit the ground, you’ll want them to slide. 

Without palm sliders, there’s a risk your hands will catch with the concrete and be entirely crumpled. If this happens at high speed, you’ll probably break every bone in your hand. Palm soldiers will allow your hands to slide down the road while still providing protection. 

Palm sliders will also sustain more of the initial impact when your hands hit the ground at high speeds. While they don’t usually cover the entire hand they’ll still do a good job of lessening the impact. 

Wrist protection

As we mentioned earlier, you don’t want to be damaging your wrist, palm sliders are a great step to prevent wrist injuries, but it’s not the only option you have. This will come down to personal preference, but gauntlets provide by far the best wrist protection, better than street gloves and obviously better than short cuffs. 

Street gloves do provide write protection but not on the level of gauntlets. Unless you drive in a scorching hot environment, we always recommend gauntlets because their wrist and forearm protection is unmatched. 

How much should you spend on the best motorcycle gloves?

How much to spend on gloves is an excellent question because you obviously want to protect yourself adequately but does it mean you need all those extra bells and whistles? How much should you be spending on motorcycle gloves?

It depends on your circumstances and what you value from a motorcycle glove. Prices can reach up to $500, but that’s only for premium racing gloves that a tiny fraction of riders will ever require.

Short cuff

Short cuff gloves will be the cheapest option. You can find good quality pairs for under $100. However, their protection isn’t the absolute best, but affordable and great for warm weather.

Gauntlets

If you want excellent protection, you’ll need a street glove,  ideally a gauntlet. Gauntlet gloves usually cost between the $150 and $200 mark.

Street gloves

How much you spend on street gloves will vary because there’s a lot of variation in what they can offer. Depending on its features and protection, a decent street glove will cost between $100 and $200. 

Touring gloves

Touring gloves will be one of the more expensive options alongside racing gloves. If you’re going on a cross country tour, expect to pay $200 – $300 for a good pair of touring gloves. 

Racing Gloves

Racing gloves are the most expensive option, and you won’t want to risk the bottom of the barrel when riding at high speeds. We recommend nothing less than $200 for racing gloves, ideally at least $300. 

The best motorcycle glove buying guides

Every rider is unique and faces a unique set of circumstances and conditions. We can’t cover it all in one article so we’ve written a wide variety of buying guides on motorcycle gloves. Take a look and see if there’s any glove articles that suit your individual circumstancees. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoiI-T9oDdk

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Author
Higgins Cooper1

Cooper Higgins is a motorcycle enthusiast who’s been riding for the last 10 years. He’s passionate about all things motorcycles and started BikesFuture to help out riders make the right motorcycle moves. He riders a pimped out white Kawasaki Ninja 400, and also enjoys adventure riding when out of the City.