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Whether you’re a first-time rider or a seasoned biker, we can help you choose the right pair of motorcycle gloves for your specific needs.
Let’s begin with the different types of motorcycle gloves, what they’re made of, and other factors you need to consider before you commit to a purchase.
Types of Motorcycle Gloves
The type of motorcycle gloves you should purchase primarily depends on the type of riding you do. In other words, your choice of motorcycle gloves (and other motorcycle gear, for that matter) should be based on your purpose or the type of riding you do.
These wrist-length gloves will keep your hands safe when you go for short rides around the city. They’re durable, lightweight, and comfortable enough for daily wear. Urban gloves these days have a touchscreen-compatible fingertip so you can easily operate your smartphone or your GPS device for navigating the city streets.
Wearing adventure gloves ensures your hands stay comfortable and safe no matter how your road adventures turn out. They usually extend past the wrists and have armour panels that offer abrasion protection for your hands. Most adventure gloves are made of breathable and waterproof materials for excellent comfort and weather defence.
Tip: Some motorcycle glove manufacturers consider adventure gloves as touring gloves. If you’re looking for adventure gloves, consider checking out their collection of touring gloves as well.
Considered to be the most varied type of motorcycle gloves, cruising/touring gloves come in many styles (e.g., fingerless gloves and short-cuff/summer/warm weather cruising) with different levels of protection. This type of gloves is arguably the most comfortable with its lightweight construction, superior ventilation, and waterproof material.
Today’s gauntlets/long-cuff motorcycle gloves are made from lightweight materials and generally considered as the ideal gloves for daily road use. They provide superior protection from injuries with their wrist support, palm shield, finger and knuckle reinforcements as well as defence from debris, natural elements, and harsh weather conditions. Their length typically ends halfway between your wrist and forearm and are meant to be worn over the cuff of your jersey/jacket.
Off Road/MX Gloves
These lightweight gloves are made from either leather, stretchy textile, or a combination of both. They are designed to keep your hands comfortable and protected from dirt, dust, mud, and rocks. Off road motorbike gloves provide light to moderate protection with their padded palms and knuckle guards. This type of gloves is your best choice if you’re a dirt biker who values a strong grip and comfort above all.
Tip: If you spend equal amounts of time riding on and off the road, get another pair of gloves designed for road use (i.e., adventure, gauntlet/long-cuff gloves, cruising/touring). If your off road/MX gloves are made from textile, they won’t be able to protect your hands as well as these road gloves can, particularly when you hit the pavement during a crash.
Heated/winter motorcycle gloves are made of materials—usually leather, fabric or a combination of both—that will keep your hands warm despite the chilly or freezing temperature outside. They are very durable and provide excellent protection with padded palms, knuckle reinforcements, and wrist support.
Built to withstand high-speed impact and boost your performance on the race track, race/sport gloves undergo the most intensive research, development and testing among all types of motorcycle gloves. These are typically pre-curved gloves to match the position of your hands on your sports bike, reduce hand fatigue or numbness, and increase your comfort.
Race/sport gloves are usually made from leather, high-performance textile or a combination of both materials, and have integrated carbon, metal or durable plastic reinforcements to offer superior protection to professional motorcycle racers. They either come up halfway between your wrist and elbow (like gauntlets do) or end at the wrist and have bold designs and bright colours.
Now that you know the different types of motorcycle gloves and their respective features, let’s find out what they’re made of.
Most motorcycle gloves are made of leather (usually full-grain or suede) to protect your hands from abrasion as well as extreme heat and cold. The leather used to make motorcycle gloves often comes from cowhide, kangaroo, goat and sheep.
Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR)
Thermoplastic rubber is a durable elastic polymer (plastic) that can return to its original shape after being stretched. TPR is used for palm sliders, closures, and knuckle reinforcements to protect your hand against impact and abrasion.
Some motorcycle gloves have exteriors and padding made of lightweight, hardwearing microfibre fabric that helps insulate your hands.
Foam pads are used in several parts of gloves particularly in areas prone to injuries during impact such as the palms, fingers, and sides. Special EVA foam pads are water-resistant and offer additional shock absorption and impact protection.
Stretchy elastane materials like Spandex and Lycra improve the comfort and fit of the gloves and offer optimum flexibility for your hands.
Some gloves have Neoprene® inserts between the fingers to allow more flexibility and functional range of motion to riders. Neoprene® wrist cuffs with EVA foam padding and Velcro® lets you adjust the closure around your wrists.
Glove wrist closures make use of high-strength Velcro® hook-and-loop fasteners to make them adjustable and secure.
The 3D mesh material on the back of the hands and between fingers allow for maximum breathability and comfort.
Size and Fit
Gloves that are too tight will increase your discomfort and risk for poor blood circulation. On the other hand, gloves that are too loose have a high chance of coming off at any point during your ride. In both cases, your protection and comfort will be compromised.
Motorcycle glove manufacturers typically have their own sizing chart with measurements for each corresponding size. As in the case of helmets, the only way to find out whether a glove fits you is by trying it on. But if this option is not feasible for you, you can follow these steps to get your hand size (width and circumference):
To get the width of your hands:
- Get a soft measuring tape (i.e., tailor’s tape) and lay it flat on a table, or any even surface.
- Place your hand, palm facing down, on top of the tape. Make sure you align the outer edge of your palm to the starting end of the tape.
- Get your measurement.
- Check your measurement against the sizing chart of your preferred manufacturer.
To get the circumference of your hands:
- Get a tape measure and wrap it around the widest part of your hand.
- Take note of your measurement.
- Refer to the sizing chart of your preferred manufacturer and look where your measurement falls under.
Tip: For best results, choose gloves designed for your gender (male or female). Expect your new gloves to feel tight, even if they are your proper size. Leather gloves, in particular, take quite some time to break in.
Gloves that feel like second skin are guaranteed to make your rides more pleasant and safe. There are two factors that make motorcycle gloves truly comfortable:
Stitches located on the inside of the gloves can irritate your skin and cause discomfort. That’s not to say that all gloves with inside stitches are uncomfortable. Some gloves have strategically-placed stitches on the inside that are just as comfortable as gloves with stitches on the outside.
Gloves furnished with ventilation panels and made of moisture-wicking fabric will keep your hands dry and sweat-free, which has a positive effect on your performance and safety.
Motorcycle gloves can go as low as $30 for the fingerless cruiser-type. These gloves may be made of fabric or leather and give you minimal protection for your hands. The more specialised gloves can cost as much as $600 but they give you the highest level of protection, safety and comfort. It is better to invest in the more sophisticated and expensive motorcycle gloves if you are competing in motorcycle racing events.
Gloves that offer complete hand protection—reinforcements on the fingers and knuckles, palm sliders, and support for the wrists—come at a higher price, but they are definitely worth the investment. Mid-cuff and long-cuff gloves (like gauntlets) obviously offer more protection than short-cuff gloves, especially in the event of a fall or slide.
Leather gloves are best when it comes to abrasion resistance, but they don’t perform as well as their textile counterparts in the rain.
Some gloves have bold colours and eye-catching graphics to match any confident rider’s personality and style, while some gloves come in classic designs with minimal decorative features.
Regardless of the appearance of gloves you choose, it is better to choose gloves designed with an extra layer of functionality. Most gloves nowadays—especially those for city and leisurely riding—come with touchscreen fingertips so you can use your mobile phone or GPS device without having to remove your gloves.
Gear up with the right gloves
Buying the right pair of motorcycle gloves is a process that involves deep thought, careful research, meticulous selection, and actual trial fittings (or measuring of hand sizes). As long as you know what matters the most to you as a rider and you’re willing to put in the time and effort to go through this process, your search for the right gloves will be a success.