When you hop on your bike, the first thing on your mind may not be protecting your hands. Even in warm weather, cycling gloves can be helpful, and they’re a must for cold-weather riding.
Gloves for each season differ significantly and they can affect your riding experience. It’s definitely not fun getting frozen fingers mid-ride in the winter.
So it begs the question, which cycling gloves should you get?
There are countless options on the market today, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. From considering the fit to the materials, price, and everything in between, the buying process can be a bit overwhelming.
On this page, I’ll guide you through the various features to consider and share with you my favorite gloves.
A Quick Glance : Our Favorite Cycling Gloves
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Summer Cycling Gloves
Gloves Size and Fit
This is by far the most important consideration. Proper sizing is critical for ensuring your cycling glove fits appropriately.
Let me explain.
Gloves that fit too small and tight could lead to chafing and discomfort. You’ll also find it annoying when the gloves dig in between your fingers.
If it’s too big, your fingers will tend to wiggle inside making it difficult for you to grip the handlebars properly and securely. Also, take note that gloves come in all shapes and cuts. Some are narrow and short while some are wide and long.
So, always check the manufacturer’s sizing guide.
Alternatively, ask around your friends who wear the same brand you’re after, or you can also pay your local bike shop a visit.
Cycling gloves size is determined by measuring the circumference of your hand at the widest point below the knuckles. If required, you should also measure the length of your hand from the tip of the middle finger to your wrist.
The longer of these two measurements will determine your size.
Geek Tip : The gloves should fit snugly; neither too small nor too big.
Padding levels in each pair of gloves can vary.
On one end of the spectrum is zero paddings. On the opposite end is maximum padding while there are many that fall anywhere in between.
Paddings are placed around the areas of your palm that are in contact with your bike’s hoods and drops.
The padding location of each glove could differ slightly, but they generally cover the same areas.
There are 3 main types of materials used for padding. The main difference between these is their cost and quality.
- Foam. The cheapest form of padding and can be found in low to mid-tiered gloves. Doesn’t provide a good feel of the handlebars.
- EVA. Also known as Ethyl Vinyl Acetate. This is also a material commonly used for cushioning in running shoes. They’re usually found in mid to high-end gloves.
- Gel. These feel soft and squishy and usually used in mid to high-end gloves.
By now you’d probably be wondering,
Do you need padding?
This can be a personal question. Some swear by padding, while some just ride without gloves. It’s up to you to decide, but here’s a quick comparison between padding vs no padding.
- Pro. The padding absorbs road vibrations and distributes the pressure when you ride over uneven roads.
- Con. Too much padding has the same effect as wearing a glove that is too big. It makes it difficult to feel and grip the handlebars well.
What about no padding at all?
It’s just the inverse of having padding, really.
It all depends on yourself and the type of terrain you’re riding on that day.
Personally, I’d prefer zero paddings as I want to feel my handlebars.
Geek Tip : Gel or EVA padding are the best padding materials.
You’d probably notice that the price difference can be at times huge between models. There are $10 gloves and there are those which would cost you nearly $100.
So what’s the difference here?
Aside from the brand name, the biggest difference lies in the materials used. In fact, there are no surprises here.
As you move up the price points, you’ll be getting better fabrics, a better grade of padding materials, a more ergonomic fit, and a higher construction quality especially the stitching around the fingers where the cheaper ones tend to come off after continuous rubbing against the hoods.
Geek Tip : You get what you pay for. High quality gloves fits ergonomically and are much more comfortable to your hands.
Winter Cycling Gloves
When it comes to winter gloves, there are more things to consider in addition to the ones we just discussed above.
Things such as the temperate range, thermal insulation, smartphone friendliness, and waterproofing come to mind.
Types of Winter Gloves
When it comes to winter cycling gloves, you have two main categories, depending on how cold it gets.
These are typically lighter gloves perfect for those fall rides where the air is crisp and the temperatures are flirting with the low 50s, like the DeFeet E-Touch Dura Wool Gloves.
This category of gloves tends to be more affordable than the ones that keep your fingers warm in sub-freezing temperatures, like the Sealskinz Cold Weather Gloves. You wouldn’t want to wear those types of gloves in the milder temperatures because your hands would likely get too warm.
Deep winter gloves are designed for the harshest of conditions, typically right around sub-freezing. The Giro Proof 2.0, for instance, can handle temperatures down to around 25°F / -4°C.
For this type of warmth, expect to open up your wallet. Some of these gloves can cost more than $100.
As gloves become more robust with their warmth, flexibility can be compromised. Make sure to find a glove that’s flexible and warm, so you can still safely brake and shift your gears.
Read More :
- 15 Pieces of Gear to Get You Through Winter Riding
In today’s smartphone driven world, the ability to tap, swipe and pinch your screen is seen by some as crucial.
Whether it’s checking your maps, ensuring you’re on the right path, or taking that selfie for your Instagram account after you eclipse 500 miles for the week, you really want a glove that lets you use your smartphone without having to take it off.
The heavier-duty winter gloves tend not to include smartphone compatibility, because they’re bulkier, which can make it tricky to even use your phone.
But that’s not universal.
Sealskinz Cold Weather Gloves made sure to include the smartphone tabs on the fingers, and the manufacturer made the glove flexible enough to be able to comfortably scroll and type.
In general, there are 2 ways to achieve insulation :
- Down Insulation
- Synthetic Insulation
But due to the high demands of cycling gloves manufacturers prefer synthetic insulation.
Some refer to them as feathers, but they’re not.
Down insulation is actually made from a duck or goose’ plumage, which is the lofty and fluffy stuff underneath the feathers. It’s certainly warmer, but they’re less breathable and don’t perform well in the wet
Not something you want in your cycling gloves.
So, enter synthetic insulation.
Even though synthetic insulation is not as warm as the downs, they excel in other areas. The polyester fibers are resistant to moisture, making it dry faster when it’s wet.
More importantly, they’re cheaper when compared to downs.
The most popular and widely-used synthetic insulation is developed by Primaloft. It’s a technology first developed in the 1980s, exclusively for the United States Army.
Windproof, Water-resistant and Waterproof
The winter weather can be unpredictable and hence, most winter cycling gloves are water-resistant at the minimum. There are exceptions to this for those made of nylon like the Defeet ET Duragloves.
To make them water-resistant, the outer layers are treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. The DWR will ensure the water droplets slide off the fabric surface rather than soaking through it, causing your hands to get wet.
You’ll also notice there’s a Gore Windstopper logo printed on some gloves like the Castelli Estremo. The Windstopper is a membrane that is windproof, breathable, and water-resistant.
For fully waterproof winter gloves, these are usually made of neoprene. It’s the same material used in scuba diving gloves. But wear this with caution as neoprene is not breathable at all.
For some, they could start experiencing clammy palms in as little as 15 to 30 minutes into the ride.
Gloves for Spring and Fall
Castelli Perfetto Light
For cyclists with a higher budget looking for a more-premium light riding glove, the Castelli Perfetto delivers on the brand’s stellar reputation.
These gloves are made using a Gore-Tex Infinium fabric, making them perfect for those rainy fall rides. And if your hands get too warm, the fleece backing traps in the gloves help wicks away any and all moisture.
Like most Castelli items, these gloves will cost you more than the competition. In return, though, you’ll get a versatile glove that can be used even when temperatures drop below 40°F.
The one downside of these Castelli Perfetto Light gloves is the lack of touchscreen compatibility. If that’s not a big deal for you, you won’t be disappointed with their performance.
Gore Wear Infinium Stretch
The Gore Wear Infinium Stretch Gloves is a very breathable option that can also keep your fingers warm on those brisk rides. There are a few things we like about these gloves.
First, the foam-padding in the palm makes it really comfortable while gripping the handle.
Second, the fleece insulated lining not only keeps your fingers warm, but it just feels really nice. And then the overall stretchiness of these gloves makes them perfect for all hand sizes. The grips on these gloves are lacking. You want something tacky that can safely hang onto the bar, especially in rain.
These Gore Wear gloves are on the pricier side when it comes to mild winter gloves, but their comfort might make them a great purchase.
Pearl Izumi Thermal Lite
The folks at Pearl Izumi have made the ultimate fall weather cycling gloves, offering just enough warmth to keep your hands working during those crisp workouts.
For the price, you’re not going to find a better liner glove that’s as durable. Many cyclists report they can get three to five years out of these gloves.
There’s no touchscreen availability with these gloves, but that’s not totally uncommon with budget-friendly gloves. Gripping is decent with these gloves, which is important when trying to hit the brakes, especially if there’s rain in the forecast.
If you’re looking for a super-comfortable riding glove that can keep your digits warm in 45 to 50°F weather, then look no further than these Pearl Izumi gloves.
DeFeet E-Touch Dura Wool
As that brisk fall air turns a little chillier, you’re going to want a flexible, lightweight glove to keep your hands and fingers warm. And the DeFeet E-Touch Dura Wool Gloves deliver.
These multi-season riding gloves are great for road and mountain bikers, but also are perfect for hikers and runners. Touchscreen compatibility, which is included with these gloves, is a must-have feature these days.
As temperatures start dropping below 40°F, you’re going to want something warmer than these DeFeet gloves. But the pair’s wool insulation combined with a durable Cordura nylon gives your hands the perfect amount of warmth to stay steady on the brakes and shifters.
Full Finger Gloves for Winter
Sealskinz Cold Weather Gloves
Sealskinz is known for its cold-weather apparel, and the Sealskinz Cold Weather Gloves don’t disappoint, especially for cyclists. These gloves are actually designed for more than just cycling.
The three-layer glove, made of polyurethane, polyester, polyurethane, and elastane, can keep your hands warm in temperatures that dip below freezing.
The suede palm isn’t the best for gripping the handlebars, but it still gets the job done. Of note, these gloves come with a one-year warranty, which is great if they show defects that go beyond normal wear and tear.
These Sealskinz gloves are marketed as being reflective, but the material could be a little better in that category.
Forget the indoor spin class if you end up purchasing the Castelli Estremo. These bad boys will keep your digits nice and toasty warm, even on the chilliest of outdoor rides.
They are not only water-resistant but also cut down on the wind drastically thanks to the Windstopper X-Fast fabric on the back of the glove. Cutting down the wind helps immensely with keeping your hands warm in the winter.
And then the fleece lining is awesome at wicking away any moisture.
Yes, these Castelli gloves are expensive. But if you’re determined to pound out the miles in harsh winter conditions, your hands and fingers are going to need them.
Pearl Izumi P.R.O. AmFib
The Pearl Izumi P.R.O. AmFib Glove is a hardcore winter cycling glove with a budget price.
We really like how the engineers of this glove figured out how to make the fleece insulation lining so warm, even in the event that it gets wet.
And then there’s the Ax Suede Laredo palm. It’s super flexible but has an incredible grip that will give you confidence on potentially dangerous roads in the winter.
As an added bonus, the folks at Pearl Izumi added a microfleece pad to the thumb, which can come in handy if you get a smudge on your sunglasses. There is no touchscreen compatibility with these Pearl Izumi gloves.
Giro Proof 2.0
A super-flexible glove that falls between a budget- and premium-price category, the Giro Proof 2.0 delivers on warmth and proficiency when it comes to braking and shifting.
Your fingers won’t freeze in these gloves thanks to the 100g of Polartec Power Fill insulation. But don’t expect these to be bulky. They are lined with a thin microfleece, which is quite comfortable.
As an added bonus, these winter gloves, which are designed for temperatures around the freezing point, include touchscreen compatibility. The suede palm provides a decent grip, but other materials are better. If it’s not too rainy (or snowy!) outside for your ride, it should provide an adequate grip.
If you plan on riding in sub-freezing temperatures, then definitely check out these Giro gloves.
Mitts & Gloves for Summer
Giro Zero CS
The Zero CS gloves are Giro’s top-level, premium gloves for those who are after zero paddings.
Don’t be fooled by its very minimalistic and lightweight design. Not only it’s very breathable, but grip and control are also spot on with the use of 100% sheep leather around the palms.
They fit very snugly to give you a very real feel of your handlebars. For those who are fashion conscious, they come in 6 different colors which would definitely match your kit of the day.
Castelli is one of the top cycling clothing brands and has been around for more than a century.
The Arenberg gloves are lightweight yet functional. No surprises here coming from a reputable brand. They’re ergonomically designed with suede palms and minimal gel padding at places you need the most protection.
Breathability is spot on with the use of mesh fabrics at the back panels. More importantly, you can be sure to get a perfect fit with the adjustable velcro wrist closures.
Sportful Bodyfit Pro
Sportful has been making clothing since the 1940s but it’s only in 1985 that they started making cycling clothing.
The Sportful BodyFit Pro gloves are the same gloves used by pro cycling teams sponsored by Sportful. They’re clean, simple yet comfortable.
They’ve just the right amount of stretch to provide a snug fit, along with a microfiber section at the bottom of the thumb for wiping off the sweat.
Gore Bike Wear C5
You’re probably familiar with the outdoor brand Gore. But did you know that they’re also into cycling via a brand called Gore Bike Wear.
As with all Gore’s products, you can expect a quality pair of gloves. The C5 gloves’ gels are strategically inserted around the palm areas for effective padding. It’s highly breathable using proprietary Gore fabrics at the back panels for those hot days.
There are also loops between the fingers for easy removal, a nice touch by Gore.
Scottish brand Endura is no stranger to cycling having sponsored the Movistar pro cycling team for many years now.
The FS260 Pro Aerogel gloves are the same gloves used by the pro cyclists, albeit in different colors. You can expect to have the best materials and features, all tried and tested at the top levels of cycling.
The palms are printed with silicone which gives an exceptional grip while the gel padding is minimal yet adequate.
When Castelli designed its Rosso Corsa Espresso glove, it identified two main areas of concern that most cyclists have when it comes to gloves: getting the gloves on and off, and having padding where it should be.
To solve the first issue, Castelli incorporates high-strength material into the cuff that allows it to more easily be pulled on and off. It works so well that these gloves don’t need a hook and loop strap.
For the second issue, Castelli performed a thorough analysis of the hand to place its gel pads in the optimal locations to prevent numbness and fatigue. The result is one of Castelli’s best gloves to date.
Assos Summer S7
Assos has been around for more than 40 years and is well-known for producing high-quality cycling clothing.
The Assos Summer S7 gloves are an updated version of their popular CYC gloves. The padded inserts are strategically placed to provide comfort while not getting in the way when gripping your handlebars.
It’s made of stretchable fabrics along with mesh panels to keep you cool and dry while you ride during the summer.
Pearl Izumi PRO Gel
The Pro Gel Vent is Pearl Izumi’s mid-range cycling gloves that provide plenty of padding. Please excuse the word Pro in the name.
Maximum padding is achieved by a gel insert around the palm area. The unique feature about the padding is there are air vents covering the gel inserts, making it more breathable.
If you sweat a lot, there’s a sweat wipe below the thumb to wipe them off.
Specialized BG Gel
Enough padding to add comfort but not so much to make gripping the handlebars a chore: that’s the delicate balance that quality cycling gloves maintain. Such is the case with this pair from Specialized.
They feature plenty of comfort with gel padding while keeping your hands firmly gripped to the handlebars with microfiber palms. Specialized’s BG gel gloves also feature a shorter finger design with a breathable mesh backing to keep your hands cool on those mid-summer rides.
A hook and loop closure keeps the gloves firmly in place. These gloves come in three different colors : yellow, red, and white.
Giro Monaco 2
Today Giro makes a wide range of cycling gear and they’re well-known for their helmets and cycling shoes.
The Giro Monaco 2 is the improved version of the original Giro Monaco gloves. They’re designed for high-mileage riders who are tough on their gloves.
The vented leather palm, gel padding, and double stitching ensure it holds up for ride after ride.
Fit wise, the wrists are adjustable via a velcro strap and they have breathable, stretchy back panels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most asked questions about cycling gloves.
Which cycling gloves do I need?
The materials and thickness will depend on how low the temperature will get.
Why do cyclists wear gloves?
The main reason cyclists wear gloves is to protect their palms should they fall off the bike. The palm is one of the most common places to get injured as the normal human reaction is to break the fall using their hands.
Besides that, cyclists also use gloves to wipe off sweat during the summer and to protect their fingers during the winter, using full-fingered gloves.
How should my cycling gloves fit?
The gloves should fit snugly; neither too tight nor too loose.
Your palm and finger movements will feel restricted if it’s too tight. If it’s too loose, it could lead to unexpected skin abrasion with the constant rubbing between your palms and the inner layers of the gloves.
Why are cycling gloves fingerless?
A fingerless cycling glove is a pair of gloves that don’t cover your fingertips such as the Castelli Arenberg. These are usually used for hot weather during the summer season.
Are neoprene gloves good for cycling?
Neoprene gloves have very good waterproofing capabilities and are ideal for riding in the pouring rain.
Are neoprene gloves waterproof?
Neoprene gloves are generally not recommended for cycling unless you’re riding in the pouring rain. Neoprene has zero breathability (while having very good waterproofing capabilities) and will cause your fingers to sweat from the inside, causing you to feel uncomfortable.