When it comes to mountain bike gloves, it can seem like one pair is as good as another.
But the reality is that there are gloves for every style of riding, and it can be hard to know which one is right for you.
As mountain bikers, we look for padding, breathability, a good fit, and especially protection for trails, downhill, and cross country mountain biking.
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No matter how you prefer to ride, though, there’s sure to be a glove that’s perfect, and you’re sure to find one of them below.
Here are 18 of the best mountain bike gloves to consider.
Best Gloves for Trails and XC Riding
1. Giro DND1
Well known amongst cyclists for their helmets, Giro also offers incredible protection and comfort in their DND gloves.
Tested by Giro’s engineers and riders, the palm is made from pliant synthetic leather joined together in a configuration that prevents uncomfortable bunching. Moisture-wicking synthetic material makes up the back of the glove, providing airflow and a comfortable closeness.
The seamless fingertips feature silicone gripping material which can stand up to tons of abuse without sacrificing dexterity or traction.
Finally, with built-in flexing material at the knuckles, you won’t have to worry about any uncomfortable tightness or binding as you flex and shift your hands on your ride.
2. Supacaz SupaG
Supacaz is well known for their high quality accessories, so it’s no surprise that they’ve produced a great pair of MTB gloves.
A combination of ultralight quality materials and solid design and construction make these great gloves for trails and XC riding.
The SupaG is a long-finger mountain bike gloves which combines lightness and excellent grip. These gloves are close-fitting, making them comfortable while saving weight and reducing bulk.
Unlike other gloves, they feature seamless fingertips to prevent irritating wear, which lets you retain your dexterity. They also incorporate durable, supple silicon palms to provide unbeatable grip on handlebars.
3. Alpinestars Aspen Plus
Upholding Italy’s reputation for high-quality cycling gear since 1963, Alpinestars has carefully optimized these gloves for maximum breathability and grip.
The Aspen Plus is composed of stretchy, flexible lightweight synthetic fabric which conforms to the hand to ensure a close, comfortable fit. The light weave of the fabric allows for easy airflow during warmer weather.
A palm composed of thin, tough Clarino materials help you keep a firm grip on the handlebars while stretchy material on the webbing lets you expand your grip as needed. On top of all that, the fingertips are sensitive enough to use on touchscreens.
4. POC Essential Mesh Glove
Another company with a proven track record in safety gears, POC has brought airflow, a snug fit, and secure grip to their Essential Mesh Gloves.
In an unusual bit of user-friendliness, the thumb carries a terry cloth addition which can be used to clear a runny nose. A silicone pattern on the palm distributes grip and pressure evenly on the controls.
Ideal for hot weather, this elastane and polyester mesh clings neatly to the back of the hand without reducing breathability and a handy pull-tab at the cuff makes it easy to get them on and off quickly.
5. Fox Racing Ranger
Bringing decades of expertise in making cycling and motocross gear to bear, Fox has created a pair of gloves which integrate cutting-edge materials and excellent design.
The palm is made from trusted Clarino synthetic leather which resists water and tearing while providing a soft, supple surface for excellent gripping on the handlebars. Meanwhile, the back of the glove and the knuckles are made from Airprene, a breathable neoprene material that repels moisture and allows airflow.
Silicone fingertips and a micro-suede thumb complete this terrific all-rounder glove.
Best Gloves for Downhill and Enduro Riding
1. Troy Lee Sprint Glove
The Troy Lee Sprint glove is a perfect example of why you should use the right tool for the job.
Every aspect of it has been designed for the rigors of aggressive downhill riding, from the sensitive material to the superior protection. A single layer of synthetic fabric makes up the palm, which reinforces a firm grip without deadening the hand’s ability to feel the trail through vibrations.
The pliable mesh upper allows air to pass easily and quickly through while quickly venting off moisture, so your hands won’t feel like they’re wrapped in plastic. A velcro fastener tops it off, giving you a secure seal when you put them on.
2. POC Essential DH Glove
Another solid piece of gear from POC, this glove has a lot in common with the Essential Mesh Glove, with plenty of consideration for the different requirements of downhill riding thrown in.
It features a similar combination of tough synthetic materials, with knuckles strengthened with padded EVA and a lycra palm. The EVA can bear the brunt of lashing brush and debris while the palm is breathable enough to dissipate moisture without costing you grip or sensitivity.
It also features the same terry cloth nose wipe and touchscreen sensitivity in the fingertips.
3. Giro Remedy X2
Giro’s entry into the downhill gloves range, the Remedy X2 is the definition of toughness.
The palm is made from AX synthetic suede, which guarantees flexibility and comfort without reducing bar feel or an exceptional grip.
The knuckle and heel pad are constructed from Poron XRD, a plastic padding material which is soft and forgiving until impact, at which point it hardens to absorb 90% of force. It’s placed at key impact points to protect you in the event of a fall.
Finally, it features double-stitched seams which make it tough enough to resist splitting and tearing from wear or accidents.
Best Gloves for Winter Mountain Biking
1. Gore Wear C5 Thermo Glove
Gore products are renowned for their ability to keep out wind, water and cold while remaining breathable and comfortable.
When you’re riding at altitude, it’s crucial to protect your hands from moisture and windchill, and the synthetic insulation built into this pair of gloves. It’s rated to warm your hands in temperatures as low as 40ºF.
On the outside, the palm is lined with synthetic leather to provide a tough, stable purchase on the handlebars and foam padding to absorb shocks and excess vibration. As a plus, an absorbent pad on the thumb can be used to wipe away excess moisture and perspiration.
2. Sealskinz All Weather Gloves
Sealskinz is a company that deals almost exclusively in wet and cold-weather gear, using moisture-wicking fabrics and insulating materials to keep you dry and warm.
The All Weather winter gloves brings these features together while still being surprisingly breathable and flexible. Constructed from three thick warming layers, they’ll protect your fingers and stop perspiration and water from ruining your ride.
Foam padding is installed at high-pressure points, and the liner is fixed to the outer material, so you won’t have to worry about annoying shifting. It also comes with a wiping surface built into the thumb.
3. Giro Pivot 2
The super-technical Giro Pivot 2 hits nearly every mark there is, warming hands, stopping moisture, retaining control and incorporating thoughtful and useful features.
Giro’s proprietary Super Fit design helps the material cleave comfortably to the hand. AGrid antimicrobial thermal fleece lining is bonded to the outer layer, cutting bulk and weight without lowering protection.
The AX Suede palm includes gel padding to help filter out excess vibrations and retains an excellent bar feel. It’s also designed to be touchscreen compatible to allow you to navigate and keep up to date while riding.
4. Castelli Scalda Pro
It’s almost hard to believe that a glove this sleek can help shut out the cold, but this is a perfect option for keeping warm.
Optimized for a close fit and slim lines, its outer shell is made from patented Gore-Tex Infinium synthetic fabric, an ideal material to keep cold air and wet weather out while retaining warmth.
The interior is composed of an ultra-thin fleece fabric which breathes easily and protects the hands. Its asymmetrical cuff is designed to cover the wrist when your hand is bent to the handlebar, and the palm provides a solid grip.
Lastly, the Castelli Scalda Pro features touchscreen usability.
5. Craft Shield 2.0
Another slender glove that’s deceptively water and windproof, the Craft Shield 2.0 is packed with features for winter protection.
Long cuffs with velcro closures slide smoothly into jacket sleeves to stop the winter air and the exterior fabric is perfect for blocking out wind and moisture. The thumb and forefinger are strengthened to last longer and both the palm and fingertips are layered with silicone to provide a supple yet sure grip on the handlebars.
Cloth elements on the thumbs are great for absorbing excess water, and the reflective decals help improve your visibility.
Best MTB Gloves for Women
1. 100% Ridecamp Women's
The 100% Ridecamp is the perfect gloves for women with smaller and slimmer hands.
A Clarion synthetic leather is used for the palms, which is tough yet flexible and offers excellent grip. The fingers and backing are composed of Trek-Dry synthetic fabric, which breathes easily and doesn’t retain excess moisture from sweat.
Velcro seals the cuff firmly, and the webbing between thumb and forefinger is stretchy and pliable, allowing you to manipulate the controls with ease. These gloves come with micro-suede panels on the thumbs to wipe away dust, dirt and moisture.
2. Giro Riv'ette
Airy materials and exceptionally sleek construction come together in what Giro claims is their lightest-ever full-finger glove. The Giro Riv’ette slip-on gloves are ideal for cross-country, downhill, enduro and trail riding.
Made from Gradient stretch-woven fabric on the back and Giro’s own Cool Skin microfiber in the palm, they’re the perfect choice for riding on hot days.
Designed with Super Fit engineering, they conform cleanly to the hand with no excess bulk, and they include a microfiber thumb to aid in clearing dirt and perspiration from touchscreens, glasses, and faces.
3. Fox Racing Defend
Designed specifically for women, the Fox Racing Defend is a terrific choice for downhill and enduro riders.
The Clarino leather palm has perforations dispersed over it to improve grip and increase airflow, and the lightweight blended backing includes rubber inserts to fend off brush on the trail.
Silicone dots adorn the fingertips to create a grippy yet flexible surface, and they’re fastened shut with hook-and-loop material to ensure a comfortable fit around the wrist.
Mesh between the thumb and forefinger improves stretchiness while allowing cool air in, and they’re touchscreen compatible so you can snap pictures and navigate.
4. Pearl Izumi Summit
Pearl Izumi has been making incredible synthetic cycling gear for 70 years, and their Summit gloves are proof of that level of experience. For women mountain bikers in search of great gloves for downhill, enduro and trail riding, the synthetic leather palm offers a reassuringly solid grip.
Neoprene backing shields the knuckles from branches or any debris kicked up on the trail as well as from impacts. The silicone fingertips provide control, also allowing the use of touchscreens.
On top of all that, velcro closures make for a close seal on the wrist, while terry cloth thumbs can be used to clear away moisture and grime from screens and eyes.
5. Dakine Covert
The long search for gloves for those unsure of which material is the best is over. Combining six excellent synthetic fabrics in a tough, no-frills product, the Dakine Covert forgoes padding for those cyclists looking for a barebones glove.
The tough backing is resilient enough to offer comprehensive protection from branches, while the AX Suede palm eliminates the risk of hands slipping off the handlebars. Silicone fingertips make controlling brakes or gear shifters certain, and micro-fleece thumbs are handy for clearing smudges and dirt.
To cap it all off, these gloves incorporate Polygiene odor control technology to make the end of the ride that much more pleasant.
6 Things to Consider When Buying MTB Gloves
There are several things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for gloves. It’s not as simple as just grabbing the first pair you see. You should be mindful of the fit, padding, materials, style, and the differences in your options.
Here are 6 things to keep in mind when buying mountain bike gloves.
1. Full vs Half Finger Gloves
There are several advantages to either full or half-fingered options.
- Half-fingered gloves are popular with road cyclists for their easy ventilation and the freedom offered to your fingers. The breeziness and comfort of half-fingers are great for hot weather, and many find the tactile control reassuring. It’s also easy to use phones and other touchscreen devices.
- Full fingered gloves are better for mountain biking. They help to keep hands warm in cold weather, reduces the risk of blistering and offers greater protection from debris, whiplashing brush, and impacts.
2. Men’s vs Women’s Gloves
The majority of mountain bike gloves on the market are designed with men in mind, so women may find it a bit frustrating finding products designed specifically for them.
Men’s gloves tend to be shaped for larger, wider hands and are generally designed with aesthetics thought to be more appealing to men.
On the other hand, women’s gloves like the Pearl Izumi Summit or the Giro Riv’ette CS tend to come with narrower palms and shorter fingers to accommodate the shape of most women’s hands, and the cuff is usually narrower as well.
You should be careful when buying gloves, as even getting the correct size doesn’t guarantee the right shape if the glove was designed for one gender in particular.
3. Size and Fit
It goes without saying that a glove isn’t much good if it doesn’t fit well. Many will incorporate flexible, stretchy materials to ensure a snug fit, like the Giro DND, POC Essential Mesh and Fox Racing Defend for women.
It’s also crucial to check how each glove is constructed.
Gloves with separate inner and outer layers can shift around, making the fit less effective and comfortable. Some gloves like the Sealskinz All Weather or the Giro Pivot 2 avoid this by bonding the layers.
With a little preparation, it’s easy enough to find your size in order to get the right ones. You can simply measure around the knuckles on your dominant hand with a tape measure and record the result in inches.
Compare the result to a size chart to find out your size.
4. Padding Levels
Padding is a matter of both preference and requirements.
For example, XC riding won’t necessarily warrant the same level of protection that downhill will, and riding trails without at least some padding may be an unnecessary risk.
Some gloves like the Dakine Covert, omit padding altogether for those who don’t want any excess bulk in the way. This can help keep it sleek and light, but it won’t cushion your hands from an impact or filter out unwanted vibrations.
Other options like the Giro Remedy X2 or the Gore Wear C5 Thermo, incorporate inserts made from everything from high-quality plastics to simple foam. These materials stop excessive vibrations, which can lower energy efficiency.
They also reduce the risk of injury from branches, rocks, and falls, which must always be taken into account with mountain biking.
5. Extra Protection
Gloves designed for certain types of riding, in particular downhill, include extra protection for critical areas.
The most common area for reinforcement is across the knuckles, where impacts at speed can be particularly risky.
These extra protections can be rigid or flexible, and they can be made from materials like simple foam rubber or cutting-edge substances like Poron XRD padding.
The other key reinforcement point is the heel of the palm, where an impact can cause serious injury without proper protection. Downhill gloves like the POC Essential DH or Troy Lee Sprint come with extra protection to help safeguard your hands during the toughest rides.
6. Touchscreen Compatibility
The days of navigating with laminated maps are long gone.
With more and more people preferring the versatility of mobile phones and bike GPS, both of which can provide maps, emergency contacts, and weather forecasting apps, it’s no surprise that a lot of gloves are now being made which can interact with touchscreens.
Or you can simply enjoy the convenience of leaving them on with all-weather gloves like the Castelli Scalda Pro.