There is nothing worse than road rash on your palms. Luckily, today's best cycling gloves offer a simple way around the problem. They come in all different weights, and may also have padding, insulation and waterproofing. In the northern hemisphere, it's the season for summer gloves but if you live in the southern hemisphere check out our winter cycling gloves guide for riding gloves to keep the hands warm.
Road cycling gloves come in both half- and full-finger options, and different levels of padding if they have any at all. Some are designed for adding comfort, while others are claimed to be a bit more aero than your skin. But all gloves, no matter their intended purpose, will offer a degree of protection from abrasion.
Scroll down for our look at our pick of the available cycling gloves for riding during the summer, plus our guide on how to choose cycling gloves.
Cycling gloves will fit differently depending on their weight, but, generally, look for a snug fit that doesn't inhibit dexterity or inhibit range of motion. Gloves that are too tight may cut off circulation; too loose and the glove can bunch and cause hotspots, or even blisters.
Cycling gloves come with all different levels of padding, with racing mitts offering minimal cushioning all the way to plush gel-padded versions designed to keep your palms comfy for hours on end.
There are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to padding. Most brands prioritize cushioning the heel of your hand, while other brands like Specialized are placing the padding in the middle of the palm to relieve nerve pressure. What works for you comes down to personal preference and the terrain you're riding – glassy Swiss tarmac won't require padded cycling gloves, while hours of washboard gravel likely does.
Most cycling gloves will have a synthetic leather palm, which breathes well and stands up to general wear, tear and abrasion.
Half finger vs long finger
Half-finger cycling gloves - or mitts - are the norm for road riding, and will have a lightweight, breathable material over the back of the hand and a synthetic-leather palm to protect against abrasion. With your fingertips unencumbered, there's no loss in dexterity, and you'll be able to use smartphones and touchscreens with ease.
But half-finger gloves aren't perfect, and there are several reasons you might want to steer clear. For example, they’re not as safe as full-finger gloves simply down to having less skin coverage. In colder weather they’re less comfortable, they’re pretty tricky to get off your hands sometimes, and let’s not forget the resulting tan line.
We will usually don lightweight full-finger gloves when lining up for a crit, in case of a pile-up, or on a mixed-surface ride.
If you're anything like us, the moment you begin to pedal, your nose also starts to run. Look for cycling gloves with a nose wipe on the thumb that is made from fleece or terry cloth as the material is softer on the skin and provides better camouflage for stowaway boogers.
Great road cycling performance with well-considered design
The Monaco II gloves from Giro are constructed from the well-known cycling brand’s Super Fit engineering, which follows the layout of the hand and mimics its movement and dexterity. 4-way stretch breathable mesh helps to keep your hands cool as you start to warm up, while the 3mm-thick Technogel padding on the palm helps to absorb shocks from the road. Technogel is claimed to be 30% better than regular gel padding, and it withstands the test of time: not breaking down or hardening later down the line.
With double stitched seams Pittards vented leather palms, these are hard-wearing gloves designed for high performance and high mileage. The Pittards leather is thin but tough, and the three-piece palm construction tailors the fit to help your hand move naturally for the best possible control.
Simple and basic mitts for shorter rides
These half-finger gloves from LuxoBike come in six color options and will serve any commuters who aren’t planning to be in the saddle for hours at a time.
The microsuede palm features four-zone foam padding for mild shock absorption to minimise pressure on the nerves. The fabric is supple and durable, which offers decent grip and stability, while the breathable upper fabric helps to keep your hands cool. The smart finger loops help to make removal as easy as possible, while the thumb features a soft absorbent fabric for wiping your nose or your brow. According to the listing the fit is quite snug, so size up if you’re between sizes.
Full coverage protection for off-road riding
These 3-season full-finger gloves from Cool Change offer full protective coverage while mountain biking in spring, summer and fall. Made from breathable, moisture-wicking 4-way stretch mesh, your hands will stay comfortable in hot weather, while the microfiber palm with SBR gel padding provides shock proofing and anti-slip control. The thumbs feature Terry cloth for wiping away sweat.
These gloves come in four color options: though one is slightly different: ‘black’, ‘blue’, ‘red’ and ‘black 1’. Unlike the other three, ‘black 1’ features leather details on the palm for better grip in wet weather conditions. All four sets are touchscreen compatible and include reflective detailing for visibility in low light.
Great for new road cyclists
Giro is a really well known brand in cycling, which is why we’ve included two pairs of their gloves. The Jag gloves are ideal for those new to road cycling who want performance oriented gloves without paying for something high end. They feature Giro’s Super Fit engineering, which tailors the palm fingers and padding zones to match the shape and size of the hand for the best comfort and dexterity.
The upper is constructed from moisture-wicking 4-way stretch Lycra, while the Ax suede microfiber palm features optimized EVA padding. The fit is ergonomic and comfortable, while the materials are high-quality. The gloves are secured with a Velcro hook and loop strap, and also feature a sonic-welded pull tab for easy removal.
Keep your hands toasty in cold weather conditions
When the temperature drops you need to keep your hands toasty with some winter gloves. These thermal gloves from Kingsbom are constructed from layers of 3M’s 200g Thinsulate insulation which retains heat while remaining breathable. It’s a material that’s used a lot in winter cycling clothing and for good reason! These gloves are hard-wearing and light enough to provide optimal mobility and dexterity.
As you would expect from any winter gloves, the Kingsbom thermal gloves are both windproof and waterproof, with the exterior shell shedding water with ease. The interior lining is made from Polar fleece, which is moisture-wicking to keep your hands cool and dry. On the underside you’ll find silicone gel pads to protect the nerves from shock and pressure, as well as silica gel print for good grip and full control in adverse weather conditions.
Match your gloves to your kit
These half-finger cycling gloves from Moreok come with all the features you’d expect to find: a hook and loop closure, breathable fabric for a comfortable fit, thick 5mm gel pads on the heel of the hand to help reduce numbness and arm fatigue, Terry cloth on the thumbs, easy-off hooks, anti-slip silicone print on the palm, and an adjustable Velcro wrist strap.
All this for a budget price, plus they come in a whopping 13 different color options, making these super easy to match with your bike and/or your kit. Aesthetics matter!
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