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, or – if you're after buying advice – you can skip to our guide on how to choose cycling gloves.
The best cycling gloves
Let the wind blow through your gloves
Closure: Elastic | Padding: Foam | Palm: Mesh
An updated version of the Swiss brand's CYC gloves, the Assos summerGloves_s7 is designed to disappear on your hands but still provide a bit of support and protection. The entire glove is made from mesh, including the palm to keep your mitts cool and dry.
The palm also sees a bit of foam padding, which Assos says is carefully placed to absorb 'road chatter', and silicon logos add some extra traction when the road gets bumpy.
Giro Monica II
Fully featured women's cycling gloves
Closure: Velcro | Padding: Gel | Palm: Pittard leather
Giro's Monica II glove features a supple Pittard leather palm with 3mm Technogel padding over the heel of the hand, under the thumb and behind the crease of your fingers.
The back is all mesh except for the suede thumb, which is soft on the bottom of your nose, post snot rocket. With a few reflective accents, the gloves feature a velcro closure at the top and a pull tab on the palm to help you get them over your knuckles.
Eye-catching minimalist cycling mitts
Closure: Elastic | Padding: None | Palm: Clarino leather
For some, all they are looking for in a glove is a bit of abrasion-protection in a crash. The SupaCaz SupaG will keep your palms road-rash free and add some style to your wardrobe in the process.
With a snug aero cut, the mesh-backed SupaG are based around lightweight fabrics and use a slip-on design. The palm is made from perforated Clarino leather and sees a silicon SupaCaz logo for added purchase. For the crit racers among us, they also come in a full-finger version for added protection.
Castelli Arenberg Gel 2
Shock-absorbing cycling gloves for rough riders
Closure: Velcro | Padding: Gel | Palm: Synthetic leather
Named after the infamous cobbles in the Forest of Arenberg, Castelli's Arenberg Gel 2 mitts are designed to absorb shock and vibration from rough-and-tumble road surfaces. The palm features Castelli's Dampening System (CDS), with gel padding under the knuckles and the heel of the hand to dampen vibrations from weight-bearing areas of your paws. The gel padding is finished with silicon details to maximise grip, even when your bar tape is saturated.
The top of the glove is a mix of mesh and lycra for wicking and breathability; the thumb is made using micro suede, so you don't rub your nose raw. Castelli has opted for a velcro closure to ensure a proper fit, and there is a massive pull tab so it's not a wrestling match to get the Arenberg Gel 2 over your hands. They also come in a full-finger version for those after a bit of extra protection
Giro Siv road glove
Classic mitts brought into the modern age
Closure: Elastic | Padding: Gel | Palm: Microfiber
Roadies have a soft spot for classically styled kit, and the Giro Siv takes the traditional road mitt design and brings it into the modern age.
The nylon-mesh back takes on the classic crocheted look of yesteryear while still utilising modern materials for wicking and ventilation, and the three-piece microfibre palm is padded and breathes considerably better than leather. The thumb sees a plush nose wipe and, best of all, the price tag won't leave a big dent in your wallet.
DHB Aeron Speed Mitt
Airy mesh racing glove you can wear every day
Closure: Elastic | Padding: None | Palm: Synthetic leather
DHB is Wiggle/ChainReaction Cycles’ in-house clothing brand, and the DHB Aeron Speed Mitts are their take on lightweight, barely-there cycling gloves. We can't speak to the claimed aero gains, but the entire back of the gloves is made from lightweight, stretchy mesh that conforms to every nook and cranny of your hand, without binding or pinching.
The synthetic leather palm is light on padding, but heavy on grip, and covered almost entirely with silicon. There are pulls on the wrists and the bottoms of the middle and ring finger to make installation and removal a breeze, with a high-cut elastic cuff keeping everything in place.
GripGrab ProGel Short glove
Luxurious cycling gloves that use magnets to stay together
Closure: Velcro | Padding: Gel | Palm: Serino leather
GripGrab's ProGel Short gloves are a bit like a La-Z-Boy for your digits. Starting with the luxurious plush Serino leather palm, GripGrab has employed its DoctorGel padding which was developed in collaboration with its sponsored athletes and doctors to help combat what's known as 'Cyclist's palsy' – pins and needles in the fingers caused by nerves being squished between your bars and the bones in your hand for an extended period.
The backside of the glove is made using lycra with reflective logos, and the thumb features a suede nose wipe for when your 'farmer's blow' doesn't go quite according to plan. One of our favourite things about the ProGel gloves has nothing to do with the padding or fit: it's the 'gMagnets' that allow you to stick the gloves together for storage; never again will you need to tear apart your drawers when you're late for a group ride because you can only find one glove.
Leatt DBX 2.0 X-Flow XC MTB gloves
Lightweight XC gloves that are perfect for road riding
Closure: Elastic | Padding: None | Palm: MicronGrip
Yes, we have included a pair of mountain bike gloves in this round-up of road cycling mitts, but hear us out. These cycling gloves from South African outfit Leatt are mesh-backed, and the palm is made from a microfibre material called MicronGrip. The individual fibres are incredibly pliable, wick like the dickens and are thinner than a human hair.
The DBX DBX 2.0 X-Flow gloves are light and comfortable, but still provide a barrier against abrasion should you hit the deck. They started out as our go-to crit racing gloves, but have found their way into the more-regular rotation because they offer as much dexterity as if you weren't wearing gloves at all, as well as unmatched breathability.
How to choose the best 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 prioritise 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.
3. 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 our good friend Fat Cyclist laid out a solid case against fingerless gloves, citing reduced safety, comfort, how hard the suckers are to get off your hands and 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.
4. Nose wipe
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.
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