Best women’s cycling gloves: Protection and comfort rolled into one

A collage combining six images, in each of which a pair of hands wearing the best women's cycling gloves hover in front of a green bush
(Image credit: Future / Charlotte Broughton)

Finding the perfect pair of gloves can be a little tricky, especially when looking for women-specific ones due to sizing and fit issues. Not only that, but it can also become pretty expensive when it comes to buying and trying in order to find that perfect pair. But fear not, for we have done the groundwork for you and laid out our picks of the best women's cycling gloves below.

Over the past three months, I have tried and tested a range of women-specific and unisex cycling gloves to find the best women’s cycling gloves on the market today. This guide should cover all of your spring-to-summer riding needs, with a sprinkling of options for whatever else the weather decides to throw at you during your two-wheeled endeavours. You can also check out our best cycling gloves guide for some other options 

Whether you are looking for a pair suited to racing, leisure riding or off-road adventuring, I tested a wide range of styles, carefully following the sizing guides to do so. So whatever your budget, have a gander and I'm sure you’ll find your new favourite pair of gloves. 

Sportful TC W GLOVES

(Image credit: Charlotte Broughton)

1. Sportful Total Comfort W

Best short-finger women's cycling gloves

Specifications

Price: £45.00 / €39.90 / $45.00 USD / $64.95 AUD
Size: XS-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Very well padded 
+
Very comfortable 
+
Breathable 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not very waterproof as stated

The Sportful TC W Gloves are a pair of pull-on mitts that are perfect for racing or training to keep your hands protected as well as comfortable: thanks to their generous amount of padding on the palm of each hand.

With regards to testing, as far as fingerless gloves go, I was seriously impressed with this offering and at this price, I feel that they are really well-priced for the quality and function of the product. I ended up using these for a bunch of road races and I can safely say the padding kept my hands comfy over multiple 100km+ road races. 

Not only that, but I felt that the fit was spot on and the lack of velcro made them feel a lot more comfortable and less bulky in comparison to other options. As well as that, the microfibre thumb came in hands for mid-race nose wiping which is great if you suffer from allergies like myself.

Castelli Women’s ROUBAIX GEL 2 GLOVE

(Image credit: Charlotte Broughton)

2. Castelli Women’s Roubaix Gel 2

Runner-up short-finger women's cycling gloves

Specifications

Price: £42.00 / €44.95 / $39.99 USD / $79.00 AUD
Sizes: XS-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Breathable
+
Good price for the quality 
+
Comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
I prefer block colours, but appreciate style is subjective

When looking for gloves, if what you want is a pair of short-finger gloves, but not the hassle of trying to pull them on and off, then this pair will be the ones for you. The Castelli Women’s Roubaix Gel 2 gloves are also a great price for the quality. 

These were another pair that I tested out during a race on the road and I have to say, I was impressed with the breathability. Not once did I overheat or feel too sweaty and it was a fairly warm day that would often see me take gloves off.

With regard to comfort, I was really impressed with them. I felt the velcro strap wasn’t noticeable but stayed done up throughout racing and because it’s only a thin strap of material, didn’t feel at all restrictive. I was also a fan of the padding which kept my hands from getting numb during racing and training. 

Assos RSR SPEED GLOVES

(Image credit: Charlotte Broughton)

3. Assos RSR Speed Gloves

Best for aero gains and racing

Specifications

Price: £65.00 / €75.00 / $90.00 USD / $115.00 AUD
Sizes: XS-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Aerodynamic
+
Great length 
+
I think they look phenomenal

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for a summer glove
-
No padding (issue for some)
-
Palm netting is quite fragile 

Aerodynamics has played a huge role in the progression of cycling clothing in the last couple of decades, especially so in the past five years, and these gloves are just carrying on that trend. Built for aerodynamic advantage, they also offer protection from the sun and act as another layer if you happen to hit the deck: no one wants wounded hands. 

During testing, I was super impressed with these gloves. I personally really liked the length of the cuff as well as the lack of padding on the inside of the palm; a feature that will admittedly divide opinion. But I felt the thin layer of mesh was great as it allowed the gloves to feel streamlined and not bulky like some gloves.

All in all, I liked these gloves but they aren’t going to suit everyone's needs. They will be best suited to those wanting aero gains and not a well-padded set of gloves. Thus I feel they are best suited for road, time trials and track racing. Not to mention they are rather on the pricey side.

GripGrab PROGEL PADDED SHORT FINGER SUMMER GLOVES

(Image credit: Charlotte Broughton)

4. GripGrab Progel Padded Mitt

Best affordable short finger gloves

Specifications

Price: £37.95 / €41.95 / $49.99 USD
Sizes: XS-XXL

Reasons to buy

+
Magnet to keep gloves together
+
Reasonable price
+
Comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
Don’t feel as high-end as Castelli mitts above

It's a tough ask to find good pair of short-finger gloves that look good and have adequate padding on a budget, but the GripGrab Progel Padded Short-Finger gloves match these criteria down to a T.

I was really impressed with the fit during testing: sometimes I find gloves with a velcro strap can feel bulky and thus don’t fit as nicely but they fitted really well. I also thought the microfibre-style material on the thumb for nose wiping was really good and did its job.

Other features that I liked about these gloves include a cool magnet attached to the inside of both gloves to ensure you never lose either of them. Funnily enough, I didn’t happen to lose either glove during testing and I’m notorious for misplacing kit, so this was a great and well-thought-out feature to include. 

MAAP Pro Race Mitt

(Image credit: Charlotte Broughton)

5. MAAP Pro Race Mitt

Best-looking short finger gloves

Specifications

Price: £70.00 / €75.00 / $90.00 USD / $115.00 AUD
Size: XS-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Comfy
+
Breathable
+
Premium feel

Reasons to avoid

-
Sizing a little off (mainly on the palm)
-
Expensive

When it comes to style, MAAP will most likely be one of the first cycling brands that comes to mind, with its understated yet luxurious pieces that quite often have a price tag to match. Therefore it’s no surprise that MAAP's pull-on Pro Race Mitts are my pick as the best-looking on the market right now.

In terms of how they performed during testing, I found the palm to be a little baggy, therefore I would suggest trying them in person or going down a size for this product. Other than that, I really liked them. They were very breathable, thanks to the venting on the palm and mesh on the top.

As well as that the padding was also great with these gloves, especially around the thumb. An area which I feel often needs padding but actually rarely does with gloves, so it’s great to see MAAP really thought about this feature and the needs of riders. 

SPATZ "GLOVZ" Race Gloves on hands showing peepy index hole

(Image credit: Charlotte Broughton)

6. Spatz Glovz

Unmatched deep-winter long cuff gloves

Specifications

Price: £64.99 / €74.99 / $139.00 AUD
Sizes: S-L

Reasons to buy

+
High cuff
+
Versatile 
+
Grippers on the palm 

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty expensive 
-
Won’t fit very small hands

Undoubtedly you will have seen this popular Yorkshire-based brand, be it out on the road or on across social media as worn by pros. Therefore it’s no shock to see the Spatz “Glovz” Race Gloves on our list, although unisex they were just too good not to include. 

Best suited to spring or cold mornings, these gloves are perfect for keeping cold hands warm without feeling too thick or restrictive. The cuff comes up nice and high which is great for ensuring your wrists stay protected from the elements when layered up. The material is also very stretchy which I found during testing to be great as I have small wrists and often find cuffs are too loose and thus let heat out. 

Moreso, during testing I found these gloves were great because the hidden pocket allows them to be a two-in-one: normal long-fingered gloves or with an extra layer that folds out from the hidden pocket which is really useful. The "peepy index finger hole" feature is also really useful for checking your phone without having to take your gloves off and disturb all of your layers.

Castelli Women's Perfetto ROS Gloves

(Image credit: Charlotte Broughton)

7. Castelli Women's Perfetto ROS Gloves

Best spring/fall long finger gloves

Specifications

Price: £75.00 / €69.95 / $69.99 USD / $119.00 AUD
Sizes: S-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Great fit
+
Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper material
+
Comfy padding on the inside

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty expensive

If you were looking for the best set of women's cycling gloves for intermediate weather (or what we call British summertime) that are both comfortable and offer a great level of protection from the showers and full-on rain, then look no further. 

During testing, I was seriously impressed with these gloves. They fit my hands perfectly and the inner lining is really soft and smooth: perfect for sensitive skin like mine that can often get irritated by certain fabrics. The cuff was a reasonable length as well which effectively helped the heat to stay in.

I actually happened to race a couple of UCI races in them, so if they can withstand the chilly Belgian spring races, then they are a must-have for any cyclist's kitbag for cold-weather riding. I also thoroughly liked the microfibre thumb which is perfect for wiping runny noses on mid-ride or race.

MAAP Alt_Road Glove

(Image credit: Charlotte Broughton)

8. MAAP Alt_Road Glove

Best women's gravel cycling gloves

Specifications

Price: £75.00 / €90.00 / $105.00 USD / $125.00 AUD
Size: XS-XL

Reasons to buy

+
Good water repellency
+
Comfortable padding 
+
Robust and durable

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

For those wanting more of a gravel-style glove that is best suited to off-road antics, the pull on Alt_Road Glove from MAAP is a great long-finger option for you. The outer is a comfy and breathable mesh material which beads water very effectively thanks to the gloves' water-repellent properties. 

In terms of fit, I found these gloves to be true to size and the materials used were really comfy, especially the soft material used for the palms. As well as that, the one piece of padding on the outer side of the palm also helped to make these gloves comfortable when riding over more uneven terrain. 

In addition to comfort, I was also impressed with the breathability of these gloves which is something I was concerned about before trying. Even though they feel thick and robust, they feature a venting system which I found to work very well, therefore there won’t be any issues with overheating. 

Sportful WS ESSENTIAL 2 WOMAN GLOVES

(Image credit: Charlotte Broughton)

9. Sportful WS Essential 2

Best long finger gloves on a budget

Specifications

Price: £55.00 / €59.90 / $70.00 USD / $79.95 AUD
Size: XS-XXL

Reasons to buy

+
Very comfortable 
+
Well padded
+
Water-resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Bit warm for some

During this guide if you felt that the Castelli Women's Perfetto ROS Gloves were a bit of you but then you saw the price and thought otherwise, I’ve found the perfect dupe and they come from Castelli's sister-brand Sportful.

From the off, I noticed how similar they felt to the Castelli gloves but I doubted if they would live up to the high expectations that the aforementioned had set. Comfort wise I was super impressed, they are very well padded which helped my hands to feel comfy even after hours in the saddle during training.

I was also really impressed by the material which also features the high-performing Gore-Tex Infinium material which is very windproof, but most noticeably water-repellent: something I was very pleased to notice during my rainy rides. Therefore it’s safe to say, this is a really great pair of long-finger gloves for a really cracking price given the quality of the product.

How to choose the best gloves for you

Your climate and type of riding will largely dictate what style of gloves will best fit your requirements. For example, if you do a lot of riding for long distances on the road and you want gloves for warmth because you feel the cold, a set of long-finger gloves with a generous amount of padding will suit your needs best. Looking out for other useful features such as water repellency will also help to keep your hands warm come rain or shine. 

Do I need gloves for road cycling?

Whether or not you will need gloves for cycling on the road will be down to your own judgement. Gloves are useful when it’s colder to help keep your hands warm and able to change gear (even during the spring and summer) especially when it’s raining.

As well as that, gloves can also be useful when it comes to protecting your hands. Be it from the vibrations of the road due to cobbles which padding can help quash, chaffing from your bars or in the event of an unfortunate date with the floor: if you don’t wear gloves and hit the deck you can sustain abrasion and road rash on your hands which can be really painful. Therefore, a pair of short-finger gloves can act as a second skin, similar to a base layer, to stop you from cutting your skin.

Another form of protection gloves offer is from the sun. I’m sure I don’t need to enter into a full-blown lecture on why you should protect yourself from the sun, but if you are particularly fair-skinned or prone to sunburn, then wearing a pair of short-finger gloves during the warmer months can help protect your hands from the UVA and UVB rays.

Should cycling gloves be padded or not?

Whether or not padding is essential in gloves is entirely personal. For example, if you personally feel that your hands often feel a little numb or sore after riding your bike then a pair of well-padded gloves should help your hands to feel less achy during and after riding. 

However, you might find that you don’t need the padding and just want gloves to protect you from road rash in the event of a crash or from the sun. Therefore, whether or not gloves should be padded is entirely down to the individual and what their needs are.

Should I get full-finger or fingerless gloves for cycling?

During the warmer months, short-finger gloves will likely be the best option when it comes to dressing suitably for the weather. This is because they allow breathability through ventilation and most have been designed to wick away sweat to keep you cool.

However, it’s always good to be prepared and have long-finger gloves for the colder days and when riding in the rain. Therefore, long-finger gloves that are not too thick and have been designed for intermediate temperatures are a great piece of equipment to have.

Especially as many long-finger options are still fairly thin meaning you won’t overheat, but benefit from featuring materials that are water repellent so when caught in showers on rainy summer days, your hands will be protected and thus won’t become numb from being wet.

How we test women's cycling gloves

During testing I first considered how well the sizing fitted compared to the size guide (which I always followed) as well as the fabric and how the gloves felt in terms of construction: some being thinner or more robust than others. During the testing process out on the bike, I rode in all conditions, cold, rain, showers and heat. I also raced in quite a few pairs, so each pair had way over 100km worth of testing and were mostly used on long rides which incorporated a range of surfaces be it smooth tarmac, farm roads, gravel or cobbles. This was to ensure all bases were covered when it comes to the pros and cons of each pair and to find where they really excelled.