You’ve got your bike. You’ve got your helmet. You’ve got your lights. But your cycling-mad friends keep telling you why you need a pair of cycling gloves.
If you haven’t got any of your own, you’re probably a little confused. Why do cyclists need gloves? If you’re a little lost, this guide will clear things up. We’ll tell you why all cyclists need a pair, what they can do, and offer you a helpful list of the best cycling gloves on the market.
The best cycling gloves protect you against injury, provide great cushion and comfort, keep your hands toasty, and so much more. But they’re not all built equal. Some are made for road cycling, some are made for mountain biking, and some are made specifically for avoiding pain and discomfort.
Right now, you might still be wondering if you need a pair, but once you’ve been wearing some for a while, you’ll start to wonder why you ever gripped your handlebars without them. Sit in your saddle, get your feet in your pedals and let’s go!
- What to Consider in a Cycling Glove
- Top 12 Best Cycling Gloves in 2021
- 1. Best Overall Cycling Gloves: Giro Bravo Gel Cycling Gloves
- 2. Best Premium Cycling Gloves: Castelli Arenberg Gel 2 Cycling Gloves
- 3. Best Cycling Gloves for Kids: ZippyRoos Little Kids Bike Gloves
- 4. Best Women’s Cycling Gloves for Cold Weather: Hikenture Winter Cycling Gloves
- 5. Best Softshell Cycling Gloves: Pearl iZUMi Elite Softshell Cycling Gloves
- 6. Best Cycling Gloves for Women: Giro Jag’ette Cycling Gloves
- 7. Best Mountain Biking Gloves for Women: PEARL iZUMi Elite Gel Full Finger Cycling Gloves
- 8. Best Men’s Cycling Gloves for Cold Weather: INBIKE Men’s Thermal Cycling Gloves
- 9. Best Budget Men’s Cycling Gloves: Giro Jag Cycling Gloves
- 10. Best Budget Women’s Cycling Gloves: LuxoBike
- 11. Giro Monica II Gel Cycling Gloves
- 12. Best Kids Cycling Gloves for Cold Weather: VBIGER Kids Winter Cycling Gloves
- Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy the Best Cycling Gloves for You
- Final Thoughts
What to Consider in a Cycling Glove
When deciding on the best cycling gloves for you, here are the main things you need to consider:
Women’s cycling gloves are different from men’s cycling gloves, and both styles are different from kids’ gloves. Gloves are also designed for different styles of riders, with some cold weather options, others meant for long days in the saddle, and durable models meant for BMXers and mountain bikers that are more prone to crashing.
What type of bike do you ride? A road bike? A mountain bike? A hybrid? Both? Generally speaking, there are two main types of gloves: those for mountain biking, those for road cycling. But there is of course some crossover, especially with winter gloves.
Why do you want cycling gloves? Do you want better grip? Better support for nerve pain? Crash protection? Or do you just want to keep warm in the winter? Different gloves serve different purposes.
Consider the conditions you’ll be riding in, and how the gloves you choose will (or won’t) help you in those conditions. Consider sweat-wicking, breathability, and warmth.
Below, we’ve listed twelve of the best cycling gloves. We’ve assessed and considered each pair of gloves in three different categories: bike type, purpose, and weather suitability. We’ve also included a brief list of pros and cons.
We’ve separated our list into the best cycling gloves for men, the best cycling gloves for women, and the best cycling gloves for kids.
Wherever you cycle, whenever you cycle, and whoever you are, we’ve got the perfect cycling gloves for you.
Top 12 Best Cycling Gloves in 2021
Built for road riding, these are lightweight and unobtrusive while providing excellent support. The gel is fantastic for providing cushion on even the longest of rides, with great padding across several parts of the hand.
This padding isn’t the most durable, so you might have to replace the gloves after a year or so, but that’s not a problem at this price point. They’re also prone to tearing after a while.
The moisture-wicking and breathability are both absolutely excellent. Even on the sweatiest of rides, you’ll find that your hands stay dry. The microfiber wiping section on the glove is mega absorbent, and it dries very quickly.
These are built for long, fast road rides. They’re built to keep you cool, keep you comfortable and keep your hands feeling good. And they do it all brilliantly.
They have great reflective details for riding in the dark, and they offer excellent grip. The velcro closure makes for a tight fit, which allows for a great feel on your handlebars.
There’s no waterproofing or windproofing here, so they’re not great in cold weather.
These are crafted for hitting heavy mountain bike trails. There’s a huge amount of gel padding on the palms of the gloves, and the silicone grip is excellent, even on the most volatile of routes.
The Velcro adjuster on the wrist of the gloves is excellent for offering a really snug fit, which leads to better feel and handling. With a huge pull tab, these are easy to put on and take off.
The padding on these gloves is excellent, with great vibration protection, so you shouldn’t have any pain or discomfort. These gloves do everything that you want when mountain biking. If you’re looking for an excellent compromise between padding and handling, it doesn’t get any better than this.
If you want padding against sore hands, tingly fingers and uneven trails, these are incredible. They’re also built with pretty good breathability, though this is sacrificed somewhat in the pursuit of a robust build.
The thumb has a soft, delicate suede section for wiping away sweat and boogers, and the Lycra on the back of the hand is very comfortable and stretchy.
These aren’t waterproof or windproof, and their half-hand coverage isn’t great for keeping warm. If you’re looking for gloves that are built to battle weather, you should look elsewhere.
Because these are for young kids, they’re suitable for any cycling which your young kids are doing. Unless your 8-year-old is careering down hardcore mountain biking trails or riding in wintry conditions, these are perfectly suitable for all their biking needs.
These gloves do two main things: provide a good amount of cushion and look fantastic. The padding on the palm is great, and will stop your kid from complaining about sore hands after a lengthy ride. But while the palm is padded, it also doesn’t at all compromise on grip.
If you’re looking for fun-looking kids’ cycling gloves, these are brilliant. With 8 mega-fun designs, there’s something for every kid, from unicorns to dinosaurs to aliens.
Aside from cushion and aesthetic, these gloves also offer a snug, comfortable fit, and a soft thumb section for wiping away sweat. In short, this takes everything typically offered from adult cycling gloves and scales it down for a kids cycling gloves.
These offer some warmth, but they’re not designed for battling rain, wind, or cold weather. If that’s what you’re looking for, you should try the VBIGER Kids Winter Cycling Gloves.
These are okay for gentle mountain biking trails, but they’re better suited to road biking, as they are pretty thick, which compromises on grip and feel. For road cyclists who hit the roads in cold weather, these provide all the warmth and insulation you need.
With an excellent fleece lining and a thick build, these are built for warmth and they provide exactly that. They’re warm, comfortable and windproof, and they have okay protection against rain, though (like the vast majority of cycling gloves) they aren’t completely waterproof.
But beyond that, they offer some other great features. The anti-slip coating on the palms is excellent and helps to make up for the slightly-diminished feel caused by the thickness of the gloves. They’re also more padded than you might expect, so they’re great at battling hand pain and tingly nerves.
If you regularly cycle in cold conditions, you’ll love these. They provide excellent protection against cold and wind. That said, the breathability isn’t the best, so you shouldn’t wear these in warm conditions – you’ll wind up with sweaty, uncomfortable hands.
You shouldn’t wear these on mountain trails that require a lot of handling, as they’re a little too bulky to offer total control. But for other trails, they’re pretty good. The all-round fit is great for avoiding the scratches from branches often endured on narrow trails, and they’re more snug than they look. The anatomic palm patterning design gives you much more control than you might expect.
Given their excellent build, these are suitable for all types of road cycling.
Want warmth and protection in a glove-shaped combination? These are fantastic. They have 100g of Primaloft Gold insulation for toasty hands in even the coldest of temperatures. The windproofing is brilliant, and though the waterproofing is pretty good, it’s not as robust as you might like.
The fleece-lined interior is comfortable and warm, while the gel padding provides excellent protection against hand pain and tingly nerves.
There’s a small section on the index finger and thumb for wiping snot and sweat.
We’ve already made this pretty clear, but these are great for cold weather. Though they’re a little expensive, they’re worth every cent. The softshell fabric, which is sadly missing on the thumb section of the gloves, will keep you protected from cold winds, and the fleece and insulation will keep you warm.
Again, the waterproofing could be a little better, but that’s often the case with cycling gloves.
These are built for road cycling. They offer enough padding for even the lengthiest of road rides, with an excellent lightweight build and thin Lycra material for great feel, breathability, and control. The EVA foam isn’t padded enough for mountain biking.
These are built for lightweight comfort. They aren’t hardy or rugged in the way that some other gloves are, but they’re perfect for anyone seeking moderate cushion with a good fit, good comfort, and sleek design. The hook and loop Velcro closure offers a beautifully snug fit.
These are crafted for very good moisture-wicking and breathability, and they do the job brilliantly. Many gloves aren’t built to look good, but Giro always crafts gloves that look great.
If you’re looking for gloves that are windproof, water-resistant, or great in cold weather, look elsewhere. For a cold-weather glove, you might like the Hikenture Winter Cycling Gloves.
You can use these for any type of cycling. That said, they might be slight overkill for road cycling, as well as a bit warmer in hot weather.
Where these cycling gloves perform best is on mountain trails. The full-hand design is great for protecting against the type of cuts you can often experience on narrow trails, while the 3D gel pads provide excellent cushion without diminishing handling and control.
The 4-way stretch provides excellent breathability and great control, while the hook and loop closure leaves the fit very snug and comfortable.
These are built for breathability and handling while also offering comfort and support. And they do it all. These don’t offer the impact protection which more rigid mountain biking gloves might provide, but these are excellent at what they do.
They provide decent protection against slightly cold weather, but because they’re so breathable, they aren’t great in very cold climes. They’re okay at battling moderate wind, but they don’t offer any waterproofing.
These are pretty good for all cycling except moderate to heavy mountain bike trails. Though they’re built for weatherproofing, they also have pretty good gel padding and okay grip. If you want impeccable performance, you won’t find it here, but they still perform well for being cold-weather gloves.
With thermal interiors, a lengthened wrist, a fleece lining, and a windproof, water-resistant outer, these are built for battling tough conditions. The fiber-filled insulation keeps the gloves very warm. These gloves are touch-sensitive, so you can still use your phone without taking the gloves off.
If you’re looking for very robust padding or lots of protection against injury and pain, look to gloves such as the Castelli Arenberg Gloves. But if you’re mainly concerned with battling bad weather (with a moderate amount of protection), these are fantastic.
If you get trapped in very heavy rain, your hands will still get wet. But that’s pretty much always the case with waterproof gloves. In truth, the vast majority of ‘waterproof’ cycling gloves are, in truth, only water-resistant. And while that’s the case here, these are still excellent in bad weather.
If you often cycle in harsh conditions, buy these. For fighting the cold and for excellent windproofing, you won’t find anything better.
These aren’t suitable for moderate to heavy mountain biking trails, as the EVA padding won’t provide enough shock absorption. But for all other types of rides, they’re great.
For all road cyclists, these are excellent. The ergonomic fit offers a brilliant feel on the handlebars, allowing you to stay in full control without sacrificing support. The cushion is more than sufficient for battling hand and wrist pain and the breathability is fantastic. If you’re looking for excellent grip, you won’t find it here, but you rarely will at this price point.
These are built to provide good comfort and moderate padding. If that’s all you’re looking for, you’ll love them. But because the build is fairly cheap, this padding probably won’t last more than a year or so.
These gloves are also crafted to look great, with a classic, simple aesthetic. They come in seven different great color designs.
The tight Velcro closure provides an excellent fit, which offers great comfort. The brilliant microfiber wiping surface dries quickly, so you can keep wiping snot and sweat no matter how long your ride.
These provide some warmth, but not much more. They don’t battle tough weather conditions in any way.
Though marketed as very versatile, these won’t provide the support needed for medium or heavy mountain biking trails. They’ll stand up to basic trails, but no more.
But for road cyclists, these are a fantastic budget pick. If you ride for very long periods of time, they might not provide sufficient cushion, but they’re great for the vast majority of road cyclists. For this price point, you’ll be surprised by just how fantastic the cushion is.
These gloves are built to provide good cushion, comfort, breathability, and fit, accomplishing the goal for a low price. Padding is basic but sufficient, the suede palm section offers pretty decent grip, the Lycra gives good stretch and breathability, and the upper is soft.
If you’re accustomed to more expensive cycling gloves, you might find these a little basic. But for an entry-level glove, these are fantastic.
If you want any protection against weather, these aren’t ideal.
These are built for road cycling, with a big focus on providing sufficient padding for even the longest of long-distance road rides. They’re suitable for gentle mountain bike trails.
These are built for ultimate padding. If you ever struggle with carpal tunnel syndrome, handlebar palsy or general hand and wrist pain, and fatigue, these should solve every last problem.
But they’re not one-dimensional, with plenty more great features to justify the price point. The palm is ultra-durable for lots of grip and support for plenty of rides still to come, the whole glove is breathable and sweat-wicking, and the palm’s vented leather provides excellent feel, stretch, and comfort. The microfiber wiping section dries very quickly – great for endless wiping of sweat.
The palm is constructed with three parts, which adjust to the natural shape and stretch of the hand. But be warned – you should probably buy a size up, to avoid your gloves tearing as you ride.
These provide some warmth because of the leather build, but they’re designed for performance rather than warmth. They don’t offer any other type of protection against weather.
These are suitable for all types of cycling. Because of their full-hand design, they’re good for mountain trails, but they’re also great for hitting roads too. If you want very versatile cycling gloves for your kids, these are an excellent choice.
These are mainly crafted for cold weather, so they’re excellent at battling off cold hands as kids cycle. They’re built with a fleece lining and double-layer cuffs for a comfortable fit and lots of warmth.
Though they’re not built specifically for cycling, they do the job well. There’s grip on the palm and fingers for keeping steady on the handlebars. And while they’re warm, they’re not too bulky, so they won’t stop your kids from squeezing or pressing their brakes or gears.
These gloves are simple and basic, but they’re great for young cyclists riding in the cold.
They’re not waterproof (though they are slightly water-resistant), but they provide decent wind-proofing along with excellent protection against cold weather.
Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy the Best Cycling Gloves for You
There you have it: the best cycling gloves available on the market. They’re all a fantastic buy for the right cyclist. Whether you ride around mountains, commute to the office or speed down huge roads every weekend, there’s something perfect here for you.
But there are many things to think about before you buy a pair of the best cycling gloves we’ve listed. Though there are many great options, it’s essential you choose a pair which works for you. You need to think about where you cycle, why you want the gloves and much more.
Below, we’ve given you everything you need to think about before you buy some cycling gloves. Shift up a gear and read on.
Types of Cycling Gloves
Broadly speaking, there are three types of cycling gloves:
Road Cycling Gloves
These are mainly built to provide moderate protection against injury and discomfort. On long rides, you can get tingly nerves, sore hands, and other small injuries. Broadly speaking, road cycling gloves are built to battle against these issues, but they often also provide enough padding and coverage to prevent road rash in the event of a fall. Road cycling gloves are basically built for comfort and mild support.
Mountain Bike Gloves
If you attack rugged trails and rides, mountain bike gloves offer rugged protection to match. They’re built for tough protection, with robust, durable materials. They protect against the heavy impact of mountain biking and offer good hand, finger, and wrist protection against cuts on narrow trails. Most mountain bike gloves have full fingers.
Cold Weather Cycling Gloves
As you might have worked out for yourself, cold weather gloves are for use in harsher winter and fall conditions. While all cycling gloves provide a small amount of protection against cold weather, you need specific gloves if you like cycling in very cold conditions. You should typically look for cold weather gloves which are both windproof and waterproof.
Though cold weather gloves are great for freezing temperatures, they’re often a little bulky for year-round riding.
Cycling Gloves Features
Different cycling gloves offer different features. When looking for cycling gloves, here are some things you should be considering:
- Breathability: You don’t want sweaty hands when you’re cycling. If you buy breathable gloves, you’ll be drier and more comfortable on your ride. Breathable gloves work by allowing water vapor to escape through ventilative holes in the material.
- Wicking: Sweat-wicking fabric draws moisture away from the skin to let it evaporate. Sweat-wicking and breathability together offer the ultimate dry-hands combo of sweat-free riding.
- Grip: Good grip is important. It keeps you steady, it protects you against slipping and it helps to avoid injury. Many gloves are crafted with features to improve and enhance grip.
- Warmth: While all non-summer gloves provide an extra layer of warmth, some are built specifically for insulative purposes, including an extra layer of cold-proof protection.
- Padding and Protection: Different gloves offer different levels of protection. While some simply offer a small amount of support, others are crafted with thick gel sections. If you often suffer from tingling hands when you cycle, a lot of padding can be very helpful.
- Nose Wiping: Lots of cycling gloves have a small soft pad on the thumb area. It’s typically used for wiping your runny nose in cold weather.
Cycling Glove Construction
Gloves are constructed of distinct, specialized fabrics each with their own purpose. Learn more about how gloves are stitched together below:
- Palm: This sheet of fabric is on the inside of the hand, extending from the knuckles to the heel of the palm. Some cycling glove palms are thick, some are thin, but all provide some level of comfort, support, and protection.
- Upper: This is the back of the glove, and it’s the part which is typically responsible for weatherproofing. The upper might have a weatherproof coating and insulation, or could be designed with mesh to be breathable.
- Fingers: While some gloves offer full finger coverage, others offer little finger coverage, cut before the first knuckle. If you just want better grip in a breathable format, you might not want any finger coverage, but gloves for cold weather will always offer full-finger coverage.
- Cuff: This is the part of the glove which wraps around your wrist. Most cuffs are adjustable on-the-go for a good fit. Overly-tight cuffs squeeze the wrist uncomfortably. Overly-loose ones chafe and don’t offer a snug fit.
Cycling Gloves Size Guide
We don’t all have the same hands. Gloves which fit a 7-foot tall male shot-putter probably won’t fit a five-year-old girl (unless that girl has very big hands).
You, therefore, need to buy cycling gloves in the right size. Here’s how to measure your hands to get a good fit.
- Get a tape measure.
- Choose your dominant hand. Take all measurements from this dominant hand.
- Measure from the tip of your longest finger (typically the middle finger) to the crease of your wrist at the base of your palm. This is your hand length measurement.
- Wrap the tape measure around the widest part of your hand. When taking the measurement, make sure you’re making a fist with the hand you’re measuring. This measurement is your hand width measurement.
Generally, these are how sizes stack up compared to measurements:
- Extra Small: width of around 7” and length of around 6.2”
- Small: width of around 7.5” and length of around 6.7”
- Medium: width of around 8” and length of around 7.2”
- Large: width of around 8.5” and length of around 7.8”
- Extra Large: width of around 9.5” and length of around 8.3”
Different gloves all have slightly different fits, but these size standards don’t typically vary from wearer to wearer. If you’re between sizes and not sure which way to go, always go larger. That’ll give your hands space to swell and move a little. Too small and you’ll be more prone to chafing.
Many brands will list their own measurements. So while you can use the above measurements as a reference, you should check whether the brand you’re buying from offers a different sizing guide of their own.
How Much Do Cycling Gloves Cost?
There are lots of different gloves for lots of different budgets. If you’re a bargain shopper looking for gloves at around $20, there are lots of affordable but reliable gloves on the market. But if you’re looking for a little more hi-tech pair of cycling gloves with excellent protection and lots of great features, you should expect to pay closer to $50. Whatever your budget, there are lots of great options available.
How Can I Take Care of My Cycling Gloves?
If you want your cycling gloves to last a long while, you should buy gloves that are high-quality, durable, and reliable. But no matter how hardy and robust your cycling gloves are, you still need to take care of them properly. Here are some tips on how:
- Don’t let them soak! When you’ve finished a long ride, your gloves are covered in sweat. Sweat contains salt, and salt isn’t good for fabrics. Clean, or at least rinse your cycling gloves as soon as you possibly can after every ride.
- If your cycling gloves are suitable for machine washing, do so gently. Turn them inside out, and wash them at a low temperature and a low spin.
- If they’re not suitable for machine washing, you should wash your cycling gloves by hand. If that’s your plan, use only warm water and a mild detergent. When you’re done, rinse them, but don’t wring them out.
- Let your cycling gloves dry naturally. Excessive heat can damage your gloves, so never use any type of machine to dry them.
- If your gloves are especially smelly after an especially heavy or sweaty, wash them by hand, with a small amount of white vinegar mixed into your water.
- If you have leather cycling gloves, wash them as you would wash any leather product. But, generally, you should avoid washing them, instead just wiping them down with a wet rag after use. You don’t want your leather cycling gloves to become misshapen.
How Can I Avoid Hand Injuries When Cycling?
It depends on what type of injuries you typically suffer from. But there are two major common hand complaints from regular cyclists, carpal tunnel syndrome and handlebar palsy. Here’s a guide to both.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel is caused by compression of the medial nerve, the main nerve at the front of the forearm, which runs through the wrist. If you suffer tingling in the hand, wrist and fingers, it’s probably carpal tunnel syndrome.
You can alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome from cycling in several different ways:
- Raise your handlebars. If they’re too low, you may be unnecessarily leaning on them, putting lots of strain on your medial nerve.
- Get your bike refitted. If your bike doesn’t fit you properly, you can easily end up suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome or other injuries.
- Buy some cushioned handlebar tape, such as this excellent stuff.
- Wear good gloves with lots of padding.
- Regularly switch your hand position while you’re riding.
- Try hand exercises.
Known more formally as ‘ulnar neuropathy,’ handlebar palsy is where the ulnar nerve (different from the medial nerve with carpal tunnel) is compressed. Another nerve that runs through the wrist, handlebar palsy also results in tingling fingers, but it typically affects only the ring finger and the little finger. If you suspect you might be experiencing handlebar palsy, you should look to fix the problem right away, as, once developed, it can become a long-term issue.
If you’re beginning to feel what you think might be handlebar palsy, follow the same advice we’ve recommended for carpal tunnel syndrome above. Good cycling gloves are an essential part of your battle against both carpal tunnel syndrome and handlebar palsy, and can hugely reduce the risk of you suffering from the symptoms of either condition.
If you’re a keen cyclist, you need lots of good equipment: that includes a solid pair of gloves. With a decent pair of cycling gloves, your rides will be better and more comfortable, contributing to more pleasant time on the bike. The best cycling gloves protect against pain, discomfort, injury, and make cycling feel better.
No matter who you are, where you cycle, and what you cycle on, this list includes the perfect cycling gloves for you.
On our list, we’ve included the best cycling gloves on the market today. Get your hands on them, in them, and on your bike. For better, safer, more enjoyable rides, they’re an essential part of your cycling wardrobe.