LAST UPDATED: April 17, 2019
Best Motorcycle Gloves: Superior Hand Protection to Wear on All Your Rides
The best motorcycle gloves to better protect your hands and to make your ride more comfortable.
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PUBLISHED ON April 17, 2019
What do you put on your hands when you ride? If the answer is nothing, then you’re making a serious mistake. Gloves are an essential piece of motorcycle safety gear, just like your helmet and boots. Further, it's Not only is it against the law in many states to ride without hand and eye protection. The right pair of gloves will fit like a second layer of skin and be so comfortable that you forget that you have them on. With gloves on, you’ll have a better grip on your throttle and handlebars, which gives you better control of your bike.
There’s more to buying gloves than just finding a pair that fits. They should match the style of bike that you ride and the type of riding you do. The gloves also need to be suited for the climate and weather. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about buying the perfect pair of motorcycle gloves.
The whole point of motorcycle gloves is crash protection, and these gloves don’t cut any corners. Put Alpinestars’ advanced racing technology to work and give your hands the best protection possible.
- Full-grain leather construction
- EVA foam padding reinforcements
- Flimsy knuckle protection
- Loose seams
These gloves offer quality protection and casual style at a price that won’t break the bank. Safety features aren’t just for sportbike riding gear—these gloves are equally at home on a cruiser or cafe racer.
- Napa leather outer construction
- Articulated full-flex panel
- Seams cut into your skin
- Awkward zipper placement
In addition to crash protection, these gloves offer protection from the elements and ensure all-day comfort. Waterproof fabric, goat leather, and armor keep your hands protected from whatever the road (or trail) can throw at them.
- Goat leather
- Poron WRD knuckle protection
- Hard to put on when hands are wet
- Bulky design
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Benefits of Motorcycle Gloves
- Protect your hands. Motorcycle gloves have added protective elements to keep your hands safe in the event of a fall. Knuckle guards on the back of your hands create a protective shell. The palms are covered in leather to prevent road rash.
- Better grip. Most gloves have a leather, suede, or textured textile on the palm. This creates more friction and grip than if you were bare-handed. This gives you a more secure grip on the bike for better control.
- Improve comfort. Gloves give you a more comfortable ride by absorbing a lot of the vibration that comes through your handlebars. Even minute vibrations that you barely notice can cause hand fatigue over long rides. Gloves help prevent this.
Types of Motorcycle Gloves
This style of motorcycle glove is considered the safest. They are the largest and tend to have the most protective features built into them. You’ll see gauntlet gloves worn by riders who are on a track or racing. They have a traditional glove shape covering your hand and a larger wrist piece that extends up your forearm and over or under your jacket. This creates a continuous layer of protection. The downside of all this protection is that they are hotter to wear than other types of gloves.
Summer gloves are designed for use during the hottest days. The construction is typically a breathable textile on the back and leather on the palm. There are a few all leather summer gloves, but they have many perforations to gain breathability. You may also find this type of glove has molded vents on the fingers. These gloves are lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. However, you may find that many options lack protective qualities like knuckle guards.
When riding in cold weather, you’ll want a pair of winter motorcycle gloves. These gloves have insulation and are constructed from thicker materials. There are even ones with heating elements. Look for gloves that aren’t too thick, as the extra bulk will reduce your dexterity. Additional features like waterproofing, weatherproofing, and weatherproofing are helpful to keep your hands warm and dry.
The company officially began in 1963 in Asolo, Italy. In the mid-1990s, it developed and launched the first of its apparel lines. It has designed gear for Formula 1 and Motocross teams. One of its most popular glove options is the Alpinestars Men's SP-8 v2.
Joe Rocket made a name for itself by offering high-quality riding gear at competitive prices. It makes motorcycle-specific jackets, pants, gloves, footwear, riding suits, and removable armor. Some of its top-selling motorcycle gloves are the Joe Rocket Men's Café Racer Motorcycle Gloves.
Motorcycle Glove Pricing
- Under $50: Motorcycle gloves in this range are budget-friendly and give you a better grip to keep your hands protected from road rash during low-speed crashes. Most of these motorcycle gloves use a cloth or mesh material in their design.
- $50-$100: The mid-price range will offer you gloves that are constructed of durable materials and have a range of protective features. You`ll also have several creature comfort features like touchscreen fingertips and neoprene cuffs.
- $100 and up: The gloves in this range have top-quality materials and protective features. You`ll see carbon fiber knuckle guards, reinforced seams, double-layer leather palms, and gauntlet cuffs.
Choose a pair of gloves that appeals to your taste and style of riding. There are gloves suited for a cruiser, touring, sport, and adventure riding. Within these categories, there are textile and leather options. Then there are all black or colors. It’s best to choose a glove suited for your ride style because it will perform the best. However, you can, of course, select any glove whose design appeals to you most.
Decide how protective you want your gloves to be. The least protective options are textile with leather on the palm for a short cuff glove. The most protective are race gloves that are full leather with a gauntlet cuff, reinforced stress points, and carbon fiber plates. The more adventurous and aggressive your riding, the more protective your gloves should be.
Measure your hand, so you know its exact size before you start shopping for gloves. Then compare your measurements to each manufacturer’s size chart. You could be a medium in one brand and an extra-large in another. Read reviews to find out how the glove fits through the fingers. Some are long and narrow, while others are shorter and fatter.
- Comfort. The gloves could be your size and not be comfortable. Try the gloves on and wear them for a while. They should flex and move with your hands so that you can retain your dexterity. There should be no hot spots or places where the seams dig into you. Put on your jacket and make sure the gloves work with it. Wrap your hands around your handlebars and make sure your hands are still comfortable.
- Water-Resistance. Your gloves should be breathable to prevent sweat from building up in your gloves. They should also prevent rain from getting in. Summer gloves are more breathable since they are meant for use in hotter temperatures. However, you’ll want your winter gloves to have a certain amount of breathability to prevent too much heat from building up in the glove.
- Phone Accessibility. Being able to use your smartphone's touchscreen while wearing gloves is convenient since you won’t have to take your gloves off every time you want to use your phone. Look at the index finger and thumb for smart screen compatibility. Some gloves have better sensitivity than others. You’ll also need the glove to fit perfectly for the screen pad on the finger to work.
Best Motorcycle Gloves Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Safety features combine with breathability and ergonomic design to provide protection that’s comfortable enough to wear every time you throw a leg over your bike. Full-grain leather offers years of durability and skin-saving abrasion resistance. Specially designed material on the palm and thumb to provide extra grip and dexterity. CE-certified knuckle armor adds critical protection against impact and sliding, and soft armor on the fingers and back of the hand provides padding to protect the small bones in your hand. A leather bridge joins the third and fourth fingers to prevent injury. The SP-8 v2 is strong enough for the occasional track day, so you can certainly trust it on the road.
Unfortunately, this glove’s race-ready aesthetic may be too aggressive for some. The blacked-out option is perfect for safety-conscious touring and adventure motorcyclists, but casual riders might be more comfortable in the next glove on our list.
For most riding situations, these gloves bring incredible value. The Nappa leather is strong enough to provide adequate protection, and soft enough to feel like an extension of your own hand. Single-color design and understated construction make this a great option for those riding cruisers and retro motorcycles. Double-stitched padding in high-impact areas keeps safety standards high. Small perforations in the fingers help these gloves cool down. The mid-length cuff provides extra protection on wrists, and a hefty zipper makes putting them on and taking them off easy. Best of all, these gloves come in at a price point most big-name manufacturers just can’t compete with.
Unfortunately, riders looking for the most safety features possible might not be satisfied with the soft padding and a mid-rise cuff. If you’re planning on sticking to city streets or taking it easy on the throttle, though, you’ll want to give these a look.
These gloves are built tough with a waterproof outer layer that stands up to heavy, sustained rain. Insulation offers warmth in winter riding, and does a great job of keeping the wind off your hands. Under the fabric and leather shell, the padding on the palm and hard armor on the knuckles provide the crash protection you’d expect from a dedicated motorcycle glove. Klim went above and beyond to make this glove more than a protective measure by including finger pads that are compatible with touchscreen devices, and an index-finger squeegee to wipe rain and mist off your visor.
These gloves are thicker and bulkier than most options and probably aren’t the best for very hot climates. They also aren’t cheap, but the build quality is worth it. They may not be for everyone, but riders who want to tackle road trips and off-road adventure shouldn’t leave home without them.
Unlike street riding gloves that need to protect against highway-speed impacts and sliding across the asphalt, dirt bike gloves need to put more emphasis on flexibility and breathability. These gloves use stretchy, rip-resistant material to wrap your hand in a snug protective layer that breathes as well as protects. Two layers of Clarino on the palm add cushioning where you need it, and sticky silicone on the first two fingers offers increased grip on the brake and clutch levers. Fully articulated TPR reinforcement on the knuckles comes in handy any time you go down or bang bars on your way to turn one.
These gloves won’t offer much against traffic collisions and should generally be kept for off-roading. These are sure to please the dirt bike or dual sport rider looking for purpose-built gloves that thrive in the dirt and dust.
On the track or street, you can take comfort in knowing the SG3s will take care of you. Quality construction begins with goat hide leather, which is softer and lighter than cowhide but still strong enough to save your skin during a crash. Knuckles are protected by nothing less than carbon fiber. A perforated wrist allows air to flow, while heavily reinforced leather and plastic sliders cover high-impact areas. A high gauntlet adds protection and should easily satisfy the equipment requirements at your local track days. Two closures on the wrist ensure a secure fit that will remain comfortable and won’t come off accidentally. These gloves feel substantial, and they’re more applicable to riding on the track than the street.
However, casual sportbike riders may prefer a more road-oriented option. These gloves are definitely not cheap, but they’re still more affordable than gloves that offer comparable features.
This glove is designed to stay cool and give your hands a fighting chance in the event of a crash. The gloves feature quality materials and extra padding for more safety and durability. They have TPR-reinforced knuckles as well as padded leather palms. That ensures comfort as well, so you can wear them in any weather, and for however long you want. Additionally, the index fingers’ conductive material allows you to use your phone or other touchscreen devices.
Although well-made and highly reliable, these gloves still have a couple of drawbacks. The main one regards their resistance to water. Wearing these gloves during the rain will likely get your hands stained in a black color. Water also might make these gloves a little slippery. Keep in mind that these might be smaller than expected, too.
This glove sits nicely between lightweight mesh gloves and armored short-cuff gloves. The all-leather construction provides the kind of abrasion resistance that motorcycle gloves need to offer to be competitive. Perforation creates airflow, but these relatively warm gloves are probably better suited to cooler climates. Hinged knuckle panels and a pre-curved shape make these gloves a natural, comfortable fit while riding and operating the controls. The wide opening makes these gloves easy to put on and take off, and a hook-and-loop closure keeps them secure while riding.
These gloves lean more toward casual than maximum protection, but they are more durable than most textile alternatives. Their all-leather construction and secure fit contribute to safety but also hold in a fair amount of heat, so you might want to choose a different glove for hot weather riding. Sizing tends to be accurate, and these should fit fairly snug before breaking in.
The SMX-1 Air v2 gloves are designed to protect your hands and provide comfort during every ride. From several available colors, you'll be able to find at least one pair to complement your style perfectly. The gloves are made with premium leather that looks great and ensures safety on the road. The material is thick and highly protective yet breathable enough to keep the hands cool during summer. The gloves are also extra-padded and reinforced for more comfort and durability. They offer a firm grip and can absorb scrapes and impacts. Overall, these are warm-season gloves suitable for many motorcyclists.
When it comes to drawbacks, these do have a few to keep in mind. Firstly, the mesh finger and side panels offer less protection and structural integrity than leather. Secondly, the stitching on the wrists might get loose after a while.
These lightweight and breathable gloves will be the most comfortable thing you put on your hands. The mesh back gives you the maximum amount of airflow. Built into the mesh is a D30 knuckle guard to keep your hand safe. On the palm is goatskin leather with a smooth Laredo palm. What makes this glove stand out is the color options: choose from black, red, blue, and neon yellow. No subtle accents here: the entire back of your hand is the glove’s color. Other features include a comfortable neoprene cuff, Velcro closure, and touchscreen thumb and index finger. You’ll also appreciate that they are CE-certified.
One drawback is that the fit is narrow through the hand and long in the fingers, which may not be comfortable for everyone’s hand shape. You’ll also want to be careful with the Velcro as it can snag on the mesh backhand fabric.
These gloves give you the perfect combination of track protection with street style and convenience. There are three color options: all black, black/white, and black/white/red. Each glove has an entirely cowhide leather construction with reinforcement suede on the palms. CE-certified polyurethane inserts are on the knuckles, and soft inserts cover your thumb and little finger to give your hands extra protection. Your hands will appreciate the comfort touches of pre-curved fingers, mesh inserts, and an adjustable cuff strap.
The downside of these gloves is that they can be challenging to take on and off, putting extra stress on the gloves. The pre-curved fingers may also not be aligned with your hand’s shape, which can make the glove feel uncomfortable.
- To keep your gloves comfortable, maintain them by cleaning them. If they have leather, you’ll want to occasionally condition them after cleaning to keep the gloves soft and supple.
- Don’t just focus on the function of your gloves—they also need to look great. Many people choose to match the coloring of their gloves to their bike or other gear, giving them a coordinated look.
- If you ride a lot throughout the year, plan to buy more than one pair of gloves. You’ll want a summer pair and a winter pair: this will keep your hands comfortable no matter the weather conditions and temperature.
Q: How can I be sure a glove fits comfortably before buying it?
A good way to test which glove size you may need is to measure your hands. Use a soft tape measure to measure around the width of your palm and the length of your hand from wrist to fingertip. It also helps to read reviews from other buyers to get a better idea of the fit.
Q: How do I wash motorcycle gloves?
Washing them depends on what style and material they are made of. Typically, textile gloves can go through your washing machine. However, leather should always be cleaned by hand. Some gloves with armor built-in should be spot cleaned with soapy water and rinsing.
Q: Are motorcycle gloves unisex?
Gloves typically come in designs for either men or women. The proportions of the fingers and palms are different. Some gloves are unisex but don’t focus on the gender of the glove. Instead, it’s more important to find a pair that’s comfortable and fits.
Our overall best pick for a good pair of gloves is the Alpinestars Men's SP-8 v2 due to the safety features and high build quality.
Riders who want to avoid spending a lot on motorcycle gloves while still getting a high-quality pair should go for the Joe Rocket Men's Café Racer Motorcycle Gloves instead.