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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BY Andra DelMonico / LAST UPDATED 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.
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- 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.