Best Summer Motorcycle Gloves: Stay Cool While Protecting Your Hands

Say goodbye to sweaty and slippery hands.

byAndra DelMonico| UPDATED Jul 28, 2022 2:54 PM
Best Summer Motorcycle Gloves: Stay Cool While Protecting Your Hands
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While on a trip to Sturgis, I thought I had bought a pair of the best summer motorcycle gloves. To my dismay, the stitching frayed and completely unraveled somewhere in Wyoming before the end of my trip. Thankfully, I had bought from a reputable brand. The stitching was a manufacturing defect, and the company was happy to send me a replacement. The second pair lasted for many faithful years of service back home in the harsh Florida summer. Because I live in a warm climate, I have multiple pairs of summer motorcycle gloves. I have a pair from when I commuted to work, long-distance travel gloves, waterproof gloves for when it might rain, and a protective turn-and-burn pair. It may sound excessive, but my shopping habit is your benefit. Say goodbye to those sweaty three- and four-season gloves and hello to the best summer motorcycle gloves.

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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Our Methodology

When it comes to naming the best motorcycle gloves available, it takes active riders with real-world experience. When choosing the best summer gloves, I stuck with brands with a proven real-world reputation for quality and consistency. I considered the features that kept your hands cool and dry. These included textile breathability, venting, moisture wicking, and drying time. I also considered protective features such as abrasion resistance, sliders, and armor. 

Best Summer Motorcycle Gloves Reviews & Recommendations

Honorable Mention: Klim Induction Gloves

Best Airflow: Klim Baja S4 Gloves

Specs

  • Wrist closure: Velcro
  • Material: Goat leather
  • Cuff style: Short

Pros

  • Carbon-fiber-reinforced TPU knuckle protector
  • Knox SPS palm sliders
  • Perforated leather
  • Pre-curved palm and fingers

Cons

  • No more super fabric
  • Lost kangaroo leather

For the price, you can't get more bang for your buck than with this glove, making it one of the best motorcycle gloves for summer. Several improvements from the previous version of this glove make this glove a better ownership experience. The knuckle armor is now carbon fiber and split to give you more palm flexibility and comfort. The palm sliders are also split and moved, so you have better control functionality without sacrificing protection. You also get touchscreen compatibility, which the old glove didn't have. The sizing of the glove is more forgiving with a box finger design, giving you more space. Finally, you'll appreciate the reduced fatigue experienced thanks to the pre-curved fingers.

Unfortunately, Scorpion got rid of the super fabric on the knuckles. Now they are a bulkier and less comfortable TPU. However, they are in a better position, which makes them more comfortable than comparable gloves. These gloves also lost the kangaroo leather on the palm that was lighter and more flexible than the goat leather that’s now used.

Specs

  • Wrist closure: Hook and loop
  • Material: Leather and mesh
  • Cuff style: Short

Pros

  • Ergonomic stretch insert between palm and thumb
  • Hard polymer knuckle protection system
  • CE-certified Level 1
  • Advanced poly-blend reinforcements

Cons

  • Lacks durability
  • Knuckle protector feels stiff

Unlike other budget gloves, these gloves come with some nice features similar to higher-end versions. They are touchscreen motorcycle gloves with a knuckle protector and leather construction. The neoprene wrist provides extra comfort and makes it easy to get the gloves on and off. They'll work well for commuters and city riders who aren't looking for aggressive protection as there's no palm slider or outer hand protection. Alpinestars included a hallmark feature of its gloves, a stretch panel between the thumb and palm to give more flexibility. Wrap your hands around the handlebars, and you’ll notice the difference with this stretch panel. I like that a leather piece covers the outer seam, giving the glove more abrasion resistance in a fall. Finally, they are CE-certified Level 1, giving you confidence that your budget gloves will actually protect you.

Unfortunately, while these gloves are durable, they don't compare to more expensive gloves with higher quality materials and construction. They can also feel stiff with the solid one-piece knuckle protector.

Honorable Mention
Klim Induction Gloves

Specs

  • Wrist closure: Zipper
  • Material: Premium goat leather
  • Cuff style: Short

Pros

  • Mapped perforations
  • Carbon fiber hard knuckle protector
  • Aramid-reinforced Schoeller fabric palm pad overlay
  • CE Level 1 rating

Cons

  • Fit is tight on purpose
  • Lost clean design

This next generation of the Induction glove made some nice improvements from the previous version. External stitching resolves the stitching comfort issue, making these gloves gentler on your hands. A high-profile zipper makes the gloves easier to get on and off. There are also mapped perforations that are larger to create more airflow. The carbon fiber knuckle guard, Aramid-reinforced Schoeller fabric palm, and impact-protection foam make the gloves CE Level 1 certified. Klim also does an excellent job at making the touchscreen finger actually functional.

One potential issue with the glove is that the fit is tight on purpose. This can be uncomfortable for some people and make it harder to take the gloves on and off. This version of the glove also lost the clean design that the previous generation of the glove had. The larger perforations also mean a slight decrease in protective durability.

Specs

  • Wrist closure: Hook and loop wrist closure
  • Material: Goatskin leather
  • Cuff style: Short

Pros

  • Leather palm reinforcement
  • Elastic inserts
  • Pre-curved fingers
  • Soft inserts on knuckles and back

Cons

  • Sunburn hand oval
  • Less protective

These leather gloves have a tough and slightly classic retro feel to them. The goatskin leather is thinner and more flexible than comparable cowhide leather gloves. The palms have reinforcement leather to give them extra durability, helping the gloves to be more abrasion resistant, closer to cowhide or kangaroo leather. Thanks to the elastic inserts and pre-curved fingers, you'll appreciate a shorter break-in time. Soft inserts on the fingers, knuckles, and hand give you more protection than leather gloves without them. These gloves are perfect for riding around town or taking a local leisurely ride to a bike event.

One problem with these gloves is that they have a design flaw. The large hole on the back of your hand means you're going to end up with a weird sunburn or tan line. However, that large hole also makes the gloves easier to get on and off. These gloves also lack some of the more aggressive protective features that other gloves on this list have.

Specs

  • Wrist closure: Velcro
  • Material: Leather
  • Cuff style: Gauntlet

Pros

  • Fully waterproof and windproof
  • Knuckle and palm protection
  • External stitching for comfort
  • The Rukka warranty is valid for two years

Cons

  • Not ideal for the hottest climates
  • The longer cuff can feel bulky

This Gore-Tex glove is a must if you're looking for the ultimate protection from the summer rains. Because there's no thermal liner, the glove has less bulk and a more tactile feel than other waterproof gloves. This is also thanks to the Gore-Grip technology that fuses the multiple layers of the glove together for a streamlined design. The knuckle guard isn't floating, but there are some textile inserts in the leather to create some flex. I like the tacky feel of the palm, giving you a better grip in dry or wet conditions. These gloves also come with a two-year warranty, which is nice coverage if there are any material or workmanship faults. Plus, the waterproofing is guaranteed for the life of the glove.

Unfortunately, the waterproofing layer does reduce the breathability of the glove. So while they perform well in warm weather, they aren't an ideal pick for extremely hot climates. The longer cuff can also feel hot and bulky compared to short cuff alternatives.

Specs

  • Wrist closure: Velcro
  • Material: Karbonite Micromesh Cordura and leather
  • Cuff style: Short

Pros

  • Thumb and palm inserts
  • TPU knuckle armor
  • Perforated leather
  • CE Level 1 certified

Cons

  • Honeycomb can bind
  • Touchscreen fingers don't work

The amount of venting on these gloves is impressive. The glove's back is made from breathable textile, the leather palm and wrist have perforation, and vents are built into the fingers. So no more sweaty palms and hands in these gloves. The fabric has a four-way stretch, which means these gloves will flex and move with you. A unique detail is the TPU knuckle guard, which looks like a honeycomb. Its mapped design ensures it will fit the shape of your hand and flex with your movements. You aren't sacrificing protection for increased airflow, which makes these breathable gloves worthy of this list. They are CE Level 1 certified.

The one thing I do not like about these gloves is that the honeycomb design can cause them to bind up in some situations, but this is rider specific and should not be an issue for most riders. The touchscreen finger panels are also not effective and might as well not be there.

Our Verdict

My top pick for the best summer motorcycle gloves are the Scorpion EXO SGS MK IIs. Several improvements mean you get more for your money in terms of riding comfort, dexterity, and protection. For a more affordable alternative, the Alpinestars SMX-1 Air v2 Gloves are perfect for commuters because you don't sacrifice protection and functionality. 

Consider Secondhand

When we start shopping for tools and products, we never overlook the secondhand market. In fact, it’s usually the first place I look. Whether you’re scrolling through Amazon’s Renewed section, eBay for car parts or tools, or flipping through the pages of Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, you have hundreds of thousands of used tools, parts, and gear ready to be shipped to your doorstep. Refurbished to like-new status, they’ll be willing to give you many more years of faithful service all while saving you money. 

Secondhand Tips

To make your secondhand search easier, here are two tips to finding the best deals and making sure your new-to-you gloves weren’t destroyed by the previous owner. 

  • Look for loose or frayed stitching along the fingers and palm as this is a sign of the gloves reaching the end of their useful life. 
  • Be careful with older leather gloves that are dried out or cracking or already broken into someone else’s hand. These won’t fit great and are at the end of their useful life. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Summer Motorcycle Gloves

Stitching Design 

The glove's construction dramatically affects the durability and comfort of the gloves. For example, internal stitching can create rough points inside the glove that irritate your skin. External stitching eliminates this but exposes the stitching to greater wear and tear. Double, triple, covered, and reinforced stitching will give the gloves greater durability. The stitching strength must match the construction textile strength, or it will pull through the material. External stitching can also make the glove look and feel clunky with a less sleek or streamlined design. 

Climate Features 

Your warm weather riding gloves should suit the type of summer climate you ride in. For example, these waterproof motorcycle gloves could work well in a wet climate such as Florida with daily afternoon storms. Consider the glove's breathability, waterproofing, drying speed, and ventilation. 

Riding Style 

Your riding style is about the level of risk to injury that you take on, the positioning and movement of your hands, and the type of riding conditions you encounter. For example, commuters do not need off-roading or track-level protection because they will typically sit in rush-hour traffic. Sport-bike riders planning to hit curves want extra abrasion resistance moisture wicking qualities to maintain grip. Dirt and adventure riders are more exposed to the elements and at greater risk of impacts, so more aggressive armor is beneficial. 

Pricing 

You can find great short-cuff motorcycle gloves for $50 to $100. Anything less expensive will lack quality and safety features. When you fall, putting your hands down is a natural reaction, so it is worth the extra investment for hand protection. There are higher-end gloves go for $100 to $200. These gloves will have better quality leather, more protective features, and a nicer construction design.  

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Are leather gloves good for summer?

A: Leather is protective, so it is a good choice for gloves. However, it lacks breathability, so look for perforations. These holes increase airflow, making the leather more comfortable during summer. However, be careful, as too much perforation can weaken the leather's integrity, making it less protective. 

Q: Can I get a touchscreen-compatible pair of motorcycle gloves?

A: Yes, several manufacturers claim their gloves are touchscreen compatible. However, the gloves have varying levels of success. Look for densely packed conductive stitching to have a better screen response. You can also use graphite dry lube spray to turn any glove with textile fingertips into touchscreen-compatible gloves. Soak the fingertip so the graphite goes through the fabric to complete the circuit between your finger and the phone. 

Q: Are all summer motorcycle gloves waterproof?

A: No. Leather is naturally waterproof, but the gloves can leak at the seams. Textile gloves are only waterproof if they have a Gore-Tex or similar liner. Gloves with welded seam construction also are better at blocking water. 

Q: If my motorcycle gloves are too small, will they stretch out over time?

A: Textile gloves won't stretch out over time. Leather gloves will stretch, but it is only about a 10 percent change. Do not buy leather gloves that are too small and expect them to stretch out enough to fit. Your new gloves should have a gentle, snug feel with no loose material or pinched tight spots. Cow leather has better stretch than goat leather. 

Q: Do summer gloves help?

A: Wearing summer gloves is helpful because they protect you while keeping your hands comfortable. They give you a better grip on the palm, wick and dry sweat, and prevent injury in the event of a fall.

Q: How do I choose a pair of gloves?

A: Look for gloves that are breathable or have perforation. They should be the right size and have protection on your palm, knuckles, and outside side. The gloves should feel flexible and comfortable to help you maintain dexterity while riding. The ability to quickly dry is also nice.