Best Summer Motorcycle Gloves: Stay Cool While Protecting Your Hands
Say goodbye to sweaty and slippery 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.
Alpinestars Morph Sport
- CE Level 2
- MorphTech Weave
- Palm padding
- RideKnit material
- Very comfortable
- Remains to be seen how durable new materials are
- Run slightly large
Alpinestars SMX-1 Air v2
- CE Level 1
- Ergonomic stretch inserts
- Synthetic suede construction
- Polymer knuckle protection
- Touchscreen compatible
- Lack durability
Dainese Air Maze
- Low-profile design
- CE Level 1
- Extremely breathable
- Made from stretch materials
- Protection isn't great
To choose the best motorcycle gloves on the market, I employed The Drive’s comprehensive research methodology and evaluated dozens of gloves before choosing the top contenders. Although I haven’t personally tested these products, my selection is informed by consumer testimonials, expert reviews, discussions on relevant online forums, and my institutional knowledge of the automotive industry.
Best Summer Motorcycle Gloves Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: Alpinestars Morph Sport
Best Value: Alpinestars SMX-1 Air v2 Gloves
Honorable Mention: Dainese Air Maze
Best Style: Dainese Blackjack Gloves
Best Adventure: Klim Induction
Best Track/Race: Alpinestars GP Tech v2 S
Alpinestars Morph Sportsee it
Alpinestars Morph Sport are my new go-to gloves, and after logging around 800 miles in them, I couldn’t sing their praises more highly. I've always stayed away from short-cuff gloves because I preferred the protection on offer from gauntlet gloves, but the Morph Sport changed my mind. This model is one of the very few short-cuff gloves to get a CE Level 2 rating. Protection is aplenty in the form of an over-injected knuckle, palm padding, side-hand reinforcement, and a finger bridge. But the real star in the construction is the MorphTech Weave which runs along the back and top of the fingers. It’s strong, low-profile, and extremely breathable.
Although these gloves are wonderful in an urban environment, they’re even better when things get twisty. The goatskin leather palm provides plenty of tactile feedback and protection without being bulky. They’re also one of the comfiest pairs of gloves I have ever thrown on due to the mix of the stretchy and breathable MorphTech Weave, RideKnit material around the cuffs, and stretch materials along the index and middle fingers along with the thumb. At this point, I can’t fault them in any way, but they’re very generously sized. So if you’re between sizes, I strongly advise you to pick the smaller.
CE Level 2
Remains to be seen how durable new materials are
Run slightly large
Alpinestars SMX-1 Air v2see it
You can get a cheaper motorcycle summer glove, but you won’t find one that’s better value than Alpinestars' SMX-1 Air V2. It’s constructed mainly from perforated leather and heavy-duty mesh, which provide ample airflow on hot summer rides. The palm is made from synthetic suede, which keeps it light and gives some abrasion protection. However, synthetic suede doesn’t generally last as long as a more heavy-duty material, like leather. The synthetic suede continues onto the side impact areas for added abrasion resistance.
On the backside, there’s a hard polymer knuckle protection system. And, should you fall with your hands out, there are poly-blend reinforcements with foam padding on the thumb and palm. Keeping everything comfortable is an ergonomic stretch insert between the palm and thumb, along with stretch material on the fingers and back of the hand. The index finger is touchscreen compatible. Lightness and breathability somewhat take precedence over protection on the SMX-1 Air V2, as they’re only CE-certified Level 1, which is my biggest concern with this model but understandable at this price point.
CE Level 1
Ergonomic stretch inserts
Synthetic suede construction
Polymer knuckle protection
Dainese Air Mazesee it
If you’re looking for a low-profile breathable glove to tackle your commute all summer long, buy the Dainese Air Maze. It has a mesh and synthetic suede construction, making it well-suited for urban riding. This construction provides plenty of airflow, and there are vents and stretch materials between the fingers. All the stretch materials ensure it’s extremely comfortable, and since it’s not made from leather, there's no break-in period, and it won't become much bigger.
Protection comes in the form of microfiber and foam padding surrounding the knuckles, foam padding on the palm, and PU leather reinforcements on the back. The combined result of this protection is a CE Level 1 rating. The fact that foam padding is the main form of protection, along with the mesh construction is what gives this glove such a low profile. This is not a glove to wear in the canyons, as its protection is too minimal. But, if you need something comfortable and light to hustle around the city, you won’t find anything to beat the Air Maze, especially at its incredibly low price point.
CE Level 1
Made from stretch materials
Protection isn't great
Dainese Blackjacksee it
If you want style, just get the Dainese Blackjack gloves. These gloves are made from perforated goatskin leather and have a retro style with a modern twist. The perforation and lightweight construction help to keep your hands relatively well-ventilated, so you won’t be phased when temperatures rise. The soft goatskin construction provides plenty of tactile feedback to the rider, and the pre-curved design and elastication on the two control fingers mean you can wear these comfortably all day. It’s worth noting that some riders might need to go up a size.
Protection comes in the form of double leather reinforcement on the palms, padding across the knuckles, and double-reinforced leather at the knuckles and edges of the fingers. Unfortunately, this protection is very limited, and the gloves aren’t CE rated. If safety is your priority, this isn't the model for you. But, if you want to complete your retro riding gear outfit with a modern glove at an affordable price, you can’t go wrong with the Blackjack.
Good tactile feedback
Hole on backhand creates a weird suntan
Klim Inductionsee it
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.
Easy to get on and off
Comfortable thanks to external stitching
Good touchscreen capability
Decent knuckle protection
Aramid-reinforced Schoeller fabric palm
Run slightly tight
Only CE Level 1
Alpinestars GP Tech v2 Ssee it
Gloves made for the track aren’t famous for breathability, but if you want to stay as cool as possible without sacrificing safety, I’d pick the Alpinestars GP Tech v2 S. In fact, I did. I own these gloves, and think they’re great for track riding or anyone who takes canyon carving seriously. Where most track gloves have gussets and exhausts to promote airflow, the GP Tech v2 S uses a DuPont Kevlar stretch and leather backhand, which also covers the fingertips. This stretch material is breathable yet incredibly strong. Adding to the protection are over-injected dual-density knuckle cups, palm and finger sliders, side-hand reinforcement, ARshield layers on the fingers and palm, and a light dual-density component on the cuff. In short, these gloves are stacked with protection and easily earn a CE Level 2 rating.
The goat leather palm offers plenty of tactile feedback, as you’d expect from a premium glove. Even with the monumental levels of protection, there’s no shortage of flexibility thanks to the materials used in the construction and the accordion stretch on the index and middle fingers along with the thumb. All the flexibility and dexterity on offer don’t come at the cost of security, as these gloves are held tightly in place by a dual-closure system GP DFS cuff. But, in my experience, the third finger and thumb run long. And this seems to be the general consensus among most buyers.
CE Level 2
Breathable DuPont Kevlar stretch
Dual closure cuff
Dual-density cuff protection
Thumb and third finger run long
Our Verdict Summer Motorcycle Gloves
My top pick for the best summer motorcycle gloves is the Alpinestars Morph Sport. These are the gloves I personally use the most and have the best mixture of breathability and protection. For a more affordable alternative, the Alpinestars SMX-1 Air v2 Gloves are breathable, comfortable, and come with a CE Level 1 rating for an exceptionally low price point.
Things to Consider Before Buying Summer Motorcycle Gloves
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.Learn more