Motorcycle gloves keep you safer and more comfortable while riding your bike, especially in winter, but do you have to take them off every time you need to check your phone or GPS?
Resistive touchscreens will work with all gloves. Smartphones and tablets typically have capacitive touchscreens, and only gloves that are specifically designed to work with them, will. You can find great touchscreen compatible winter motorcycle gloves in a variety of styles and price points, including:
- Alpinestars Winter Surfer Gore-Tex Gloves
- INBIKE Winter Gloves
- ILM Alloy Steel Winter Gloves
- Highway 21 Heated Gloves
Why do these gloves work with touchscreens? What is the difference between resistive and capacitive touchscreens? Read on to learn more about each of these gloves, how they work, and how you can make your current, conventional gloves work with smartphone touchscreens too.
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Best Winter Motorcycle Gloves With Touchscreen Function
Alpinestars Winter Surfer Gore-Tex
This mid-cuff glove by Alpinestars feels both functional and luxurious. It has a goat leather palm and Gore-Grip Technology with Gore-Tex waterproofing. The PrimaLoft insulation will also keep your hands warm in winter. The tip of the index finger is touchscreen compatible.
INBIKE Winter Gloves
These gloves by INBIKE use a HiPora membrane for water- and windproofing and Thinsulate for insulation, helping keep your hands safe from the elements as you ride. They have touchscreen compatible leather tips on the index finger, middle finger, and thumb.
ILM Alloy Steel Winter Gloves
ILMotor produces these motorcycle gloves with functional and stylish steel alloy protection pads. These gloves feature anti-slip leather pads connecting the palm and the thumb for a better grip. The index finger is touchscreen compatible.
This glove is the most affordable on the list, though it will offer less protection against the cold. It is a solid winter glove for milder weather and casual riding.
Highway 21 Heated Gloves
If you are planning on doing regular riding in the bitter cold this winter, you might want to consider getting heated gloves. These ones, by Highway 21, feature rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries and three different heat settings. Like the gloves by INBIKE, they use a HiPora membrane for water- and windproofing and Thinsulate insulation.
These gloves are a little stiffer and bulkier than the others on this list, but if you plan on doing a lot of cold-weather, winter riding, they have a lot to offer.
Why Wear Motorcycle Gloves In The Winter?
If you've read our article on driving gloves, then you understand some of the general benefits they can offer. Even beyond regular driving gloves, motorcycle gloves serve many purposes, and it's important to understand those to choose the right ones for winter wear.
Gloves can make your ride more comfortable in winter weather. The insulation offered by gloves will keep your hands from freezing to the handlebars. All gloves will offer some insulation, but in the winter you may want more. Thinsulate and PrimaLoft are both polyester-based insulators used in a lot of outdoor apparel, including gloves.
Windproofing and waterproofing will also affect your comfort during your ride. Gore-Tex and Hipora are both commonly used in motorcycle gloves. Gore-Tex is widely seen as the cream of the crop, but both are effective.
If you are planning on doing long rides in freezing weather, you may want to consider getting gloves with built-in heaters, too.
Winter motorcycle gloves also offer comfort by absorbing some of the shock and vibrations coming in from your handlebars. They'll also help prevent calluses and dryness on your hands.
Gloves absorbing the vibrations will not only improve your comfort; it will help keep you safe. You can start to lose feeling in your hands from the vibrations which can affect your braking and control while riding. They also improve your grip so your hands won't slip.
Beyond keeping you safe while riding, should you ever get into an accident, gloves will help protect your hands.
Gloves come in a wide variety of styles, and it feels great slipping them on when you find a pair that suits your riding style, whether they're leather, sporty, or however you like to ride. You can find winter motorcycle gloves that fit your desired style.
How Do Touchscreen Gloves Work?
To understand how touchscreen gloves work, you have to know how touchscreens themselves work.
There are two common types of touchscreens: resistive and capacitive. In both cases, contact with the screen completes a circuit which is detected by the device.
In resistive touchscreens, this is because there are multiple layers in the screen. Contact pushes these layers together to complete a circuit. Because these layers are what complete the circuit, resistive touchscreens will still work while you are wearing any kind of glove.
Resistive touchscreens are limited when it comes to multi-touch and swipe sensing, so most devices like smartphones and tablets now use capacitive touchscreens.
Capacitive touchscreens, on the other hand, have sensors that respond to capacitors, or objects with electrical charges. These touchscreens register the electrical charge in your body when you touch the screen with your skin.
Gloves made of insulating materials, such as leather, prevent the electrical charge in your fingers from reaching the screen. Touchscreen gloves use conductive material in the fingertips to send this charge to the touchscreen.
What Is The Material In Touchscreen Gloves?
Some gloves will incorporate threads that are made from or are coated in conductive materials, like copper or silver. In some cases, the entire glove will be touchscreen compatible.
However, with heavy-duty gloves, such as cold-weather motorcycle gloves, it's more common to only have the index finger and sometimes the thumb touchscreen compatible. This helps to maintain the protection and the insulation offered by these gloves.
How To Make Any Pair Of Gloves Touchscreen Compatible
If you have a favorite pair of gloves that lack touchscreen compatibility, have no fear; you can turn those gloves into touchscreen gloves in a few different ways that are quick and simple.
Use A Specialized Product
There are products on the market specifically for the purpose of turning regular gloves into touchscreen gloves. These primarily come in two types: pads that stick to the fingertips and liquid treatments that create connectivity after drying.
For motorcycle gloves, most prefer to use the liquid treatments as the adhesive that holds the pads in place can start to wear off quickly when riding.
The most common product for this is AnyGlove leather formula, which is good for leather, water-proof, and insulated gloves.
AnyGlove Leather Formula
Use Conductive Thread
For a more DIY approach, you can simply stitch conductive thread made of a material like silver or steel.
- Test your thread by using it on your touchscreen first.
- Using a needle, stitch the thread through the outside of the fingertip of your glove. You'll want to create a surface area about the size of a push-pin where your finger typically touches your screen.
- Turn your glove inside out and continue stitching a larger area on the inside of your glove. The larger area on the inside will help keep strong connectivity between your finger and the outer part of the tread.
- Tie off and cut the thread. Do this close to the glove's stitching to keep them as comfortable as possible.
- Test out your gloves on your touchscreen. If it's not as responsive as you want, you can add more thread to both the inside and the outside of the glove.
To make sure you have proper conductive thread, you can get this two-ply stainless steel thread.
Adafruit Stainless Steel Conductive Thread
Do Leather Gloves Work With Touchscreens?
You would think that since leather is just animal skin, it would work as well as your skin at conducting electricity to a touchscreen. Unfortunately, unless the leather is specifically designed to work with touchscreens, it usually won't. Tanning hides make them far less conductive, but it is possible to treat the leather to make it more conductive.
Most leather gloves that are designed to work with touchscreens will use patches or treated fingertips for compatibility; full-hand touchscreen functions are more common in cloth gloves where a conductive thread can be integrated throughout the gloves.
There are some leather gloves that offer full hand touchscreen functionality, though they're usually not as protective as motorcycle gloves.
Harrms Leather Gloves
There you have it! Everything you need to know about touchscreens, winter motorcycle gloves, and how they get along together.
Whether you're looking to get gloves or any other gear for your ride, you should check out our article on the best places to get motorcycle gear.