A pair of motorcycle gloves is an essential piece of gear for any motorcycle rider. It doesn't matter if you are cruising through neighborhoods, commuting to work, ripping up trails in the woods, or laying it out on the track. Having the right type of gloves is crucial for keeping your fingers and hands safe and comfortable while riding a motorcycle.
We have conveniently put together a list of the different types of motorcycle gloves to highlight safety and comfort features and suggest top-quality brands. As you'll see, we've recommended motorcycle gloves organized by riding style namely; cruising/street, knuckle protection, racing, motocross, and women's gloves. Of course, since several gloves share similar characteristics (as we'll delve into different styles and materials), do not be surprised if you find a great pair of cruising gloves that work equally well for sporting.
Cruising and street riding are the most common styles of motorcycle use. Cruising typically refers to longer trips, also referred to as touring. Street riding is primarily around town or to commute. Regardless of the length of the journey, cruisers and street riders wear similar gear for safety and weather conditions. Below are some of the different types of gloves these types of riders prefer. Please keep in mind that a lot of these gloves will have many of the features in this list.
Most types of motorcycle gloves are full-fingered, offering the most protection and keeping your hands warmer and drier than fingerless counterparts. Consider waterproof materials when available for full-finger gloves; otherwise, you could suffer from very uncomfortable, wet hands during a surprise rain shower. Several full-finger pairs of gloves have fingertips that are touchscreen compatible, so if this is a feature you want, keep reading to check out touchscreen gloves next.
Full-finger, Touchscreen Capable
Most riders nowadays use touchscreen phones, no matter where they travel, for calls, texts, and navigation to the final destination. Due to this, many motorcycle gloves are now touchscreen compatible. Being able to operate your phone without taking your gloves is especially helpful during inclement weather. However, please remember to pull over your motorcycle and safely stop before using the phone.
Fingerless motorcycle gloves offer less protection to your fingers but do safely cushion and cover the palms and backs of your hands. Using a touchscreen or operating other electronics is simpler with fingerless gloves.
A good pair of warm gloves is probably the most underrated piece of cold weather riding gear. Unlike snowmobiles, motorcycles typically do not provide heated grips or any wind protection for your hands. Winter motorcycle gloves are insulated similarly to other types of winter gloves, but often share the same features for safety and comfort as other full-finger motorcycle gloves.
Are you still feeling the chill on your fingers while riding in winter gloves? Maybe heated winter motorcycle gloves are best for your seasonal ride. Heated gloves are equipped with heating elements and rechargeable battery packs to keep your hands and fingers toasty until you reach your destination.
Summer motorcycle gloves are all about airflow, so you'll want to find a breathable pair featuring mesh or perforated leather for cool hands beneath the material. Wear gloves during the summer, as opposed to riding gloveless or even with fingerless gloves, to protect your fingers and hands from blisters and unfortunate injury due to an accident.
Leather is a prevalent material for motorcycle gear due to its flexibility and abrasion-resistant qualities. The thickness of the leather is critical, so look for leather that is 1.2 to 1.4mm thick for the most durability.
If you prefer fingerless motorcycle gloves, keep hands covered comfortably in leather.
All-leather, gauntlet gloves provide ample protection and maximum comfort for touring. More to come on gauntlet gloves, just below, if you prefer this style.
Full gauntlet gloves have oversized cuffs that fit over the outside of your suit or jacket sleeve. Typically, winter and race gloves feature full gauntlets to provide additional protection for riders. But, cruisers and street riders might prefer gauntlet motorcycle gloves to keep wrists and sleeves free of dust and debris while riding.
Short Cuff Gloves
Casual motorcycle gloves are often designed with short cuffs to be tucked into your jacket or suit. Summer motorcycle gloves are typically short-cuffed.
Kevlar gloves are more breathable than leather, but not as breathable as mesh, so this material is an excellent choice for summer gloves or if you ride primarily in a warm climate.
Knuckle Protection Gloves
As you look more closely at the glove on our list, you probably notice that many pairs feature knuckle protection. While uncommon for cruising and street riding, you will see this built-in knuckle protection featured for all racing and the majority of MotoX gloves. Knuckle protection is geared explicitly toward riskier riders, designed to prevent injury by minimizing the impact on fingers and hands.
Carbon Fiber Gloves
Termed as "carbon fiber gloves," this type of motorcycle glove can initially be misleading because a total carbon glove would not flex. What is meant by carbon fiber gloves is that the knuckle protection constructed from carbon fiber. These gloves may also have carbon fiber panels on the fingers, palm, and wrist.
Steel Knuckle Gloves
Steel is less popular compared to carbon fiber, but still an option for knuckle protection gloves. Steel knuckle gloves look tough, but riders beware, the steel can feel cold against your skin as you ride and is significantly heavier than alternative protective materials.
Plastic Knuckle Gloves
Lightweight, yet not as durable as either steel or carbon fiber, plastic knuckle gloves do provide protection but probably won't eliminate injury to your hands if you experience a significant impact. Plastic knuckle motorcycle gloves are comfortable for wearing on daily rides and helpful in the event of minor spills.
Motorcycle racing gloves are to wear while riding at the track. These gloves are usually made from leather and feature built-in, high-end materials for knuckle and wrist protection. Racing gloves focus on protecting from abrasion while providing comfort for long periods of intense riding.
Motocross riders spend their time on dirt tracks or wooded trails, so they need breathable, washable gear. While motocross gloves to feature padding or armor, they are made from lightweight, flexible materials such as mesh or a blend of textiles.
Women's Motorcycle Gloves
Motorcycle gloves are typically sized as unisex, so finding appropriate sizes or feminine color schemes for women can be challenging. However, there are motorcycle gloves made specifically for women that are exclusively available in smaller, fitted sizes, and vast colors. While women tend to be comfortable in unisex or men's sized gloves, it helps to know you can find specialty gloves that share the same safety, touchscreen, and temperature control features.