Ultimate Motorcycle Gloves Buyer’s Guide: Updated January 2018


The Right Pair of Gloves Keeps Your Hands, Wrists, & Digits Safe

This comprehensive buyer’s guide will help you make an informed purchase.

A good-fitting pair of gloves costs little in terms of compromise to comfort or style, and the protection they offer is huge (and often under-appreciated by riders). In today’s modern society, our digits are more important than ever before. Unless you’re ready to make the leap to voice texting, we recommend making a small investment in protecting your hands, wrists, and fingers.

We’ve been reviewing motorcycle safety gear for over 20 years, and have gotten “hands on” with many, many pairs of gloves (see all our motorcycle glove reviews). In fact, we’ve reviewed gloves from nearly 60 different manufacturers.

Like all things impacted by materials science, modern advancements in the materials used in motorcycle gloves have helped make gloves safer and more comfortable to wear. Wading through the sheer enormity of what’s out there is challenging, especially once you start considering what is the safest or what offers the best value.

In this guide we’ve broken down what you need to know when buying a new (or your first) pair of motorcycle gloves. It won’t replace years of experience and a strong understanding of how you ride and what your needs are, but it will inform you about what styles, materials, and considerations regarding fit you need to be aware of.

Safe riding!

What Makes for a Great Pair of Gloves?

In many cases, a glove is a glove is a glove, right? Such may be the case when fast-pace means a difficult sprint, but when highway speeds become a consideration, the stakes get higher and requirements change.

Motorcycle gloves must incorporate armor and more durable materials/construction techniques into a comfortable package that offers their wearers minimal restrictions in mobility. That’s a fair tall order in and of itself, but of course, a good pair of gloves needs to look good while they do it!

Gloves serve two primary functions (of equal importance): to protect your hands in the event of a crash and to protect your hands from the environment. To accomplish these things, a quality pair of gloves:

  • Uses durable, robust materials that offer superior puncture and abrasion resistance.
  • Is made with strong construction techniques that ensure years of long-lasting usefulness.
  • Are well-fitting.
  • Offer maximum mobility and comfort, allowing fingers to bend and air to circulate where needed.

Quality gloves accomplish the above while also considering price, the type of glovesize/style demands, and materials.

Buyer's Guide

Important Features & Things to Look For

Riding Style

Riding a bike is like an art, something you do because feel something insideValentina Rossi

How and where you intend to ride your bike should be the first two things you consider when choosing gear. The requirements placed on safety equipment by rigorous off-road riding are much different compared to low-speed commuting around town. It stands to reason that the gloves you’d want to wear would be different in each situation.

Properly understanding your needs is key in ensuring that you buy the appropriate pair of gloves. While it’s true that there really isn’t much harm in “overbuying” for your needs, there does reach a point of diminishing returns.

Ask yourself:

  • What speeds will you be riding at? Will you be sticking to city streets, hitting the highways, or both?
  • Will you be riding on or off-road? Both?
  • Is it important that your gloves also serve to warm your hands?
  • How dextrous do you need to be while riding? What kind of mobility will you need to operate all your motorcycle’s controls?

We’re operating on the assumption that you’re relatively new to motorcycles and riding gear; more advanced riders looking for information on the best gear should check out our motorcycle glove reviews.


Price

It’s not uncommon for high-end gloves to reach $500+ price tags, but that doesn’t mean you need to spring that much to get good protection. Strong options exist at most price points, though we find that the best value are in some of the $150ish options (note: good short gloves can be found for $100 or less).

The price of a helmet is influenced by several things, such a the materials used, technology integrated, certifications, and brand. The style of glove also plays a role; by default, short and dirt bike gloves cost less than their gauntlet or race counterparts.

We recommend budgeting $150 for gauntlet/race-style gloves, or $50 for short/dirt-bike gloves. Good options exist both above and below that price point, but at our recommended budgets, you aren’t lacking for geat choices.

As always, we’re advocates for riding ATGATT.

Glove Type

We break down gloves into five distinct styles (in more depth below), distinct due to the levels of coverage/protection they offer and how they are styled. Short and dirt bike-style gloves tend to be less expensive compared to other styles, but they also omit wrist/forearm protection.

If you’re looking for a single on-road “daily wearer”, we recommend gauntlet or touring gloves. These gloves offer additional protection for your wrists/forearms and tend to be conservatively styled.

  • Race – Ideal for high-speed racing. Offer great hand and wrist protection, but are often radically styled.
  • Gauntlets – A great style for all-around on-road riding.
  • Adventure – Similar to gauntlets, though with additional weather protection.
  • Short – These gloves stop at the wrist. Many riders prefer short gloves due to weather/climate reasons.
  • Off-Road – Focus on comfort/dexterity as opposed to protection. We do not recommend these gloves for on-road riding.

Shopping Now? We Recommend:

webBikeWorld has worked closely with RevZilla over the years to provide our testers with products to review. In addition to being a great site to shop from, they’re also a great partner. Both Amazon and Revzilla have a big selection of gloves from today’s leading brands.

RevZilla

Free shipping on orders over $40
30-day no-nonsense return policy
Excellent selection of all major brands
Awesome pricing

Buy Motorcycle Gloves on RevZilla

Amazon

Free shipping (with Amazon Prime)
30-day return policy
Excellent selection
Competitive pricing

Buy Motorcycle Gloves on Amazon

Fit & Comfort

If your gloves don’t fit right, how can you expect them to properly protect you? Fit is a critical component in determining how effectively your gear can protect you, and this fact is true of gloves as well.

In general, your gloves should be snug, with minimal excess space/padding, while allowing you to manipulate your motorycle controls. Several factors will influence these two requirements:

  • Size – Every manufacturer sizes their gloves a bit differently, so be sure to read their sizing chart before ordering.
  • Materials – Leather is the “traditional” material of choice for motorcycle gear, but textile materials also offer excellent abrasion and weather resistance.
  • Type – Short gloves will be more comfortable than a heavy pair of adventure gloves.
  • Dexterity – Consider hand and finger mobility.
  • Venting – Your hands will get hot, and you gloves should be able to help manage that heat.

Materials

There are two main categories of materials when referring to gloves: leather and textile.

Leather itself can be made from several different base materials: cowhidekangaroo skingoatskin, and other type of animal hide/skin. Often, a glove will use multiple different type of hide in a single pair.

Textile materials are man-made and are typically engineered for a specific quality or application.

Leather

  • Tend to fit snugly at first but stretch out as the leather breaks in.
  • Different types and grades of leather can influence price significantly.
  • Typically high abrasion resistance.
  • Quality leather can get expensive.

Textile

  • Incorporates vents, textures, and different material types.
  • Generally less “stiff” compared to new leather gloves.
  • Usually less expensive (comparatively speaking) than leather.
  • Generally superior water/weather resistance.
Make Sure Your Gloves Fit Right!

Poorly Fitting Gloves Compromise Safety & Restrict Usability

Unfortunately, unlike Helmets, there are no universal hand shapes that gloves are made to conform to. True, many manufacturers use similar sizes, but in general, shopping for gloves is often an exercise in trial and error. You won’t know how they fit until you’ve tried them on.

Things to Consider

  • Regional Differences – European brands send to size their gloves a little slimmer and tighter than other regions, so consider ordering a size up from your usual if going that route.
  • Styles – Adventure gloves tend to fit more snugly compared to gauntlets, and both styles are much heavier than bulkier than what you’d find in a typical short or dirt bike glove.
  • Weather Protection – Adding some bulk in order to offer improved cold protection/insulation will influence the feel of the glove. Consider having a second pair of gloves for cooler weather riding.

Comfort & Materials

Leather can take several wears before it fully breaks-in. Until then, you may find your leather gloves a little stiff or snug compared to a comparable pair of textile gloves.

If weather and waterproofing are important for you, consider a quality pair of textile gloves. As a rule, leather doesn’t enjoy water and can be difficult to maintain if they get wet frequently. Textile gloves don’t normally have to worry about this.

Quick-Guide: Measuring Your Approximate Glove Size

Determining Your Glove Size

Racing-Inspired Style & Protection

Race

Alpinestars SP-1 Glove

Ideal For

High-speed riding on the track or street. Race gloves incorporate liberal use of armor and venting across the fingers, palm, and wrists.

Strengths

  • Excellent crash protection
  • Cool and comfortable

Common Features

  • Excellent venting
  • Knuckle armor
  • Palm sliders

See More


Best All-Arounder!

Gauntlets

Ideal For

An ideal “daily wearer” offering protection for both the hands and wrists. The ideal on-road motorcycle glove.

Strengths

Gauntlets are great gloves for the daily rider. A well-fitting gauntlet glove will offer mobility comparable to a comfortable short glove, while offering greatly improved protection. In our opinion, gauntlets are the best glove to wear on the streeet.

Common Features

  • Finger and knuckle armor
  • Palm shields
  • Wrist support & protection

See More

Joe Rocket Flexium TX Gauntlet Glove

Shopping Now? We Recommend:

webBikeWorld has worked closely with RevZilla over the years to provide our testers with products to review. In addition to being a great site to shop from, they’re also a great partner. Both Amazon and Revzilla have a big selection of gloves from today’s leading brands.

RevZilla

Free shipping on orders over $40
30-day no-nonsense return policy
Excellent selection of all major brands
Awesome pricing

Buy Motorcycle Gloves on RevZilla

Amazon

Free shipping (with Amazon Prime)
30-day return policy
Excellent selection
Competitive pricing

Buy Motorcycle Gloves on Amazon

Great For Warm Weather!

Short

Icon Pursuit Short Gloves

Ideal For

Warm-weather riding where comfort is priority. Short gloves lack the wrist protection offered by gauntlets.

Strengths

While they are down on protection, short gloves are up on comfort. Many riders prefer an open wrist and find short gloves easier to live with.

Common Features

  • Comfortable!
  • More dextrous than gaunlet-style gloves
  • Knuckle and palm armor

See More


For Playing in the Dirt!

Off-Road/Dirt Bike

Ideal For

In situations where comfort and grip are top priority, nothing tops off-road gloves.

Strengths

Like short gloves, off-road gloves tend to end at the wrist. They are generally grip focused, lighter weight but lacking the protection of more robust styles of glove.

Common Features

  • Ultra-lightweight design
  • Extremely comfortable and easy to grip with
  • Finger and knuckle protection

See More

Fox Racing Dirtpaw Gloves


Great For Both On & Off-Road!

Adventure/Touring

REV'IT Sand 3 Touring Gloves

Ideal For

Situations and weather conditions where superior protection is required.

Strengths

Adventure or touring gloves are typically made with more robust materials and construction methods compared to other styles. However, they are often somewhat bulkier and less dextrous.

Common Features

  • Maximum protection for your fingers, palms, and wrists
  • External stitching, state of the art materials
  • Ventilation and armored paneling

See More

Gear Guide: Best Race Gloves

Gear Guide: Best Off-Road/Dirt Bike Gloves

Gear Guide: Best Adventure/Touring Gloves

Gear Guide: Best Gauntlet Gloves

Gear Guide: Best “Short” Gloves

wBW Picks

Recommended Motorcycle Gloves (By Type)

Our product recommendations are based on hands-on reviews, our familiarity with the brand, and owner feedback that we take into consideration during our research. Our recommendations may change as we review more gloves hands-on, new products are released, etc. We will note any such changes in the article.

Adventure & Touring Gloves

Best Adventure & Touring Gloves

Touring gloves offer riders increased versatility compared to other styles of gloves. Cuffs provide superior wrist protection, and most touring gloves carry additional protection and insulation as well.

See Recommended Adventure Glove

Gauntlets

Best Gauntlet Gloves

If your primary focus is maximum protection, it’s a gauntlet-style glove that you’ll be after. Generally speaking, gauntlets provide the best protection of all glove types available. Our recommendations focused on options that are comfortable and equipped with the appropriate amount of armor and padding.

See Recommended Gauntlet Glove

Race

Best Race Gloves

Race gloves walk a fine line between safety and comfort. Most race gloves look similar to gauntlet gloves but differ in that race gloves place greater emphasis on ergonomics and digital mobility.

See Recommended Race Gloves

Dirt Bike & Off-Road

Best Off-Road Gloves

Off-road gloves place priority on comfort and hand – specifically, knuckle – protection. Other factors, such as abrasion resistance and material feel, are more important in off-road riding than on-road.

Best Off-Road Gloves

Short

Best Short Gloves

Short gloves are generally more comfortable to wear than their longer/gauntlet cousins but offer limited production compared to a gauntlet/adventure-style glove due to their lack of cuff.

Best Short Gloves

MENU

Back

Categories & Brands

A to Z

A full list of brands, review categories and motorcycle brands
See Them All
Hands On For Over 20 Years

Product Reviews

Reviewing motorcycle products for over 20 years. Reliable and unbiased advice here.
Check Out Reviews
Make Smart Decisions

Product Buying Guides

In-depth guides to help riders understand what to look for, how to weigh options and make good buying decisions
Learn More
Trending Topics

Helmet Buying Guide

Shopping For A New (Or Your First) Helmet? You’re In The Right Place.
Explore Helmets