Important Features & Things to Look For
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are two main categories of materials when referring to gloves: leather and textile.
Leather itself can be made from several different base materials: cowhide, kangaroo skin, goatskin, and another 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.
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.
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.