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A Guide to Choosing Cycling Gloves

‘Fits like a glove’ - there is a reason this statement is often used to describe the perfect fit. Gloves are meant to fit your hand well while being super comfortable and well-suited. When it comes to Cycling Gloves, they too should ‘fit like a glove’, so to speak. Gloves are important for cyclists to help keep their hands protected from the elements, to wick away sweat and to allow for a firm and solid grip on the handlebar. So, what are the points to be considered while choosing a pair of cycling gloves? Read on for more…


The primary aspect to be taken into consideration while buying a pair of gloves is their intended usage. For example, when comparing mountain biking with road cycling, the hand positions differ, as do the pressure points. This in turn influences the design of the gloves and can impact the overall effectiveness of the gloves bought.

A Guide to Choosing Cycling Gloves
A Guide to Choosing Cycling Gloves


There are different types of gloves available and are as follows:

  • Half Finger gloves - True to their name, these gloves cover just the palm and not the fingers. They are ideal for recreational riders and those riding in warmer and humid climates. They are available in a range of materials based on their usage.
  • Full Finger Gloves - Gloves that completely protect and cover the hand of the rider are full finger gloves. These are ideal for those riding in colder areas and those who need additional protection. Many trail riders tend to use full-finger gloves. They too are available in a range of materials based on their usage.

    Mountain Biking - When it comes to mountain biking and trail riding gloves are most essential for grip and protection. With trail riding, hands act as extensions of the handlebars to maintain control. Gloves for mountain biking are typically textured on the palm for maximum grip with padding in the palm to protect the rider’s hands from injuries that can develop over time. Given the added risk of crashing when mountain biking, MTB gloves need to be durable enough to withstand any impact that could be encountered while riding on trails. This will allow the rider to use their hands to brace themselves if they do topple of the saddle.

    Road Biking - Gloves are crucial for road biking, too, but for different reasons! Road bikes typically don’t have the kind of suspension that mountain bikes do. And so, any shock delivered by the road can be transferred to the rider’s arms and body through the fork and handlebar. Padded gloves can help absorb shock to enhance comfort and protection on a long ride. Another feature typically found on road biking gloves is a fleece or cloth patch on the thumb, which comes in handy to wipe away sweat or a runny nose while riding. When racing against the clock, or on a serious training ride, most cyclists do not have the time to stop to access tissues or a hanky, and thus this feature comes handy - more often than not!

    A Guide to Choosing Cycling Gloves
    A Guide to Choosing Cycling Gloves


    Traditionally, cycling gloves are made from synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, fleece and polypropylene, or a blend of multiple materials.

  • Polyester: High breathability and sweat-wicking ability and limited weather resistance.
  • Acrylic: Breathable, stretchy and warm and limited weather resistance.
  • Fleece: Typically used to make gloves meant for cold weather, fleece is warm and insulated, but it isn’t very breathable. Several gloves have a microfiber or towel-type panel at the back to wipe off sweat.
  • Polypropylene: Better weather resistance, comparatively. However, this material isn’t as effective at moisture management and control.

  • Breathability: This is the ability of the glove’s fabric composition helps allow water vapour escape. Non-breathable fabrics mean that moisture can get trapped next to the skin, where it could get clammy and cold, or warm and uncomfortable. Additionally, breathable fabrics help keep the skin dry and at optimum temperature. Ideal for warm and humid riding conditions.
  • Wicking: This is the ability of the fabric to draw sweat away from the skin and to the surface of the fabric, where it can evaporate. Ideal for warm and humid riding conditions.
  • Protection: Different gloves will offer different levels of protection – summer cycling gloves can protect the palms in the event of a fall, while many full-finger MTB gloves feature additional padding or panels for impact protection in the event of a crash.
  • Waterproofing: Waterproof membranes on gloves help to keep hands dry in cold or wet weather. However, they may also impact on the breathability of the fabric so are not ideal for all weathers, such as humid or hot weather.
  • Grip: Most cycling gloves feature leather or synthetic palms to improve handlebar grip, while some also have additional silicone grippers on the fingers for brake levers, gear shifters etc.
  • Warmth: While all gloves will provide some added degree of warmth, winter cycling gloves are designed with maximum insulation to keep your fingers warm and protected for when the temperatures dip. Since winter are heavy and restrictive for year-round riding, those living in cold areas may need weather-specific gloves.
  • A Guide to Choosing Cycling Gloves

    The above aspects will help with choosing a pair of gloves that are ideal for your usage, and a good pair of gloves can go a long way to enhancing your overall ride quality. Additionally, a high-quality pair of gloves from a manufacturer is recommended as most other ‘lesser priced’ generic stuff tends to wear-out faster and fails in providing the essential comfort and protection. That said, whichever glove you opt for, bear in mind that the most important thing is the fit. Gloves must be snug enough to feel like a second skin but not too tight as to be restrictive. Gloves that are too big will be inconvenient - with unnecessary movement, while those that are too small will limit movement and cut off circulation. To ensure that the glove fits properly, they should closely follow the line of your hands, and shouldn’t prevent your fingers from moving willingly!

    Shop the widest range of Cycling Gloves by clicking here.


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