Why cyclists wear gloves?
Along with a jersey and shorts/bib, cycling gloves are among the bare essentials for all bike riders. Cyclists wear gloves for many reasons. Wearing cycling gloves will provide enhanced grip and handlebar control, superior cushioning (especially with padded gel inserts) and excellent protection for the hands.
Mellow Johnny’s cycling gloves have padded palms, which provides extra cushioning from vibrations along bumpy roads or trails. Take note that the amount of padding in gloves is variable. Some people prefer gloves with no padding, while others prefer lavish gel insert padding.
Another less apparent benefit of cycling gloves is that hands can get very sweaty, which can make handlebars slippery. Cycling gloves soak up sweat and ensure a solid grip on your handlebars at all times.
In most cases, fingerless gloves are ideal for breathability and maximum finger control. However, during colder rides, full-fingered cycling gloves also provide great insulation and protection from the elements.
How to choose the best cycling gloves?
Wearing a good pair of gloves is really helpful to ensure maximum comfort and protection on rides, especially during colder days, under harsh conditions, or through rough terrain.
However, not all gloves work the same. Below we break down the key differences between different models in our shop:
- Fingerless gloves: these work best on medium to long rides under most conditions. Our Beacon Cycling Glove is a great example of a fingerless cycling glove with modern American styling that pairs well with any modern or classic kit. Made in Italy using a polyester and elastane base with Asteria fabric shell, it works like a second breathable skin fit that wicks moisture away from your palms.
- Full-fingered cycling gloves: heavy-duty full-fingered gloves work as winter gloves for all riders, but are especially important for off-road mountain bikers who needed optimal shock absorption. The Fox Dirtpaw cycling glove is a solid pick for mountain bikers: a high-performance premium glove with armored knuckles, thickly padded palms and well-designed flex-point comfort.
So, which gloves are right for you?
Basically, the type of cycling gloves you should choose depends on the kind of ride you are having. For example, are you cycling on road? Or, do you prefer mountain biking (MTB) and conquering rough terrains?
Also, you have to consider the climate conditions during which you will be out cycling.
Assess your set of requirements based on what kind of rides you will be having. The most important factors to consider in choosing a pair of gloves are:
Cycling glove buying guide
To better know which type of gloves to purchase, this section breaks down the core components used to create a premium cycling glove:
- Palm: depending on the type of gloves, palms can vary in thickness. They are also made of various materials, with leather and synthetic leather as the most common.
- Upper: this is basically the back of the glove. It is often made of a thick material and has a waterproof membrane to provide your hands extra protection from the wind and the weather.
- Cuff: this component goes around your wrist. When you want to get the right gloves for yourself, you should choose those with cuffs that are snug and comfortable. Remember that one that is too loose will not feel comfortable and one that is too tight, on the other hand, will restrict blood circulation. Ideally, cuffs should be adjustable so that they do not chafe or flap.
- Fingers: depending on the design of gloves that you choose, they can cover just a little bit of your fingers (perfect for summer rides) or your entire fingers (perfect for winter rides).
Cycling gloves are made of various materials, such as polyester, acrylic, fleece, and polypropylene. Or, they can come as a combination of these synthetic materials.
To determine which one fits your needs, you should know what each of these materials can offer you.
- Acrylic: warm, stretchy, and breathable, but is not highly weather-resistant.
- Polyester: highly breathable and offers good sweat-wicking ability, but has little wind or waterproofing.
- Polypropylene: offers better weather-resistance, but is not good when it comes to dealing with moisture.
- Fleece: usually used for winter gloves, this is warm and insulated, but is not so breathable. Nonetheless, they often come with microfiber or towelling panels on their uppers to wipe away sweat.
Summary of benefits
Cycling gloves offer different levels of protection. For example, summer gloves can only protect your palms in the event of a crash, while full-finger ones (like for mountain biking) usually feature extra reinforcement or rigid panels to protect your entire hands from impact in such an event.
- Breathability: depending on the fabric they are made of, other gloves are better at allowing moisture to escape than others. Most preferably, you should buy those made of breathable fabrics to keep your hands dry for optimum comfort. Know the wicking feature of a pair of gloves to know their ability to draw sweat away from your skin to the surface of the fabric, where it is allowed to evaporate.
- Grip: cycling gloves come with features to give you better handling performance when riding. For example, they can have synthetic or leather palms for improved handlebar grip. Other gloves even feature additional silicone grippers on the fingers to easily clench on the gear shifters and brake levers.
- Waterproofing: waterproof membranes on gloves are essential in keeping your hands dry during inclement weather conditions. However, the higher the waterproofing feature a glove has, the lower the breathability will be.
- Warmth: all gloves can provide a certain level of warmth, with winter gloves being the best option when it comes to providing maximum insulation during winter rides. Of course, you should ditch these types of gloves for summer months. Instead, you can opt for mitts for the hot weather.
Your decision in buying cycling gloves will depend on the type of rides you are usually engaged in and the weather conditions you usually encounter. When your place experiences multiple weather conditions, then you can stock up on different pairs of gloves to suit each season.
Of course, you should also choose a pair that fits your hands best.