Whether you’re a mountain biker, a speed cyclist, a cross-country rider, or a cyclist training for national or international competitions, you know the value of the right protective gear. You would never head out without a helmet, for instance. However protecting your hands is just as important. The right pair of cycling gloves will do the trick, but with so many to choose from on the market, how do you decide which pair is right for you? We want to help make the process easier, so we assembled a list of the best cycling gloves. Our head-to-head comparison shows you how each pair of bike gloves stacks up to the others, and our in-depth cycling glove reviews help you better understand the features and capabilities on offer. We wrap it all up with a bike glove buying guide to ensure that you’re able to make an informed, accurate decision.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Cycling Gloves in 2020
- 2 Giro Men’s Strate Dure Supergel Gloves
- 3 Louis Garneau Men’s Biogel RX-V Bike Gloves
- 4 Giro Women’s Tessa Gloves
- 5 Pearl iZUMi Ride Men’s ELITE Gel Gloves
- 6 INBIKE Cycling Gloves Men Mountain Bike 5MM Gel Pad Shock-Absorbing Anti-Slip Breathable MTB DH Road Bicycle Gloves
- 7 Giro Youth Bravo Junior Gloves
- 8 Giro Bravo Gloves
- 9 Buying Cycling Gloves: Your Guide to Getting the Right Protection and Performance
- 10 Conclusion
The Best Cycling Gloves in 2020
|Name||Padding Type||Perforation||Upper||Pull Tab|
|Giro Men’s Strate Dure Supergel Gloves||Supergel||None||Mesh||Yes|
|Louis Garneau Men's Biogel RX-V Bike Gloves||Gel||Palm and fingers||Mesh/Spandex||No|
|Giro Women’s Tessa Gloves||Gel||Palm||Mesh||Yes|
|Pearl iZUMi Ride Men’s Elite Gel Gloves||Gel||None||Spandex||No|
|INBIKE Cycling Gloves||Gel||Fingers||Lycra/mesh||Yes|
|Giro Youth Bravo Junior Gloves||None||None||Mesh||Yes|
|Giro Bravo Gloves||Minimal gel||None||Mesh||Yes|
As you can see, there is a pair of cycling gloves for just about any need or preference. However, our head-to-head chart only serves to illustrate some of the differences between these top contenders. In order to make an informed buying decision, you’ll need to know more about what each of these bike gloves brings to the table and how they benefit your performance and protection.
Giro Men’s Strate Dure Supergel Gloves
Our top-rated cycling gloves come from Giro – you’ll find several other pairs from the same manufacturer on our list. The Strate Dure Supergel Gloves deliver some important benefits for cyclists, but the most vital is right there in the name. These are some of the most heavily padded gloves on the market, and the gel pads at the base of the palm are quite pronounced. While that will take a little getting used to while riding, they do offer outstanding protection for your hands during hard or long rides.
These gloves feature 100% synthetic materials. The palm is made from AX suede, which is a synthetic leather. The upper is made from 100% polyester mesh for excellent breathability. The hook and loop closure ensures security and ease of use, as well. Finally, the pull tab is securely attached so you can use it for years. Note that these bike gloves come with a full one-year warranty.
Louis Garneau Men’s Biogel RX-V Bike Gloves
The Louis Garneau Men’s Biogel RX-V Bike Gloves are designed to deliver outstanding performance and protection in a wide range of cycling types, from cyclocross to mountain biking and everything in between. They rate as our second-highest pick for a number of different reasons.
One of the reasons we love these biking gloves is their outstanding ventilation. The palm and fingers are perforated, and you’ll also find a large, star-shaped central vent that allows sweat to evaporate from your palms. The upper is made from a combination of Power Mesh and spandex, offering good durability and lots of breathability, as well.
While these gloves do not offer a pull tab per se, they do provide an elongated section at the base of the palm that substitutes for the more pronounced tabs. These bike gloves also include a microfiber patch on the thumb that is useful for wiping sweat away or cleaning glasses lenses. Finally, securing the gloves is simple – just pull them tight and close the Velcro closure.
Giro Women’s Tessa Gloves
The only women’s cycling gloves to make our list, the Giro Tessa is an outstanding option for female riders who want a gender-specific hand protection choice. Like other Giro bike gloves in our rankings, these offer a nice combination of performance and protection, provided by a unique design, innovative thinking, and quality materials.
These are completely synthetic – even the AX suede palms are synthetic leather. The mesh upper is not only breathable, but also stretching and moisture wicking, helping to keep your hands drier while biking. The palms also feature a three-panel design for a better fit and more protection, while the Velcro closure ensures security even during tough riding conditions.
Pearl iZUMi Ride Men’s ELITE Gel Gloves
For those seeking a minimalist bike glove, this may be the right solution to your needs. The Pearl iZUMi offers gel padding in strategic places across the palm, including the heel of the hand, the base of the thumb, and the base of the fingers. Unlike the Giro Strate Dure gloves, the gel pads here are slim.
The palm features dual zone construction, with a mesh thumb mated to a synthetic leather palm area. The two middle fingers feature first-knuckle reinforcement, as well. The back of the glove is made from mesh for breathability, and has reflective paint for better visibility.
Note that these bike gloves do not have a pull tab, which may make them harder to don than other gloves. However, they do have a low-profile wiping surface on the thumb, as well as a strong hook and loop closure for security. Finally, these gloves are available in four colors, including black, neon yellow, red, and white.
INBIKE Cycling Gloves Men Mountain Bike 5MM Gel Pad Shock-Absorbing Anti-Slip Breathable MTB DH Road Bicycle Gloves
One of the most interesting cycling gloves to make our list, this pair from INBIKE is well suited to just about any type of biking, from mountain biking to road racing. These gloves also feature some unique differences as compared to other options on our list.
Perhaps the most visible differences here are the massive closure flap and the pronounced pull tab. The closure flap is large enough that you can easily get your gloves as tight as you like without any fuss or hassle, and it secures to the gloves’ backing. The pull tab is made from synthetic leather and easily grasped at the base of the palm.
Like most of the other cycling gloves on our list, this pair from INBIKE offers gel padding. You’ll find 5 mm of padding across the base of the palm, the base of the thumb, and the base of the fingers. There’s a terrycloth strip on the thumb for wiping sweat or cleaning lenses, and the back of the glove is made from Lycra and mesh for improved breathability and durability.
Giro Youth Bravo Junior Gloves
Designed for youth riders, these Giro cycling gloves feature a 100% nylon back with a synthetic leather palm. Note that these gloves do not offer any additional padding – the palm is reinforced, but does not include gel or foam pads. The palm does feature three-panel construction for a better fit, though.
The mesh back of the gloves is stretchable and breathable, and it also helps wick away sweat while riding. There is a pull tab built into the base of the palm, and the Velcro opening is wide enough to accommodate almost any child’s hand, while providing a secure closure.
Giro Bravo Gloves
The adult version of the youth bike gloves we reviewed above, this pair from Giro offers good performance, plenty of color choices, and other features that make it a standout option on the market. While it might be the last pair on our list, that doesn’t mean they’re not worth your consideration. There are plenty of reasons to consider the Bravo bike gloves.
The palm of this glove, like the youth Bravo gloves, features three panel construction to help provide a better fit. It also includes gel pads at the heel of the hand, the base of the thumb and the base of the fingers. The palm is also made from synthetic leather for superior durability and resistance to wear and tear.
There’s a microfiber wiping surface built into the thumb, and the pull tab features “sonic welding” for improved performance and strength. The Velcro closure is easy to use and provides a secure fit, while the mesh back delivers stretch, breathability, and moisture-wicking capabilities.
From our bike glove reviews above, you should be able to find a pair that suits your needs, budget, and riding environment. However, if you have never purchased cycling gloves before, or you’re just now upgrading from your beginner’s set, deciding on a pair can be tough to do. Our buying guide will take the mystery out of the process.
Buying Cycling Gloves: Your Guide to Getting the Right Protection and Performance
Whether you’re a new cyclist or you’ve been riding the trails or roadways for years, it is important that you have the right equipment. This ranges from cycling shorts to your helmet. Cycling gloves are also essential components and affect not only your comfort, but your performance. Today’s cycling gloves are designed to do more than just protect against potential blisters. They help to reduce vibration while riding, decreasing the chance of developing an injury from prolonged exposure.
However, it can be difficult to determine which bicycling gloves are best for your needs. There are many models on the market, and they all claim to be the solution to your needs. The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution here. What is perfect for you in a pair of bike gloves might be wrong for someone else. You’ll need to make an informed decision for yourself. Our buying guide will give you the information that you need to do just that.
Glove Type and Purpose
The first consideration is going to be the type of glove that is most suited to your purpose and to the time of year that you’ll be riding. For instance, you will need a different style glove for road-riding in the summer as opposed to cyclocross during the fall. There are several different styles of glove on the market, each designed for a different purpose. We’ll talk about some of the basics below.
Full-Fingered – While all of the gloves on our list are half-finger, there are full-fingered cycling gloves out there. These are generally best for late fall and winter riding when you need additional protection for your fingers.
Half-Fingered – All of the cycling gloves we reviewed on our list are half-fingered. This actually offers you a number of benefits and even some advantages over full-fingered styles. For instance, these are much cooler than full-fingered gloves. They also make it easier to use other accessories because you don’t have to contend with fabric covering your fingertips.
Winter Gloves – While any full-fingered biking glove can be worn in the winter, you’ll find some specific pairs that are designed to help protect you even in the depths of the arctic chill. These are usually insulated, and they are often both wind and waterproof, as well.
Mitts – These are closer to the half-fingered glove style we’ve reviewed in our list above, but they’re a bit more minimal. Usually, these cycling gloves are designed for racing and feature adjustable straps on the wrists. Padding is present, but is usually minimal.
MTB Gloves – Several of the cycling gloves we reviewed could fit into this category. Mountain biking gloves usually have a highly textured palm with robust padding.
Mittens – These fall into the winter bike gloves category, even though they’re not technically gloves. Most of them feature a three-finger design and help to protect your fingers and hands from the cold. Mittens may or may not be waterproof.
If you’ll be riding in warmer weather, from early spring through late fall, the biking gloves we covered in our reviews will be more than sufficient. However, if you plan to ride during the late fall and winter months, you may decide to invest in more than one pair of cycling gloves.
While the type of glove you choose is certainly important, fit is arguably even more so. A well-fitted pair of cycling gloves offers comfort and protection, while a poor fit could actually lead to decreased comfort and potential injuries.
Loose gloves make for sloppy handling, and they can even lead to blisters, the way that loose shoes can. Gloves that are too tight will chafe and rub your hands raw, as well. So, how do you ensure you get the right glove size for you?
The ideal option is to use the manufacturer’s size chart. These usually give you a size for US and EU models, combined with hand measurements in inches and centimeters. You’ll need to break out your measuring tape (ideally, a cloth measuring tape) and measuring the circumference of your hand just below the knuckles. You should also measure from your wrist to the end of your middle finger to get the length.
Today, most cycling gloves are made from synthetic materials. That’s a good thing. They’re more breathable than leather, and they’re not prone to stretching out of shape in the same way. However, leather does offer superior wear and tear resistance, which is why you’ll find synthetic leather palms used so widely in the industry.
Other fabrics of choice include nylon mesh, Lycra, spandex, and more. These are usually used for the back of the glove and offer expandability/stretching, moisture-wicking, and breathability. There’s really no type of fabric that is hands-down better than another, and they all come with their own pros and cons. This is why most manufacturers combine multiple fabric types to achieve the functionality they need.
You will find a wide range of padding materials used in cycling gloves today, but they’re not all the same and they do not all offer the same level of protection and comfort. First, though, why is padding needed?
It’s really all about absorbing vibration and fighting fatigue. The vibrations passed from the wheel up through your forks, into the handlebars, and then into your hands and arms do many things. First, they can actually cause serious injuries – think carpal tunnel. Second, they sap your muscles of energy, which affects your endurance, your reaction times, and more.
Today, manufacturers use three primary types of padding. Basic foam is probably the most widely used, although it tends to deteriorate quickly and is usually reserved for lower-end gloves. Next up is EVA, which stands for ethyl vinyl acetate. It’s used in many other areas, as well, including running shoes, and usually finds its place in mid-range and high-quality cycling gloves. Finally, there’s gel, which can be found in most of the bike gloves on our review list. Gel is the best performing padding material, and is found in mid-range and high-end gloves.
Is padding really needed, though? The answer is “it depends”. What does it depend on, though? There are many factors at work here. One of those is the frequency with which you ride. If you’re only riding every now and then, you’re probably ok without padding. If you’re not riding for longer periods, you may not need gloves at all, much less padded ones. Your personal preferences also play a role – are you the type of rider who wants to feel the handle bars? If so, padding may be the wrong option for you.
Biking gloves need a means to secure them to your wrists, unlike casual wear gloves. Hook and loop (Velcro) closures are the most widely used method in the industry, as they allow you to close your gloves tightly without worrying about elastic, or about dealing with buckles. The thing to consider here is the size of the securement flap or strap. Very small straps may be difficult to grasp on your first try. Larger flaps may lead to less comfortable fit than you would prefer.
Biking gloves are made to fit very snugly. Getting them on over your hands can be challenging, particularly with the minimalist style of glove. A pull tab makes it much easier to get your gloves on quickly and with a minimum of fuss. These tabs take many different forms. Some are nothing more than extended portions of the glove’s body. Others are sewn to the glove, but are distinct from the body. The type you choose is largely personal preference. Even buying gloves with pull tabs is personal preference, as you’ll find plenty of decent options out there that lack them, including at least one pair on our list.
While all of the cycling gloves on our review list are minimalist, half-finger style, they actually look very different from one another. This is a good thing, as it allows you to find the right style to match your other riding gear. You can even choose different colors and color combinations if you like. Overall, style and design have little to do with functionality or protection, so it’s all down to what you want and prefer.
Most of our cycling glove reviews revolved around pairs with textured palms made from synthetic leather. There’s a reason for this. It offers excellent grip on your handlebars in a wide range of different weather conditions. Grip is a critical consideration – the wrong material may be slick, causing your grip to slip at a critical moment, which could cause more than just mild embarrassment. Many riders have been injured in situations similar to this.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of cycling gloves, there are plenty of options available to you. In addition to the top-rated bike gloves we reviewed above, there are numerous others on the market, including winter gloves, insulated gloves, and more. Making the right choice begins by knowing the key factors to look for in a good cycling glove, defining your personal preferences, and then sorting through your options to find the right pair.
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