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Best Cycling Gloves: What Features Should You Look For

Best Cycling Gloves: What Features Should You Look For

There’s more to cycling gloves than the ordinary mittens. Though you can just grab your regular gloves to keep your hands toasty when cycling, having the right gear has its advantages. We’ve put together a short guide on the best cycling gloves; from discussing the different types to finding the best fit, and some essential features that you should look for when you’re shopping for a new pair.

Why Wear Cycling Gloves ?

  • For better grip – The best cycling gloves are designed with non-slip rubber pads that give you better grip on your bicycle handles. This is particularly useful when it rains. Just like non-slip soles, you don’t need your hands to work harder on gripping slippery surfaces. It will also assist you on better steering control and breaks.
  • Protection from weather elements – This is the primary purpose why you need cycling gloves. Outdoor cyclists face not just road challenges but also the weather. Good cycling gloves should be able to protect your hands from cold temperature, snow and rain.
  • Shock absorption – The road can be stressful to the body and every joint and muscle is subject to vibrations from impact and rough pavement. This is why cycling gloves are outfitted with soft padding that can reduce the vibrations your hands will take. Gloves with gel or ultra-thick padding are the best for mountain bikers or BMX riders.
  • Protection from abrasion – In case of fall or accident, it’s usually our body’s instinct to break a fall with our hands. Cycling gloves can then protect your hands from abrasion or rough surfaces.
  • Sweat absorbent – No one really likes sweaty hands inside gloves. Modern cycling gloves are outfitted with breathable fabric that can absorb sweat out of your hands and at the same time, let the moisture breathe through the fabric.
  • Face and nose wiping – Before you say that you have your hand towel with you, think about it. It will be difficult for you to bother yourself in grabbing a towel or tissue while you’re on the road. There are some cycling gloves with built-in nose wipe that can be very convenient when riding through hot weather.   

Types of Cycling Gloves



Track Mitts or Fingerless Cycling Gloves

These are the most common types and the easiest ones to wear. The gloves cover the entire palm, but there are holes for each finger. This allows sweat to wick away and in some way, gives your hands that cooling effect. Old designs have leather padding but the new ones are mostly designed with gel padding for added grip and comfort.


Full-finger Cycling Gloves

The name itself describes the design, these mitts cover your entire hand including your fingers. Full-finger cycling gloves are usually waterproof and wind-resistant.

Full-finger Cycling Gloves

Winter Gloves

These are the bulky ones, similar to the ones you use for skiing. Winter gloves protect your hands against the cold weather. It should be waterproof, weatherproof and have thick padding to keep your hands warm.

Winter Gloves


Lobster Claw Gloves

Instead of your regular five finger mitts, lobster claws have only two splits. One for your thumb and then another one between middle finger and ring finger. This might look ridiculous at first look, and you’re probably thinking that perhaps the inventor was a fan of Spock. Believe it or not, this design actually makes it easier to handle brake levers.

The following cycling gloves are a slight variation from regular ones as they are attached to handlebars.

Lobster Claw Gloves


DryBike company was the first to design these weathershield mitts attached to handlebars. Although it’s not like your regular gloves, it still serves same purpose. It looks like pocket bags attached on your bars and are lined with fleece to keep your hands toasty against the cold weather and wind.

Weathershields cycling gloves

Handle bar mitts

Call them bar mitts, bar gloves, handlebar hand warmers, these are lifesavers through long cold weather rides. These look like hood pockets installed on your handle bars and are very effective in protecting your hands against wind, rain, snow and cold temperature. Most brands use neoprene as the primary material, a type of synthetic rubber used for insulation, weatherproofing, and in diving suits.

Handle bar mitts

How Should Cycling Gloves Fit

Don’t just grab the cheapest or the flashiest gloves that you see in the shop. Take time to find the right fit on your hands.

  • The best cycling gloves should fit on your hand and fingers snugly, but not too tight. In other words, it should not constrict blood flow and hand movement.
  • Bend your hand and fingers, make a fist and do all sorts of hand movements. If your hands feel numb in a couple minutes, then it’s too tight.
  • Some cyclists like to have a snug fit at first buy, because over time, the gloves loosen over time and regular use. If you’re unsure, its best to ask sellers for assistance. Usually they have a measurement chart based on the size of your hands.

What Are The Best Cycling Gloves – 7 OMG Gears!

Cycling gloves that work with iPhone

Cycling gloves that work with iPhone


Yes, there are. It’s a hassle that you have to take off your gloves every time you stop and check your phone. Don’t worry, there are cycling gloves already that are equipped with WireTap Technology that will enable you to use touch screen devices even with your gloves on.

Cycling gloves with lights?

Cycling gloves with lights?


Yes, especially if you often ride at night. These gloves have built-in LED light panels that you can turn on whenever needed. Some brands also have designs with reflective panels. These are particularly useful when you make hand signals on the road. 

The led panels are not that big and are usually powered by coin cell batteries. Choose the ones with rechargeable batteries so you don’t have to worry about replacing them. Most have chargers that can be charged via USB.

How to activate the lights? Some have button pads that you can easily access with your fingers, and newer designs have activation plates between the thumb and pointer finger.

Cycling gloves with mirror?

Cycling gloves with mirror


Ingenious and innovative, there are cycling gloves with integrated mirror which can function as a rearview mirror. Apart from that obvious function, you don’t have to worry about mirror theft.

Some gloves have a small curved mirror just right on top of your thumb and upper hand. There are also manufacturers who have designed a detachable strap with a standing round and curve mirror.  

Cycling gloves for hot weather?

Cycling gloves for hot weather


While it’s obvious that you should have cycling gloves on during winter, there are also benefits in wearing gloves during summer. The best cycling gloves on hot weather are breathable and should be designed with cooling effect. Most cyclists who are seasoned riders on hot weather trails recommend using fingerless cycling gloves. 

Another problem you will definitely encounter when riding on hot weather is how sweaty your palms and face can be. We’ve mentioned earlier another feature – nose or sweat wipes. Look for this feature and some manufacturers call these as Snot Patches, where you can insert a piece of fabric in a small pocket on your cycling gloves.

Cycling Gloves with Wrist Protection

If you’re a BMX rider, it’s essential that you get cycling gloves with wrist protection. Mountain biking or BMX trails are of a different league from everyday commute. You’ll spend hours slamming your bike and body on rough road, or uneven terrain.

Cycling Gloves with Wrist Protection


Your hands will be subject to impact and hours of tight grip on your handlebars. If you don’t get the cycling gloves without the right fit and wrist protection, the constant pressure and friction can cause blisters, calluses and in some cases, pain on your wrist and joints.

Before you go out and buy any gloves with wrist protection in its package label, take note of the following recommendations;

  • Planning to ride on cold weather? Get full-length BMX gloves to keep your hands warm and protected
  • If you’re riding on hot weather, choose short-fingers BMX gloves.
  • Get a BMX glove with wrist brace. In BMX riding you’ll slam and fall a lot. The wrist brace can reduce the pressure on your wrist on every impact. It will also help in relieving pain if you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Riding vert and racing? Get cycling pads with knuckle padding.

Are you a freestyle rider? Choose BMX cycling gloves with light to moderate padding.

Best Cycling Pads That Prevent Numbness

If you’ve been biking for some time already, then most probably you’ve experienced at some point numbness on your hands and fingers. Seasoned riders call this problem as ‘cyclist’s palsy’ and you’ll feel this painful pins and needles on your fingers due to nerve compression.  

Here are some of most effective ways to manage and prevent numbness especially if you plan a long distance ride;

  • Wear padded gloves – Take the advice from BMX riders. If you’re onto long distance trails with hours of riding, wear padded gloves that provide cushion on your hand and wrist. This will reduce the vibration and stress transferred from the bike to your joints.
  • Choose cycling gloves with gel padding – Gel pads are effective in absorbing shock and vibration, thus preventing the risks of nerve compression.
  • Change your hand’s position regularly – Time to time while on the road, change the grip of your hands. You can alternate this, from top bar, lower handle bars and back.
  • Adjust your handlebars to your most comfortable position – The main goal here is to reduce the weight taken by your hands from your body.

In a nutshell, cycling gloves are essential pieces in your cycling gear. If you’re planning to buy a new pair, consider the factors that we’ve talked about; weather condition, type of gloves, the trail you often ride and other features that you need. Get the right fit for comfort and stay safe on the road.

About the Author Nick Soros

Hi, I'm Nick Soros. I have been an cycling enthusiast from 2006. is my personal blog where I share my pedaling experience. No matter you are a new cyclist or skillful one, you would find useful topics in my site. Have a great cycling...