Ride Hard: The 6 Best Motorcycle Gloves

Motorcycle riders know that the gear they use on the road is a matter of life and death; or at the very least, life and serious injury. Without the right leathers, the right boots, the right helmet, and the right motorcycle gloves, you’re putting your flesh in grave danger every time you take your bike out for a joyride. Even if you only use a 50cc scooter, hitting asphalt at 20mph is nothing to scoff at, and anyone who has left a layer of skin on the blacktop knows the truth of that.

Since the first thing you will do when you go head over handlebars is try to catch yourself with your hands, protecting them should be one of your top priorities. A good pair of gloves will give you armor in all the right places, good airflow for comfort, and enough warmth for whatever season you plan to use them. We’ve found everything from the best short cuff to the best insulated gauntlet to meet the needs of any rider, from commuters to die-hard racers. Before you hit the highway, prepare yourself with one of the 6 best motorcycle gloves.

Icon Justice Mesh

Icon Justice Mesh

Pro: Excellent breathability
Con: Can get loose once broken in

Enmeshed: No matter how many holes you poke into leather, it just isn’t going to breathe as well as mesh nor give you the airflow to keep your knuckles cool when you’re making a high speed burn like Hunter Thompson through Baker and Barstow and Berdoo, then onto the Hollywood Freeway and straight on into frantic oblivion. The back is heavy-duty mesh complete with knuckle armor made of injected thermoplastic. The fingertips and the palm are made from goatskin leather which is slightly softer and more supple than cowhide, and plenty resilient against abrasion. The pre-curved style helps prevent any folding when gripping the handlebars so long as you get the right size. They have expansion panels that can sometimes work against you. Consider buying a size down so that there is no looseness once they are broken in. The closing flap beneath the wrist can take some time to get used to, but also doesn’t catch as easily as those on the backside. Bright colors are ideal for allowing drivers to see your every gesture at night. [Purchase: $79]

Icon Pursuit Stealth Touchscreen

Icon Pursuit Stealth Touchscreen

Pro: Break in quickly
Con: No waterproofing

Best for Basics: The Pursuit Stealth is the everyman’s motorcycle glove made primarily for commuters who are just looking for a little extra coverage and comfort. They come in perforated and non-perforated styles depending on your needs and work as a touchscreen glove for using your GPS or smartphone. The sheepskin leather is comfortable and breaks in easily to fit like a second skin. The style is classic and incomparable. You can wear it with everything from a suit to your most badass leathers. The knuckles have interwoven hardshell protection though the excellent flexibility of these gloves seems totally unencumbered by it. You can drop $10 if you don’t want the touchscreen function, but it’s hardly worth the savings as more gas pumps are moving toward touchscreens. Feels good whether you prefer a sport bike, a traditional motorcycle, or a universal. [Purchase: $85]

Rev It Dirt 2

Rev’It Dirt 2

Pro: Extended cuff
Con: Mesh body

Blurred Lines: Somewhere in the ether between sport gloves, adventure gloves, and pure touring gloves lives the Dirt 2, the sequel to Rev’It’s popular Dirt gloves, though you don’t need to be familiar with the original to understand why these are great. They have a slightly longer cuff than basic sport gloves but aren’t full gauntlets. Both the index finger and thumb have touchscreen capabilities that are much better than the disappointing showing of Dirt: The Original. They’ve put in PU rubber on the palm slider landing zone which gives you a lot of real estate to work with and enhanced padding. The body is mostly mesh for hotter riding so trying to use it in colder or wetter weather isn’t advisable. For about the same price you can get the Held Sambia which offers a textile body that isn’t quite as airy as the mesh of the Dirt 2 and you can get a little more off-season action out of it. [Purchase: $109]

Dainese Jerico EVO

Dainese Jerico EVO

Pro: Very warm
Con: Textile body offers limited flexibility

Winter Wonder: Finding gloves that will truly work throughout the winter is tough, but if you live in the great white north – white with snow, not racists – then you’ve got to have something that fits the bill. The new Jerico is hands down the best for getting through both cold weather and wet winters without causing undue distress to your fingers. It has a Gore-Tex exterior that works to both wick away moisture and keep out snow and rain for hours on end just like a standard winter glove. The primaloft padding is more than just comfortable on your hands, it also traps air for added insulation. Though their first job is to protect you from the elements, they haven’t skimped on skin-saving technology with hardshell techno inserts at the knuckles and finger joints. The gloves have a textile backing with a goatskin leather palm for added grip. The flexibility is good, but you’ll suffer if you flub the sizing since they won’t be able to break in accurately. Lots of zippers, cuffs, and inserts all help you customize them to suit your riding style and condition of the weather. [Purchase: $190]

Held Air N Dry

Held Air N Dry

Pro: Work in most weather conditions
Con: Stiff pinkies can cause numbness in that finger

Take the Tour: Making a good motorcycle glove for touring is one of the most challenging feats that any manufacturer can undertake. They have to make something that can reduce vibrations on the gravel roads in one horse towns, deal with the constant wetness of the coasts and offer enough ventilation that a trip through the southwest won’t leave you with sweaty palms. The way that the Air N Dry deals with this is by giving you two gloves in one by offering dual compartments. In the upper section you have a perforated top that will keep your hands cool and dry when the sun is shining while the lower portion is lined with Gore-Tex that makes it both warm and waterproof to keep your hands dry even in sudden cloudbursts. Hard plastic protects your knuckles and superfabric laced into the sides helps stop abrasion and fray if you need to bail and lay the bike down. The palm is perforated kangaroo leather that is meant for long-term comfort as well as intense abrasion resistance. The index finger includes a nice visor wipe which can reduce your stops. [Purchase: $273]

Dainese Full Metal RS

Dainese Full Metal RS

Pro: Titanium throughout
Con: Take a very long time to break in

Race Pro: The Full Metal RS is the zenith of what Dainese has to offer and is built for both street and track racers who expect to be in heavy competition and who anticipate a spill at high speeds. The back and knuckles are pure titanium with carbon fiber composite inserts. A polyurethane insert on the palm help to back up the goatskin leather which is used instead of cowhide on the hand to improve grip. The kevlar stitching gives the glove a heavy look while also improving elasticity in the fingers so you never encounter stiffness or resistance whether holding on for dear life or reaching for the brake. The little finger has outstanding distortion control to stop digit rollover or finger crowding. Kevlar and carbon throughout coupled with soft armor inserts will keep your hands pristine so that the coroner can identify your fingerprints. The impact slider on the heel of the hand is large without interfering with movement or flexibility. This is the glove worn by Valentino Rossi. [Purchase: $350]

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