Cycling Clutches: The 8 Best Bike Gloves

It’s true that you can head out for a cycling marathon without a pair of gloves. Just riding along, your digits exposed to the elements, ready to get scraped up, sweaty and prepared to slip off your handlebars. But there’s no reason to put yourself at such risk when you can spend a few bucks to get a pair of bike gloves that will keep you protected, enhance your grip, give you a bit of warmth on cold rides, and a way to wipe the sweat from you brow. Riding strong is about riding smart, and gloves are just a good investment.

Gloves built for bikers come in all shapes and sizes. Actually, that’s a lie. They come in one shape: glove shape. Picking out the right guard for your white-knuckling-the-handlebars lifestyle is about selecting the criteria important to you. Are you going to wear them for heat like winter gloves or are they going to be your sweat-soppers for hot times on the old town? Do you need mountain bike-grade grip and full armor for cyclocross, or just an accessory to prevent sunburn? However you roll, a pair of the 8 best cycling gloves is paradise for your fingers.

Dealzip Inc Fashion Outdoor Sports Gloves

Dealzip Inc Fashion Outdoor Sports Gloves

Pro: Tactical design
Con: Run a little small and tight

Manual Dexterity: Say you feel like taking your cruiser bike out for a spin along the boardwalk, enjoying a little sunshine, eating some funnel cake, and then sniping the oppressive dictator of a fascist regime. You need a glove that can do it all, and that’s where the Fashion bike gloves from Dealzip come in. Breathable microfiber ensures that your hands won’t get overheated and doused in sweat even when the mercury rises. Reinforced right around the knuckle, they give a little extra protection, but the real story is in flexibility. The wrist strap adjusts for a tight fit while the fingers let you handle your bike multi-tool with proficiency for easier fixes on the fly. [Purchase: $7]

Fox Head Dirtpaw

Fox Head Dirtpaw

Pro: Hook and loop closure
Con: Limited palm support is tough on long rides

Ridin’ Dirty: Fox Head is the big daddy when it comes to most hard-core bike gloves, particularly on the racing circuit. Since we’re aiming here more for the average rider rather than the mud-in-your-veins cyclocrosser, we didn’t take their most impressive offering, but rather the one that presents the most range. The Dirtpaw is plenty rugged without being overburdened with plates. Made of a polyamide, polyurethane, neoprene, and polyvinylcloride mixture, they stretch, flex, bend, and protect without tearing or wearing out. A lycra finger gusset adds to comfort and silicone on the first two fingers increase tactile function without getting fingerprints all over your crime scene. [Purchase: $11+]

Pearl Izumi Elite Gel

Pearl Izumi Elite Gel

Pro: Work equally well on drop and flat handlebars
Con: Can cause blisters if you buy an improper fit

Supple Support: The Elite Gel are aimed at the serious cyclist who intends on spending a lot of time in the saddle. Inside the palm are anatomically accurate gel cushions intended to hit the support points of the wearer’s hand while still offering enough flexibility for gripping, grabbing, and grappling. Made primarily from nylon and polyester, the backing breathes well and the ice-fill technology helps keep temperatures steady. They do offer a reasonably good balance should you opt to wear them during the winter months, but their intent is marathon road bike rides where comfort is king. Median and Ulnar nerves are protected during exhausting excursions for less pain and cramping during and after your ride. [Purchase: $14+]

Castelli Prima Glove

Castelli Prima Glove

Pro: Palm is coated with silicone grip material
Con: Knit design is too warm for hot weather

Swipe Right: You probably shouldn’t text and cycle, but if you don’t want to stop to tweet about your latest 100 mile adventure, these are touchscreen gloves made for biking. Long cuffs keep chills from creeping up your arm and will fit over lightweight running jackets for three-season protection. Made of coolmax yarn with copper woven into the thumb and index finger, tech-savvy riders will find that the tight fit facilitates light mechanical work in cold temperatures as well as tapping your way to victory on any iOS game leaderboard. [Purchase: $14+]

Giro Proof 100

Giro Proof 100

Pro: Synthetic leather palm aids with grip
Con: Each finger is separated inside outer shell

Triple Threat: On the surface, these not only look like and act like winter gloves, they look like a pretty bad pair of winter gloves. Tuck your fingers in and you’ll find the Proof 100 are much more. They come with a removable lining that can be used for sunnier days or you can stick with just the outer shell for pedaling in the cold. Put them together and you have a hard-core bike glove that can go down to 15 degrees. You’ll need to acclimate to shifting with the lobster claw design, but it isn’t that awkward and the gloves tighten down like a champ. [Purchase: $32]

Gore Bike Wear Retro Tech

Gore Bike Wear Retro Tech

Pro: Reflective piping for night riding
Con: Palm padding is not very thick

Summer Fling: Dropped out of the wayback machine by one of the Time Lords, the Retro Tech cycling gloves have a decidedly vintage look that’s a combination of retro and nouveau. Foam padding provides all around support to allow your hands comfort in any riding condition, with a sweat pad on the thumb for keeping your perspiration out of your eyes on those hot days and hard rides. Classic velcro loops hold the gloves closed with a vent patch right over the back of the hand where cooling is most vital. Thanks to the generalized padding, these operate just as well as a general sport gloves for summer softball, tennis, or polo if you have a horse and a huge estate. [Purchase: $37]

Sealskinz Dragon Eye

Sealskinz Dragon Eye

Pro: Fits very close
Con: Aggressive strap degrades cloth and piping at the wrist

Bone Dry: The Pacific Northwest is a hotbed of biking activity, yet the wet weather tends to put a damper on some of the two-wheeled festivities. If you’ve ever wiped out because your grip slipped during a cloudburst, you know how important it is to have a glove that can handle water. We found Sealskinz to make some of the best waterproof socks and that aptitude has translated admirably to the Dragon Eye bike gloves. Waterproof, windproof, yet still able to breathe, these are all-weather gloves ready for any condition. They’re made to be anti-slip for resisting pull-out and include a few touchscreen options in the fingertips for light browsing as you ride. [Purchase: $55]

Rapha Leather Town Gloves

Rapha Leather Town Gloves

Pro: Suave, professional appearance
Con: Leather can easily become hot during heavy exertion

Just Dandy: There’s no sense in sacrificing style just because you are riding a bicycle rather than cruising the highways with your top down, scarf blowing in the wind. These can easily double as driving gloves in a pinch, but the discreet grip and subtle padding tell the tale of taking your two-wheeled steed out for a jaunt. Made from long-lasting African hair sheep leather they break in perfectly for a customized fit that will be with you for years to come. In a few striking colors, this is the designer glove for the man about town who’s doing more commuting than intensive training. [Purchase: $245]

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