Our hands are our first line of defense when it comes to going down on a motorcycle, as humans instinctively brace and attempt to catch themselves from falling with their hands. In fact, this is usually the first part of our body to make contact with the pavement. As a result, keeping your hands protected with a quality pair of gloves is absolutely essential, though moto mitts also serve a plethora of other purposes and offer a myriad of additional benefits such as keeping your hands warm, bolstering grip, mitigating the absorption of vibrations, and shielding your knuckles from pebbles and other small objects and debris that can be painful when hit at freeway speeds.
Because motorcycle gloves have existed for practically as long as motorcycles themselves, these pieces have gear have experienced tremendous leaps and bounds over the last more than a century, benefitting from ever-more-efficient and protective designs as well as a host of innovative materials and constructions. This has ultimately culminated in today’s cutting-edge crop of riding gloves, almost all of which have been specifically engineered to lend themselves to a particular style or riding application. And it’s this current selection of offerings that we’ll be shining a light on today in this guide to the best motorcycle gloves. On top of counting down our picks for the best gloves currently available from each main category, we’ll also be touching on what makes for a quality pair and what factors to consider when shopping.
Moto Mitts 101
What To Factors To Consider When Purchasing Riding Gloves
Motorcycle gloves serve an incredibly specific purpose, needing to protect one’s hands from impacts, slides, and the elements, without overly compromising dexterity and tactile feel. As a result, buying new gloves can be a tricky process, especially to those unfamiliar with the space. In an effort to help streamline your buying process and ensure you get the right pair for your specific wants and needs, we’ve compiled this condensed list of the eight crucial elements to think about before making your buy.
Intended Use: The most important factor to guide your purchase when buying gloves should always be your intended use, as different riding applications require different types of gloves. By considering the type of riding you plan on doing, you should be able to hugely narrow down your search to a particular type of glove. From there, you can start examining the different features on the gloves in that segment to better determine which amenities you’ll want or need — a process that will narrow down your search that much more.
Primary Construction(s): Unsurprisingly, one of, if not the biggest factor in determining a pair of gloves’ overall quality and level of protection is the main material — or materials – used to construct it. Typically comprising the construction of the fingers, the back of the hands, and sometimes the palms, primary glove material is almost always some type of leather — or synthetic leather — and quite often is made from an exotic hide such as goatskin, deerskin, kangaroo, and even stingray leather.
Secondary Materials: Most gloves — at least those on the more premium end of the spectrum — are made from multiple materials, with their primary constructions being supplemented with other materials such as different types of leather as well as membranes and/or liners, stretchy or elasticized elements, and closure systems. It’s also worth exploring a pair of gloves’ construction techniques such as whether its seams are stitchless, welded, welted, or only applied externally, or if a glove’s fingers are pre-curved or rolled. Many gloves have also been given finishes or treatments to further fortify their constructions — another area worth exploring when shopping around.
Armor: A high-end leather and quality construction will afford gloves with the ability to survive a slide or skid, however, their resistance to impacts and slams is owed to a pair’s armor. Not always present on riding gloves but far more common than not, external armor on gloves can range from anything from polycarbonate to TPS to titanium constructions, and are typically located across the knuckles and sometimes on the inner edge of the palms — almost always the very first part of the glove to meet with tarmac as a rider puts their hands out when going shiny side down. Some gloves also sport additional internal armor or padding — such as foam or D30 — while others boast finger “anti-distortion systems” that act as braces and prevent your phalanges from getting broken.
Weather Fortification: Having cold and wet hands while riding isn’t only uncomfortable — if not outright painful — but it can also be tremendously dangerous, as frigid temperatures hugely lessen a rider’s hands’ dexterity, sensitivity, and range of motion — thereby impeding their ability to properly control the bike or quickly react to an obstacle or hazard. Motorcycle gear companies are well aware of this reality and for years have been producing gloves designed to stand up to harsh weather with elements such as wind and waterproof membranes, added insulation, and robust shells. For those interested in taking on extreme cold-weather riding, gloves with built-in heating elements will almost always be your best choice.
Fit & Feel: When riding a motorcycle, one is markedly more connected with their vehicle compared to piloting a car. The control inputs on a motorcycle must be given precisely, and tactile feedback plays an enormous role in allowing the bike to communicate vital information to its rider. For these reasons, having a pair of gloves that fits snugly — without being too tight or constricting — and affords ample tactile feel and response is extremely important. The best way to get a sense of this is simply by trying on a pair of gloves, though this obviously isn’t an option when shopping online. As a result, reading reviews from users can be a stellar way to get a better understanding of this area.
Style: Even if they’re the same style of glove, the appearance of moto mitts can massively differ from model to model and company to company. Once you’ve figured out which genre of glove is most conducive to your intended riding application(s) and how much you’re willing to spend, you can then let your aesthetic tastes guide the rest of your decision. It is probably worth noting that a pair of gloves’ appearance shouldn’t be the primary thing driving your decision, as looks should take a back seat to construction, armor, and genre.
Price: It is true that riding gloves can vary pretty wildly in terms of pricing, though the vast majority of the time, opting to spend more will yield a better, more high-quality — and more importantly, more protective — pair. Spending several hundred dollars on a pair of riding gloves may appear exorbitant, though the reality is they simply do a much better job of fortifying your fingers, knuckles, and palms, and will be far cheaper than dealing with the medical bills and lost wages from an injury that could have been prevented by wear a solid set of moto mitts.
Adventure — or “ADV” or “dual-sport” — riding gloves are similar to regular street or track gloves, coming equipped with ample protection from impacts and slides, however, this style of moto mitt is also engineered specifically for off-road use. As such, these items tend to boast more robust constructions with better protection from the elements and the ability to stand up to mud, sands, and other things you’ll seldom come across while out on the open road.
Held Sambia Pro Gloves
A short-cuff, warm-weather adventure riding glove, Held’s Sambia Pro model is a solid yet affordable item that packs a slew of impressive features. This includes a primary leather construction supplemented via kangaroo leather palms that are reinforced via SuperFabric brand material with an underlying layer of Armaprotec, as well as plastic knuckle armor with a proprietary ventilation system, touchscreen-friendly fingertips, an integrated visor wipe, and flat seams. And, very seldom will you find a premium pair of gloves like this at such an accessible MSRP.
Rukka Argosaurus 2.0 GORE-TEX Glove
Despite not being as big as some of its competitors, Rukka has managed to carve out a reputation for producing ultra-high-end riding gear, and the brand’s second-gen Argosaurus GTX gloves are no exception. Built around a primary leather construction, these completely wind-proof and waterproof gloves boast a full GORE-TEX membrane with touch-screen-compatible fingertips, all external seams, ventilated fingers and knuckles, and a visor wipe. Rukka’s Argosaurus 2.0 GORE-TEX glove also comes backed by a two-year factory warranty.
REV’IT! Dominator 3 GTX Gloves
REV’IT! manages to remain at the forefront of the moto gear space through its relentless quest to always be innovating and pushing the envelop, routinely turning to some of the world’s newest and most advanced materials and technologies to produce their gear. Case in point, REV’IT!’s Dominator 3 GTX gloves. Featuring a perforated and drum-dyed goatskin leather main construction with a DWR-finish, these mighty moto mitts pack Pittards hairsheep diamond WR100X leather palms, rugged Gütermann threading, GORE-TEX waterproofing with GORE GRIP technology, foam-padded fingers, palms, and thumb, ventilated dual composite armored knuckles, and TPU hard-shell thumb protectors and palm sliders.
Cafe Racer Gloves
Just like with modern cafe racer motorcycles, cafe racer gloves are contemporary offerings made using today’s materials and construction techniques while sporting aesthetic designs that take blatant and ample inspiration from items of the 1970s and ’80s. With old-school looks and modern levels of protection, cafe gloves are what a great many nostalgia-loving riders call “the best of both worlds.”
Roland Sands Design Wellington CE Gloves
Pieced together with a primary cowhide leather construction with an all tricot lining, Roland Sands Design’s Wellington model has long been one of the Southern California custom moto, gear, and parts purveyor’s best-selling gloves, though RSD has recently treated the classic cafe pair to an upgrade with a CE-certification. Touchscreen-compatible, these work-glove-inspired moto mitts sport elastic wrists, flex-rib knuckles, and an unmistakably old-school appearance.
Fuel Moto Rodeo Gloves
Here we have another CE-certified pair of retro-inspired gloves from a custom motorcycle and riding gear outfit — this time Spain’s Fuel Motorcycles — that offer top levels of protection in a vintage-style package. Available in a variety of colors, the Rodeo glove’s main cowhide construction is supplemented via integrated PVC knuckle armor, anatomically contoured suede palms, stitched accordion baffles, adjustable wrist opening with elastic gathers and embossed leather closures adorned in Fuel branding, and raised welt detailing on the leatherbacks. Inside, the gloves also sport a soft poly microfiber lining with antimicrobial properties.
Velomacchi Speedway Gloves
Like everything else that Velomacchi produces — including its absolutely stellar moto riding backpacks — the Portland brand’s Speedway glove is a stylish, highly calculated, and excellently designed piece of riding gear crafted from top-shelf materials. The glove features goatskin across the back of the hand under an idiosyncratic, raised TPR finger and knuckle guard arrangement, while the other side sports deerskin palms with brass rivet palm sliders set over gel padding. Visually inspired by 1960s racing items, these gloves are offered in two colorways.
Daily Use Gloves
EDC Moto Equipment
Most people don’t consider riding gloves to be part of one’s EDC load out, though if you commute daily on two-wheelers then we’d argue that gloves objectively fall under the EDC umbrella. And just like with the rest of your EDC spread, everyday use gloves are designed to tick quite a few boxes, needing the utility, durability, and style to lend themselves to prolonged daily use. There are quite a few other styles of gloves that also make for solid everyday gloves, though the selection below pulls off the aforementioned balancing act particularly well.
SPIDI X-Knit Gloves
Some of the lightest gloves on the market at just 0.1kgs (or 3.5oz) — while still boasting CE, moto PPE, and EN certifications — SPIDI’s X-Knit model is an incredibly unique take on daily riding gloves, looking and feeling like traditional warm knitted gloves while affording full levels of protection. Crafted from a highly abrasion-resistant suede microfiber, these gloves also feature touchscreen-compatible fingertips, padding along the sides of the hands and over the palms, and adjustable wrist closures. While they are a bit lacking in impact protection, it’s truly remarkable how comfortable and light these gloves are considering the protection they afford.
Dainese X-Ride Gloves
Released only weeks ago, Dainese’s X-Ride gloves benefit from a wealth of data taken from MotoGP riders to map out the parts of the gloves most prone to impacts and abrasions. This then allowed the Italian brand to develop one of the best daily use gloves of all time. The gloves are made using a goatskin construction with a single piece of leather that’s backed by goatskin overlays and TPU on the palms and goatskin reinforcements at the palms, thumbs, and trigger fingers. Other highlights include Dainese’s proprietary Distortion Control Protection system which prevents the rider’s pinky from breaking, Ergo-Tek knuckle armor, adjustable neoprene cuffs, touchscreen compatibility, and micro-elastic elasticated inserts afford just the right amount of flex in the right places to make for the perfect fit, no matter what the hand is doing.
Knox Handroid Pod MK4 Gloves
Just looking at Knox’s Handroid gloves, you can plainly see that they’re something special. CE-certified, the gloves have also been outfitted with 0.8mm drum-dyed kangaroo leather construction supplemented via cowhide cuffs and box finger construction that affords a more snug and secure fit, bolstering comfort, dexterity, and feel. On top of boasting gel lining across the backs of the hands and a boot-style BOA closure system, what really sets these gloves apart from other models on the market is their use of Knox’s Handroid flexible exoskeleton finger and knuckle sliders, and patented low-profile Knox Scaphoid Protection System on the palms.
Cold Weather Finger Fortification
If you’re the type that commutes on two wheels year-round in a region with snow or particularly frigid temperatures in the winter, then you’re almost certainly going to want heated riding gear, including your gloves. And while heated gloves used to be annoying items to use, tethered to long unsightly cables linking them to the battery, wireless gloves with integrated battery packs have increasingly become the new industry standard. As such, below we’ve selected a trio of the finest — and newest – heated gloves with built-in batteries that money can currently buy.
Merlin Minworth Heated Glove
Despite resembling your average pair of mid-cuff cafe gloves, Merlin’s brand-new Minworth model conceals a host of noteworthy features and cutting-edge materials and tech under its decidedly old-school appearance. On top of an integrated 22,000mAh battery and a built-in three-level LED battery-level indicator, these cowhide construction gloves also feature breathable and waterproof Hipora membranes, 200-grams of Thinsulate insulation, a microfleece lining, and D30 knuckle armor. In addition to being sold with a second battery, these heated gloves are also touchscreen compatible.
Klim Hardanger HTD Long Gloves
Even more robust than the above item is the Hardanger HTD long gloves from Klim (pronounced “climb”). These leather gloves allow riders to operate in extreme conditions thanks to 100-grams of Thinsulate insulation, a DWR-coating, a micro-fleece lining, an LED heating mode indicator, and a full GORE-TEX membrane. Inside, the gloves boast heating elements that adorn the back of the hands and wrap around the fingers, plus the lack of insulation in the palms also affords better grip and allows riders to receive warmth from heated grips. Other details include rubber knuckle protectors lined with 5mm of XRD impact protection foam, goat leather palm and fingers, touchscreen compatibility, a CE certification, and a visor wipe.
Alpinestars HT-7 Heat Tech Drystar Gloves
Alpinestars’ HT-7 Heat Tech Drystar gloves are almost certainly the nicest and most premium pair of wireless heated riding gloves currently in existence. Touchscreen-compatible, these heated gloves boast an ergonomic stretch micro ripstop soft-shell construction with goat leather adorning the palms and the back of the hands, 80-grams of Primaloft insulation, dual-density TPU knuckle protection, palm sliders, and Astars’ own proprietary breathable, wind, and waterproof Drystar performance membrane. On top of rolled fingertips, the use of a stainless-enameled copper-nickel heating yarn allows the gloves heating elements to more efficiently transmit heat to the rider’s hands. And, not unlike many high-end true wireless earbuds models, these gloves can sense when they’re put on, and can automatically turn themselves on, and automatically shut down upon their wearer removing them.
Sport & Track Gloves
Riding hard on the track means pushing you and your bike to your limits and routinely achieving speeds well into triple digits territory. And while this makes piloting a bike on a closed race track an immensely fun and exhilarating riding experience, it also opens the rider up to a lot of potential crashes. As a result, some of the world’s leading glove manufacturers have designed spare-no-expensive gloves engineered to afford the most protection possible. Most of the best top-shelf gloves that are worn by professional MotoGP, WSBK, and TT riders are available to the general public in replica form — albeit usually for a fairly steep price, albeit their undeniably offer the absolute pinnacle of protection.
Alpinestars Supertech Gloves
When gear is trusted by some of the world’s most skilled professional racers — including six-time world champion Marc Márquez — you can safely assume you’re dealing with some of the highest levels of protection on the planet. And such is the case with Alpinestar’s Supertech gloves, as they are identical to the exact model worn by a slew of MotoGP and WSBK riders. Crafted from full-grain kangaroo and cow leather, these pro-grade gloves have received pre-shaped fingers, Keprotec reinforcements in strategic areas that are most prone to failure, TPU-injected adjustable cuff panels and finger sliders, an internal Kevlar lining, Alpinestars’ patented third and fourth finger bridge, stretch and lateral leather accordion inserts that afford an unrestricted range of motion, and Astars’ dual-density Dynamic Friction Shield knuckle protection system — complete with intake and exhaust ventilation ports.
Dainese Full Metal 6 Gloves
Want to wear an exact replica of the gloves worn by current MotoGP World Champion Joan Mir — as well as nine-time world champ, the “Doctor” himself, Valentino Rossi — then Dainese’s Full Metal 6 model are the gloves for you. Made from top-shelf goatskin, the gloves come equipped with a slew of premium touches such as their carbon fiber inserts at the joints of the fingers, and carbon and titanium inserts on the backs of the knuckles, Dainese’s proprietary DCP System, thermoplastic resin and micro-elastic inserts on side of little finger, an aramid fiber jersey liner, Aramid fiber stitching throughout, quadruple elastic between knuckles and back of the hand for maximum mobility and range of movement, and the famous “Rossi Ticklers” at the base of the fingers where the digits meet with the palm.
Held Titan RR Gloves
If one were to set out to engineer the ultimate top-of-the-line pair of racing gloves with zero concern for costs and the only aim being to achieve the maximum possible level of protection, the end result would likely look quite a bit like Held’s thoroughly top-shelf Titan RR gloves. Absolutely brimming with premium features and advanced materials, the Titan RR is made from a highly abrasion-resistant kangaroo leather that’s reinforced via stingray leather lined with gel cushioning, Held Armaprotec, SUPROTECT shock-absorbing special foam, full titanium construction knuckle protectors and side hand shells, an Aramid ceramic polymer-matrix-coated ring and pinky finger bridge, and a special step seam setup that reduces pressure on the hand while bolstering tactile feel.
The 10 Best Motorcycle Boots
Now that you’ve got your riding glove situation all sorted, be sure to check out our lower body counterpart with our guide to the best motorcycle boots for ten of the finest models across every genre in the segment.
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