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The Best Weightlifting Gloves For Training

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By far one of the most controversial topics in the workout realm, weightlifting gloves are said to offer a number of distinct advantages in the gym. Because these divisive pieces of fitness equipment are offered in a variety of styles and sub-genres, sorting out the reality behind their pros and cons can be tricky. So, we’ve searched far and wide, consulting many a gym rat and trainer to help give a concrete answer to the age-old question.

Do they help? Are they detrimental to proper form and technique? Is it all subjective and just a matter of opinion? Below, we’ll delve into the arguments for the strengths and weaknesses of weightlifting gloves as well as the logic behind said arguments. We’ll also be exploring some best weightlifting gloves that are currently on the market. So, let’s get into it.

Best Lifting Gloves Breakdown

Should You Wear Weightlifting Gloves In The Gym?

The Advantages Of Weightlifting Gloves

Those that do land on the pro side of the weightlifting glove debate cite a myriad of areas that are reportedly improved by wearing these gloves. The first (and quite possibly the most blatant) benefit is grip. Tightly holding a barbell (or any other weight), more often than not results in your hands perspiring, which can greatly compromise grip. Weightlifting gloves remedy this issue by adorning your palms in a layer of material that provides grip and bolsters one’s ability to grasp the bar.

Shielding your hands from knurled bars, dumbbells, battle ropes, kettlebells, and grenade grips, weightlifting gloves greatly help to reduce the formation of blisters and calluses. Whether you’re looking to avoid having rough “work” hands or simply trying to prevent calluses and blisters from splitting or opening, weightlifting gloves remedy these issues, thereby saving you from forced off/cheat days. Accidentally dropping a barbell or weight can obviously result in a serious injury. Wearing weightlifting gloves can help to massively reduce this risk.

Weightlifting gloves are also said to help reduce the substantial pressure placed on your wrists when lifting, allowing you to use more strength from your back and chest. Gloves that afford their wearer wrist support also make a substantial difference. These strap-equipped gloves not only reduce the risk of possible injury to the wrist(s), but they also help to more evenly distribute weight across the entirety of your forearms rather than placing the lion’s share on your hands and wrists — a fact that’s even more noticeable when performing pulling exercises.

The Downsides To Weightlifting Gloves

On the flip side of the coin, there are a number of widely recognized downsides to wearing weightlifting gloves. Because of the added bulk from the materials between your hands and the bar, weightlifting gloves have the propensity to push the bar away from your wrists, out towards your fingers, reducing grip and leverage, and making achieving proper form exceedingly difficult. Many have also pointed out that the vast majority of weight training equipment found in today’s gyms was developed and designed with bare-handed use in mind.

Quite possibly the most commonly-cited downside to wearing weightlifting gloves is the impact on grip training. Lifting with bare hands forces them to naturally develop grip and wearing gloves can prevent this from happening. Some even argue that despite the added grip afforded by weightlifting gloves, they, in fact, can increase the likelihood of an injury as they limit tactile feel while also mitigating squeeze strength. One happy medium that allows for increased grip without compromising form or feel is using chalk.

Weighing In

Our Take On The Weightlifting Glove Debate

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to wearing weightlifting gloves. While studies and surveys definitely point to the majority of people not utilizing them — though the number does appear to be rising – the reality is these gloves should be viewed on a case-by-case basis. If they work for you and help to improve your workout, then we’re all for using them. If you find that they do more harm than good and just aren’t for you, that’s perfectly fine, too. For those that fall into that former group, however, we’ve compiled this list of the best weightlifting gloves currently on the market.

Weightlifting Gloves Vs. Straps

An alternative to weightlifting gloves is weightlifting straps. Where gloves help your grip and protect your fingers and palms from pinching or developing calluses, especially if you’re a beginner, straps can provide better security with heavier weights, reducing the risk of dropping them or, worse, hurting yourself.

That’s not to say that expert lifters shouldn’t wear gloves either, as many options are also beneficial for taking the pressure of the weights off of your wrists (although many are not).

What To Look For In Lifting Gloves

Durability: Most gloves on the market will be fairly durable, especially considering how fairly they’re priced, but you still want a pair that won’t crap out on you mid-workout.

Grip: If grip is of utmost importance to you, then you’ll want a glove that prioritizes that feature. Certain options will have extra grip on the fingers and palms to help.

Fit: The most important aspect to help maximize your gloves’ potential is how they fit onto your hands and secure to your wrists. Everyone is built differently and if you have a history of wrist issues, certain models may not be as effective as others. Expect some time for trial and error to find the right gloves for you.

Mava Sports Cross Training Gloves

  • Easy to take on and off
  • Great wrist support
  • Cushion and padding in high-contact areas
  • Fantastic grip even with sweaty hands
  • Versatile for any workout type
  • Affordable
  • Runs a bit small

Best Overall: Backed by a patented design, these unique fingerless, wrist-wrapped/supported gloves were made to better distribute weight, ultimately allowing for greater performance. The use of cushioned leather and silicone padding in key areas means that, despite the minimal use of material, these MAVA gloves still prevent blisters and calluses. Offered in seven different colors, these gloves sport a neoprene material that allows for solid grip even when your hands are sweating — an area further helped along by their Hook and Loop closure system.

Under Armour Men’s Weightlifting Gloves

  • Really durable
  • Secure wrist strap is easy to adjust
  • Stylish
  • Terry cloth on thumb to wipe sweat
  • Breathable
  • Not the easiest to slip on and off

Runner-Up: Made from a hybrid polyester and elastane material reinforced with leather palms, these weightlifting gloves from Under Armour are bestowed with a number of clever features. Elastic wristbands paired with adjustable wrist straps ensure a tight fit, while a Terry cloth thumb panel makes it easy to wipe the sweat away from your eyes, perforations allow for solid airflow, and textured palms make for better grip. Quite possibly the most unique element of these gloves is their modern, almost futuristic appearance.

Harbinger FlexFit Non-Wristwrap Weightlifting Gloves

Harbinger Flexfit
  • TechGel pads and leather palms give great cushion
  • Improves grip while preventing calluses
  • Really comfortable
  • May have some durability issues

Best Non-Wrist Support Gloves: Born out of decades of real-world experience in weightlifting rooms, Harbinger’s FlexFit gloves feature several integrated layers — including the brand’s BiFlex palms — that are designed to allow for the most natural possible grip and flex. TechGel pads and leather palms still provide ample cushion and protection from blisters and calluses while also extending the lifespan of these gloves. The half-exposed fingers also help to bolster your overall feel and grip.

Fit Four Weightlifting Gloves – The Gripper

  • An alternative to finger taping
  • Easy to stow
  • Super grippy silicone
  • Definitely not for everyone
  • Obviously no wrist support

Best Palmless: Capable of bolstering finger grip without ultimately compromising on hand/palm grip or overall form, these half-finger-only items are commonly utilized as an alternative to traditional hand and finger taping. Made from half Lycra, 40% microfiber, and 10% silicone, these gloves feature grippy silicone above the palms. The relatively small and compact size of these “gloves” also makes them perfect for shoving in a gym bag, or even your pocket.

Mechanix Wear The Original Work Gloves

Mechanix Wear The Original Work Gloves
  • Breathable
  • Keeps hand secure
  • Eliminates dirt and debris
  • Touchscreen-friendly
  • Won’t be suitable for some weightlifters who want something more tailored

Best Full-Handed: Not only are Mechanix Wear’s The Original Tactical Work Gloves the most affordable glove option on this list but they’re extremely handy in a multitude of situations that extend beyond the gym walls. Whether you’re a gym rat or a mechanic by trade, these gloves will secure themselves to your hands while also keeping out dirt and debris thanks to the thermoplastic rubber hook and loop closure. The gloves themselves are made from 0.8mm-thick synthetic leather that’s touchscreen-compatible and reinforced for strength on your thumb and index fingers. Despite forming to the back of your hand with its TrekDry material, these are still incredibly breathable.

Bear KompleX 3-Hole Hand Grips

Rogue Bear Komplex 3 Hole Hand Grips
  • Durable against any powder-coated bars
  • Unique triple-stitched carbon fiber material gives consistent stick
  • Custom wrist strap won’t dig when lifting
  • Can’t return them after they’re chalked

Best for Kettlebells: Anyone who’s done some time with kettlebells knows how badly they can tear up your palms and fingers. Available in four sizes, the Bear KompleX 3-Hole Hand Grips are unconventional in appearance and function but work perfectly for any powder-coated bars and handles. Made from triple-stitched carbon fiber, these unique gloves boast a consistent stick that won’t rip or tear along the way. Helping support your wrists as well, Bear KompleX also gives you a custom wrist strap below the buckle that’s easy to adjust and won’t dig into your wrist when lifting.

Gymreapers Lifting Straps

Gymreapers Lifting Straps
  • Neoprene padding eliminates digging
  • Gives you confidence on heavier lifts
  • Budget-friendly
  • Takes a bit to get used to

Best Straps: Weightlifting straps aren’t the most sophisticated piece of gear you’ll find but they can serve you well if you’re used to lower reps and heavier weights, but can also aid you when doing CrossFit or standard lifting. And what’s more, they’re almost always more affordable than their gloved counterparts. Stretching 18″ each, Gymreapers’ Lifting Straps incorporate Neoprene padding to eliminate digging into your wrists when lifting and feature a non-slip construction to improve your grip no matter how heavy you’re going that day.

Versa Gripps Pro

Versa Gripps Pro
  • Great for heavier pulls
  • Enhances muscle isolation
  • Double as straps
  • Non-slip grip
  • Pricey

Best for Serious Lifters: While they’re the only option on this list that isn’t considered cheap, Versa Gripps’ Pro is still very much worth the money if you’re serious about lifting. Even if you just strap these on for your heavier pulls, they’re good to have in your arsenal. Available in four sizes (and an array of colors), these gloves help isolate muscles when pulling, eliminate slippage, and prolong your grip by lessening fatigue. Distributing the weight evenly at the base of your hand for better circulation and alleviating wrist strain, the Pro Versa Gripps utilizes an innovative arch support that allows them to act as a sort of strap, but while still functioning as a glove.

The Best Gym Bags For Men

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Still on the prowl for more fitness gear? Our guide to the best gym bags is the perfect vessel to haul of that newly acquired gear.