Motorcycle gloves are one of the most important things to wear on a bike (besides a helmet of course); your hands are often the first things to hit the ground in an accident, and the road surface – particularly the more abrasive rural surface-dressed roads found in the UK – can cause of a lot of damage.
Your gloves need to be comfortable, they need to fit you properly, they need to stay on your hands in an accident and they need to be protective. Oh, and they might need to keep your hands warm and dry too. Gardening or welding gloves are not the answer.
With a choice of 2,124 when having a quick search on Sportsbikeshop it can be hard to know what’s right for you… and they don’t even sell all the ones you can choose from!
But don’t worry, in this article we’re going to reveal the best motorcycle gloves we’ve tested, show you how to choose the ones that suit YOUR fit, YOUR style and YOUR budget, and we’ll hear what over 1,000 UK riders think of their gloves…
Summer gloves can dispense with thermal liners and waterproof membranes to give you the best feel possible while keeping your hands cool. Our selection of gauntlet, or long-cuff gloves is based on the huge number of products we’ve reviewed, but it’s still by no means an exhaustive list. We cover many thousands of miles in our gear – in all weathers – and our reviews are truly independent. If we say something is good, it’s based on real experience, not spec-sheets or what the PRs told us…
Here are six of our best summer motorcycle gloves, based on our reviews. Be sure to check back regularly, as we’ll keep this updated when we review other products…
These are just six of the many different long-cuff summer motorcycle gloves we’ve tested at Bennetts BikeSocial. Be sure to check out all our other reviews of the best motorcycle gloves, from the lowest prices to the top of the range.
Short-cuff gloves can be great in the summer as of course they can let more air up your sleeves. They can’t offer the same protection as a gauntlet, and won’t be allowed on track, but they can be a great road option.
As with any gloves, check that they won’t pull off your hands – the wrist retention is very important in a crash.
There are waterproof short-cuff gloves available, but there benefit seems very limited as anything more than a light splash will see water running down into them.
Here are five of our best summer motorcycle gloves, based on our reviews. Be sure to check back regularly, as we’ll keep this updated when we review other products…
These are just five of the many different short-cuff summer motorcycle gloves we’ve tested at Bennetts BikeSocial. Be sure to check out all our other reviews of the best motorcycle gloves, from the lowest prices to the top of the range.
Winter gloves will be more bulky than summer gloves, and even those with nothing more than a waterproof membrane can make your hands significantly hotter. Compatibility with your jacket’s cuffs is vital for the best waterproofing and windproofing, but check out the advice later in this article for more. Oh, and while they can offer mixed effectiveness, look for a visor wiper blade on the left forefinger of any gloves you’ll use in the rain; it can be a big help in bad weather!
Here are five of our best winter motorcycle gloves, based on our reviews. Be sure to check back regularly, as we’ll keep this updated when we review other products…
These are just five of the many different winter motorcycle gloves we’ve tested at Bennetts BikeSocial. Be sure to check out all our other reviews of the best motorcycle gloves, from the lowest prices to the top of the range.
One of these pairs achieves Level 1, the minimum requirement of all motorcycle gloves, while the other has been tested and certified to the higher Level 2
All motorcycle gloves sold in the UK and Europe – from the very cheapest to the most expensive – have to be certified. EN 13594:2015 is the European Standard for motorcyclists’ gloves, which means they ALL go through the following tests:
You’ll find a label inside that has a ‘1’ or a ‘2’, indicating the two different Levels of performance. Level 1 is the minimum requirement, while Level 2 gloves offer increased abrasion, tear and burst strength.
You might also find ‘KP’, which means the gloves have been tested and proven to offer effective knuckle protection. All Level 2 gloves will have knuckle protection, and they’ll also always be a longer cuff design to meet the standard’s requirements.
Also look at Motocap’s glove reports. This is an Australian initiative to independently test as much of the kit sold there as possible. Professor Chris Hurren and his team use a more coarse 60 grit belt (as specified in EN 13595 for clothing) from the original version of the gloves standard (EN 13594:2003), which is significantly more punishing than the 120 grit specified in the EN 13594:2015 abrasion testing required of gloves now.
An effective wrist restraint strap is vital. Also make sure that it can’t pull out of the buckle when putting the gloves on as it can be a real fiddle to get back in
Any glove is only protective if it stays on your hand, so before you buy anything, pop it on and do up any straps until they’re comfortably tight (so not making your fingers tingle!). If you can still pull the gloves off, they could come off in a slide, leaving your hands unprotected.
You might find hard scaphoid protectors on the lower palms of the gloves – the idea of these is to help your hand slide in a crash, rather than grab against the road surface. If this happens, your arm can over-extend, breaking the scaphoid bone in the wrist, which is a troublesome injury to heal.
Some gloves also have extra ‘armour’ on the fingers and other areas that might offer some degree of protection, but do check them on your motorbike as it can restrict lever travel in two-finger braking; I had one very panicky moment on a Honda Fireblade launch due to this. If your bike has span-adjustable levers you should be able to dial this problem out, but make sure you’re still able to ride comfortably.
Scaphoid sliders feature on many gloves, and can help reduce the chances of a break due to over-extension of thew wrist
On summer gloves, a long cuff – or gauntlet – can offer more protection to your forearms in a crash. On the other hand (no pun intended, and I would always recommend wearing matching pairs), a short glove can feel a lot cooler in hot weather… they can also more suit a leather jacket and riding jeans. The choice is yours, but if you’re in a set of one- or two-piece leathers, you’ll almost certainly choose a long cuff.
Whatever you go for, check how the gloves fit with your jacket; some gauntlets won’t fit over some sleeves well, and some short cuff gloves can clash with jackets, making them uncomfortable.
Cuff length becomes far more critical in winter gloves, where a longer cuff will better seal water and wind out of your jacket’s sleeves. You can get short-cuff winter gloves, but you really need a jacket with long sleeves that won’t pull back as you extend your arms.
Again, check that the gloves you’re buying will seal well with your jacket’s sleeves, but know this… you really should wear your gloves UNDER the sleeves in the rain.
Water will run down your arms in bad weather, which will then soak into the lining and leave you with very wet hands. Cinch the jacket sleeves up tight OVER the gloves and water won’t blow in there.
But this does depend on a well-designed jacket, so be sure to check out our reviews of the best motorcycle textile riding kit.
‘Fits like a glove’ can sometimes mean baggy palms and flappy fingers if you choose poorly! We’re all different, so when trying gloves on – besides making sure they can’t pull off in a slide – look at the length of the fingers for a start.
Stretch out your hand, then make a fist: the gloves mustn’t cut into the webs between your fingers, but they also need to be the right length for all five digits. The little finger and thumb are the most common areas that can show mis-sizing. Also check you can easily extend your first two fingers when braking.
Some gloves take a little breaking in, but there shouldn’t be much need really. Make sure none of your fingers feel cramped, and also that there are no rogue bits of stitching or creases that can cause pressure points. Be aware that you might be one size in one brand, but a size smaller or larger in another.
As with any kit, the best advice is to try as much on as you can – that way you’ll soon see what works for you and what doesn’t. Also, do get a feel for how warm the gloves feel in comparison to each other; some summer gloves have a lining that can at times make your hands feel sweatier than in others.
It’s good practice – even in the best-made winter gloves – to grip the fingers when pulling them off
A tricky one to check this, but there’s little more annoying than a lining that pulls out of winter gloves; once it’s broken free it’ll always be a pain to have to push back in with a pen.
Most winter gloves used to have a lining that was tacked to the outer in just a few places, and if you dragged damp hands out they could take the lining with them, pretty much ruining the gloves.
Look for laminated linings and tech like ‘Gore Grip’, which tightly bonds the layers for a more direct feel, as well as better lining security.
When removing winter gloves, always hold the finger tips firmly to also grip the lining, then carefully remove your hand. If it feels like the lining’s getting ready to let go, get a better grip on the fingers before moving your hand any more.
Check our reviews of motorcycle gloves to see how effective they can be at waterproofing, but besides getting a good seal with your jacket, look for a visor-wipe on the left forefinger. These can vary in quality, but a good one should wipe a large area of the visor.
Some are a soft fabric or suede on the outside edge, but I prefer a rubbery blade. I have no idea why some gloves sold as waterproof don’t have a visor wipe built in!
There is another option though – the Visorcat visor cleaner straps easily to your left hand and offers a large wiping area. It also has the advantage of a reservoir for cleaning fluid that keeps a small sponge soaked; with this you can easily wipe even dried-on crud from your visor. Anyone who’s ridden in wet conditions when it’s just stopped raining will know how bad the dirt thrown up from the road can be. I’ve spent too many rides willing the driver in front to use their windscreen washer in the hopes some will hit my visor!
Waterproof membranes typically work by allowing moisture from the warm side of the membrane (against the body) to move through the tiny holes and out to the colder side (outside), but not the other way. If you have heated grips running, this makes the outside of the glove warmer than the inside, which can reverse the action of the membrane. Water gets in from the outside, but isn’t allowed back out!
If you think your gloves are leaking, before sending them back to the shop you bought them from check two things:
These Halvarssons gloves have a ‘Nudud’ nubbin on the right forefinger that makes using a smartphone much easier
The majority of gloves now have a touch-screen compatible panel on at least the right forefinger, often the left too. Try it to see how accurate you can be as some are better than others, though the little ‘Nudud’ lump sewn into Halvarssons gloves is really helpful.
Also look for designs that have a touchscreen-compatible section on the tip of the finger; it’s a lot more effective than a large pad that sees you clumsily mashing the display with the flat of your finger to try to hit the right control.
If you’re on a motorbike all year round, you’re almost certainly going to need to budget for two pairs of gloves, so keep that in mind when looking at what you can afford.
There’s a lot of great kit out there, and now you know what to look for you’re better equipped to find the best for your ride.
But while the team at Bennetts BikeSocial has decades of experience in testing motorcycle kit, nobody can tell you what one pair of gloves is best for YOU. We can help you make the right choices, but we believe in arming you with as much knowledge as possible, so we also sent surveys out to over 1,000 UK riders, who told us what they thought of the gloves they wear. Check out the video below, but here are some headline awards…
Most comfortable summer gloves as voted by owners:
Most waterproof Spring-Autumn gloves as voted by owners:
Warmest unheated winter gloves as voted by owners: