Cycling Gloves Buyer’s Guide-How to Find the Best Cycling Gloves

Biking is not only fun but also a great way to keep fit. However, just like operating any machine, there is a fair share of risks involved with riding. I know this might sound a little farfetched but the reality is that you are not overly safe on your bike or bicycle.

There's a lot that can go wrong when biking. More so often, major accidents are rare. Though, that doesn't mean your personal safety is always guaranteed. From exposure to the elements to minor scratches, virtually anything can happen when on the saddle. And for any biking enthusiast, I am sure you couldn't agree any better.

Today, helmets are some of the most popular safety gear bikers use for personal protection. However, a recent study shows that wearing cycling gloves is as essential as cycling helmets. Whether an expert or an armature biker, personal safety is critical, and cycling gloves are some of the most essential and effective protection gears.

Having used bikes and bicycles for many years, I have only come to embrace and appreciate the concept of wearing cycling gloves, but also highly recommend all biking enthusiasts to integrate this gear in their riding toolkit. And here are some of the reasons why.

Importance of Cycling Gloves: Why do you Need Cycling Gloves?

If I am not wrong, perhaps, you are wondering why cycling gloves are essential. Well, your speculations are justifiable, considering that it's a fairly significant investment. But here's the truth- cycling gloves are worth it. And the sooner you get a pair the better for you.

Listed below are some of the main benefits of wearing gloves when on the saddle.

  1. Protects your hands

Cycling gloves help support your hands, wrist, and fingers, as well as provides protection from the elements. When riding, especially on uneven terrains, there is constant friction, vibration, and pressure on the fingers and palms. During lengthy rides, this can lead to the formation of blisters, calluses, and general discomfort. Cycling gloves feature comfort paddings and extra-protection layer which helps absorb shockwaves and reduce skin irritations.

  1. Improved Grip

Cycling is a pretty indulging activity and riders are known to stay on the saddle for hours on end. When biking, you’re bound to warm up and get sweaty. In hot humid tropical areas, the sweating can get pretty heavy and this means your hands and palms might feel unusually wet. With that, the handlebar gets slippery and greasy which makes it hard to maintain a firm grip and thus controlling the bike becomes more difficult.

Most cycling gloves models feature anti-slip/skid proof properties for improved grip. Some designs like the ones for summer cycling are profiled with a meshed material complete with numerous perforations and integrate the winking technology to ensure maximum aeration of your hands and palms. Ultimately, this prevents accumulation of humid air and also regulates the temperature around your hands and palms for a more comfy ride.

  1. Injury Prevention

If you are a cycling addict, perhaps you have heard the term: handlebar palsy. For the newbies in the house, handlebar palsy is an injury resulting from continued compression of a nerve on the wrist. Although not a serious condition, prolonged pressure on the wrist can be excruciatingly painful and uncomfortable, and if not careful your nerves can get permanently damaged.

Generally, cycling gloves are heavily padded and include an extra-protective layer to reduce the pressure on your wrist even during extensive rides. 

Features to Look for in the Best Cycling Gloves

Having said much about why you need cycling gloves, you must already be getting ready and set to find one. However, before you plunge in, it is important to understand that not every product in the market is worth your hard-earned cash.

If you want to find a perfect pair that will live up to your expectations and serve you best here are some of the key features to have in mind.

  1. Material used

Like any outdoor gear, the quality of the material used will determine durability, comfort, and fit. Cycling gloves take a thorough beating, which is rather good, as your hands would be on the receiving end. A good pair should be hardy enough to withstand daily abuse without compromising its integrity. However, depending on the intended use, different models feature customized materials and designs to serve you best.

Generally, cycling gloves are made from synthetic materials such as acrylic, polypropylene, and fleece. Others feature a blend of different materials like leather, cotton and even mesh. While either of the materials might seem pretty good for you, your choice boils down to your specific location and desired properties.

I mean, each cycling glove is designed with unique materials to serve a specific purpose and meet certain expectations. For instance:

  • Polyester made gloves offer sweat-wicking capabilities and high breathability but lack wind and waterproofing abilities. A great option for the warm tropical climate and during the summer season
  • Acrylic made gloves are fairly breathable, warm and stretchy but lack weather resistance functionality. An idealist for warm tropical climate and summer seasons
  • Fleece made gloves are an idealist for winter cycling. This model is fully insulated and keeps your hands warm and comfy during that chilly season.
  • Polypropylene made gloves offer excellent protection from extreme weather. The material is both wind and waterproof thus making this cycling glove an idealist for countryside biking excursions.
  • Whichever material you choose, it is paramount to make sure the cycling glove has the qualities and attributes you need for your specific location and weather.
  1. Padding level

Comfort is another important aspect to consider when buying cycling gloves. A good pair should not only fit perfectly but also provide adequate cushioning. Cycling gloves differ in the padding material used and the padding level delivered.

There are three main types of materials used for padding. These include

  • Foam-typically used in most economy gloves. Although fairly effective the material doesn’t offer a good feel of the handlebars
  • Ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA)-this padding material is highly effective and can be found in items that require serious cushioning like running shoes. Gloves with EVA padding offers ample cushioning and would be an excellent option for mounting bikes.
  • Gel-you will find this form of padding material in high end gloves. Generally it feels soft, squishy and comfortable and allows you to better feel the handlebars. These are multipurpose cycling gloves and are idealist for all terrains.
  1. Breathability

As mentioned, breathability is an indispensable feature that you must look for before buying cycling gloves. Breathability, just like it sounds, is a mix of breath and ability which means the fabric's ability to absorb dampness and vent out humid air.

A good pair should allow optimal aeration so that you don’t have to deal with dump hot hands/palms. Your cycling gloves should come with a perforated fabric that allows free circulation of air. Additionally, it should also integrate the winking technology.

  1. Design

Cycling gloves come in two main designs; half-finger and full-figure gloves. If you regularly find yourself trailing the countryside or riding in cool uncharted areas, a pair of full-finger gloves would be an excellent choice. This model not only covers your palms but also spans across the fingers to provide more protection from the elements. However, for road riders, half-figure gloves do the trick as they offer extra grip and comfort.

  1. Safety features

More so often, riders overlook tend to overlook personal safety. Whether riding a bike or a bicycle, at the back of the mind, you should always remember that there are others on the road and so, following the traffic rules is critical.

Your biking train can lead virtually anywhere from a busy highway to a dusty country road. For oncoming motorists to pick out your location and avoid accidents, it is important now more than ever to choose cycling gloves with reflective panels.

  1. Size

Cycling gloves are intended to feel comfortable and convenient. And so, it is very critical to choose a pair that fits you right. A larger or smaller size can be more of an inconvenience. A good size should neither be too loose or too tight, otherwise your hands will end up getting squeezed or the glove might fall off while on the saddle.

For extra protection, consider an option deigned with adjustable straps as they are more flexible. Additionally, gloves made from stretchy material like Acrylic allows more relaxation of the hands and figures.

Top tip

In simpler terms, your cycling gloves should offer a snug fit; neither too big nor too small.

Final Take

All of these features highlighted above might seem like so much to consider in an item as basic as a pair of cycling gloves. But remember the reason why you reading this; to find the best possible cycling gloves in the market. And considering that, this buyer's guide is both comprehensive and elaborate, and entails all the main features to consider in the perfect pair of cycling gloves.