How to Select the Right Motorcycle Gloves
How important are your hands? Seriously? It’s tough to text without them. That’s why motorcycle gloves are important accessories for anytime you ride. When you spill, you put your hands out, of course, but if you don’t have skid buster-level protection on your phalanges, you’re going to be in for some hurting later.
Today’s gloves are stylish, flexible, yet armor-plated. There are lightweight gloves for summer and heavier gloves for men and women who ride in the snow. These aren’t your Dad’s old cloth work gloves, okay? Today’s biker gloves are made with the finest materials with an engineered design to keep your hands safe while allowing comfortable mobility for the long ride.
But finding the right kind of gloves, no matter your gender, is a tricky process. You know how uncomfortable the wrong gear can be if you spend any time at all on your motorcycle. The right gloves can help keep your hands warm and safe, sure, but they can also keep them from cramping up and feeling fatigue on the long highway.
There are a ton of gloves on the market today, along with helmets, jackets, and other gear. It’s going to be tough to pick. Fortunately, we make this handy guide to help guide your choices.
Motorcycle Glove Advice – Don’t Go Cheap
When you start to look at motorcycle gloves, you’re going to be tempted to go cheap. That’s because good gear is expensive. Not expensive like you have to take out an equity loan, but expensive like you might have to give up your daily Starbucks run for the next six months or so.
Some things are worth it, though. Good motorcycle gear is an investment in you. A good helmet protects your face and head, and the best motorcycle jackets can keep you from tearing up your poor back in a wreck.
The best motorcycle gloves are designed lighter to allow for freedom of hand movement while operating your bike while also being heavy enough to save your hands in a crash. Wearing gloves that you got from a retail store are just not going to cut it, Bub.
Motorcycle gloves are engineered. Some of the features you’re paying extra for include:
- Glove stitching that supports your hands and keep them from cramping up on long rides.
- Pre-curving, which helps with grasping and for manual dexterity.
- Extra layers of padding on the palms so when you use your hands to stop your fall, it won’t tear through and give you palm-rash.
- Armor plated knuckles so you can punch your cheating ex-boyfriend in the face. (That’s not what these are for and you know it.)
- They even have ventilation panels for when the weather heats up.
It’s possible those wacky motorcycle glove designers have thought of everything; but maybe not, because they are always being improved. The manufacturers studied countless motorcycle crash tests to determine the exact point of impact for riders. Understanding how we fall during an accident has allowed these companies to come up with crucial ways to protect you.
Now isn’t that worth paying a little more?
Best Features to Look for in a Motorcycle Glove
Motorcycle gloves are not vegetarian. They’re made out of cow and calf leather, kangaroo hide, sheepskin, and more animal products that would make PETA do a double take. You can get ‘em in stingray, if you want. Really.
Underneath the skin, you’ll find Kevlar or other armor plated toughness that will keep you from having to light your Marlboro with hooks.
Motorcycle glove design is divided into four categories: Upper, palm, wrist, and fingers. Each section has its own set of features to look for.
The strips of cloth that connect the upper and lower parts of the glove that run between the fingers are called fourchettes. Look for ventilation in these areas.
Look for palm sliders made of Kevlar or something just as tough. Hopefully you’ll never need it.
From armor plated knuckles to protect your hands from dragging to a thicker fabric on the top of the hand; look for heavier protection on this part of the glove.
We like a higher cuff so your wrist isn’t exposed, but some riders prefer a shorter glove. Trust us, there’s nothing like cold rain running up your arm to wake you up, but you do you, man. Kidding aside, a taller cuff gives better protection from the elements and crashes.
The components and materials that make up these gloves include a mix of traditional materials, like cowhide, and space age tech like TPU.
Armor is the real backbone of a good motorcycle glove. You’ll find padding in the form of EVA foam and thermo-plastic urethane (TPU), along with Kevlar and carbon. All are designed to keep you safe, whether it’s a pebble flung up off the road or a big spill.
In the last five years or so, we’ve seen great improvements in gloves in general. Closures have come a long way, too, and gloves now come with multiple ways to keep your gloves where they belong. Look for good solid retention straps on the wrists.
You can find liners made from Gortex, which is good thing if you’re a hand sweater. Sewn in liners are best and you can buy them heavier for cold weather riding or thin and designed to actually keep you cooler.
Palm sliders are armor that helps protect the hand from fracture or hyperextension during a fall and when sliding to a stop. See why this is important?
The stitching on these gloves are what helps them last a long time. It will also help them resist tearing apart in a crash. Important, right?
Now that you understand the features and their importance, what are the basic considerations you need to contemplate when getting ready make your purchase?
Questions to Ask When Buying Motorcycle Gloves
As you’re picking gloves, consider these questions:
- Where and how do you ride and what weather conditions do you experience?
- Will you ride in the cold?
- Do you ever ride off road?
- Are you a cruiser or a speeder?
As you begin your search, you might be a little overwhelmed. There are moto-cross gloves, off-road gloves, gauntlet gloves, street gloves, and race gloves – to name a few. That’s why thinking about your style of riding is so important. When you do that, your choices narrow based upon your habits. Also think about your budget, which is a great way to hone down your search into manageable categories. Next, read everything you can about the types of gloves out there and select what fits your style.
But what is our number one tip for selecting the right motorcycle gloves?
How they feel on your hands.
If you’re buying on line, go to a brick and mortar store first and try some gloves on. Most online retailers will let you return gear with no problem, but make sure you check out those policies before you purchase.
The Final Word on Motorcycle Gloves
Listen, your hands are going to be the first thing to land in a crash. Picking the right gloves is just as important as choosing the right helmet or jacket: these tools can save your bod if things go wrong on the road. Ride on!