How much time do you spend on your bike?
The market has a huge variety of gloves & a wide price range. Basic gloves start as low as $29 going upwards of $100. So how do you choose? Firstly start with the length of your rides and match that up to the features a glove needs to have. We are assuming that you ride regularly and that is why a pair of gloves interests you. Regular shorter distance riders won’t need as much padding as those who ride long distances. Gloves protect your hands from compression that can lead to numbness by adding a layer of padding designed to alleviate pressure. This padding is usually placed on the outer edge of your palm to protect the ulnar nerve.
What sort of surface do you ride on?
Where you ride is important because the type of surface you ride on directly effects the levels of vibration & energy that your hands have to absorb. There is a real difference between riding on a smooth well sealed road surface and a stoney rutted 4 wheel drive track. Again time on your bike is a factor here, the longer and more often you are on a bike the more your body is exposed to this vibration. Padding absorbs vibration as well as helping with compression. Find out more about this important topic at Why are bike gloves important?
Summer vs Winter Riding
Another thing to consider when buying is ventilation vs warmth. The first decision here is full fingered or fingerless gloves. Generally this is determined by the season. As it gets colder you will want more coverage and the insulation that a pair of full fingered gloves give you. If it’s really cold when you ride add a glove liner underneath your normal riding gloves or get a good quality glove with a temperature rating designed for less than 4 degrees. Don’t be put off by this covering up of the fingers. If you are still exercising hard look for wicking fabrics and mesh panels that will help with moisture control. In the hot months of summer it’s better for temperature control to have air flow around your fingers so this is why fingerless gloves are made.
Gloves should not interfere with your grip on the handlebars so even when it’s really cold be careful that the bulk of a thick winter glove still allows you to grip, brake and shift gears properly. Winter gloves designed for warmth are made out of fabrics (wool or brushed synthetic fibres) that are not as durable as other bike gloves so if you want them to last look for reinforcing. Or treat them kindly! Certain types of riding e.g. mountain biking can require a good connection or good ‘bar feel’ meaning some riders prefer minimal padding.
Finger articulation, touch screen technology, brow wiping surface, wide wrist closures are some of the added features that you can look for in a pair of bike gloves. Not essential put could be important to making your riding experience more enjoyable.
Don’t forget the kids. Kids bike gloves are about protecting their hands when they fall off their bikes which, unfortunately, is a bit more often than us adults. It’s also a great idea for kids that bike tour/multi-day ride to have a good pair of gloves for all the reasons mentioned above. See Kids Bike Glove Buying Guide. Approximate age range 3 to 10 years.
Make your purchase a success…
You must have the right size glove for it to fit your hand correctly. Gloves should not interfere with your grip on the handlebars. Make sure you measure before you buy…see Sizing Information – Bike Gloves
Consider how you care for your gloves. They will need cleaned at some stage so be sure to look at the washing instructions as generally the fabrics used are technical and require special care.