Dress for the fall, not the ride. This ideological gem was imparted to me by a fellow motorcyclist in my early days of riding and has stuck with me ever since. Motorcycle gloves often don’t attract the level of attention that they warrant but are a crucial piece of protective gear in the event of a crash. A low-speed spill could leave you unscathed or with a hefty medical bill depending on the quality of your gloves. Thankfully, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to motorcycle gloves, but the only problem with endless options is sifting through them to find the best of the best. I’ve created a buying guide to help you know what to look out for before choosing your gloves. Here’s a list of the best gloves on the market ranked under a variety of categories.
To choose the best motorcycle gloves on the market, I evaluated dozens of them before choosing the top contenders. Although I haven’t personally tested these products, my selection is informed by consumer testimonials, expert reviews, discussions on relevant online forums, and my institutional knowledge of the automotive industry.
I visited Revzilla to see what experts had to say after their hands-on tests, and the Motorcycles subreddit to get a more informed opinion of what motorcyclists felt about the products on the market. Some brands are already well established in this niche, and priority was given to their products. Lesser-known brands were also evaluated. The main features taken into consideration were protection, comfort, ventilation, insulation, durability, and price. Gloves were disqualified from consideration if they were uncomfortable or didn’t fit correctly.
- Best Overall: Alpinestars SMX-1 Air v2 Gloves
- Most Versatile: Alpinestars SP-8 V3 Gloves
- Best Value: Joe Rocket Super Moto Gloves
- Best Style: Dainese Blackjack Gloves
- Best Track Gloves: Alpinestars GP Pro R3 Gloves
- Best Winter Gloves: Highway 21 7V Radiant Heated Gloves
Best Motorcycle Gloves Reviews & Recommendations 2022
If you live in a climate where swamp hand is a threat, then check out the Alpinestars SMX-1 Air v2 Gloves. Plenty of air flows through the gloves, which are made mainly of mesh. But all this breathability doesn’t come at the cost of protection, as these gloves are CE-certified Level 1, which is astonishing when you consider their low price point. Keeping you protected in the event of a fall are poly-blend reinforcements with foam padding on the thumb and synthetic suede reinforcements in side-impact areas. A hard-polymer knuckle protection system is kept in place by double stitching, making it extra secure.
Unfortunately, this model doesn’t have a palm slider, but that’s understandable considering this is a lightweight, low-profile glove, sold at a low price. If you’re going for a vigorous ride, you can look forward to a glove that provides plenty of play. There are stretch zones at the knuckles, between the fingers, and between the thumb and index finger. Soft ribbed neoprene and a velcro closure make it quick and easy to put this model on, which commuters should enjoy. Another feature that lends itself to commuting is the touchscreen-compatible index finger.
- Brand Alpinestars
- Model SMX-1Air v2 Gloves
- CE certification Level 1
No palm slider
These gloves are warm enough for cool autumn rides but have enough venting for a sweltering August day. The Alpinestars SP-8 V3 Gloves don’t excel in any one area, but they’re a fantastically versatile package that offers more value than most other models on the market. These gloves are CE certified as Level 1 and feature MotoGP-derived dual-density knuckle protectors, keeping you safe in the event of a spill. There’s reinforcement on the palm slider, which increases abrasion resistance, although it would be nice to see a stronger material here. This gauntlet glove is perfect for any rider who does a healthy mix of commuting and sport riding, thanks to its pre-shaped finger construction and touchscreen compatible index and thumb fingertips.
At this price point, it’s rare to see so much full-grain goat leather used in the construction, which makes them both comfortable and durable. A hook and loop cuff and wrist closure work with an elasticized wrist to ensure a snug fit, but it’s worth noting that the fingers are a tad long for some people.
As for the previous iteration of the Alpinestars sp-8 V2, managing editor Jonathon Klein owns them and bought them with his hard-earned money—no fancy product test from the manufacturer here. He chose the V2s because of his history with the brand as well as the full gauntlet fit, the protection afforded, the relatively modest price, and the fact they fit his big hands well. These gloves are warm enough for cool autumn rides but have enough venting for a sweltering August day.
- Brand Alpinestars
- Model SP-8 V3 Gloves
- CE certification Level 1
Good for sport riding
Great value for mone
Not suitable for winter riding
If you need a pair of budget-friendly gloves, you probably won’t find a better bang for buck option than the Joe Rocket Super Moto Gloves. They’re made from a mixture of goatskin leather and stretch spandex. The drum-dyed goatskin covers the palm and some of the back of your hands. The use of stretch spandex makes these gloves comfortable and breathable but limits them to relatively warm-weather use. There’s Lycra between the fingers, which keeps the gloves comfortable when you’re reaching for the clutch and brake levers.
The gloves don’t have CE certification, but a hard PVC knuckle protector and TPU palm slider offer protection in the event of a crash. The palm protector is especially rare to see at this price point, although it would be nice if there was some added protection on the glove’s outseam. At the front of the index fingers, there’s a conductive material that enables you to use your phone. Although touch technology is nice to see at this price point, it’s tough to use since it’s on the flat side of the finger rather than the tip.
- Brand Joe Rocket
- Model Super Moto Gloves
- CE certification None
TPU palm slider
Breathable and comfortable
Not suitable for cold weather
Not CE certified
If you’re after a classically styled glove with a modern twist, then you’ll find it in the Dainese Blackjack Gloves. These cafe retro gloves, with an exposed area at the back of the hand, are suitable for the summer and spring months. They’re lightweight and made from perforated goatskin leather, which keeps your hands relatively well ventilated while you’re enjoying the warm weather. Since these gloves are made entirely from goatskin leather, they provide the rider with plenty of feedback. The pre-curved fingers and elastication on the two control fingers, combined with a lightweight material throughout, mean these gloves should be comfortable enough to wear all day. Some riders, however, might need to choose a larger size than they usually wear.
There’s double leather reinforcement on the palms, which helps prevent control-related wear and tear. Padding across the knuckles and double reinforced leather at the knuckles and edges of the fingers, along with light padding at the heel and ball of your thumb, is all the protection they offer. If you’re looking for protection, these aren’t the gloves for you. But if you want retro style, great feel, and a premium brand name at an affordable price point, pick them up.
- Brand Dainese
- Model Blackjack Gloves
- CE certificatio None
Ventilated and lightweight
Not a lot of protection
The Alpinestars GP Pro R3 Gloves give you everything you need on the track for a reasonable price. The most notable improvements over the previous generation are added accordion stretch panels on the thumb, fingers, and back of the hand, making these gloves much more comfortable than the previous model. This extra stretch means that some riders might need to size down compared to the previous generation. All this comfort doesn’t come at the expense of protection, as these gloves are CE-certified Level 2.
The gloves are made of a mixture of cow, goat, and kangaroo leather. The kangaroo leather on the palm offers near unmatched levels of tactile feedback compared to other leathers while being very abrasion resistant. Behind the hard knuckles sits a panel with a perforated gusset, which opens wider as you clench your fist and provides good ventilation. If you lay your bike down on the track, you’ll be thankful for the hard palm slider and side reinforcements. There’s TPU finger protection and soft padding for added protection on the fingertips. These gloves are intended for serious track riding, so the fact that they don’t have touch technology is understandable
- Brand Alpinestars
- Model GP Pro R3 Gloves
- CE certification Level 2
Good value for money
CE-certified Level 2
Comfortable thanks to plenty of accordion stretch panels
Kangaroo leather offers great tactile feedback
No touchscreen technology
These heated gloves are powered by a lithium battery with four hours on low heat, three hours on medium heat, and two and a half hours on high heat. Those of you who ride through the winter, I salute you and direct you to check out the Highway 21 7V Radiant Heated Gloves. These heated gloves are powered by a lithium battery with four hours on low heat, three hours on medium heat, and two and a half hours on high heat. You can change the heat settings via controls on the cuff. Even if you run out of battery, the Thinsulate insulation will help to keep your hands toasty on cold days. Inside the glove sits a liner that is waterproof, windproof, and breathable, so you’ll be covered if the heavens open up.
In the event of a crash, you’ll be thankful for the armored knuckles and durable leather construction. It would be good to see more protection, such as a palm slider or padding along the outside of the glove. If you have a relatively long commute, then the pre-curved fingers will help keep fatigue at bay. The touchscreen compatible fingertips will benefit anyone who’s planning on taking some winter trips and needs to use their phone or GPS unit.
- Brand Highway 21
- Model 7V Radiant Heated Gloves
- CE certification None
100-grams of Thinsulate insulation
Hipora liner is windproof and waterproo
Touchscreen compatible fingertips
Durable leather and armored knuckles provide protectio
Not CE certified
No palm slider
For the best overall pick, I’ve chosen the Alpinestars SP-8 V3 Gloves. These gloves don’t excel in any one particular area, but they’re one of the most well-rounded models on the market. They offer a good level of protection and tactile feedback to the rider, and while they’re well ventilated, they still provide some protection from the elements. If you’re on a budget and want a great summer glove, then check out the Joe Rocket Super Moto Gloves.
What to Consider When Buying Motorcycle Gloves
The motorcycle glove market is as diverse as the motorcycle market itself, and if you’re a year-round rider or do different types of riding, then you’ll probably need more than one pair. Picking the right glove is no small feat because many elements come into play. Keep reading to find out what features matter to you.
Types of Motorcycle Gloves
Gauntlet gloves are the largest style of motorcycle gloves and have cuffs that come past your wrist and up your forearm. These gloves generally offer more protection in the event of a crash, and for this reason most track-day organizations require you to wear them. Many weekend warriors will also wear gauntlet gloves when they hit the twisties with their buddies. The large cuff on a gauntlet glove also offers more weather protection than other types of gloves, which is why many adventure and winter gloves are gauntlets.
A short-cuff glove is often the style of choice for warm-weather off-road riding. Short-cuff gloves use the same types of materials as gauntlets, but don’t offer much protection beyond your wrist. Some commuters prefer this style of glove over gauntlets since they’re not as bulky and they’re easier to carry. If overall protection is your priority, go for a gauntlet glove. If you want style and practicality, choose a short-cuff glove.
Above all else, protection is the most important feature to consider when buying motorcycle gloves. If you want the best protection, look for gloves that are CE certified, which is a European Union standard of a minimum level of protection and ergonomics. It consists of Level 1 and 2, with Level 2 as the tougher, elevated designation. The amount of armor and protection provided is usually linked to how much you spend. The main places to look for protection are the knuckles, along the front of the fingers, along the side of the pinky finger, outside of the palm, inside of the palm, heel, and ball of your thumb.
It can’t be understated how important it is to have a palm slider, or at least some reinforced material at the palm and outside of the glove, especially on sport-riding gloves. You naturally put out your hands if you crash a bike, which can leave you with nasty road rash if there isn’t adequate protection around the palm and outside area of your gloves.
Comfort and Fit
It’s a tough pill to swallow when you realize your gloves have gone through the break-in period and are still uncomfortable. Sport-riding gloves, which are made of one or more types of leather, are the most likely gloves to cause discomfort. Try to find ones with accordion panels around the knuckles, back of the hand, and thumb. These panels will allow the glove to move with your hand as you operate the controls, instead of restricting your movements. Gloves that have pre-curved fingertips can also help to reduce fatigue. Warm-weather gloves, which mainly consist of mesh and leather, should be comfortable unless there’s a problem with the fit.
You should also bear in mind that most gloves, especially leather ones, expand after they’ve been broken in. Research user reviews to see if the glove you want fits true to size or if you need to size up or down.
If you ride all year long, consider what kind of weather protection is necessary. Anyone who rides through wet weather will need waterproof gloves. If your budget allows, go for a glove that features Gore-Tex, as this is guaranteed to keep you dry and is still breathable. If you don’t encounter too much rain, or your budget doesn’t stretch to Gore-Tex levels of protection, try to get another waterproof membrane. Anyone who rides through cold weather should get insulated gloves; manufacturers usually state how many grams of insulation are in their gloves. Heated gloves take things a step further and are a good option for anyone who faces particularly harsh winters.
Depending on where you ride, letting cool air in could be more important than keeping it out. Mesh gloves naturally allow a lot of air to pass through the glove, which is why this material is often used in the construction of summer gloves. If the warm-weather gloves you want are made of leather, make sure they’re perforated and have vents on the fingertips and back of your hands, if possible.
The materials used in gloves will greatly dictate their performance and durability. For example, some gloves will use stingray leather because it’s lightweight and 25 times stronger than cowhide. Other gloves, especially sports gloves, will use kangaroo leather because the manufacturer can use thin cuts so that the rider gets a lot of tactile feedback, although this material drives the price up considerably. When it comes to rider feedback and abrasion resistance, leather is king. Anyone who rides in a warmer climate would benefit from mesh gloves that use high-quality materials at reinforcement points. If you ride through winter and opt for a textile glove, check what it’s made with and what kind of waterproof membrane it uses.
If you’re buying gloves for less than $100, the best CE certification you can hope for is Level 1. You’ll be able to get a decent pair of summer gloves for less than $100, but you won’t find great gloves for the track. If your budget stretches to $100 to $200, then you should see some gloves that are CE-certified Level 2, but most of the models will be Level 1. You’ll find some good winter and sport-riding gloves at this price point.
Anyone who wants a good pair of track gloves will need to look beyond the $200 price point. Most gloves on offer will feature great protection and be CE-certified Level 2 or the equivalent. If you’re going to spend more than $200, you’ll also find some great gloves that feature Gore-Tex.
Tips and Tricks
- If you ride through more than one season or do more than one style of riding, get another pair of gloves. Some riders benefit from having three or four pairs of gloves.
- Sizing varies from brand to brand and even between different iterations of gloves, so always check user reviews to get a better idea of how the gloves will fit.
- To break in new leather gloves, some riders soak them in warm water, wait for them to cool a little, and then wear them until they dry.
You’ve got questions. Car Bibles has answers.
Q. Are fingerless motorcycle gloves safe?
A. Fingerless gloves will provide your hands with more protection than if you were wearing no gloves, but they offer far less protection when compared to short-cuff or gauntlet gloves. Choosing fingerless gloves is a step towards fashion and away from protection.
Q. Are gauntlet gloves safer?
A. Gauntlet gloves usually provide better protection than short-cuff gloves. The protection on these gloves runs up your forearms, which shields you more in the event of a crash and also provides better weather protection. Of course, the quality of the materials used and the level of built-in protection are the main deciding factors.
Q. Do gauntlet gloves go under or over sleeves?
A. Motorcyclists will have differing opinions on this, but if you want to stop air from traveling up your sleeves, then wear your gauntlets over your sleeves. And if you ride in an area where bugs are common, you should also wear your gauntlets over your sleeves; getting an insect stuck up your sleeve (think wasp or bee) isn’t something you want.
- Motorcycle Riding Gear – Wikipedia