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Motorcycle racing gloves aren’t just for keeping the wind off your hands while you race. They’re also a safety measure you can’t go without, and they’re just as important as your helmet. If you wipe out on your racing bike—and you will, no matter how skilled you are—you’ll instinctively put your hands out to break your fall, and only your gloves will be able to save you from a nasty injury. We’ve gathered together a list of the best racing gloves that’ll keep you safe and get you back on the track faster after a fall.
The Best Motorcycle Racing Gloves
If you’ve seen pre-weathered motorcycle gloves before, you’ll know they aren’t just about vintage looks. Indie Ridge’s motorcycle gloves are pre-weathered to increase flexibility without sacrificing durability. No need to break these in—you’re ready to ride right away.
With these gloves, you also get a stable grip, rubber-reinforced knuckle protection, Velcro closure, and a quality assurance guarantee. They’re crafted and stitched with intense attention, yet sell for an affordable price.
Pre-weathered leather gloves
Sizes from X-small to XX-large
Mobile touchscreen tips
- BrandIndie Ridge
- Weight9.8 ounces
Durable leather, yet still flexible
Extremely responsive customer service
Too heavy for extreme heat
Sizes tend to run small
Not lined for cold weather
You don’t need to go overboard when paying for motorcycle racing gloves. These polyester/cotton knit gloves from Harley-Davidson are coated in reinforced rubber for a tight grip and protection against both sudden shocks and long-term abrasion.
Price isn’t the only reason to go for gloves with a lighter construction. For one thing, these gloves breathe better in hot weather. For another, with a comfortable fit, you won’t feel like you’re wearing gloves at all.
Cotton/polyester knit gloves with rubber palms
Comes in small, medium, or large
- Weight0.2 ounces
Light and breathable
Protective rubber coating holds up
Rubber smells bad
Not built to hold up to all impacts
Cortech, a premier manufacturer of riding technology for track and road racers, has come out with our favorite high-end motorcycle racing gloves of the past few years. The Adrenaline 3 gloves match sturdy protection with ventilation and flexibility, all tested by members of Cortech’s racing team.
Available in five sizes and four different colors, these gauntlet gloves are made to take the force of several crashes before they need to be examined. There’s a heavy protector on every finger joint and the palm, and they’re all good at taking hits.
Available in sizes ranging from small to XX-large
Four color choices: Black, Red/White, Black Hi-Viz, and Blue Hi-Viz
Cowhide construction with a goatskin palm
- ModelAdrenaline 3
- Weight1.1 pounds
Solid protection at every impact point
Breathable and comfortable to wear
Tested and refined by racing pros
Very expensive for the casual rider
Sewing sometimes splits on right index finger
Take some time to break in
ILM knows their way around motorcycle racing gear, and these steel-knuckle gloves do not disappoint. With steel bearings at the knuckles and first joints, they protect the most vulnerable parts of your hands in the event of a crash.
They’re comfortable as well, built to fit the natural curves of your hand. Plastic anti-slip lines help you maintain your grip on the handlebars. It’s also available with either leather or synthetic construction, depending on what you find most comfortable.
Leather or synthetic construction
Steel reinforcements at the knuckle and first joint
Available in medium to XX-large sizes
- Weight7 ounces
Reinforcements offer maximum safety
Lots of customization options
Breathable in hot weather
Not good at keeping out water or cold weather
Not always touchscreen compatible
Interior sometimes feels scratchy
We’ve chosen to spotlight these skeleton race gloves because we like how they’re affordable, flexible, and great at gripping. They come in a variety of sizes and colors.
The Knox-style skeleton reinforcement provides great knuckle and finger protection against abrasion, and looks cool to boot. Meanwhile, the mesh breathes easily and doesn’t get in the way of using your hands for anything else.
Motocross gloves with skeleton reinforcement
Sizes from XS to XXL
- Weight3.2 ounces
Flexible and comfortable fabric
Protects against small shocks
Allows for a strong grip
Not built for high-speed shocks
Sizes can be off when ordering online
Don’t hold up well in the long term
For riders who prefer gloves that prioritize flexibility, there’s nothing like going fingerless. Joe Rocket’s Vento riding gloves are pre-curved for a riding grip, but leave your fingers free for added comfort and dexterity.
They’re made out of mesh, with leather reinforcements and a gel palm for withstanding shocks. They also include an adjustable wrist strap. These gloves are especially nice for riders who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Mesh top with leather reinforcements
Sizing from small to XXX-large
- BrandJoe Rocket
- Weight3.2 ounces
Maintain range of motion in your hands
Helpful for carpal tunnel
Protect against nerve damage
Tight fit, difficult to take off
No finger protection
Lots of padding sometimes renders sizes inaccurate
Best Motorcycle Racing Gloves Buying Guide
Motorcycle racing gloves are far more than just an afterthought to complete your riding ensemble. Protecting your hands in the event of a crash is one of the best things you can do to ensure you won’t end your riding or racing career. Even if you never crash, you’ll enjoy more comfort, a better grip, and the ability to ride for longer without your hands tingling.
In this guide, we’ve gathered together all the information you’ll need on your search for the best motorcycle racing gloves. Learn what to look for, how to buy the best, and which gloves you need for your kind of ride.
Why You Need Motorcycle Racing Gloves
If you buy the right motorcycle racing gloves, you’ll enjoy both increased safety and extra comfort (they can also look really cool).
- Protect against crashes. If you throw your hands out in front of you to break a fall of your racing bike, you don’t just risk fractures and painful skin abrasions—you might suffer from permanent nerve damage. When you wipe out, any gloves are better than none at all.
- Protect against long-term damage. Even if you never get into a crash, long or bumpy rides can cause your hands to cramp painfully or lose circulation. Gloves fit the shape of your hands on the handlebars, reinforcing them so you don’t have to grip as tightly.
- Ride in more kinds of weather. Gloves can also be waterproof, and protect your hands from cold, rainy, or snowy conditions while keeping them cool in the summer heat. It’s rare to find truly all-weather gloves, so choose based on what you’ll need for each ride.
Different Kinds of Motorcycle Racing Gloves
The simplest way to choose a pair of motorcycle racing gloves is to look at the rest of your gear and get the pair that matches as closely as possible. The main differences between the categories of gloves are the materials used to build them, and those distinctions also apply to most of the rest of your outfit.
- Textile Gloves
Motorcycle racing gloves can be made out of a wide range of textiles, from natural fibers like cotton to synthetics like polyester. This means that you’ll see a lot of types of gloves under the heading of “textile,” from light knits to heavy rubber-reinforced units—almost always made out of a mixture of a few textiles. TPU is one of the best-known manufacturers of gloves like these.
Textile gloves are better at resisting weather conditions than leather gloves. They stay cool more easily in intense heat, and trap heat better in the cold. If you plan your rides to run through a lot of different natural hazards, textile gloves might be your best choice.
- Leather Gloves
While leather gloves aren’t always made entirely out of leather, it will usually be the key element in their construction. Leather is an older material that breaks in better than most textiles, while also enjoying better impact resistance. It doesn’t breathe as well as textiles do, but it can offer as much or more flexibility. Cowskin, goatskin, and kangaroo leather are some of the most popular types.
Leather gloves are better for riders who do most of their riding in a smaller range of weather conditions, and care more about safety and grip strength than about keeping the elements off their hands. If you’re riding mostly on tracks or highways, leather might be the right option.
- Reinforced Gloves
Reinforced gloves tend to be built by well-known racing companies like Alpinestars, and tested and worn by their sponsored riders. They’re almost always more expensive—a team of pro racers doesn’t come cheap—but for the price, you’ll get units like the GP Pro line that you know can stand up to a huge amount of punishment.
Reinforcements are usually made of steel or kevlar, sometimes backed up with thick rubber. These gloves aim to protect your vulnerable knuckles and joints from heavy impacts while covering your skin against abrasion. Their focus on safety takes away a lot of emphasis on comfort, but there’s no reason reinforced gloves can’t be enjoyable to wear—it’s just not their first priority.
Features to Look for in Motorcycle Racing Gloves
No matter what they’re made of or what they look like, all motorcycle racing gloves will have a few things in common. Look for sufficiently strong armor and a curving fit that will keep your hands in the right shape for riding. In this section, we’ll also discuss sizing.
The best motorcycle gloves are constructed to fit around the “U” shape your hands will make on the handlebars. When you try a pair on, make sure that holding this shape feels comfortable. A good fit doesn’t just keep your mind from wandering while on the road, but also ensures your gear will stay in place in a crash or collision.
If you’re buying gloves online, check the sizing chart by the manufacturer to help you figure out what size you need. You can also use a previous pair of gloves to approximate the right size, though keep in mind that American gloves trend shorter and wider than European brands like REV’IT, Alpinestars, and the Dainese EVO line.
Armor is the padding and reinforcement that makes your gloves a safety feature. It can be made of anything from heavy foam and plastic to carbon fiber and steel.
The amount of protection on your glove should match what you’re planning to do with it. The faster you’re planning to race, and the more dangerous your chosen terrain, the more protection you should buy on all your equipment.
You’re the best judge of what you like to do, so consider whether reinforced rubber will be enough, or whether you’re going to need steel. Remember, safety is the first job of all motorcycle gloves, so consider this before you think about things like warmth or breathability.
Tips for Buying and Using Motorcycle Racing Gloves
Here are some of the things we like to keep in mind when shopping for a new pair of motorcycle racing gloves.
- Start by making your budget. It can be tempting to leap right for a brand-name EVO glove, but there’s not always a benefit to going above the $100 mark. Plenty of cheaper gloves can offer the protection you need.
- Plan out the rides you’re going to take with these gloves, then buy the ones you’ll need for the ride with the most potential hazards.
- Don’t overlook the closure on your gloves. Other than getting gloves that fit, this is the second biggest factor that determines whether you’ll be safe in a crash. All the armor in the world won’t help if your gloves go flying off at every jolt. If you ride slow, velcro might be enough, but you’ll need stronger closures for higher speeds.
Best Motorcycle Racing Gloves FAQs
Motorcycle gloves are important for both short-term and long-term safety. Hopefully, by this point, you’ve got some or have a plan for how to acquire them. Most of them come cheap and provide an outsized benefit. In this section, we’ll try to answer any remaining questions you might have.
Q. Why do I need motorcycle gloves?
A: You need motorcycle gloves to protect your hands in case of an accident, and to prevent the tingling and cramps that come from gripping the handlebars for hours on end.
Q. Are fingerless gloves safe for riding?
A: Mostly. They’re not as safe as other options, but they’re also not just for show. Fingerless gloves protect your palm and knuckles from abrasions while letting your fingers stay flexible.
Q. How do I wash my motorcycle gloves?
A: To clean your gloves, soak them in a basin of clean water to rinse out the sweat, then scrub the insides with soapy water.
Our Top Pick
Our top choice is the Indie Ridge Pre-Weathered Motorcycle Gloves. We like how they’re durable, flexible, and comfortable, and how it’s clear the makers put care into building them. Paying attention to the quality of the stitching is a good way to win major points with us—and so is being attentive to your customers’ needs when they have problems.