Cycling gloves: A beginner’s guide to choosing the right pair

Cycling gloves: A beginner’s guide to choosing the right pair

Cycling gloves are an important piece of kit. No matter if you’re a total beginner, seasoned pro or daily commuter, they’re crucial for your comfort and safety. If you want to know how to choose cycling gloves and what different types there are, you’re in the right place. But first, why should you wear them in the first place? 


Why wearing cycling gloves is important

A good pair of cycling gloves is vital for all kinds of riding. Be it rugged trails, quiet country roads or bustling city streets, they’re also particularly important for beginners learning the ropes. The benefits of cycling gloves include keeping your hands warm during winter and dry in the rain, while also protecting you against injury if you have a fall or accident. 


As well as shielding you from the elements and potential bumps, gloves can also play a big role in enhancing your riding comfort. When they have appropriate padding, they provide cushioning and shock absorption to reduce hand fatigue. They also help to keep blisters at bay, which are common on longer rides, and can improve your grip and control in certain conditions and environments. 


Different types of cycling gloves

Whether you’re a beginner starting out and wanting to know what to wear for cycling, or you’re an experienced campaigner in the saddle, there are various types of cycling gloves to choose between. 


Cycling mitts/fingerless cycling gloves

Fingerless gloves are known as cycling mitts, and particularly suited to warm weather. They’re inherently better for breathability, while also offering enhanced dexterity. That applies not only to controlling your brake and gear levers, but also for things like grabbing your water bottle, getting something out of your pocket or using a touchscreen. Being fingerless means they offer less protection in the event of a spill, but they still offer padding on the palm for safety and comfort. 


Full-finger cycling gloves

Full-finger gloves provide added warmth and protection, which could lead to extra comfort and safety, depending on the conditions. If you’re riding in cold weather over winter and covering anything more than a very short distance, gloves that cover your fingers fully are essential. They offer more grip and padding, which also makes them more versatile and suitable for any kind of terrain you may cover. 


Lobster cycling gloves

Lobster cycling gloves are designed for chilly and wet weather, giving your hands complete coverage from the cold and wind and rain. They have a split-finger design that keeps your first and second fingers together, as well as your third and fourth. Pairing fingers together like this gives you some extra warmth in very cold temperatures, while there’s also less surface area on the fingers, meaning less heat’s lost. 


Whichever type of cycling gloves you go for, remember that padded gloves are great for extra cushioning, while waterproof gloves are essential for wet conditions. And that gloves made from reflective materials are the best for your visibility and safety on the road. 


How to choose the right pair

When you’re trying to find the right pair of cycling gloves, you’ll want to take a number of things into account. 


Weather: Often the most important consideration for the type of gloves you need, you’ll want warm, insulated gloves that cover the fingers for cold weather, and lighter, breathable ones for warmer temperatures. 


Riding style: Think about what you need your gloves for, and go for a more lightweight pair if you mainly stick to the roads, or something more rugged if you also like to hit mountain bike trails. 


Sizing and fit: Make sure your gloves aren’t too tight or too loose and that they, well, fit like a glove. They should allow your hands to move naturally and not cause any discomfort. 


Grip and control: Gloves should enhance your grip on the handlebars and control of the bike, especially in wet or slippery conditions. 


Durability: You’ll want your gloves to be durable not only for the protection they offer, but also so they last longer. 


Padding: As well as protecting your hands from any spills on the road, gel or foam padding helps to absorb vibrations and shock, which reduces hand fatigue. 


Material: Look for gloves made from breathable material that wicks moisture for comfort. 


Reflective: Gloves made with reflective materials also allow you to be seen better in low light, meaning you’ll stay safer on your bike. 


Easy to clean: Whatever riding you usually do, your gloves will be exposed to sweat and outdoor elements, so you’ll want them to be easy to clean. 


Additional features: Look out for things like touchscreen compatibility and fastenings that are easy to use. 


Whether you’re looking for the correct gear to use for cycling in winter, or you’re after something for the daily commute or a leisurely weekend ride, choosing the right pair of gloves can help you to stay safe and comfortable in the saddle. 


Browse our selection of cycling gloves and mitts to find your perfect pair of gloves, most of which are made with waterproof, windproof and reflective material. 


How to choose cycling gloves - FAQs

Do cycling gloves help with numbness?

Yes, cycling gloves can help with numbness. If they have padding then this provides cushioning for your hands, which absorbs shocks from the road and vibrations through the handlebars. This reduces stress on the nerves in your hands, especially during longer rides. As a result, this reduces the risk of numbness and discomfort. 

Are cycling gloves worth it?

Absolutely. Cycling gloves are worth it for casual riders and serious cyclists alike. They can significantly increase your comfort on your bike, shielding you from cold, wet and windy weather, while also reducing vibration and preventing blisters. They also protect you from injury if you have a fall or are riding through difficult terrain. 

How should cycling gloves fit?

Cycling gloves should fit snugly without being too tight. There shouldn’t be any excess material at the fingertips, while allowing for full and easy movement of your fingers and wrists. They shouldn’t cut into your wrists or restrict your blood flow, but rather provide you with a comfortable fit that gives you the grip and protection you need. 

Can you wash cycling gloves?

Yes, you can wash cycling gloves. You can do this in a washing machine if the manufacturer’s instructions say so. Otherwise, you can hand wash them in cool water with a mild detergent, before letting them air dry. It’s best to follow the instructions when you’re washing your cycling gloves, but it’s usually best to avoid hot water, bleach and fabric softeners, as these can damage the material and padding. 

Article by Sue Ritzdorf
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