Wearing gloves while cycling isn’t just an essential item of clothing for winter, its summer offerings are just as important.
The benefits may be less obvious, but the best summer cycling gloves feature padded and textured palms, helping you to grip the bars better while supplying cushioning.
Should you fall, mitts or gloves are also hugely useful for protecting your palms from cuts and abrasions.
As when buying a pair of the best winter cycling gloves, an ideal pair of summer cycling gloves will have a close and comfortable fit.
Too tight, and they will dig in over longer rides and can potentially cause pins and needles if circulation is affected, too loose and you’ll lose the benefit of the grip, and in the case of fingered gloves, finding changing gear a challenge.
To help you choose which summer cycling glove is right for you, we’ve written a list of the best summer cycling gloves out on the market today.
Best Summer Cycling Gloves
- IDEAL FOR: Those rides when you want maximum padding for maximum comfort.
- CASTELLI DAMPING SYSTEM: This glove leverages Castelli’s proprietary Castelli Damping System which offers optimal protection from steady road vibration, offering comfort for miles on the bike.
- GEL PADDING AND GRIP: Gel padding and silicone grip add comfort and control.
- SECURE-FIT: Adjustable wrist closure to keep a secure but flexible fit.
- Moisture wicking 4-way stretch, breathable mesh
- Highly absorbent microfiber wiping surface
- Fingertip tear off pockets
- Low-profile Velcro closure
- Reflective highlights
- EXCEPTIONAL FIT: Highly absorbent microfiber wiping surface, moisture-wicking, four-way-stretch, breathable mesh upper conforms with your hand for close fit, and low profile hook-and-loop wrist closure for fast, easy adjustment.
- COMFORT AND SUPPORT: Super fit three-panel designed palm allows your hand to move naturally for enhanced control that doesn’t compromise bar feel, AX Suede synthetic leather conforms with your hands’ natural shape without excess material or seams and sonic-welded pull tab.
- PLUSH FEEL: 2mm Technogel/4mm rebound foam padding which provides superior pressure distribution, excellent impact absorption and long-lasting performance.
- The Biogel RX-B is a well-padded cycling glove that will efficiently absorb vibrations and reduce pressure on your hands, with all the comfort and breathability you need
- Breathable: The perforated palm and X-shaped vents help evacuate moisture and ventilate to keep hands cool
- Comfortable: The Power Mesh and spandex combination provide great stretchability and comfort while the Biogel padding maximizes handlebar feel
- Easy to adjust: The adjustable cuff with hook and loop fastener ensures a custom fit while the puller at the wrist helps easily slip gloves on
- Practical: The thumb features a soft microfiber patch to wipe sweat
- Ax Suede Uno synthetic leather with 4-way stretch offers improved fit, breathability, and bar feel
- New 3D shaped gel pads reduce unnecessary bulk and improve grip comfort
- Hook and loop closure for perfect fit
- Reflective elements for low light visibility
Benefits of Cycling Gloves
An obvious benefit of wearing cycling gloves is warmth. If warmth is your true goal, go with the full-finger gloves. The open-finger gloves are really not intended so much for warmth as they are for other things.
When you are cruising along at 20mph on a cool fall day, you will be surprised at what temps your hands will start wanting some gloves. It is much higher than you might assume.
The other side of the temp coin is breathability. You might be wearing the gloves for reasons that have nothing to do with keeping your hands warm, like protection against twigs or falls.
If so, you will want something that is highly-breathable. Open-finger gloves are inherently more breathable, if they work for your planned type of riding.
For those who might be setting out to do a century ride or other longer rides, the contact point between your hand and the handlebar can become sore and tender, and can actually cut a ride short in some situations.
A good glove will add a layer of padding to that contact point, removing one of the obstacles for your new longest-ride-ever.
For mountain bikers who are routinely on single track trails and may have the occasional spill, or the unplanned encounter with a tree branch against your knuckle, a pair of gloves can make the difference between a cut hand or not.
If you know that you will be hitting many branches and limbs as you ride, you might want to go with a padded, full-finger glove.
Gloves make lots of things just a little easier on the bike.
For example, if you ride over a bunch of broken glass on the road, your first instinct might be to brush the glass off of your wheel. Without gloves? You are asking for it. With gloves? Easy. Just let the wheel roll by your glove, and after a rotation or two your tire is glass-free
Cycling Gloves Frequently Asked Questions
Do summer cycling gloves make a difference?
With one of only three touch points on your bike, keeping your hands comfortable and protected is vital to ensure safe riding.
While gloves won’t protect your hands from every eventuality, they can get you out of dealing with a silly tumblr, or gravel rash, which can otherwise mean days or even weeks off the bike.
The best summer cycling gloves will also help wick away sweat, assist with grip, provide a handy wipe for your nose/ brow, as well as provide additional handlebar comfort.
Do summer gloves come with padding?
Some summer gloves come with padding but others do not. Others just come with tapped silicone to help with gripping the bars in all weather and road conditions.
Even this single layer of fabric will act as some form of protection from any crashes, as well as helping to prevent sweaty palms slipping on the bars.
Other padded gloves range from a gentle leather pad to full on gel padding, designed for the toughest and longest of rides.
Hand protection from repeated impact is vital on long rides which include lots of gravel or cobbles as this can cause nerve compression and damage over time.
How much padding to choose is horses for course, and down to personal choice. It’s worth noting though that riders with smaller hands can suffer with too much padding interfering with their radial grip on the bars, so don’t just assume maximum padding is best for you.
What are the loops on summer cycling gloves for?
Loops and extra long tabs at the wrist, or fabric rings on the middle fingers on cycling gloves can give them an odd appearance. These are to help the wearer remove the gloves at the end of a ride by giving them something to pull on.
Trying to remove a very small, damp tight fitting glove otherwise can be a bit of a challenge.
Do pro cyclists wear gloves?
This also depends on your personal choice. Some teams enforce the wearing of gloves to prevent unnecessary time off due to a hand injury that could have otherwise been prevented by using mitts or gloves.
That said, some riders have free reign and would rather have total road feedback, helping them be at one between the bike and road.
It is important to remember that mitts and gloves are not for everyone, and it really is a personal choice. Tom Boonen, now retired, famously didn’t use them, even when riding on cobbles along with many other great and good riders.
Are mitts better than fingerless summer cycling gloves?
A fingerless glove can provide greater dexterity and lightweight gloves may provide a bit of extra protection against the elements and abrasion too.
These feature significantly less insulation than a dedicated winter glove, but do a good job of keeping the wind off on cold summer days.
A long-finger summer glove will offer slightly more weather resistance, as well as protection for fingertips, as well as offering an element of aerodynamics, although there are also specific mitts designed for this too.
Good aero mitts will be fairly lightweight and feature fabrics offering lower drag coefficient than bare skin. They typically feature less padding and minimalist construction and see a cuff that extends over your wrist.
Summer cycling gloves come in various guises, from full-finger warmers to half-finger mittens that prevent overheating.
Some will have gel pad or foam padding on the palm to prevent compressed nerves, while others may feature insulation and waterproofing.
Finding the right glove depends partly on the type of riding you do. A century (100 mile) road rider might want different gloves than a mountain biker.
Still, there are some gloves that are just superior to others, and the good news is that they don’t change that much.