The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Best Mountain Bike Gloves

Photo: Zach Wick
Monday April 5, 2021
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Are you in the market for the best mountain bike gloves? Our team has tested over 30 models in the past four years, and for this update, we bought 14 to test and compare side by side. Our selection included gloves for varying weather conditions, riding styles, and preferences. Over the course of several months, our testers put each pair through the wringer on a variety of trails and a huge range of weather conditions. Most of our testing took place in the saddle while focusing on each model's fit, comfort, and features. We supplemented our field testing with side by side comparisons to scrutinize fit characteristics and examine the functionality of features like padding and touchscreen compatibility.

1

Best Overall Mountain Bike Glove


Giro Remedy X2


Giro Remedy X2
Editors' Choice Award

$40 List
List Price
See It

Comfortable
Great fit
Touchscreen compatible
Ample protection
Expensive

The Giro Remedy X2 rose to the top of our test selection and were a tester favorite. Giro has been making mountain bike gloves for years and their Super Fit design gives these gloves a great fit with an adjustable velcro wrist closure that helps make them one of the most comfortable in the test. Life on the trail is much easier because of the variety of useful features, such as well-placed Poron XRD foam padding on the knuckles, back of the hand, and palm. This added protection makes them well-suited to use for aggressive trail riding, enduro, and even downhilling. Considering all the padding, they still feel relatively well-ventilated with fine mesh between the fingers and a perforated AX Suede microfiber palm. We found the Remedy X2 to be comfortable for a wide range of warmer temperatures, approximately 60 degrees and up.

Like most modern mountain bike gloves, the Remedy X2 have silicone on the tips of the pointer/middle fingers and thumb for added grip and conduction threads for touchscreen compatibility. The well-placed Poron XD padding is relatively unobtrusive and soft against the hand and fingers, but it may be overkill for many riders. These gloves are also on the expensive end of the spectrum, though we feel they are worth it for the comfort and protection they provide. The Remedy X2 is a unisex model, available in five sizes (S-XXL) and three color options.

The Remedy X2 are an excellent mountain bike glove that's ready for...
The Remedy X2 are an excellent mountain bike glove that's ready for anything you are.
Photo: Laura Casner

2

Best Bang for Your Buck


Giro Trixter


Giro Trixter
Best Buy Award

$19.95
at Amazon
See It

Easy to take on and off
Close-fitting
Very Breathable
Perforated palm
Minimal protection
Fairly basic

In our latest round of testing the freshly-released Giro Trixter unseated our longtime best buy, the Giro DND, and became our go-to value recommendation. This new model is Giro's latest take on a basic, minimalist glove that won't cost a fortune to replace after a rough crash or extended use, and we found it super convenient and comfortable. The strapless design with a flexible lycra cuff is both easy to get on and snug over the wrist. The glove fits close to the hand without much excess material, but the flexible AX Bolt fabric allows for full range of motion without feeling restrictive or binding. A perforated mesh between the fingers keeps air moving, and Giro claims that the AX Bolt fabric's Instachill technology cools your skin once you start sweating. Like most modern gloves, the Trixter also features touchscreen-capable index and thumb tips.

Out on the trail, these gloves do exactly what we want from a minimalist model—they disappear. The comfortable fit, thin palm material, and breathability meant that we never had to fuss or fiddle with our test gloves while on the bike, and they easily slipped our minds as we made our way down the trail. Like any minimalist glove, we wouldn't recommend the Trixter for use in cold weather. We took these on a few early-morning rides and found ourselves wishing for something a little bit warmer. Likewise, this model isn't our top pick for wet rides. The fingertips don't have any texturing or grip for brake lever traction when things get wet. For general trail-riding use in temperate conditions, however, you won't find a better value out there.

We tested a size-large set of gloves in the Olive colorway, but the Trixter is currently offered in five different colors and sizes from XS through XXL.

3

Best for Versatility


Dakine Covert


Dakine Covert
Top Pick Award

$22.58
(10% off)
at Amazon
See It

Super-comfortable
Reasonably priced
Highly breathable
Not the most protective

Dakine's Covert glove was one of the best all-around gloves we tested. This model quickly became a go-to for most of our rides over our test period. Its mid-weight construction makes the Covert feel at home on anything from the rocky chunk of a downhill track to a cruisey flow trail. We were sold on their ease and comfort from the first time we threw them on. Even without a velcro wrist strap, the stretchy nylon shell pulls easily over the back of your hand, and the synthetic suede palm pad provides a comfortable buffer between your hand and the bar. Dakine wraps suede palm material up and over each finger, cleverly avoiding seams across the fingertips. The index finger and thumb have silicone strips to provide grip on the brake and shifter levers. The fit of our size large test gloves was versatile, with sensible proportions and plenty of stretch to compensate for slightly larger hands. Once you've got the glove on, it has a sleek, contour-hugging fit without excess material.

The Covert handled just about everything we threw at it out on the trail. On hot days the breathable back-of-hand material keeps things reasonably cool, while the medium-thick fabric construction provides decent insulation when it's a touch cooler. They wouldn't be our first choice in extreme heat or cold, but your hands will be happy for anything in between. We didn't have any issues with hot spots or blisters on long rides due to the sleek fit and clever seam placement. The touchscreen-compatible fingertips made texting or taking photos a snap. If you plan to spend most of your time on fast, technical downhills, then you might want to look for a more protective glove. For daily rides on mixed terrain, though, the Covert was one of our favorites. Dakine makes men's and women's versions of the Covert, and both are available in multiple color options with the women's available in sizes XS-XL and the men's in sizes XS-XXL.

4

Best Protective Glove


100% Cognito D30


100% Cognito D30
Top Pick Award

$39.50
at Competitive Cyclist
See It

D30 knuckle protection
Comfortable fit
Highly breathable
Great bar feel
No nose wipe

Of all of the padded gloves we tested, we felt that the Cognito D30 provided the best protection. This model provides all of the standard features of a good mountain bike glove, like silicone fingertip patches, touchscreen capability, and abrasion-resistant material, along with some nifty protective padding. The knuckles are protected with a row of impact-absorbing D30 pads that will keep your precious digits safe from all but the hardest of tree or rock impacts. Unlike many padded protective gloves, the Cognito D30 doesn't feel clunky or stiff on your hand and allows the same range of motion as any of the non-padded gloves we tested. We didn't find any weird proportions or extra material with our size large test gloves and found the fit to be true to size. When we first put the gloves on, we did notice the top of the knuckles felt a bit tight, but this quickly subsided as the gloves warmed up and broke in a little bit.

We enjoyed the extra confidence out on the trail provided by the D30 knuckle protection. Tight trees, heavy rock gardens, or overgrown single track all seemed a little less daunting with these gloves on. On long climbs and hotter days, we were pleasantly surprised with their ventilation. Typically we would avoid too much climbing in a heavy protective glove, but the Cognito D30 handled warmer temperatures with aplomb. The Cognito D30 comes in multiple colors and 5 sizes, S-XXL.

The Cognito D30 provide a nice level of protection in a surprisingly...
The Cognito D30 provide a nice level of protection in a surprisingly breathable and comfortable package.
Photo: Laura Casner

5

Best Glove to Stand Out From the Crowd


Handup Summer Lite


Handup Summer Lite
Top Pick Award

$28.95
at Competitive Cyclist
See It

Super breathable
Wide range of colors and graphics
Very lightweight
Touchscreen compatibility is inconsistent

The Handup Summer Lite is a lightweight, minimalist glove for those who like a little bit of flash in our kit. Gloves are a great way to add a little bit of flair to your riding gear without going full pajama suit, and the Summer Lite is available in enough color and graphic options to suit almost any rider's taste. After getting our hands in our pink and black test model, we quickly found more to like than just the color. The thin mesh shell and perforated palm breathe well on hot days to keep your hands cool, and a large cloth section on the back of the thumb works well to wipe the sweat away from your eyes. If not for the loud colors, the Summer Lite would all but disappear on your hands out on the trail. The fit is refined and well proportioned, and the inner seams on the fingertips and sides of the hand are small.

Like any super-lightweight glove, we wouldn't recommend this model for its protective qualities. Sure, it will do your hands some good and avoid scuffs and scrapes in a minor slide or brush with the trailside bushes, but we would recommend more protective gloves when it comes to large impacts or touch-downs in rocky areas. Additionally, this model's touchscreen capability left us feeling underwhelmed. The fingertips were inconsistent when we would try to unlock a phone or take a photo. The Summer Lite gloves are unisex and come in a huge range of colors and graphics in sizes XS-XXL.

Handup gloves are a great option for some self expression and to add...
Handup gloves are a great option for some self expression and to add a little flair to your riding kit.
Photo: Sarah Strobel

6

Best for Technical Riding in Cool Weather


Fox Racing Ranger Fire


Fox Racing Ranger Fire
Top Pick Award

$35.95
(5% off)
at Competitive Cyclist
See It

Not too bulky
Silicone finger grips
Water-resistant
Touchscreen-compatible
Not the warmest insulated glove
Difficult to take on and off

The Ranger Fire provides a great combination of warmth and dexterity that is rare in an insulated mountain bike glove. On a chilly day, these gloves hardly feel bulkier than a standard set of trail gloves, but they do a much better job of keeping your hands warm. Oftentimes when mountain biking in cold temperatures bulky gloves can be a limiting factor in technical riding, but the Ranger Fire allows for a similar bar and brake lever feel to many of the non-insulated models we tested. The fit is sleek and close-fitting without any extra fabric in the fingers or on the back of the hand. We were hugely excited the first time we wore these out for a chilly, early-morning ride and didn't have to adjust our riding at all. That said, the sleek fit does come with a warmth penalty compared to some of the heavier insulated models we tested. We would recommend these gloves for temperatures from about forty to fifty degrees. Any colder than that and your fingers might not be happy.

Beyond the fit, the Ranger Fire also offers a number of critical features for cold-weather riding. The palm material is made of Fox's water-resistant Ax Suede material that maintains grip well in wet conditions. Additionally, the thumb, index, and middle fingers each have textured silicone pads that provide exceptional brake lever and handlebar grip, even when completely soaked. A soft nose wipe on the back of the thumb helps with the cold-weather sniffles, and the extended cuff integrates well with arm warmers or long sleeve jerseys. We appreciated the strapless slip-on design, but also found that there was a tradeoff when taking these on and off. Donning and removing these gloves with cold hands can be a little bit cumbersome, but the wrist pull loop helps. Overall, we were very impressed with these gloves, and we feel they are a great option for technical rides in cool weather.

The Ranger Fire blends a little wind protection and insulation in a...
The Ranger Fire blends a little wind protection and insulation in a sleek and low-profile package.
Photo: Zach Wick

7

Best for Glove-Averse Riders


100% Celium


100% Celium
Top Pick Award

$29.50
at Competitive Cyclist
See It

Super minimalist
Perforated palm
Touchscreen compatible
Somewhat expensive
Minimal protection

For those among us who can't stand the feeling of fabric between our palm and the handlebar but recognize the need for protection in the event of a crash, the 100% Celium is one of the best options out there. Riders who tend to leave the gloves at home in favor of a more solid-feeling connection between their digits and the controls will find the feel of the Celium's single-layer palm pad and ultra-thin, perforated back panel pretty close to the feeling of gloveless riding. These gloves slide on easily and practically disappear on your hands. The fit is snug, but the flexible fabric keeps them from feeling restrictive, and the interior seams are small enough to not be distracting. Additionally, the touchscreen-capable fingertips work well, and the ultra-light construction breathes as well as any model we tested.

We didn't have any complaints with the Celium out on the trail. This minimalist glove obviously doesn't pack the same protection as padded models, so if you're looking for protection from rock and tree impacts you'll want to look elsewhere. We found them more than adequate for trail riding, though. One of our testers even had a high-speed washout on a loose corner while testing these gloves and his palms came away unscathed. For that reason, we think this is the perfect model for a rider whose hands have been torn up by one too many crashes and is ready to start wearing gloves. 100% offers the Celium in three colors and sizes ranging from small through extra-large.

The Celium gloves are so thin that it almost feels like you're not...
The Celium gloves are so thin that it almost feels like you're not wearing gloves, yet they provide an excellent bar feel and just a tiny bit of protection.
Photo: Zach Wick

8

A Longstanding Tester Favorite


Giro DND


Giro DND
Best Buy Award

$24.95
at Competitive Cyclist
See It

Well-refined fit
Good breathability
Compatible with touchscreen
Reasonable price
Minimal protection

The Giro DND has established itself as a popular mainstay in Giro's mountain bike glove line-up. One of our testers claims to have been riding with various pairs of the DND for the past eight seasons. This classic glove returns relatively unchanged over the previous versions with a comfortable combination of 4-way stretch breathable mesh on the back of the hand and AX Suede synthetic leather on the palm. The fit of these gloves is dialed in and enhanced by the 4-way stretch mesh, as well as the "Super-Fit" engineered three-panel palm construction, which reduces material bunching and improves bar-feel. From the moment you put these DND gloves on, they are instantly comfortable, just like the other Giro gloves in this test. We found they were suited best for warmer temperatures of roughly 60 degrees and above. The gloves feature a large soft chammy on the thumb that is great for runny noses and wiping sweat, as well as two wide silicone strips on the tips of the thumb, index, and middle fingers for extra grip for the brake levers and shifter paddles. Conduction threads are stitched into the tip of the thumb and index fingers to offer compatibility with touchscreens for all those selfies and shred shots you're sure to be posting while out on the trail.

The DND has a minimalist design and doesn't feature any additional padding for the knuckles or back of the hand, so they aren't the best option for riders who seek extra protection. We found the DND to stand up to our abuse with minimal signs of wear, even after a couple of full-speed washouts onto the palms. Overall, the DND was one of our favorite all-around gloves in our test selection, and we enjoyed riding in them. They come in multiple color options in both men's and women's (known as the LA DND) versions. Men's are available in sizes S-XXXL while women's are available in sizes S-XL.

We've been riding in various pairs of DND gloves for years. If it...
We've been riding in various pairs of DND gloves for years. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

9

Another Great Cool Weather Glove


Specialized Trail Thermal Gloves


Specialized Trail Thermal Gloves

$40 List
List Price
See It

Keep hands warm in cool temperatures
Great articulation and dexterity
Comfortable
Work with touchscreen
Somewhat narrow temperature range

The Trail Thermal Glove is a new mountain bike-specific cool weather glove from Specialized. Made from a 3-layer softshell material, these gloves are highly wind-resistant with just enough insulation to keep the hands warm in cooler temperatures. Unlike some cool weather gloves, they have a relatively low profile that isn't bulky, and they have just the right amount of stretch to allow for great dexterity. These comfortable gloves are nicely articulated with a snug fit and a velcro wrist closure. The AX Suede palm provides a great bar feel and features silicone dots on the pointer/middle fingers and thumb for grip on the shifter and brake levers, even when wet. The tips of the pointer finger and thumb also feature Wiretap touchscreen compatible material that works surprisingly well on your phone.

While we loved the Trail Thermal Glove in the right conditions, we found them to have a relatively narrow temperature bandwidth. They aren't quite warm enough for temperatures much below 40-degrees Farenheight, and they feel a bit too warm when the mercury rises above 55-degrees or so. When the temperature rose, we found our hands would get quite sweaty inside these gloves, although the softshell upper and AX Suede palm were quick to dry back out. Beyond that, we were quite impressed by this new glove and wouldn't hesitate to ride with them when appropriate. They come in black (tested) and redwood in sizes S-XXL as well as a women's version.

10

Best Glove for Cold and Wet Riding


Gore Wear Gore-Tex Infinium Mid


Gore Wear Gore-Tex Infinium Mid
Top Pick Award

$69.95
at Competitive Cyclist
See It

Water-repellant
Soft liner material
Expensive
Touchscreen compatibility could be better

When heading out on especially damp and dreary days, the Gore Wear Infinium Mid is our top choice. This super-comfortable glove kept our hands nice and cozy even when everything else was soaked through and freezing. We took these gloves out on many rainy, muddy, sloppy rides, and they helped us stay comfortable for longer. The Gore-Tex Infinium outer shell is sturdy, windproof, and water-repellent, and the interior is crafted from a cloud-like polyester lining that made this one of the most comfortable models we tested. When things heat up on a climb, the Infinium Mid breathes remarkably well, and a terry cloth patch on the back of the thumb works well to wipe fogged lenses or your runny nose. Each finger has a silicone strip at the base that helps grip the handlebar when things get wet. The overall fit isn't too bulky and allows you to retain remarkable dexterity for such a warm glove.

While we loved the Infinium Mid there are a few things that we should note. These gloves are water repellant but not completely waterproof, and we would avoid taking them out in a downpour or submerging them in a puddle when you drop your multi-tool. In colder temperatures, we also found the touchscreen-sensitive fingertips to be a bit finicky. Lastly, we found that the interior lining moves slightly against the outer shell, which initially we thought to be a concern when gripping the handlebars. We found this to be more of a psychological issue because we never actually had any grip issues during testing. The Infinium Mid gloves are a unisex model offered in two colors and are available in seven sizes, XS-XXXL.

11

Best Minimalist Glove


Fox Racing Ranger Gloves


Fox Racing Ranger Gloves

$25.95
at Amazon
See It

Lightweight
Durable construction
Reasonable price
Uncomfortable fingertip seams

The new-look Fox Ranger tops our list of minimalist models for its quality construction, versatile fit, and all-day comfort. Fox recently re-designed the Ranger, and its sleek new look adds to a longstanding reputation for quality and durability. The four-way stretch polyester construction combines with a small velcro wrist strap to ensure a snug fit for a wide range of hand shapes and sizes. Our test gloves were a true large with good proportions for the fingers and palm, and we found them easy to pull on and off quickly. The thumb, index, and middle fingers have three large silicone strips across their tips that add some grip for brake and shift levers. Its small, sturdy seams had no excess material, boasting some of the best construction among all of the products we tested. After putting a month of hard riding on our test gloves, we didn't see a thread out of place. For one of the least-expensive gloves in our test, we think that's pretty impressive.

While the Ranger's material is soft and comfortable, we found the convergence of seams at the fingertips to be less than ideal. Four panels of material come together at the tip of each finger, creating a small bulge in the interior of the glove that can be irritating against the skin. This is a common issue with many gloves, and the Ranger's well-made seams minimized the discomfort. There are other gloves in the test, however, that avoid the issue altogether with clever workarounds. Also, like any minimalist glove, we wouldn't recommend using the Ranger in anything colder than around 60 degrees. Fox makes both men's and women's versions of the Ranger. The men's version is available in 4 color options in sizes S-XXL, and the women's comes in three colorways in sizes YS, S, M, and L.

12

Most Bling Factor


Troy Lee Designs Air Glove


Troy Lee Designs Air Glove

$29.00
(9% off)
at Competitive Cyclist
See It

Stylish
Comfortable
Feature-packed
Reasonable price
Protective
Velcro Strap

Troy Lee Designs is well known for their flashy, stylish, and high-performance apparel, and the Air gloves live up to that reputation. This model will turn heads out on the trails with bright colors and the iconic TLD logo, but it will also keep your digits happy and protected in a variety of conditions. The gloves are made up of a thin, breathable fabric but offer more protection than a standard minimalist glove. The index and middle fingers each have small rubber pads running along their back for knuckle protection, and the thick TLD logo acts as a basic pad for the back of the hand. The perforated palm has a silicone TLD logo as well as textured silicone pads on the index and middle fingers for brake lever grip. We aren't completely sold on the velcro closure system, mainly because velcro tends to wear out quickly when combined with dirt and sweat. We didn't have any issues with it in testing, though, and the strap does make it a bit easier to get the gloves on and off than most strapless designs. If you're looking to make a statement on your next ride, these are the gloves for you.

The Air is a good option for temperate riding conditions. They aren't the most well-ventilated gloves we tested, but they're well-suited to temperatures in the sixties and above. We appreciated the extra protection out on the trail but found that they were a little bit more noticeable on our hands than some of the other lightweight models we tested. These gloves are best used for technical trail and enduro riding. We tested a solid red pair in size large, but Troy Lee currently offers this model in numerous color options and sizes from SM-XXL.

The Air glove has classic TLD flair and comes in a range of colors...
The Air glove has classic TLD flair and comes in a range of colors to match your kit or suit your taste.
Photo: Zach Wick

13

Best for Winter Riding


Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Gel


Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Gel

$60 List
See It

Fleece liner
Well-insulated
Gel palm pads
Slightly bulky
Not very breathable

The Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Gel provides fantastic insulation from the cold winter chill. This model was the warmest of any in our test and when the temperatures dipped below freezing, they were our go-to. With a fleece-lined inner and Primaloft insulation, these gloves are a great option for the masochists among us who like to pedal in the cold when others are cozied up by the fire. The gel palm pads allow a comfortable interface with the handlebars without disguising too much ride feedback, and the silicone-tipped fingers make for a secure link between your fingers and the brake levers. Loss of dexterity from bulky insulation is always our first concern with winter gloves but the Elite Softshell Gel has a surprisingly sleek and dexterous fit for the warmth it provides. Without removing the gloves we were able to open energy bars, add and remove clothing layers, and even fiddle with our phones using the touchscreen-capable index finger and thumb.

These wouldn't be our first choice for anything but the coldest rides simply because they do their job so well. When the temperatures rose a bit, we found it easy to overheat since these gloves don't breathe very well. Also, despite the sleek fit, we would only want the extra bulk of the insulated glove if we need it. When the temperatures heat up, we'll stick with one of the mid to light-weight gloves we tested, but when it's freezing and frosty we'll reach for the Elite Softshell gloves every time. Pearl Izumi makes men's and women's versions of these gloves. The women's version is available in black only in sizes S-XL, while the men's is offered in black and screaming yellow in sizes S-XXL

If you're riding in below freezing temperatures, the Elite Softshell...
If you're riding in below freezing temperatures, the Elite Softshell is a great option.
Photo: Laura Casner

14

A Good Mid-Weight Option


Dakine Cross X


Dakine Cross X

$34.95
at Amazon
See It

Works with touchscreen
Silicone fingertips
Light knuckle padding
Sizing runs big
A little bulky

The Cross X falls around the middle of Dakine's range of mountain bike gloves. This versatile glove offers the features and performance that Dakine is known for. They are well constructed, with in-stitching that proved to be comfortable at the fingertips and everywhere else. The gloves have a large and very soft chammy on the thumb that is great for wiping sweat, runny noses, and the like. Touchscreen compatibility is achieved through the use of a different material on the tip of the index finger and thumb than the standard Clarino they use on the palm. They offer some protection in the form of a large neoprene panel across the knuckles, small sonic welded rubber pads on the fingers, and a small pad integrated into the outer ball of the hand. Other features include silicone grips on the thumb, index, and middle fingers to keep them in place on your brake levers and shifter paddles. We feel the Cross X is best suited to more gravity-oriented riding or cooler temperatures, and they proved to be comfortable on fall rides in the range of 50-70 degrees.

While we liked the Cross X, we were thrown off a little by the fit. Out of all of the other gloves we tested, including another Dakine model, the size large Cross X fit significantly larger. While they are made of pretty standard Clarino and 4-way stretch polyester, the larger fit didn't require any stretch to make them fit around our hands. We found them to have a bit of excess material across the back of the hand when the velcro was cinched down tightly across our wrists. The Cross X comes in both men's and women's versions. The women's version comes in two colorways in sizes XS-XL, and the men's is offered in five, in sizes XS-XXL.

We put each pair of gloves through the wringer in testing.
We put each pair of gloves through the wringer in testing.
Photo: Sarah Strobel

Why You Should Trust Us


Our lead mountain bike glove reviewers are Jeremy Benson and Zach Wick. Benson is our Senior Mountain Bike Review Editor and a bike racer based in South Lake Tahoe, CA, who rides obsessively while training for endurance gravel and mountain bike races throughout northern California. He began mountain biking in the early nineties and has become more addicted to the sport over the years. Whether riding for fun, work, or training, Benson spends lots of time on the bike in all seasons. From the sweltering heat of summer to below-freezing rides on fat bikes, Benson appreciates the right glove for the job. In addition to putting all types of gear through the wringer for GearLab reviews, Benson is also the author of Mountain Bike Tahoe, a guidebook published by Mountaineers Books.

Zach Wick is a riding fanatic who has spent years working in product development and testing in the cycling industry. He has experience testing new equipment both in the lab and in the field, and he has developed a keen sense of what makes a good product. Over the past fifteen years, he's spent time riding and racing most two-wheeled disciplines you can think of at an elite level. These days he spends most of his time mountain biking on his local trails in Santa Cruz and taking part in the occasional mountain, gravel, or cyclocross race while testing gear for GearLab.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

What to Look For In a Mountain Bike Glove



Fit


As is the case with most riding gear, fit is one of the most important things to consider when hunting for a new pair of mountain bike gloves. A glove's fit plays an important role in its comfort and performance. Of course, getting the appropriate size is crucial, but other factors also affect the way a glove fits. We examined things like the shape, length, and articulation of the fingers, ease of getting them on and off, stretch of materials, or if there was any unwanted bunching. We also paid attention to whether the various models ran true to size, as it can vary from brand to brand. Most of the models we tested fell within a reasonable fit range for their size, but certain models spanned a more dynamic range of hand proportions.

Fit and comfort are closely tied. The Dakine Covert was one of the...
Fit and comfort are closely tied. The Dakine Covert was one of the most well-fitted and comfy gloves we tested.
Photo: Sarah Strobel

Comfort


Comfort is somewhat subjective by nature, but there are a number of objective factors that influence the comfort of a mountain bike glove. The materials used to construct a glove play a major role. The material's breathability is important to keep your hands cool in the warmer months, and insulation is necessary to keep the blood flowing in the winter. Almost all gloves use stretchy polyester fabrics in their construction for a precise fit, and some simply feel better than others.

A glove's construction also plays a big role in its comfort. Most gloves have interior seams that run along the sides of the palm and fingers. We quickly found that there's a big comfort gap between a small, well-made seam and a bulky, sloppy one. Additionally, over time poor seam placement can create hotspots or blisters on the hand. The most comfortable gloves avoid seams in the palm area and have found clever ways to keep seams away from the fingertips where they can be most distracting.

Features like silicone on the fingers and thumb enhance grip on the...
Features like silicone on the fingers and thumb enhance grip on the lever and handlebar, while conduction threads enable touchscreen compatibility.
Photo: Sarah Strobel

Features


While most gloves generally look pretty similar, there are a number of features that differentiate between the various models. We examined and tested each model's useful features, including, but not limited to, the nose-wipe chammy, touchscreen compatibility, silicone fingertips, padding, ventilation, and moisture-wicking capability. We wanted to know not only that the feature was there, but whether or not it actually works. In the process, we discovered that not all of a brand's claimed features are created equal.

Touchscreen compatibility has become a mainstay in mountain bike gloves, and it comes standard on most gloves these days. Every time you need to take a picture or text your significant other, it can be a pain to pull your gloves off, so we paid close attention to how well each model's touchscreen capable fingertips worked. Brands achieve touchscreen compatibility in different ways, but we didn't find any style that consistently worked better than the rest. We did, however, find individual models that performed more reliably than others.

Touch screen compatibility is not only very useful, but its becoming...
Touch screen compatibility is not only very useful, but its becoming the norm.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Protection


Any glove offers more protection than a bare hand, but when it comes to keeping your fingers safe and sound, not all gloves are created equal. Some gloves are designed to be minimalist, providing your palms, the backs of your hands, and knuckles with only a thin layer of coverage. This style does a decent job of keeping your palms and knuckles scuff-free in the event of a quick dirt slide or brush encounter but won't help with much more than that. Thin and lightweight gloves like the 100% Celium are so minimal that it barely feels like you're wearing anything at all. Other models like the Giro DND, Giro Trixter, and Handup Summer Lite are no-frills lightweight options but feel a little more substantial than the super-light Celium.

Gloves like the 100% Cognito D30 have knuckle padding for riding in...
Gloves like the 100% Cognito D30 have knuckle padding for riding in heavy hitting terrain.
Photo: Laura Casner

Other models are designed specifically to provide more protection and will have features like rubber, foam, or gel pads integrated on the knuckles, back of the hand, and parts of the palm that can help out in the event of an impact. The Giro Remedy X2 and 100% Cognito D30 both feature knuckle protection. The Remedy gloves have foam padding on the knuckles and outside back of the hand, while the Cognito have a substantial D30 layer across the top of the knuckles that hardens on impact.

Gloves designed with cool or cold weather riding in mind offer protection in the form of wind or waterproof materials and possibly insulation. Due to the variable nature of protective components like padding between the different models we chose to weight this metric less than the others. Cool weather gloves like the Fox Ranger Fire and Specialized Trail Thermal are great for cool temperatures that are still above freezing. The Gore Infinium Mid are very weather resistant and are a great bet when it's super wet and cold outside. When the temps dip below the freezing mark, the Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Gel are a warm, insulated option.

Cool weather gloves like the Fox Ranger Fire offer protection from...
Cool weather gloves like the Fox Ranger Fire offer protection from wind and cooler temperatures.
Photo: Zach Wick

Durability


Mountain bike gloves are subject to some serious abuse. Between constant contact with your grips, close encounters with bushes, trees, and prickers, and taking the brunt of an impact when you hit the deck, they won't last forever. Barring any major crashes, you hope to get at least a full season of riding out of any pair. We rated the durability of each model by carefully examining the quality of craftsmanship and materials, the stitching, silicone fingertips, and all the usual weak points of a glove to see how they handled the abuse of our field testing. Of course, the durability of any pair of gloves may vary depending on what kind of abuse you put them through.

We test our products in the field, and we always do our best to test...
We test our products in the field, and we always do our best to test them in the conditions for which they are intended as seen here testing cool weather gloves on a fat bike ride.
Photo: Laura Casner

How We Test


For the most part, we tested each pair of gloves by simply going out and mountain biking in them on our regular rides. Over the course of several months, each pair of gloves was put through its paces on rides of various lengths on a variety of trails of Lake Tahoe, Santa Cruz, and the surrounding foothills of northern California and Nevada. During field testing, we scrutinized each model and rated them on five different performance metrics: fit, comfort, features, protection, and durability.

To test each model's fit versatility we handed them off to as many friends and family as we could. Feedback from a variety of hand shapes and sizes provided us with a range of fit for each model.

Our team put in the time and the miles while testing the gloves in...
Our team put in the time and the miles while testing the gloves in this review. We hope you find the pair that's right for you.
Photo: Laura Casner

Conclusion


We put these gloves through months of testing including hundreds of hours and thousands of miles on the bike to help you narrow down the myriad mountain bike glove options on the market. We hope this detailed and comprehensive review helps you decide which mountain bike gloves are best for your needs, your riding style, and the weather conditions you encounter.

Zach Wick, Jeremy Benson