After researching 50 of the best and mountain bike gloves on the market, our team purchased a selection of 15 men's and women's models to test and compare side by side. Testing took place in the Lake Tahoe area and the surrounding foothills in a wide range of weather conditions. The majority of the testing involved long hours in the saddle while focusing on the fit, comfort, and features of each model. Our field testing was also supplemented by comparative side by side testing to examine fit characteristics and usefulness of specific features like padding and touchscreen compatibility. We hope our detailed testing process and comparative analysis helps you find the gloves.
The Best Mountain Bike Gloves
The Giro Remedy X2 rose to the top of our test selection and took home the coveted Editors' Choice Award. This is a recently updated version of Giro's ever-popular Remedy glove. Not only are these gloves exceptionally comfortable with a great fit, they have a variety of useful features that make life a little easier while out on the trail. They also offer added protection with well-placed padding on the knuckles, back of the hand, and palm. We found the Remedy X2 to be comfortable for a wide range of warmer temperatures, approximately 60 degrees and up. We were thoroughly impressed with the Remedy X2, and we think you will be too.
Read review: Giro Remedy X2
The 100% Ridecamp Women's is a rock-solid glove with a superior fit. All of the fingers were proper length, and this was the only glove without any pressure points on any particular digit. The conductive threads on the index finger offer consistent performance on touchscreen devices. This glove scored the highest for comfort thanks to the 100%'s fabric choice. The small amount of armor/protection on the knuckle is a nice touch that most lady's gloves, in this test class, do not offer. Even though its a top-pick, the wrist area features a few minor drawbacks including irritating seams on the wrist closure device and pull-on tab.
Read review: 100% Ridecamp - Women's
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 various pairs of the DND for the past five 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. Like the other Giro gloves in this test, the DND is just plain comfortable from the moment you put them on. The DND is best suited for warmer temperatures, roughly 60 degrees and above.
The minimalist design of the DND does not feature any additional padding for the knuckles or the back of the hand. The gloves do feature an extensive and soft chammy on the thumb for runny noses and sweat wipes and two wide silicone strips on the tips of the thumb, index and middle fingers provides extra grip for the brake levers and shifter paddles. Conduction threads have also been stitched into the tip of the thumb and index fingers to offer compatibility with touch screens for all those selfies and snap chats you're sure to be posting while out on the trail. We found the DND to stand up to our abuse during testing with minimal signs of wear, even after a couple of full speed wash outs onto the palms. Overall, we enjoyed riding in the DND and it was one of our favorite gloves in our test selection. The DND is available in 10 different colorways and 5 sizes from Small to XXL.
The Giro LA DND is a comfortable and straightforward glove that rated high our the comfort metric. The four-way stretch material conforms beautifully to the top of the hand while the multi-layered palm is soft yet reinforced. We love the minimalist approach of the slip-on design. Finger length is appropriate although we experienced a pressure/tight point on the tip of the thump. Touch screen compatibility is spotty at best. The Giro is not the best choice for those who plan on using technology mid-ride. This glove is an impressive value.
Read Review: Giro La DND - Women's
The Fox Sidewinder Women's Glove is a unique glove that is practical for those ladies looking to get aggressive. The first thing that you will notice about the Sidewinder is the armor on the top of the hand. These plates of protection are designed to protect the top of the hand should your handlebars kiss a tree. As reassuring as the armor is, they create a clumsy and plastic feeling on the top of the hand. Also, the material around the wrist is thick and has the feeling that it might limit your range of motion. Touch screen compatibility is excellent. All fingers and the thumb work well on your device. The price tag is about what you should expect from a feature-packed glove.
The Fox Ripley Women's glove is a simple and effective option. The no-frills approach lends itself to a simple looking and attractive glove. A thick palm provides confidence that the Ripley should hold up to a significant amount of riding. The four-way stretch feel on the top of the hand is soft and comfortable and offer an excellent range of motion. On the side of the fingers, you will find a thin and breathable fabric. Silicone printed grip patches on the fingertips allow you to use your trail-side bike tool with a firm clasp. Touchscreen abilities are decent on thanks to sewn-in threads in the tip of the index finger and thumb. Exercise caution when ordering a pair of these, they fit small. Where some gloves fit small in just the fingers or palms, the Ripley is tight throughout. These gloves are an exceptional value.
While testing gloves in the fall in the mountains of Northern California we experienced a mixed bag of weather conditions. We had snow, rain, and everything from freezing to warm temperatures. Virtually anytime it was cold, below 50 degrees but still above freezing, we found ourselves delighted to be riding in the Giro Blaze 2.0. The Giro Blaze 2.0 is intended for riding in cooler temperatures, they claim a 40-50 degree range, and they are incredibly well suited to that application. The back of the hand is made of Polartec Windbloc fabric with a microfleece lining that we found to completely block all wind. This wind-blocking material took the edge off those cooler rides allowing us to ride comfortably when the mercury dipped towards the freezing mark. Whether out on a trail ride or cruising down to the market to buy some beer on the cross bike, these gloves kept our fingertips from turning white and painfully regaining circulation later on.
We found the Blaze 2.0 to fit quite well and was very comfortable. The Windbloc fabric, however, isn't very stretchy. They fit with a bit of excess material on the back of the hand when compared to a warm weather riding glove made of a stretch fabric. The palm of the glove is made of a thin layer of AX Suede Echo material that provided excellent dexterity and bar feel. We also loved the fact that the Giro Blaze 2.0 had a soft fleece chammy that ran from the tip of the index finger down to the wrist cuff. We would have liked it to be a little wider, but this long chammy was great for wiping our runny noses on cold rides. Giro took touchscreen compatibility into consideration and stitched conduction threads into the tips of the index finger and thumb. While this was a nice feature for simple tasks like snapping a quick photo, the bulky fingers made it difficult to do any more complicated tasks on a phone like send a text. That being said, taking a picture to show all your friends your rad ride is really all you need to do anyway. The Blaze 2.0 is a great value for people who often or occasionally ride in cooler temperatures. It's available in two color options, Black or Highlight Yellow/Black, and 5 sizes from Small up to XXL.
Fox recently redesigned their popular Sidewinder and the result is one of the unique looking gloves on the market. The DH and freeride oriented glove looks so unique because the entire back of the hand and the fingers are covered in small rubber panels bonded to the 4-way stretch polyester that offers light protection. The palm is made from a single piece of AX Suede Deuce synthetic leather that when combined with the 4-way stretch polyester of the back of the hand makes for a very comfortable glove. We were surprised to find that these gloves remain quite breathable, even with all of the rubber pads on the back of the hand, and they were great for rides on warm to hot days. Overall we thought the Sidewinder was very comfortable, although it could probably benefit from some additional articulation and some cleaner in-stitching of the seams around the wrist cuff.
The Sidewinder is almost completely covered in small rubber pads. These pads are great for protecting the knuckles and back of the hand from minor impacts with objective hazards out on the trail. What these pads are not good for, however, is wiping your nose with your index finger. On that note, the Sidewinder does have a small chammy on the thumb, but it is incredibly small. We did find that the gloves work well with a touchscreen. The AX Suede Deuce synthetic leather material of the palms seems to conduct better than other models with conduction threads stitched into the fingertips. The Sidewinder also has silicone in the form of hundreds of very small dots on all the fingers and thumb. We never experienced any issues with the rubber pads on the Sidewinder, but it would seem that the sheer number of them and the stretch fabric they are attached to could be a potential weak point and durability issue. Overall, we found the Sidewinder to be a quality comfortable mountain bike glove, suitable for all types of riding. The look may be an acquired taste, but if you like to look different, then these might be gloves for you. The Sidewinder is available in 4 colors and 5 sizes, Small through XXL.
The Ranger is one of Fox Racing's staple gloves. This minimal and simple glove has proven itself over the years and returns with a few updates to please the modern rider. The Ranger employs 4-way stretch polyester and an AX Suede palm to create a relatively comfortable package that is sure to please most riders. Generally speaking, we found the Ranger to fit well, but we thought that they ran a little small when compared to other size large gloves in our test selection. We also felt the comfort was compromised slightly by the construction of the fingertips and the in-stitched seams that we found to be more noticeable due to the pinched nature of the design. We also found the stitching around the wrist cuff to be quite noticeable and less comfortable than we would like.
That said, the one piece palm allowed for great bar feel. The recently updated Ranger glove had a number of useful features that are an improvement over previous models. The tips of the thumb, index and middle fingers have generous silicone grips that definitely keep them in place on your brake levers or shifter paddles. The tips of the index finger and thumb also have four rows of conduction threads stitched through the silicone grips to provide compatibility with touch screens. The Ranger does have a chammy on the thumb, a very small one, which is nice, albeit much smaller than we like. The simple and minimalist design of the Ranger features no padding for the knuckles or anything else. We found the Ranger to breathe well. It's suited for riding in temperatures around 60 degrees and up.
Fox's Forge glove is a dedicated winter riding glove that is intended for use in below freezing temperatures. We feel that the Forge is a great pick for people who like to ride or commute in colder climates and it will provide plenty of warmth, comfort, and protection for those riders. Much like a blacksmith's forge, the Fox Forge is a heat factory, especially once you start creating your own body heat. The Forge fits quite well once it's on your hands, and we found the size large to run true to size. They are a bit bulkier than gloves designed for warmer weather riding due to the fact that they have a waterproof membrane and polyfill insulation lining. The added bulk definitely decreases dexterity, a problem that is balanced out by the fact that your hands aren't completely numb. One gripe we had with the fit of the Forge is the fact that the lining is somewhat loose inside the shell of the glove and slipping them onto your hands took a bit more effort than we would like.
The Fox Forge is chock full of features that virtually any rider can appreciate. First, they are insulated, taking the chill out of the air and keeping your hands toasty warm on the coldest of rides. They are also waterproof, offering a 10k/10k waterproof/breathable membrane, so even in the sloppiest and wettest of conditions your hands will not only stay warm but they'll be dry to boot. They also have a thumb chammy for cold weather nose drips. The index and middle fingers have silicone grips to aid in keeping them on the brake levers when the going gets wet. Knuckle padding is another feature that we liked on the Forge, with lighter soft padding on the index and middle fingers, and stiffer small pads on the ring and pinky finger knuckles. Unfortunately, the Forge doesn't have any touchscreen compatibility, so if you really need to get the shot you'll have to take them off and brave the elements. Construction of the forge appears to be incredibly solid, with durable materials that show little to no signs of wear after numerous rides. The Forge is the most expensive glove in our test, but if you're doing any winter riding then we'd say its worth the price for the warmth and performance they have to offer. The Forge comes in Black only, and is available in 5 sizes, Small through XXL.
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, but there wasn't really all that much that wowed us about them. While they performed their duties admirably, we found them outdone by many of the other gloves in our test selection. The thing that really threw us off the most is the fit. Their size large Cross X fit significantly larger than every other pair of large sized gloves we tested, even the other Dakine glove in our test that was a large. While they are made of pretty standard Clarino and 4-way stretch polyester, the excessively large 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. Overall, we had no objections about the construction of the gloves, as the in-stitching proved to be comfortable in the fingertips and everywhere else. We did find them to be on the warmer side, and they proved to be comfortable on fall rides in the 50-70 degree range.
The Cross X had a number of features that we did enjoy. The gloves have a large and very soft chammy on the thumb that is great for wiping sweat, runny noses, and the like. Touch screen 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 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. The Cross X also features silicone grips on the thumb, index, and middle fingers to keep them in place on your brake levers and shifter paddles. We found the Cross X to be durable throughout the course of our testing, and we experienced no tearing of any fabric or pulling of any seams thus far. We feel the Cross X is best suited to more gravity oriented riding, as most endurance style riders will likely prefer a less heavy duty glove until the cooler months.
The Troy Lee Designs Ace 2 Women's glove is a great choice for those looking for simplicity and comfort. Riders in warmer climates will like the breathable mesh backhand. Ladies who don't want all of bells and whistles will enjoy the minimalist approach. Conductive threads on the fingertips work most of the time. Potential buyers should take care when ordering, testers found the Ace 2 Women's to fit on the small side. The price tag is on the lofty side for such a simple glove.
The Troy Lee Designs XC is a classic mountain bike glove that gets the job done. While it was by no means our favorite, it performed its duties well and is a fine option for all types of mountain bike riding. One of our favorite parts of the glove is the embossed palm panel that says "pop wheelies", and while riding in these gloves we felt compelled to do so as much as possible. The XC is a relatively basic glove by today's standards, but it is well constructed and relatively comfortable. The back of the hand is made of two-way stretch spandex. It was noticeably less compliant than the other models in our test which use a 4-way stretch material. They definitely felt slightly stiffer overall, but you got used to it once you were actually riding. Otherwise, we found the fit to be good, with well-constructed fingertips that kept the in-stitched seams from being uncomfortable and a velcro closure for easy on and off of the gloves.
These gloves breathe well and we found them to be best suited for riding in temperatures above 60 degrees. The features of the XC glove were a little underwhelming. This is not to say that these aren't good gloves, but when compared to some of the competition they seemed a little lacking. First, we were pleased with the soft chammy material on the thumb as well as the minimal but effective padding of the knuckles in the shape of a sonic-welded rubber Troy Lee Designs Logo. We were slightly dismayed however by the lack of touchscreen compatibility, a common feature on most modern gloves, and also by the lack of silicone on the fingertips. While these gripes are by no means deal breakers, the XC glove lost a little ground in the features metric. Quality of craftsmanship appears to be good and we have had zero durability issues during testing. The XC glove is available in eight different colors and 5 sizes, Small to XXL.
The Pearl Izumi Women's Summit glove sacrifices a bit of comfort and bar feel for a durable and hefty construction. Multiple reinforced areas and thick fabric make it clear that these gloves were built to last. Visually, there is quite a lot going on with these. A durable glove at a good price: what's the catch? Pearl Izumi's fabric choice was poor and the interior fabric can be irritating to the hand. In addition, excess amounts of material in the palm have a tendency to bunch up against your grips. Touchscreen compatibility is solid in the index finger but inconsistent in the thumb.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead mountain bike glove reviewer is Jeremy Benson, a freelance writer and mountain bike racer based in Truckee, CA. Benson rides obsessively for fun and 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 as the years go by. Last season he rode nearly 5,000 miles and 600,000 vertical feet on his mountain bike alone, and he typically goes through 2-3 pairs of glove a season. In addition to putting all types of gear through the wringer for OutdoorGearLab reviews, Benson is also the author of Mountain Bike Tahoe, a guidebook published by Mountaineers Books.
Women's glove testing was performed by Annie Clark. This ripper is a Nurse Practioner by day and a bicycle fanatic the rest of the time. The South Lake Tahoe local can be found commuting by bicycle on work days, embarking on marathon trail rides on days off, bike touring, and even hammering downhill laps at the Northstar Bike Park. Annie has a background in multiple disciplines of bicycle racing, but she primarily enjoys simply riding her bike.
What to Look For In a Mountain Bike Glove
How well a glove fits plays an important role in how comfortable it is and how well it performs. Of course, getting the appropriate size is crucial, but other factors also come into play with 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 between brands.
Comfort is somewhat subjective in 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 in comfort. The breathability of the materials is important to keep your hands cool in the warmer months, while it is the opposite in the cooler times of the year. Almost all gloves use stretchy polyester fabrics in their construction for a precise fit, and some simply feel better than others. The construction of a glove is also a consideration, most notably the stitching. All of the gloves we tested have in-stitched seams, seams sewn on the inside of the glove, and these are typically most noticeable in the tips of the fingers. Ideally, your gloves are so comfortable you never notice them, allowing you to give your full attention to the trail ahead of you.
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, touch screen compatibility, silicone fingertips, padding, and ventilation. We wanted to know not just that the feature was there, but how well it works, and in the process, we discovered that not all features are created equal. Touch screen compatibility has become an important feature in mountain bike gloves since its obviously way more convenient to use your phone or other devices without taking your gloves off. Compatibility with touch screens is accomplished in a couple of ways, either the use of more conductive material or conduction threads stitched through the fingertips.
Even the best touchscreen gloves won't operate a phone as well as a bare finger. It's still important to be able to take your gloves on and off fast. The key to this weather your gloves have velcro on the wrist or not. Look for gloves that fit well without velcro if you value taking your gloves on and off fast.
Any glove offers more protection than none at all, and the variety of gloves we tested offer it in varying degrees. Some gloves are designed to be minimalist, providing your palms, the backs of your hands, and knuckles with only a thin layer of coverage. Other gloves are intended 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. 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.
Mountain bike gloves are subject to some serious abuse, from constant contact with your grips, to close encounters with bushes, trees, and prickers, to taking the brunt of an impact during a fall. They don't last forever, but you'd 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 what kind of abuse you put them through…
How We Test
We tested each pair of gloves for an extended period by simply going out and mountain biking in them on our regular rides. Each pair of gloves was put through its paces on rides of various lengths on the excellent variety of trails of the Lake Tahoe area and the surrounding foothills of northern California and northern Nevada. During field testing, we scrutinized each model and rated them on five different performance metrics: fit, comfort, features, protection, and durability. Read on for a more detailed description of each of these rating metrics.
Months of testing, hundreds of hours, thousands of miles, 10 different pairs of gloves… We did it to help you, the consumer, narrow down the myriad mountain bike glove options on the market we put together this detailed and comprehensive review. We hope this helps you decide which gloves are best for you, your needs, your riding style, and the weather conditions you encounter.
— Jeremy Benson