Dynamic digits: MCN's guide to the best motorcycle gloves

The best motorcycle gloves
The best motorcycle gloves
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One of the most vulnerable areas of the body when riding a motorcycle are your hands, which is why a proper pair of motorcycle gloves is a must, whatever kind of bike you ride.

Your hands are stuck out in front of you, exposed to the elements – and if the worst happens, they are likely to be the first thing that hits the ground. With that in mind, a decent pair of motorcycle gloves should be considered essential kit in the same way as a helmet.

The Best Motorcycle Gloves at a Glance:

From perforated summer gloves and lightweight trail items to track-ready armour, the level of protection you need is up to you and should always be balanced with comfort. The weather is another factor to consider, and waterproof and thermal or even heated winter gloves will keep you able to use your hand controls through January commutes. There is a huge range catering to just about every motorcycling application imaginable.

We’ve provided a broad overview here, along with some helpful advice on what to look for, plus links to specific MCN buyer’s guides and expert in-depth reviews.

Best Deals at a Glance

33% off Oxford Rockdale Textile Gloves – Charcoal / Black – was £59.99, now £39.99

40% off Oxford Montreal Textile Gloves – Army Green – was £49.99, now £29.99

40% off Oxford Mondial Long MS Gloves – Grey / Black – was £99.99, now £59.99

Best sporty glove

Price: £79.99
These sporty motorcycle gloves from helmet manufacturer LS2 are ideal for a track day or sporty road riding. They provide top-notch protection but will be best reserved for sunny days in summer.


Read our full LS2 Swift review.

Pros

  • Highest protective rating for gloves
  • Excellent value
  • Comfortable and great feel

Cons

  • Thumbs a bit awkward on indicators

Best summer gloves

Price: £29.99
When the weather is hot, pulling a pair of protective gloves on is the last thing you want to do. Rather than being tempted to go without, why not go for a lightweight mesh pair like these from Tucano Urbano. They're particularly good for shooting around town centres.

Pros

  • Light
  • Airy
  • Keep you cool

Cons

  • Less protective than a leather glove

Best waterproof summer gloves

Price: £175.00
The UK summer sometimes arrives in 10-minute bursts with rain in between, and so a lightweight pair of waterproof gloves can be a handy addition to your wardrobe. These from Alpinestars combine a short cuff and textile construction with the Italian firm's DryStar waterproof membrane.

MCN's guide to the best waterproof summer gloves.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Design won't be for everyone (others are available)

Best women's gloves

Price: £50.99
These short, retro-style gloves have a subtle design with perforated sections and D3O protection. They're constructed from supple goat leather with foam reinforcements on the palm.

MCN's guide to women's gloves.

Pros

  • Vented
  • Lightweight
  • Good protection

Cons

  • Only for warm, dry conditions

Best three-season gloves

Price: £217.00
If you ride year-round and can only afford one pair of gloves, a three-season pair like these from Alpinestars are the ones to go for. If you have heated grips, they will just about get you through winter, but they're not overly hot in summer, either.

MCN's guide to three season motorcycle gloves.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Too thin for deep winter without heated grips

Best winter gloves

Keep your digits warm and working however cold it gets with winter gloves like these from Held. They're Gore-Tex, so they're waterproof but breathable and have plenty of protection, too.

Pros

  • Protective
  • Warm
  • Reflective details for winter nights

Cons

  • Quite plain looking

Best heated kit

The ultimate in winter comfort is a heated kit like these gloves from Keis. They can be powered with batteries in the cuffs or by wiring them to your bike's battery, and thanks to their Thinsulate layer, they are warm even without the power on.

MCN's guide to the best heated gloves.

Pros

  • Thinsulate liner
  • Battery or wired power

Cons

  • Once you try them, it's hard to go back

Best motocross and dirtbike gloves

Price: £12.99
When riding fully off-road, you don't strictly need as much abrasion or impact protection. Take these motocross gloves from Wulfsport that have no knuckle protection and a fabric construction on the back for coolness rather than safety.

MCN's guide to the best motocross and dirtbike gloves.

Pros

  • Light
  • Cool
  • Great value

Cons

  • Very little protection

Best vegan gloves

Price: £131 (EUR 128.66) (plus import charges from EU)
Top-notch protection doesn't have to mean leather, as proved by these Aramid and Superfabric sports gloves from Andromeda. They've got TPU and carbon protectors for added security, too.

MCN's guide to vegan-friendly kit.

Pros

  • Vegan construction
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Plain design

Best children's gloves

Whether your little ones are taking up racing or just want to take a pillion ride with you, they'll need some kit. These sporty gloves from bargain brand Duchinni have as much protection as an adult glove for a fraction of the cost.

MCN's guide to children's motorcycle gear.

Pros

  • Good protection
  • Low price

Cons

  • Will be grown out of fast

CE Certification

The CE standard for motorcycle gloves is EN 13594:2015, with Level 1 being awarded for a basic pass and Level 2 for items offering additional protection. There are several elements to the test, briefly described as follows.

Impact abrasion resistance:

The natural reaction during a fall is to brace for impact with outstretched hands, palms down. This test measures for the level of protection provided during such a situation, both in terms of the initial impact and potential ensuing slide.

Knuckle impact protection:

This is an optional test for Level 1 gloves and is rated at either 1 or 2 KP. All Level 2 gloves will have achieved 2KP in order to pass.

Cut resistance:

The main difference between Level 1 and 2 here is that only the palm of Level 1 gloves is tested for cut resistance, whereas all materials present in a Level 2 glove have to pass to achieve certification.

Tear strength:

Three separate pieces of the protective layer are subjected to a tear test, with the lowest score dictating whether a pass has been achieved.

Seam strength:

Each type of seam is tested at three individual points to ensure that the overall structural integrity of the glove reaches the required standard.

Restraint:

A glove can only do its job if correctly fastened, so this test measures the force required to pull it off whilst being worn. 25N dictates a Level 1 pass and 50N for Level 2.

Sizing and cuff length:

The difference between levels here is basically that of short and long gloves. Level 1 requires a cuff length of at least 5mm (measured from the line of the wrist), and Level 2 50mm. Sizing must comply with the European standard of EN420.

Innocuousness:

As gloves are worn in close contact with the skin, tests are carried out to ensure that none of the construction materials contains restricted or harmful substances. This includes measuring pH values and checking for potentially harmful elements, such as azo colourants, chromium VI and pentachlorophenol.

Ergonomic requirements:

Gloves must allow the wearer to maintain a certain amount of dexterity in order to operate switchgear, visor catches and so on, so this ensures that there is no significant restriction in movement.

About the author: Justin Hayzelden is MCN’s resident products guru and keeps a finger on the pulse of all that’s new and important in bike kit and accessories.

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