Fast hands: Best sporty motorcycle gloves

Top sporty motorcycle gloves
Top sporty motorcycle gloves

Once the worst of the winter is behind us and it looks like spring and eventually, summer are on the way, thoughts turn to lightweight riding kit, such as sporty motorcycle gloves.

A pair of well-fitting and protective gloves make any ride more enjoyable. For a start, the feeling of air flowing through vents and keeping the hands cool on a warm day is part of what makes summer riding so much fun. And the feeling of connection with the bike, thanks to little or no lining or insulation between your skin and the controls, really keys you into your riding.

Sporty gloves should give you both of these experiences but maintain the best levels of protection. You should be looking for hard knuckle armour, ideally hard protection on the fingers, as well as on the base of the palm. Plus, aim for protection over the scaphoid bone and probably on the outside of the wrist as well. You may find the gloves are formed in leather with additional areas of man-made fabrics, such as Keprotech or Superfabric to offer additional protection from impact or abrasion if you slide after a fall.

Sporty motorcycle gloves, like all protective clothing, should have a CE rating, either a ‘1’ or a ‘2’ with knuckle protection denoted by ‘KP’. This is optional for Level-1 gloves but mandatory for Level-2.

Related: The best sports motorcycle helmets

Best gloves for finger protection
Price: £59.99 (was £79.99)
The race-style gloves from LS2 are very impressive; CE rated to 2KP, they fit nicely, though the thumbs come up a little long. The leather is supple and they have hard-knuckle armour as well as nuggets on the fingers and Superfabric panels on the landing zones at the base of the palm and the outside of the little finger. The third and fourth fingers are bridged to prevent injury in a fall and the perforations and vents keep the hands nicely cool. We've tried these and they are excellent value for money.

Read our full LS2 Swift racing gloves review
Price: 261.25 (was £359.95)
These top-of-the-range sporty motorcycle gloves have endured over the years. The goatskin leather and technical construction combine to give the glove a rich and supple feel when worn. The titanium and carbon armoured sections covering the knuckles doesn't detract from this comfort either.

Tested by Bruce Dunn for four years, 25,000 miles

I have been wearing them for four seasons now and they are just starting to show signs of attrition. This is largely down to a recent high-speed crash at Snetterton, where I slid off my bike at 105mph! The gloves withstood the impact and subsequent abrasion torture from the tarmac and on inspection afterwards they were completely intact with no holes or tears, and just minimal scuffing on the wrists and palms being the only signs of a crash.
It's worth pointing out that the retail price £379.95, but if you shop around, you'll find that certain sizes and colours are discounted to £261.25 - which is still expensive, yes, but when you consider that they could be the only leather sports glove you'll ever need to buy then I think they're good value.
Price: £71.99
These sporty motorcycle gloves have been terrific company as I’ve been engaged in learning about life with sports bikes. That’s because they’re so easy to live with, which leaves me more headspace to think about the bike and my riding.

Tested by Gareth Evans over 1,000 miles

Furygan claims there are six different technical materials used in their construction, but basically, it’s a mix of goat leather and textile which blends to provide an extremely comfortable glove that fits me perfectly. In particular, I love the material used for the fingers – it’s soft yet warm and remains fully waterproof. There are capacitors in some fingers so you can use a smartphone too, although this doesn’t work perfectly 100% of the time.

That isn’t the end of the world, however, because they’re so easy to put on and take off again, so instead of haplessly poking at my mobile’s screen I simply take a glove off and use my actual fingertips. There’s a wrist strap to keep them snug, and I leave that where it is, opting instead to just use the single Velcro cuff to secure the gloves for riding. This is what makes them so quick to use.

The only negative is their longevity: after 1000 miles the fabric is starting to bobble and fray a little on the index finger of the left hand. Now, I’m left-handed, so presumably, I’m subconsciously using that finger more than the rest for fumbling with keys and suchlike. I’d have still expected longer before the first signs of wear appeared.
Furygan Dirt Road sporty motorcycle gloves
Best coolest looking sporty motorcycle gloves
These highly-regarded gloves from Knox have a sci-fi feel to them, with their skeletal external spines running along the outside of the fingers to protect them. There is hard protection over the back of the hand with padding underneath to absorb impacts while the inside features Knox palm sliders and scaphoid protection. The long cuff features the Boa closure system, using a turn-buckle and wires to bring the cuffs in.
Best gloves for a freer feeling
Price: 83.24 (was £110.99)
Rated 1KP, these Held Spot gloves are formed in goat and kangaroo leather for protection and feel and come in a short-cuff design, good for riders who want a freer feeling. There's a Kevlar liner on the back of the hand and vents built into the chunky hard-plastic knuckle armour. The third and fourth fingers are bridged at their base and there are Superfabric panels at the base of the palm in the landing zones. They are also touchscreen compatible and have a visor wipe on the left-hand index finger.

Read our full Held Spot gloves review
Best sporty motorcycle glove for track use
Price: 89.49 (was £99.99)
These very serious-looking gloves from RST are CE-rated to 2KP, offering the highest levels of hand protection. Formed in cowhide and kangaroo leather, they have carbon knuckle protection and Kevlar in the palms with a plastic palm slider and soft padding over the scaphoid. There are pre-curved fingers, concertina sections for movement and padding on the fingers and the thumb, as well as a large panel on the wrist. Proper gloves for proper track use.
Price: 370.49 (was £389.99)
These gloves from Alpinestars were developed on the racetrack and it shows; incredible levels of grip, comfort, cooling and protection, rated at CE 2 KP, the highest tested level but generating extremely high levels of confidence. Formed in kangaroo and cow leather, they have hard knuckle armour and padding on the fingers and thumb. There are concertina joints to allow the hand and fingers to move, with Keprotech abrasion-resistant panels on the palm, the thumb and the outside of the fingers. There is also a hard plastic flap on the cuff with vents for cooling air. Not cheap but worth every penny.
Best for touchscreen compatabilty
This sports glove from Oxford is made in leather with a full cuff and features carbon knuckle armour as well as hard carbon nuggets on the fingers. Accordion stretch panels on the fingers and an elasticated wrist make movement easy and comfortable and there is soft padding on the landing zone, over the scaphoid and on the outside of the thumb. Rated 1 KP, they are also touchscreen compatible.
Best gloves for movement
Price: 159.99 (was £209.99)
These sports gloves from French manufacturer Racer feature TPU-plastic hard knuckle armour and nuggets on the fingers for protection with two Knox panels in the palm, one on the landing zone and one over the scaphoid. The long cuff also features another TPU protective panel and there is Superfabric on the outside of the little finger. Accordion panels allow the hand to move and there is a kangaroo leather panel on the palm for grip.
Cowhide leather construction with hard carbon knuckle protection, there are also carbon nuggets on the fingers. The Richa Ravine have soft padding on the outside of the little finger, the landing zone at the base of the palm and over the scaphoid and achieves a 1 KP rating.

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