Protect your hands and keep them warm with a pair of the best mountain bike gloves. Here's our pick of the market.

Looking for the best mountain bike gloves to keep your hand protected, warm and dry in the winter or cool in the summer? We’ve tried and tested loads to find the best to suit every budget and taste.

While it’s tempting to choose a glove that looks like it has thick padding and lots of protection, for serious mountain biking we’d recommend going as minimal as possible. The more padding on the palm, the less precise the bike feels.

If anything, choose a set of the best mountain bike grips with more squidge and/or girth to them, rather than gloves with more padding.

Fox'x Flexair gloves in yellow

Fox’s Flexair gloves don’t dilute feedback from the trail

1. Fox Flexair gloves

The best minimalist gloves for ultimate control

Colours: 6 colours including Black, Pear Yellow | Sizes: S-XXL | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • ‘second-skin’ feel
  • palm perforations help wick sweat
  • touchscreen compatible.

Reasons to avoid:

  • Minimalism will affect durability.

The Flexair is Fox’s thinnest, most minimal glove, which means it’s designed for maximum feel. To achieve this, Fox has selected stretchy materials throughout, with extra flexible mesh between the fingers. There’s superb dexterity, and those webs between the fingers are also perforated to promote air flow and cooling. The fit really is exceptional, while the ventilation is also commendable, so we never had problems with our palms getting too sweaty and sliding about on the grips.

Using less material does have an impact on durability, but despite the lightweight build our test samples held up well during a downhill trip to the Alps. At the end of ten days descending they hadn’t lost shape or suffered from split seams.

Read the full review of the Fox Flexair Gloves

Fasthouse Blitz mountain bike glove in black with perforated palm

The Fasthouse Blitz is light and airy

2. Fasthouse Blitz glove

Minimal features, maximum contact with the grips

Colours: Back, grey | Sizes: S-XXL | Weight: 47g | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Great connection to the grips thanks to the Clarino palm
  • Perfect fit, with stretchy mesh back and Airprene cuff

Reasons to avoid:

  • Not the cheapest glove out there, especially considering the minimal design.

Fasthouse might not be the most household name in mountain bike apparel, but these Blitz gloves impressed us thanks to their excellent ventilation and lightweight build. The Clarino suede palm is thin and dextrous, so there’s no loss of feel through the grips. And the fit is well tailored to ensure there’s no bunching up around the palm, or bagginess arounf the fingers.

Read our full test review of Fasthouse Blitz gloves

100% Geomatic mountain bike gloves with finger and knuckle padding

Despite the looks, 100%’s Geomatic glove is no dinosaur

3. 100% Geomatic glove

Fits like, well, a glove

Sizes: S-XXL | Weight: 58g | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Perfect fit
  • Unobtrusive

Reasons to avoid:

  • Rubberised protection is a bit of a gimmick

The little rubber hexagons dotting the outside of these 100% Geomatic gloves definitely make them stand out from the crowd, but it’s the exceptional fit that really elevates them above an average glove in the performance stakes. 100% uses a single Clarino palm that conforms to all the contours of your hand, while the pre-shaped fingers encourage your hand into a natural shape when gripping the bars.

We like the generous sweat wipe and the effective touchscreen stitching on the forefinger, but we really love the natural fit and undiluted feel through the grips.

Read our full review of the 100% Geomatic glove

Troy Lee Designs Air glove

Troy Lee Designs Air glove performs exactly as the name suggests.

4. Troy Lee Designs Air glove

The best for bare-skin feel

Sizes: S-XXL | Weight: 40g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Lightweight and packed with features

Reasons to avoid:

  • Cuffs are a bit tight and stitching not that durable

These Troy Lee Designs Air gloves do exactly what it says on the tin: weigh nothing and stay well-ventilated even in the heat of the summer. TLD has also nailed the fit, which is as figure-hugging as a skinsuit, but the Velcro cuff helps with taking them on and off. Ditto the grip tab on the heel of the hand, which helps prevent tearing the stitching if your hand swells up in the heat. The sizing is on the small side, and being so light means they don’t last forever – we’ve had the stitching tear on several test samples. But for the feeling of riding gloveless, without the slippery hands, the TLD Air glove is a great option. 

Read the full review of the Troy Lee Designs Air glove

Leatt MTB 3.0 Lite glove

Leatt’s MTB 3.0 Lite glove delivers feedback in ultra HD.

5. Leatt MTB 3.0 Lite glove

Amazing feel through the minimal palm

Sizes: S-XL | Weight: 32g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Great feel
  • No bunching
  • Light

Reasons to avoid:

  • Tight to get off

Another glove that replicates the feeling of riding gloveless, without the sweaty palms and slippery fingers. The Leatt MTB 3.0 is super light, fits amazingly well, and doesn’t dilute any of the information you get through the grips. So you can feel every ripple in the trail and feedback from the bike. We love the MicronGrip palm material. It is ultra-thin, but it moulds easily to the contours of your hand and offers an unparalleled level of grip, both in the dry and wet. It’s also soft, and for such a thin layer it also wears extremely well. To keep the weight low, the MTB 3.0 Lite is a pull-on design, which won’t suit everyone. Indeed, pulling it on is really tricky – we went up a size and it was still a struggle.

Read our full review of the Leatt MTB 3.0 Lite glove

Ion Scrub gloves

Ion Scrub gloves are too good for doing the housework!

6. Ion Scrub glove

Invisible comfort

Sizes: S – XXL | Weight: N/A | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Thin palm gives great feel and feedback without bunching
  • Durable (so far)

Reasons to avoid:

  • Palm isn’t preformed, so takes a bit of time to wear into shape

The Scrubs not only fit well, they kept chill winds off without getting too hot, and have lasted longer with stitching and seams intact than other similar minimal, thin-palmed models we’ve really rated such as the discontinued Troy Lee Sprints.

Read our full test review of the Ion Scrub glove

100% Brisker glove

The 100% Brisker is a winter essential

7. 100% Brisker Cold Weather

Winter warmth with summer dexterity

Colours: Black, fluo orange, fluo yellow, white, camo, grey, neon pink | Sizes: S-XXL | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Amazing glove at a great price
  • Unimpeded dexterity, yet toasty warm

Reasons to avoid:

  • Not fully waterproof
  • Needs to be under 5ºC or they’re too hot

The Brisker glove from 100% sets the bar when it comes to a winter glove. It’s not fully waterproof and is only padded on the upper but it stays toasty warm even when wet. Where it scores just having an amazing amount of feel for a winter glove, normally you’d lose a lot of sensitivity but the Brisker has that in spades.

There’s a thumb wipe for mopping up drool and while the short cuff doesn’t really tuck that far under a jacket sleeve, this glove is toasty warm. It’s available in even colours, six sizes and a long-cuff version called Hydromatic with a waterproof inner, and there’s even a women’s version. On top of all that it’s an absolute bargain and is even undercuts most summer gloves.

Read our full test review of 100% Brisker Cold Weather gloves

Fist offers some of the boldest designs in mountain biking

8. Fist Handwear Chapter 20 – Aerobix gloves

So comfortable you won’t notice you’re wearing them, even if everyone else does

Sizes: XS, M, L, XL, XXL | Weight: 57g | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Extended cuff
  • Touch screen compatible
  • Underneath Velcro closure

Reasons to avoid:

  • If you’re rocking long nails then the fingers are too short

If you want to stand out from the crowd, Fist has you covered. The brand has some of the loudest designs we’ve ever seen. But if we ignore the aesthetics for a moment, what you have is a quality riding glove. The back gets a four-way stretch twill spandex, which fits really well across the knuckles. Meanwhile, the palm is soft, but hard-wearing, Clarino.

Fit, feel and durability are all decent, but what Fist really brings to the table is the huge variety of exciting designs available. From plain Jane to Kim Kardashian, there’s something for everyone.

Read review of Fist Handwear Chapter 20 Aerobix glove

Fox Ranger Fire gloves

9. Fox Ranger Fire glove

Toasty alternative from the mighty Fox head

Colours: Black, fluo | Sizes: S-XXL | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Better for Baltic temps than the 100% Brisker

Reasons to avoid:

  • Not quite as dexterous as the Brisker

The Fox Ranger Fire is an insulated glove with a water resistant coating and extended cuff to seal in the warmth. We found it was nicely articulated to our hand shape and finger length when holding the bar. While the fit was snug, with an unobtrusive palm feel and solid grip connection. That weatherproof outer fabric feels a bit like neoprene feel and proved effective at fending off cold winds and driving rain. They do get warmer than the 100% Brisker, which means you might not get as much use out of them in the UK climate.

Read review of the Fox Ranger Fire Gloves

Madison Zenith 4-Season DWR

Madison Zenith 4-Season DWR is a decent winter glove at a good price

10. Madison Zenith 4-Season DWR glove

Excellent winter glove for UK riders

Weight: 66g | Sizes: M – XXL | Rating: 8/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Designed in the UK – and the details show

Reasons to avoid:

  • Not available in smaller sizes

UK company Madison’s brand new DTE 4-Season DWR is a windproof glove with a thin palm and incredible feel. It’s a single-shell design but it does come pre-shaped to cut down on the bunching when gripping the handlebar. It’s a little longer than the 100% Brisker in the cuff and there’s only a pull tag on the neoprene cuff reducing bulk in this area. The DTE is only windproof and breathable, but it does have a quality DWR coating to help water pool on the surface and run off in a sudden downpour.  Comes with a large soft sweat wipe, if things hot up.

There’s a ton of feel from the synthetic palm and small areas of silicone grp on the fingers and thumb improve the grip in wet weather. Available in six sizes and two colours, at this price, it’ll definitely give the Brisker a run for its money.

Read our full test review of the Madison Zenith 4-Season DWR

How we tested the best mountain bike gloves

Comfort, fit, durability and control are the key criteria for testing, and we also look at what additional features are on offer such as knuckle protection, nose wipes etc.

Each glove has been ridden extensively in the conditions for which it was designed. That means we tested the winter gloves in cold, wet conditions, and the summer gloves when it’s warm, to gauge how well they perform for the purpose for which they were intended.

Fasthouse Blitz glove Alpkit Morphosis jacket

How to find the best mountain bike gloves for you

There are literally hundreds of mountain bike gloves out there, from super-simple basic models designed to provide the barest of cover, to fully-insulated, fully-waterproof gloves to help you ride through the coldest of winter weather.

What you need depends on personal preference, where you’ll be riding, what time of year and the weather and temperature conditions. There are also some particular features to look out for.

100% Brisker glove

The 100% Brisker glove keeps icy fingers at bay.

What size mountain bike gloves do I need?

While fit will vary from one brand to another, the basics of sizing are standardised.

  1. To work out your glove size, run a tape measure (or piece of string you can then lay alongside a ruler) around your palm at its widest point. Use your dominant hand for this.
  2. Now spread your fingers and measure from the tip of your middle finger to the base of your hand, where it meets the wrist. You should now have two measurements in inches.
  3. Take the larger of the two numbers and round it up. So if your larger measurement is 8.5in, then round up to 9. This is your glove size.
  4. Refer to a brand’s size chart if it uses small, medium, large instead of numerical sizing.

In terms of fit you want a glove that’s not too tight to take on and off, but you don’t want the fingers or palm to be baggy, as this introduces movement to your control inputs and can cause bunching and chafing. Gloves will stretch slightly with use, but washing usually shrinks them back slightly again.

Fox Flex Air Gloves

Glove construction uses what kind of materials and fabrics?

Look for two or four-way stretch materials on the back of the glove for maximum dexterity and less bunching. Go for thin materials or highly ventilated designs for hot climates, and thicker backs for cooler environments. Modern synthetic leather/suede palms are superbly comfortable and provide excellent grip, even when your hands are hot and sweaty. Perforations in the palm will help let your palms breathe.

Elasticated glove cuff

Elasticated glove cuff

Do I want an elasticated cuff, or velcro?

When it comes to wrist closures, elasticated and Velcro both have their pros and cons.

Elastic is lighter and simpler, and mean the gloves have a pull-on design, but can make getting your hand in and out difficult and end up causing stitching to loosen or come apart.

Velcro cuffs usually have a Velcro strap around the wrist so that once the gloves are on you can secure the cuff. This makes it easy to take them on and off, but the Velcro hooks can scratch if not well positioned, and they always end up sticking to other garments in the wash so make sure you wash them separately!

Glove nose wipe

Glove nose wipe

Do I need a nose wipe?

Nose wipes are a fairly gross topic to discuss, but an inevitable part of mountain biking. These usually take the form of a patch of terry or towelling type fabric on the thumb or forefinger, giving you something soft to wipe your nose with if it starts to run.

While good on winter gloves, their inclusion or omission on a glove is never a deal breaker for us. Much better to get the fit and feel right before worrying about occasionally useful features.

Smartphone finger glove

Smartphone finger glove

Will a glove work with my smartphone?

Taking your gloves off on a ride to answer an important call or check your Strava can be a pain, so lots of gloves have metallic thread woven in to work with touch screens. However, in our experience they don’t often work that well and obviously don’t unlock finger print ID, so you still end up having to take them off. In other words, they’re not a dealbreaker.