Every rider should have a good pair of mountain bike gloves. Something not too chunky but not too skimpy. Here are the pairs of gloves worth considering.
Here’s our pick of the latest and greatest mountain bike gloves. There’s something for all budgets and tastes here. 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. Also, knuckle protection can be useful if you regularly ride in thick vegetation or nettles and brambles, but it won’t do much in a crash and is bulky so they’re best saved for more ‘jungle’ times of the riding season!
The best mountain bike gloves
- Specialized LoDown review – WINNER
- 100% Brisker review – WINTER WINNER
- Troy Lee Designs Air review
- Altura One 80 G2 review
- Endura Humvee Lite review
- Sealskinz Dragon Eye MTB Ultralite review
- Fox Ranger Fire winter glove review
- Madison Zenith 4-Season DWR winter glove review
- Specialized Deflect H2O winter glove review
‘View Deal’ links
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Minimal weight and thickness at a minimal price
Price: £22.50 | Sizes: XS-XXL
Pro: Great feel through the bars. Value for money
Con: Don’t last forever
Specialized has pulled a blinder with the LoDown glove. It’s superbly comfortable, forgettably minimal and, at under £25, perfectly priced.
100% Brisker Cold Weather
Nothing comes close to this classic glove
Price: £26.99 | Colours: Black, fluo orange, fluo yellow, white, camo, grey, neon pink | Sizes: S-XXL
Pro: Amazing glove at a great price
Con: Not fully waterproof
As winter spreads its icy tentacles across the trails, it is now time to wrap your hands up all nice and cosy inside a pair of superlative 100% Brisker gloves. There’s just enough insulation to ward off the cold without leaving your fingers numb of feel. So you still get maximum feel through your palm and fingers to tell you what’s going on beneath your wheels. A winter must-have at a bargain price.
Troy Lee Designs Air glove
Bare-skin feel from these skimpy and feature-laden paw protectors
Price: £30 | Sizes: S-XXL
Pro: Lightweight and packed with features
Con: Cuffs are a bit tight and stitching not that durable
A good glove boasting loads of feel and minimal weight from a well-loved and aspirational brand, but if you can get past the Troy Lee logo, there are cheaper gloves on the market than the Air.
Altura One 80 G2
Two thumbs up from us
Price: £24.99 | Colours: Black/white, red/white | Sizes: S-XL
Pro: Less is more
Con: A bit on the expensive side
When it comes to gloves, less is definitely more, and Altura’s One 80 G2 is about as minimal as they come. What it doesn’t skimp on, however, is comfort. The perforated palm is thin and doesn’t bunch up in use. It’s sewn to a lightweight, breathable back and durability is impressive considering it’s a pull-on design. Hands down, the One 80 G2 is one of the best gloves on the market.
Endura Humvee Lite Icon gloves
Danny MacAskill’s glove of choice
Pro: Loads of feel
Con: Not a lot at this price
Apparently the Humvee is Danny MacAskill’s favorite, and in his hands they are more magician’s gloves than cycling gloves. We didn’t develop any superhuman riding skills when we pulled them on, but we were charmed by their simplicity and outright comfort. Danny Mac requires maximum feel and dexterity when he rides, and these gloves deliver on both counts. Lightweight, breathable and durable, at under £20 they’re an absolute bargain.
Sealskinz Dragon Eye MTB Ultralite
Price: £30.00 | Sizes: S – XXL | Weight: 39g | Colours: Olive green/brown/orange, Black/grey
Pros: Very thin palm makes them extremely comfortable
Cons: Some may prefer deeper cuff
Sealskinz has created a winner with the Dragon Eye MTB Ultralite. This makes for a really light glove that you honestly forget you are wearing. As someone who preferred to ride gloveless they are a perfect transition. Almost as good as not wearing gloves for comfort and bar feel, but with the added protection of a durable palm.
Fox Ranger Fire
Toasty alternative from the mighty Fox head
Price: £30 | Colours: Black, fluo | Sizes: S-XXL
Pro: Better for Baltic temps than the 100% Brisker
Con: Not quite as dexterous
Ranger is well articulated to hand shape and finger lengths, and snug with an unobtrusive palm feel and solid grip connection. The weatherproof outer fabric has a semi-neoprene feel and fends off freezing wind and wet effectively, and the extra fleece inside makes these slightly toastier and better insulated than 100%’s Brisker glove.
Madison Zenith 4-Season DWR
Great UK any-weather option
Price: £24.99 | Weight: 66g | Sizes: M – XXL
Pros: Designed in the UK – and the details show
Cons: Not available in smaller sizes
Madison make a lot of Durable Water Repellent (DWR) garments. And most of them are called Zenith. These are the Zenith DWR gloves and, unsurprisngly, they are designed to be worn when it’s wet. Not necessarily cold and wet – Madison being a UK based company know full well that it’s more often mild and wet conditions that prevail here. As such, these aren’t winter warmer gloves (use liner gloves with them if you require), they are excellent any-temperature wet weather apparel.
Specialized Deflect H2O
Minimal impact on dexterity
Price: £60.00 | Sizes: XS – XXL | Colours: Black | Weight: 76g
Pros: Nowhere near as bulky as they look
Cons: Needs to be pretty cold to be worthwhile
The Specialized Deflect 2.0 is one of the most versatile waterproof/winter gloves to date. Not as bulky as most, it performs exceptionally well against rain, wind and cold temperatures. These should be right at the top of the list for the current riding conditions.
Best mountain bike gloves: all you need to know
While fit will vary from one brand to another, the basics of sizing are standardised. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Materials and design
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. When it comes to wrist closures, elasticated and Velcro both have their pros and cons. Elastic is lighter and simpler but can make getting your hand in and out difficult and end up causing stitching to loosen or come apart. Velcro makes it easy to take them on and off, but the hook/looks can scratch if not well positioned, and they always end up sticking to other garments in the wash. Nose wipes are a fairly gross topic to discuss, but an inevitable part of mountain biking. 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.
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 never work that well and obviously don’t unlock finger print ID, so you still end up having to take them off.