Mountain biking is thrilling as well as risky too. The use of protective gear may lessen the risk. The glove is one of those risk-reducing gears. Padding is used in gloves for protection purposes. It’s something gel or foam material that sewed with the palm of the glove. Absorbing shock, reducing road vibration, and protecting the hand nerves, that’s how glove padding provides protection.
Factors to consider before buying padded cycling gloves
- Measurement/Fit– Fitting is an important factor to consider while buying padded-gloves. Otherwise, the padding will become a disadvantage for your glove. Padding in the wrong position may increase pressure there, which can affect and injure the nerve in that area. Also, an unfit glove is just nothing but discomfort while riding.
- Material/Fabric– Glove material determines a lot of factors. Comfort, breathability, weather properties, thermal protection, durability e.t.c. Generally, synthetic material is used. Like- polyester, PU, nylon, mesh, synthetic leather e.t.c. A lot of fabrics with different properties are being used in building different types of gloves. You may check fabric specification if it’s suitable for you.
- Grip- Good gripping material provides security and control. Anti-slip design on padding can prevent slipping during a crash.
- Padding Material and type– Padding materials are- foam, EVA and, Gel. EVA and gel are generally used in mid to high-quality gloves whereas foam is used in both low and mid-quality gloves. Sometimes, foam and gel are mixed.
Padding is described as 3 types. Zero, minimal and, extra padding. It depends on a cyclist that which padding is suitable for his bike and ride type. If you want dexterity, then go for zero or minimal padding. Extra padding means extra comfort.
- Finger option– There are half-finger and full finger gloves. Both serve different purposes as gloves. The half-finger is for hot weather. They are breathable, lightweight and enhance control as half of the fingers are bare. Whereas full finger gloves are for the protection of the full hand. The full hand provides protection from winter and also better crash protection.
- Protection– You must confirm if the glove can provide suitable protection. First and foremost it must provide you with crash protection as well as nerve protection. If it is well-padded than It might protect you from both. But for weather protection, you must have to check the fabrics, if its windproof or waterproof. If it’s bought as a winter glove, Does it provide adequate thermal protection?
- Breathability and Moisture-wicking properties– Breathability and sweat management is a great advantage in a glove. Breathable gloves increase riding comfort. Air can pass through the glove. Also, It should have moisture-wicking properties. Hands stay sweat-free that way.
- Cuff– Generally, two types of the cuff are available. Hook and loop closure type and elastic/simple pull-on type. Velcro closure types are preferable as their tightening is customizable.
- Weight– Lighter the glove, its dexterity increases.
- Price– DIfferent gloves with different properties have different prices. Based on the manufacturing process, prices may vary for gloves with the same properties. There are a lot of good gloves in economic price ranges.
- Other features– Besides all of this, some gloves have extra features. Like conducting material on fingertips to have touchscreen capability. Some gloves have extra knuckle protection. Some of the hot weather gloves have wiping material on their thumb or back. The most important feature to look on- if the glove is machine washable.
Benefits of padded cycling gloves
– Medical benefit- Nerve Protection
Padded cycling gloves can protect you from:
- Cyclist palsy due to ulnar nerve compression
- Carpal tunnel syndrome due to median nerve compression
When heavy pressure is exerted on the handlebar, like in a hyperextended or standing position, the wrist is affected. Because of that, the ulnar nerve may get compressed. This eventually leads to hand numbness, tingling or pain.
In a ride, a cyclist performs some routined movements. Due to this regular motor movement or overuse of organs, carpal tunnel syndrome can occur. It can also trigger numbness or pain.
Well-Padded gloves can reduce the pressure on the nerve and prevent these issues. For CTS stretching exercise is also required.
In rough terrain, road vibration, as well as hand vibration, increases. Padding generally absorbs the shock and dampens the vibration. The wrist or nerves don’t get affected directly.
– Other Protections
We already talked about protection from handlebar vibration and road vibration. Padding also protects from a crash. Due to our natural instinct, during a crash, we automatically use our hand first to have contact with the surface. So if we use a well-padded glove our hand might not be injured severely. The surface of the padding has a good grip and anti-slip design which also prevents slipping after a crash.
Our Top Pick(s)
We spent a lot of time testing the heavily/minimally padded cycling gloves available in the market. This article is a summary of those test results. We have selected Pearl Izumi Men’s Select Glove as the best padded (a mixture of gel and foam) cycling gloves in the market. Because it has ample padding, protects the cyclist from crashing and nerve compression effectively and provides wrist pain solution.
Whatever terrain you’re riding on, gel and foam padding mixture will ensure your ultimate riding comfort. Palm, made of synthetic leather, makes the gloves durable as well as soft. Good for hot weather as soft wiping surface is available on the thumb area. Provides perfect fits to the riders with hook & loop closure. Pearl Izumi Men’s Select Glove is made for ulnar nerve protection as well as wrist pain solution. In fact, it is one of their most padded gloves.
6 best gel/foam padded cycling gloves you can buy today
1. Pearl iZUMi Men’s Select: For ulnar never protection
- It’s their most padded gloves
- Synthetic leather palm, soft and comfortable
- Wiping surface is included on the thumb
- Velcro closure
- Special for hand pain
- The glove size chart isn’t accurate.
- Durability is an issue
- Not unisex
This glove has accurate padding placement with a fantastic design. For hand pain, it is one of the best gloves. The padding material is foam and gel mixed. It’s an affordable glove.
2. HTZPLOO: Half-finger gloves. Best for mountain biking
- Included effective shock absorbing padding
- Anti-slip silicone gel provides grips and more control
- Lycra surface provides comfort and dexterity
- Simple pull-off design with finger loops
- Lightweight and Durable glove
- Size is an issue
- Half-finger gloves- not fully protected
- Not weatherproof
HTZPLOO gloves have shock-absorbing padding with anti-slip design. It provides comfort and security together. Good for hand fatigue relief and dampening road vibration.
3. INBIKE Gloves for Men: Well-padded (5 mm) gloves. For MTB, DH and Road cycling
- Extra padded glove
- EVA material padding- pain and fatigue relieving, shock-absorbing
- Comfortable, elastic lycra and mesh knitted fabric
- Sweat wiper is included
- Glove size isn’t accurate
- Not unisex
- Average quality padding material
- Half-finger glove- protection is compromised
- Not weatherproof
Inbike MTB gloves have shock-absorbing padding and anti-slip design. Gel placement is appropriate. This glove is breathable. Padding material and sizing is an issue here.
4. KINGSBOM Thermal Gloves: Best winter gloves
- Gloves are appropriately padded with silicone gel pad
- Anti-slip and shock-absorbing gloves
- Wind & Waterproof
- 200g Thinsulate insulation-Great thermal protection
- Touchscreen compatible
- Breathable multipurpose glove
- It’s not lightweight
- Sizing isn’t accurate
- It isn’t suitable for all-weather
Kingsbom thermal glove is generally used for the cold-weather purpose. But it has excellent silicone gel padding and anti-slip design. It is wind and waterproof and has touchscreen capability. It’s definitely not a summer weather glove and not suitable below sub-zero temperature. This glove is a good multipurpose glove.
5. LuxoBike: Lightly padded gloves. Good for road cycling
- It has 4 zone shock-absorbing pad
- Dampen road vibration
- Breathable and stretchable fabric
- Microsuede palm for grip and anti-slip design
- Thumb towel
- It’s partially breathable
- Padding is minimum
- Not suitable for the aggressive riders
- Durability is an issue
Luxobike might be a small company but their glove has a great value. This cycling glove is proof of that. Within an affordable range, it provides padding with 4 zone design, stretchable fabric with a good grip. This glove isn’t a long-term glove. But for a casual ride, it has great value.
6. Giro DND: Minimally padded gloves. Good for hand numbness protection
- Minimally padded glove for dexterity
- Lightweight and comfortable and, affordable
- Wiping surface is included
- It has crash protective silicone fingertips
- Good grip
- Moisture wicker
- Full finger but not touchscreen capability
- Not very protective
- Elastic cuff
Giro DND aka Down and dirty gloves are fine pair of gloves with an affordable price range. It is built lightweight for best control. No extra material, upper breathable portion, and stretchable fabrics have made this glove one of the best.
What is padding in cycling gloves?
The word padding is similar to cushioning. It means filling an area with soft material for comfort or protection purposes. Bike gloves have padding in their palm area. Or bike saddles also have padding or cushioning under their cover. This soft material has shock absorption properties and protects the cyclist from unnecessary vibration while providing him extra comfort.
– Padding material
Any soft material can be used for padding. But in industry and professional cases three types of material are used.
- Foam: It is made of synthetic materials like polyester, polyurethane e.t.c. Foam is soft, flexible and has memory properties. That means It can be shaped and it regains its initial form after use. Foam is lightweight, wear and tear-resistant. Usually, It is used in low to mid-range gloves.
- Gel: Gel is a suitable material for padding. It has the ability to distribute pressure evenly. So, there is no particular pressure point to worry about. It is better than foam. Weight is slightly more than foam. It is also comfortable and flexible. Hydrogel, silicone is gel material. It is costlier than foam.
- EVA: It is also known as foam rubber. The full meaning is ethylene-vinyl acetate. They are stretchable, buoyant and have great shock-absorbing properties. It is widely used in athletic activities. For glove padding EVA is common.
– Padding type
Three types of padding are available in cycling gloves.
- Zero padding: Aero gloves and several other gloves use this type for dexterity and weight issues. It means no padding material is used in the palm. In this case, padding is used fingertips.
- Minimal padding: All the excess material is eliminated out here. These types of gloves are slightly padded. It is for weight issues and dexterity purposes. It can also provide crash protection.
- Extra padding: When more than enough padding is used in a glove. It can be a single layer or multi-layer padding. This is generally for wrist pain or hand numbness purpose. It increases glove weight, reduces dexterity.
– Padding position in a glove
Padded materials are kept in a small bag than sewed with gloves considering palm position and hand size. There is more than just palm to be padded in a cycling glove. Like, fingertips, knuckle. Besides palms, wherever padding is used, is used for extra protection.
Why do my wrists hurt when I ride a bike?
Wrist pain is common in cycling. Pain can occur in the wrist while cycling, due to a lot of reasons. Road vibration, handlebar vibration, Tight grip on the handlebar, hyperextend posture, uncomfortable posture e.t.c.
What do cyclists want in a glove? Simple answer- performance and comfort. Glove padding provides comfort and security. Many cyclists prefer no padding for lightweight and dexterity in a glove. But to have a comfortable ride and avoid unwanted bike injury we should use well-padded gloves.