Cycling gloves are something that everyone should wear, no matter their riding style. You might be thinking – aren’t gloves too uncomfortable to wear during summer? Not at all. Most gloves designed for summer are comfortable and breathable enough that you won’t even notice them. Also, they still provide the protection and grip that you usually get from gloves. In this article, you will find all the necessary information regarding summer cycling gloves, so that you can purchase the right pair for you.
What to look for in summer cycling gloves
➥ First, of all, we suggest you have a look at our selection of MTB cycling gloves for summertime.
1. Size and Fit
The most important aspect of buying a pair of gloves is the size. If the gloves are too big, they will bunch up in places, cause chafing and blisters, and just feel uncomfortable in general. Gloves that are too tight will restrict blood flow and dig in too tightly between your fingers. You don’t want to get distracted by these issues during a long bike ride.
To find the right-sized gloves, first, you need to find out your hand size. Wrap a tape measure around the widest part of your hand under the knuckles and excluding the thumb. The length you get is the glove size you need. Compare this with the size chart given by manufacturers to find the proper size for you. Different brands will have different ranges within a certain size, but the following chart should give you a rough idea about what to look for.
|XS||7 - 8|
|Small||8 - 9|
|Medium||9 - 10|
|Large||10 - 11|
|XL||11 - 12|
2. Finger vs Fingerless
There are two types of summer gloves, ones with fingers and ones without. Most cycling gloves for summer are fingerless as they keep your hands cooler. However, these are mostly used by road bikers. For mountain bikers, it is recommended to wear full finger gloves since more protection is required from scrapes and falls. Depending on the material, full finger gloves can still be breathable and cool enough for hot days. Go with what you prefer.
There are a bunch of different materials that are used to make cycling gloves. The palm is usually made of either synthetic or natural leather. The back may consist of stretchy material such as Lycra, or it could have a cotton mesh or leather. Some parts of the palm and the fingers may have a layer of material such as silicone which improves the grip on the handlebars. There are plenty of other materials that can be used. These include polyester, nylon, acrylic, neoprene, and many more. For summer gloves, you should look for materials that provide airflow and have moisture-wicking properties.
4. Padding and Protection
The opinion on padding is something that varies wildly from person to person. On one side some dislike padding. They prefer to have none on their gloves and may even discard gloves altogether. The reason is that you have better contact with the handlebars and can control the bike more easily. Conversely, some people swear by padded gloves, especially those who ride for longer periods of time. The padding provides cushioning for the palms against the continuous pressure from the handlebars and prevents soreness and blisters.
Padding can also offer protection in case of a crash. The cheapest kind of padding is foam padding which can wear out faster. On more expensive gloves, you will find EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) or gel padding. Whether you should have padding or not is ultimately up to your personal preference. If you are a mountain biker, then you might want to look for other protective features as well, such as plastic armor on your fingers and knuckles. These protect against overgrown foliage whipping by.
➥ Do check out our lineup of some of the finest padded cycling gloves that offer superior grip
5. Closure System
A closure system is what keeps the glove securely on your hand. Some gloves simply rely on the elasticity of the opening to keep them in place. This minimalistic look appeals to some riders. However, most of them have velcro straps, which is considered the most standard closure system. Velcro straps make it very easy to put on and take off the glove. Although there are some other closure types as well, these are uncommon.
6. Towelling Pad
A toweling pad is found at the back of the thumb on most cycling gloves. They are also known as a snot patch or a sweat patch. As you may have guessed, these are useful for wiping away sweat or snot during a ride. In summer, a toweling pad is pretty much a necessity because of all the sweating. They are typically made of soft materials like fleece or terry cloth that are not harsh on your face and nose skin.
The price range of cycling gloves can be surprisingly large. Depending on the brand and model, a pair of gloves can cost less than $10 or more than $100. As long as it is within your budget, spending more will benefit you. Higher-end gloves have the better build quality, better stitching, more comfort, and a more ergonomic fit. They will also have superior padding and durable materials which offer improved protection to your hands. Sometimes, expensive gloves are also better at providing ventilation.
8. Additional Features
There are some non-essential features that you could also look for in a pair of gloves. Keep in mind that these will increase the cost of the gloves. Some of them include:-
- A scooped cuff design that prevents bunching
- Electrically conductive material on fingertips to operate your phone’s touch screen
- A pull tab that allows for easy wearing
- Reflective stripes or patches for better low light visibility
- Criss-cross stitching on thumbs for better grip
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Do I need to wear gloves for cycling?
Ans.: Gloves are not mandatory for most official cycling events. And there are even some downhill riders and dirt jumpers who like to go gloveless. However, having gloves on is always recommended. Gloves protect the hands from getting shredded during a fall, absorb the shocks from the handlebars, and soak up a sweat so that your hands don’t get slippery. Cycling gloves are especially important in winter to keep the hands warm. Due to these reasons, we believe that gloves are something that everyone should wear.
Q2. Should I use neoprene cycling gloves?
Ans.: Neoprene is a great material that has excellent waterproof abilities. This is thanks to the fact that there are no small gaps within the material. This is why neoprene gloves are ideal for cold or rainy conditions. For the same reason, they are highly unsuitable for summer riding. In high temperatures, your hands will get very hot and sweaty due to zero ventilation.
Q3. Can I use summer gloves for winter?
Ans.: The simple answer is no, you can’t. Summer cycling gloves are designed to be as light and breathable as possible. Winter gloves, on the other hand, need to be thicker and provide as much insulation as possible. Hence, they are usually airtight. In sub-zero temperatures especially, you should wear proper winter cycling gloves, unless you want frostbite.
➥ Have a look at our reviews of some of the finest cycling gloves for subzero temperatures
Hopefully, now you know everything there is to know about cycling gloves for summer. Remember to pick the right size and look for properties that match your riding style and preferences. The best way to shop for gloves would be to go to a bike shop and try some on. If you’re buying online, make sure to order a few, choose the best one, and then return the rest. It might take a bit of trial and error but with so many options, you are bound to find the perfect pair of cycling gloves.