Look, you can get away with budget motorcycle rain jackets.
You get a little wet, so what?
Poor helmet speakers? Your music sounds crappy. Big deal, who cares?
But using cheap and poorly reinforced motorcycle gloves? Yeah, no. Broken wrists and knuckles are a pretty hefty price to pay.
That’s why I’ve searched for only the best motorcycle gloves in the market that are armor for your precious hands. Sure, I paid attention to aesthetics and comfort here and there, but the priority was glove protection and glove safety while product testing. That’s what really matters, and I wouldn’t want you to buy a glove that doesn’t serve its main purpose.
I’ve categorized these top 6 gloves based on the kind of motorcycle riding you do most, but if you’re short on time, I’d suggest you pick up the Dainese 4 Stroke 2 Gloves. They’re perfect for every kind of application (except in the winter!)
Top 6 Best Motorcycle Gloves 2021
Our Top Pick/Best Street riding gloves
To me, these are the gold standard of street riding gloves. The Dainese 4 Stroke 2 has everything you’d want in a pair of gloves — and more. From the moment I put them on a couple of years ago, I’ve only swapped them out if the weather demanded heated gloves.
Dainese definitely has a reputation for making extremely high-quality and durable motorcycle gear. These gloves are made with Thermoplastic resin and stainless steel: those are two sturdy materials that provide ultra protection. The stainless steel inserts are built into the knuckles and parts of the palm, so you know these motorcycle gloves protect the most vulnerable parts of your hand in case you find yourself in a crash. There are also impact-resistant cushioning insert strips in the palm of the glove.
But what makes this glove perfect is that it doesn’t compromise on comfort and aesthetics. Even though it’s heavy-duty with arguably the most protection, the micro-elastic stretch panels really move around with your hands, fitting you just like a… glove (sorry, I had to.) It’s all in the details with the Dainese 4 Stroke 2 — curved fingers, tightening strap, and cuff sliders. They all add up to an incredibly comfortable summer glove. Keep in mind that these are built for regular high speeds for street riding, but these are not racing gloves like the Knox Handroid. They will not give you the necessary protection for a crash at racing speeds.
These are great summer motorcycle gloves because of the perforated back. The entire glove is wrapped in drum-dyed goatskin leather, so you don’t have to worry about it looking great.
Of course, I highly recommend measuring your hands to see if it lines up with the Dainese size chart since the sizing is a bit wonky.
- Stainless steel inserts for knuckle protection
- Perforated back for breathable gloves
- Goatskin leather
- Summer riding gloves
- Pre-curved fingers
- Crash protection for high-speed riding
- Not as affordable as other options
- Finger length can run a little long
These are the perfect motorcycle gloves for anyone who does a lot of street riding and needs all the protection they can get. It’s a great option for a heavy motorcycle rider comfortable with investing in a durable pair of gloves.
Best Premium/Best High-End Gloves
These Knox Handroid Gloves have won multiple awards, and Knox has been a big name in professional motorcycles for the past 40 years. You can definitely feel the premium quality with these gloves the moment you put them on.
The Handroid MK4 actually made the ‘exoskeleton gloves’ design famous, and you’ll find plenty of Handroid copycat gloves in the market that try to imitate the design but can’t match up to the performance and quality. These gloves are racing gloves, because they are the highest standard of safety and protection, but are more than enough for a dual-sport rider or street rider. Don’t get me wrong, the Dainese 4 Stroke 2 Gloves are great (I own those myself) but pale in comparison to the security boning and features of these professional Knox Gloves.
The latest update features the same exoskeletal boning on the exterior of the glove with a lower profile and Thermoplastic Polyurethane casings. There’s also a metacarpal gel insert that cushions and provides impact resistance. If this sounds foreign to you, don’t worry. Just take my word for it: this is the latest in professional motorcycle racing technology that’s built for very high speeds.
The gloves aren’t just high-tech, they’re also attractive. Encased in the highest quality drum-dyed kangaroo leather, they’re long-lasting and take some time to break into. Expect to get really comfortable in these premium leather gloves by the third or fourth wear.
The only downside of this is that it fits so secure it can be tough to take off. But hey, for this level of unparalleled protection, that’s an inconvenience I’m very happy to put up with.
And as great as I think these racing gloves are, they do not make sense for a cruiser biker or someone who rides once in a fortnite — you just won’t get the bang for your buck.
- Encased in kangaroo leather
- Summer motorcycle gloves for hot weather riding
- Abrasion resistance
- Impact resistance
- Best safety features
- Knuckle protectors and knuckle armor
- Knox SPS palm sliders
- Higher price point, not affordable for all
- Not all-weather gloves
These could very well be the best motorcycle gloves in the market. If you’re serious about motorcycle riding, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be investing in top-of-the-market protection for your hands. You don’t get better features and more cutting-edge technology than this. These professional gloves are used by track racers and are definitely a long-term investment in safety.
3. Scorpion EXO MK2 Short Cuff Sport Gloves
Best Budget Motorcycle Gloves
The Scorpion EXO Short Cuff Sport Gloves are the perfect sweet spot of affordability and features. These gloves are very high on value-for-money, but they are not the cheapest gloves in the market. You’ll find truckloads of $20 gloves, but I don’t recommend buying them. It’s almost impossible to make safe and reinforced gloves with quality materials at that price point!
The Scorpion EXO is almost ridiculously cheap for the kind of features you get. You get reinforced palm sliders for maximum hand protection, as well as TPU carbon fiber knuckle protection. There are also rubber mold inserts for impact cushioning. These are USD80 certified gloves.
In terms of looks, the Scorpion EXO MK2 has some upgrades from its earlier model: namely, the knuckles looking more split and translucent add ons. These are short cuff sports gloves, which are the aesthetic choice for many bike riders. It does have wrist-adjuster velcro straps and velcro closure for a more snug fit.
What’s really impressive is that these riding gloves are encased in high-quality goat leather. I have a good friend who has owned these Scorpion EXO gloves for a couple of years, and the goat leather doesn’t show signs of wear and tear at all (he’s been in a few minor crashes).
If you’re looking for a safe street riding pair of gloves that will have your back (well, the back of your hand) in a crash without burning a hole in your pocket, look no further than the Scorpion EXO MK2.
Just be sure to check out their sizing chart, the sizes may be smaller than you expect. I do not recommend using the Scorpion EXO gloves if you have a sports bike, or ride at racing speeds.
- Summer gloves
- Knuckle protection
- Short cuff motorcycle gloves
- Mesh inserts
- Affordable price point
- Sizing runs small
The Scorpion EXO MK2 is perfect for the motorcycle rider on a budget who doesn’t want to compromise on quality and protection. It’s also a great option if you ride on the weekends or less frequently.
Best Sportsbike Gloves / Best Racing Gloves
The Alpinestars Supertech Gloves are the epitome of sports riding gloves. They have everything: rigid knuckle and wrist protection, long cuffs, all-leather construction, and stretch panels, and a superior fit.
These sport bike gloves go all out: and you’ll probably never need to buy another pair ever again. What makes them sports bike gloves and not regular street riding gloves is that these have even more protection, and they’re built for extremely high impacts and speeds. The long cuff has a slightly wider circumference, so these are easier to wear and take off compared to the Knox Handroid Gloves.
Don’t get me wrong, these are premium gloves, but they’re not a luxury item by any means. The higher price point is wholly and completely justified by the high-quality materials and construction. When you’re tearing at anything above 150mph, the tiniest fault in motorcycle gear is downright lethal.
This leather motorcycle glove is made out of full-grain leather (kangaroo and cowhide leather) with preshaped fingers and perforated leather for sufficient air circulation (your hands don’t sweat). The cuff panel is really secure, with abrasion resistance and a hook and loop closure.
- All leather construction
- Summer motorcycle gloves
- Padded palm with reinforcements
- Pre-curved fingers
- Not affordable for everyone
If you ride a sports bike at high speeds, you’ll need gloves like the Alpinestars Supertech that can give you complete protection. These are perfect for anyone with a sports bike who rides frequently, and they’re also great as racing gloves for the biker who frequents the tracks.
Best Smartphone Gloves/Best Touchscreen Gloves / Best Cruiser Gloves
A big feature missing in some of the top motorcycle gloves is fingertips compatible with touchscreens. If you have your phone mounted on your motorcycle and need to answer calls, switch songs, move a navigation map around: you need gloves that are recognized by your smartphone’s touchscreen.
I love the vintage style of these gloves, they’re probably the best-looking camel leather gloves I’ve ever seen. These are cruiser-style gloves, they’re not built to withstand impact from high speeds on a sports bike. The gloves are encased in cowhide leather and have a great flexible fit. They get more flexible with time, but that’s the mark of genuine leather since it takes some time to break in.
You also get some reinforcement and protection on the knuckles, but nothing too robust.
The Indie Ridge Leather motorcycle gloves are great three-season gloves since they work well in the summer, rainy season, and fall. These aren’t exactly winter gloves, because they are not heated, so they may not work if you live in very cold weather conditions.
- Touchpad fingertips
- Non-slip Velcro cuffs
- Stylish and vintage style
- Affordable price point
- Not suitable for inclement weather
- Sizing can run different, measure your hands
These are great gloves if you have a cruiser motorcycle. If you’re riding a sports bike, these will be useless and you might as well put saran wrap on your hands. They’re perfect for a mild barrier against the weather, and also up the style factor in your motorcycle gear. If you use your phone occasionally while riding, the Indie Ridge leather gloves will be perfect for you.
Best Winter Gloves / Best Heated Gloves
These are the best winter gloves, and also the only heated gloves on my list! If you live in a place that’s cold (really cold) you do not want your knuckles turning to ice while you ride. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it’s also really dangerous — since you sort of need your hands to, well, ride the bike!
The Volt Resistance 12V Heated gloves have an in-built battery (and battery harness) and 3 different heat settings (high, medium, and low) that last for different durations. I was really impressed with the heat distribution in these gloves. The 12V heat doesn’t just fan over your hand, but actually runs along both sides of each finger as well as the thumb and nail region.
They’re encased in genuine leather for better grip and the slightest air circulation (since no breathability will lead to sweaty hands). I think the reason they’re so comfortable is that they have pre-curved fingers, which is a great feature at this price point. The cuffs are pretty wide, but you can adjust them shut to the circumference of your wrist and forearm.
- Even heat distribution
- Long-lasting battery
- Leather construction
- Breathable and waterproof
- Unisex fitting
- Heat controls at an odd location
- No reinforcements for knuckles
These heated winter gloves are perfect to keep you warm when you ride in cold weather, but they’re not designed for high-speed riding. These are perfect for cruisers and regular street riding at average speeds.
Types Of Motorcycle Gloves
If you hadn’t realized already, you can go seriously wrong with your motorcycle glove purchase if you don’t buy one for your riding style. There are plenty of motorcycles in the market, right? It’s only fair that a Honda Rebel 300 going at 70mph needs different gloves than a Kawasaki Ninja at 180mph.
1. Summer Gloves
Summer gloves are basically any riding glove that has allowances for breathability, as well as perforated material. Gloves can be snug-fitting, and this can get pretty sweaty, especially when you’re riding under the direct sun. Sweaty hands are pretty gross, but they can interfere with your motor skills.
If you’re looking for summer gloves, keep an eye out for a perforated chassis and vents at your fingertips.
You have to know that you’re sacrificing safety for keeping your hands cool and dry. The vents and perforation are less protection and can leave parts of your hand exposed. I wouldn’t recommend buying summer gloves if you’re riding at really high speeds.
Here are some great summer gloves.
2. Winter Gloves
Winter gloves are super important if you’re riding in cold temperatures: if you don’t, you’re up against frostbite, frozen hands, and much slower motor reflexes, not to mention insane discomfort.
Winter gloves have an in-built heating system, usually, battery-operated that keeps your hands toasty warm. But warmth isn’t the same thing as safety. If you’re riding at high speeds, look out for winter gloves with knuckle protection and boning.
Here are some great winter gloves.
3. Racing Gloves
Out of all the different kinds of motorcycle gloves out there, racing gloves have the most protection since they’re built for the ungodly speeds on the race track. They provide the maximum hand protection without compromising on tactility since they can’t paralyze your hand.
Racing gloves are heavy and basically feel like a suit of armor. They have a gauntlet and really long cuffs to protect the wrist bone. You also get the most palm protection in Racing gloves, since contact to the asphalt at these speeds will literally disintegrate your skin.
Racing gloves are made with high precision and are usually the most expensive. They’re not the most practical option for regular street riding since they don’t have any ventilation or breathability, and they’re also pretty tough to wear and take off.
Here are some great racing gloves.
4. Street riding gloves
Gloves designed for street riding have a lot of protection, but not as much as sports bike gloves and racing gloves. They’re just enough to protect you from possible crashes and impacts on the asphalt, but they’re not going to be chunky gauntlet armor. The cuffs are shorter and they’re designed for half the speed that racing gloves are.
Here are some great street riding gloves.
5. Cruiser riding gloves
Cruiser gloves often can’t give you much more than protection against the weather. These stylish attractive gloves are also called Harley Davidson gloves because they have a vintage style that goes well with the entire cruiser get-up. There is no way you can use a cruiser riding glove on a sports bike.
Cruiser gloves have the advantage of looking stylish and being more comfortable since they don’t have to worry about hard protective inserts. They can also be touchscreen compatible, such as these ones.
The Motorcycle Glove Structure
If you’re getting lost in all of the motorcycle glove jargon, here’s a handy guide on the different components of the motorcycle glove anatomy.
1. Upper Glove
It is the component of the glove that covers the back of your hand. It’s built thick and rugged to protect you from injuries. It should not be too heavy either, since this can cause fatigue. It is usually made of leather cowhide or manufactured fabrics such as nylon or lycra.
2. The palm of the Glove
This is to protect the area around the palm. Across this area, the material is thinner to allow a better grip and prevent skidding. It also has soft inserts for padding for added comfort. You’ll also get TPU carbon fiber inserts or palm sliders made popular by Knox.
This is the glove’s inner part that comes in direct contact with your skin. A glove may have several linings sometimes, in that case, your palm will brush against the innermost lining. The material varies according to the needs and functionality (mostly weather conditions). The lining is usually made from Thinsulate materials. Thinsulate provides insulation and is also breathable.
This is present close to the back of your hand. The shield helps to protect the hands from serious impacts. Foams of various materials are used to make this armor. Hardier materials like steel or titanium are also often used to protect your bones.
5. Knuckle Padding
Knuckles are the areas of the hand most likely to be hurt in an incident. The knuckle is also a very delicate part of your hand because it is a joint. Ideally, gloves would have a rough knuckle padding to provide cushioning.
FAQs on Motorcycle Gloves
Q1. What Material Is Ideally Suited For Motorcycle Gloves?
Motorcycle gloves can be made from a lot of different materials, but we can broadly categorize them into leather and textile.
Leather is one of the most common fabrics used for glove construction. Leather is very strong, breathable, wear-proof but warm, and comfortable. The most premium and high-quality leather are made from kangaroo and goatskin, while cowhide being a slightly less expensive alternative.
Motorcycle gloves with full leather construction have the disadvantage of being too warm, which can be difficult to wear in the summer. You’d want to look for a perforated leather glove for much more air circulation, keeping your hands cool and dry.
Textile gloves are made from nylon and cotton, but they can’t give you the same abrasion resistance as leather does. The only advantage of textile is that they can be made into a mesh which is really breathable and great in a budget summer glove.
Q2. Are motorcycle gloves necessary?
I hate to break it to you, but motorcycle gloves are definitely necessary, even if it reminds you of your mom forcing you to wear mittens in the snow.
The safety hazard of not wearing gloves is too high, and this only gets riskier the faster you ride your motorcycle.
Apart from safety, gloves also shelter you from rainy weather, dirt/debris/insects, and give you more grip on the handlebar while riding.
Q3. Should motorcycle gloves be tight?
Your motorcycle gloves should fit perfectly. They shouldn’t be too loose that they can easily fly off when you’re riding at high speeds, or too tight that they restrict your finger and hand movements. They should feel comfortable, snug, and secure, and you should have a full range of movement in your hand.
If you’re investing in good-quality leather gloves, you should know that they take some time to ease out and loosen up. Still, it’s a good idea to measure your hands and look at the size chart when buying gloves, instead of guesstimating whether you’re a Medium or Large.
Good quality gloves provide excellent grip to keep you safe and ensure you have control of your bike in any situation. It’s important to choose the best bike gloves to make sure you’re protected in case of a crash or accident, depending on what weather conditions and the speed you drive at.
This article covered everything about a motorcycle glove, what it’s made of and how it’s designed, and the best summer motorcycle gloves on the market today. If you want a quick recommendation, there’s a reason why the Knox Handroid is so popular.