We understand what gloves are. We know what they do. Yet, at times, we ignore wearing gloves. At other times, we curse the fact that we can’t feel through the gloves – the vents are impossible to open, the switches are harder to operate and throttle is difficult to control. We cringe when we need to take them off and wear them every time we stop on a ride. Yet, we bear them and wear them. And wipe the dust and grime off of them after a ride.
Having been in our share of spills, we can attest that a palm or two have been saved thanks to our faithful, tattered, abused pair of gloves. A well broken in glove is like a seasoned cricket bat, hard to give up easily and always leaving a twinge at the heart when it finally breaks beyond repair!
Given that we all understand the reason for wearing a pair of gloves when on a motorcycle, let’s discuss the different things to consider when putting our money down to buy a decent pair.
Materials used in construction:
A pair of gloves comes in various colours, sizes, shapes and materials. Colours of course are a personal choice and let’s discuss the sizes and shapes in a little bit. A pair of riding gloves can be made with any combination of materials ranging from mesh, leather, superfabric, aramid, outlast, armour in the shape of either TPU or metal and some soft padding.
- Mesh is used to provide air circulation – usually restricted to the fingers where chances of abrasion are lower.
- Leather is the favourite material used by manufacturers in gloves, simply because of its abrasion resistant properties. One can find leather in the palms and on the back of the hand on pretty much any proper riding glove. Leather is also available in various avatars – from typical cow leather to ultra tough kangaroo leather all catering to a cost vs protection trade-off. Leather can also be perforated to provide air circulation within the glove.
- Some manufacturers also include superfabric in the construction of a glove. Superfabric is a fabric made by laser etched ceramic plates embedded in the fabric to provide excellent abrasion resistance in a bendable, breathable fabric.
- Armour is found over the fingers and the back of the hand to provide protection against impact. Again, this can be either TPU or metal or a combination of both. TPU is also used to provide venting options on the glove.
- Soft padding can be foam or microfoam or something similar to absorb impact on the palms and/or back of the hand. Sometimes a glove can also have soft armour, which works as a padding.
- Waterproofing materials (such are GoreTex) are also found on gloves that are sold as waterproof for rainy season riding. Waterproof gloves will usually not have too many venting options (obviously) and can get a little warm to hot, depending on the weather outside.
- Insulation is used on gloves that are meant for cold weather riding. These gloves keep the hands warm and prevent the fingers from going numb due to cold and are an essential part of riders who live or ride in cold (sometimes, freezing) climates.
More than shape, its actually type. A pair can be a full-gauntlet or short cuff. A full-gauntlet glove derives its name from the gauntlet of medieval times when the knights would wear chain mail or metal gloves which would cover a part of the forearm to protect the wearer in the wrist and higher. A short cuff glove is one which ends at the wrist and doesn’t extend to any part of the forearm. A shorter version of the full gauntlet glove is the semi gauntlet, which has a shorter part extending over the wrist.
As you would imagine, full gauntlet gloves are the most protective type of gloves, all other things being equal. However, short cuff gloves are both more comfortable and easier to wear and take off. A full-gauntlet glove can be worn over or under the jacket cuff, sometimes dependent on the design and sometimes at the option of the wearer.
Full-gauntlet gloves can be worn across the range of different riding styles, from street, to highway, to trail and to track. Short-cuff gloves can also be worn across the range of activities, except perhaps on the track.
Choose carefully. An ill-fitting glove is one of the most distracting part of the motorcycle gear and distractions are something best avoided on a motorcycle. A glove should fit well, without being too constricting or too loose. Gloves do tend to break in, especially leather gloves and therefore choosing a slightly snug leather glove is sometimes a good idea, as it will eventually conform to the rider’s hand becoming almost a second skin. Just remember to ensure that the fingers of the hand are not strained for space and that there is no loose piece of stitching poking your hand or fingers. We suggest trying the gloves before buying to ensure that the gloves are the right size and fit. No two hands are the same (yes, even your left and right hands have slight differences – compare and see for yourself), and hence something that fits your friend well may not necessarily be the right fit for you.
How to select the right pair
What glove one chooses is a matter of riding style, brand loyalty and ultimately personal preference. The technology used in the manufacture of gloves is getting better by the day and you can seldom err with a new model. Many riders still prefer a glove they’ve used over thousands of kilometers of riding and we can’t disagree with their choice either. One of our best selling gloves and something we really like is the Rev it! Dirt 2 Gloves, a pair of short cuff gloves with some of the best protection available in the genre. At the other end of the spectrum, we also recommend the Aspida Hades Gloves, a pair of gloves which combines solid protection with excellent comfort at a very reasonable price.
Remember, try and buy the gloves you covet, if that is an option. It is a definitive measure of the fit and gives you the chance to feel the material first hand. It also gives you the opportunity to check the quality of the stitching – a supremely important but oft ignored part of the gear buying process. We will be happy to welcome you to our store in person and help you make your decision. If visiting us is not an option, please contact us on phone or by email and we will do our best to explain the nuances of the product you have selected.