As a new rider you may be wondering, “what are the safest motorcycle gloves for a newbie to wear while looking sweet on their ride?”
We’ll get to that.
There are two types of motorcycle riders, those that have fallen, and those that have yet to fall.I have the pleasure of being in the first group courtesy of a deer crossing the highway at twilight. Specifically, I was fine with it crossing, I was more upset that it had decided to turn around and run back. Needless to say, I am still here in my entirety (and so are the jacket and gloves I wore that day!)
If you plan to never fall off of your bike, good news, you don’t need any gear (even though your local governing body may insist otherwise)! For the rest of us, let’s keep exploring the idea of protection, specifically, the riding glove.
Because I’m a huge fan of keeping my knuckles and skin firmly on my body, I wear gloves absolutely every time I ride (and other important safety gear too). I’m also a bit of a princess when it comes to riding and only go out when it’s nice out. I’ve ridden through rain and cold before, and have to say, not a fan – but that doesn’t mean you won’t want to.
As with all things, there is no one-style-fits-all for motorcycle gloves, so you will want to ask yourself what kind of riding you plan on doing. Off-road or stunting? Armor up. Adventure riding? Look for comfort and wind protection. Hot or cool climate? Look for proper padding or aeration. Show and shine a few blocks down? You have room for stylin’.
I’ve ridden my fair share of highways and now mostly ride in the city. My preference is to wear street gloves as they are well ventilated and look pretty gosh darn cool.
Material wise, you only really have two options, leather, and textiles. Leather is great protection and is a little more forgiving if you get a slightly smaller size, but textile gloves do not break in at all. For extra warmth and environmental protection, go for the textiles. For coolness factor and impact and slide protection, spring for the leather gloves. A lot of textile gloves will have palms made of leather so those are an excellent choice.
Let’s briefly go through the different types of gloves:
This is the closest you will come to having a glove cover all of your needs (not unlike an adventure bike!) They are designed with a large amount of protection in mind, covering your hand and wrist. Often they will have a longer cuff compared to the other styles (“gauntlet” style). This is useful in the case of a slide to prevent your jacket sleeves from riding up and exposing skin to road rash. When picking a touring glove, you’re definitely going to want to be picky as you will be doing many many miles and comfort will be of utmost importance. Select gloves appropriate for the expected climate. Vent holes are great and all until you’re riding through frigid temperature with rain pouring down, nor do you want to have a swamp between your fingers when riding through sunshine and traffic.
Racing Gloves (moto gp):
Protection protection protection… and color matching. Seriously though, if there’s anywhere where you’re going to be pushing yourself and your machine to 100%, it’s the track. This means that falls are not unheard of and you’ll be wanting to protect just about every inch of your hand from pavement impact. You will typically be racing on “nice days” so your glove of choice will be well ventilated. What you will also notice is that the palm side of these gloves is thinner to promote maximum throttle and brake control, so avoid braking with your palm when you do fall off during hard cornering (and wear full race gear! your skin will thank you). These gloves can employ various animals’ leather hides, kevlar, extra shielding, for safety they’re great! Don’t forget to color match to your race coveralls. Can’t have kawasaki colors with a repsol suit 😊
These gloves are typically without cuffs. Depending on where you’ll be riding, you may be up against dust, dirt, twigs, branches (whole trees if you’re not careful). Compared to race gloves, these offer less protection on average but are usually fairly well ventilated. You’ll be going slower on average so you still need to keep cool. Also, You’ll be moving around a lot on your bike, so you’ll want extra padding around your thumb to prevent blisters. Once again, falls are not unusual so dress for the slide (or tumble in this case), not the ride. A pair of mechanix gloves will be comfy for sure, but keeping your knuckles unbroken is cool too.
Street gloves (short):
These are my favorite, they are like dirt bike gloves but with extra protection, and warmer too. No cuffs on a lot of these so keep that in mind. The one thing I don’t like is that it seems that there are unlimited black options and only a few colored options. What’s wrong with a little color?
These are great for holding a broken beer bottle ominously at a dark and smoky bar, for riding, not so much. You’re not going to see knuckle protection, and you’ll be lucky to get palm protection. Unless you’re going for a certain style, or slow and careful cruise around the block, give these a pass.