Our comprehensive guide will help you find the right pair of gloves to suit you.
Here at AMX Superstores, our team has a wealth of knowledge about all things motorcycle accessories including motorcycle gloves. We have created this guide using our combined experience with and understanding of motorcycle gear and the needs of the Australian motorcycle enthusiast.
In the case of an accident, our instinct is to brace for impact by extending arms and hands and this is where the correct gloves can minimise damage to the rider. Even a small fall can have potentially catastrophic effects on the hands, wrist and forearm.
This buying guide will cover:
- The different types of motorcycle gloves
- Materials & Construction
- Key Protection Features
- Comfort & Convenience Features
- Fitment & How to measure your hands
- Qualifying Questions to ask yourself before buying motorcycle gloves
Motorcycle gloves can be broken down into 7 main categories;
1. Summer Gloves
Summer Gloves are breathable or perforated gloves for warm weather riding. Short and gauntlet options are available, as well as different material options. We will discuss features and benefits of materials later in this guide.
2. Winter Gloves
Winter Gloves are gloves with weather protection, water resistance or water-proofing and are specifically designed for cold weather riding. As with summer gloves, there are long and short options and a variety of materials and levels of protection.
3. Adventure Gloves
Adventure Gloves offer ventilation and are malleable for optimal dexterity for gripping the handlebars while still offering impact protection.
4. Sports or Racing Gloves
Sports or Racing gloves are always long gloves with gauntlet cuffs (also called gauntlet gloves) which provide protection for the wrist and forearm as well as the hands.
5. Dirt or Off Road Gloves
Dirt or Off Road Gloves are for riders spending time in the dirt & mud, they are usually textile with rubber grip. They come in a summer and winter style.
6. All Season Gloves
All Season Gloves are versatile, using materials to promote breathability for hot weather and insulation against cold weather. These are comfortable year round gloves however they are not ideal for either summer or winter. Most year round riders will have at least two sets of gloves.
7. Fingerless Gloves
We will also mention a seventh type of glove, the Fingerless Gloves. As the name suggests these gloves protect only the palm of the hand & knuckles and are generally made of leather. Fingerless gloves offer very minimal protection and are usually chosen for aesthetic reasons. They are still better than no gloves at all, but you are sacrificing protection for looks.
What materials are used for motorcycle gloves?
Not all leather construction is equal. Look for Full Grain Leather, this refers to the natural, top layer of a hide that is unchanged except for the removal of hair. This means it is the highest quality and most resistant to damage. Note that leather gloves will not offer full waterproofing only water resistance, and perforated leather will provide some breathability.
Leather gloves can come from goats, cows and kangaroos. Goat leather is the most inexpensive and is widely used in gloves, it can be very thin which gives it a closer fit. Cowhide has a smoother, softer grain and better stretch than goat, its overall strength and abrasion resistance is better. Kangaroo is the most expensive of the leather gloves and the best of both worlds being both strong and supple.
Motorcycle glove manufacturers use modern materials to create textile gloves suitable for all riding conditions. Textile gloves offer great ventilation and are lightweight and comfortable which is great for urban riding, like these Argon Swift Gloves Stealth. A fully synthetic glove will not "break in" as much as a leather glove, however they will stretch a little bit over time.
Leather & Textile Combination Gloves
A motorcycle glove with a hybrid composition of leather and textile offers the ventilation of synthetic materials with the protection of leather in areas where abrasion resistance is necessary.
Gore-Tex® and similar innovations allow sweat and vapor to escape, while preventing any water from penetrating the glove. Gloves that incorporate this feature are perfect for riding in wet weather conditions. Look for gloves which incorporate the waterproofing inside the cuff to prevent the glove lining from getting wet.
The solution for long distance winter riding is the heated glove. Like the FIVE HG-1 Waterproof Glove which combines the supple qualities of goat leather, with a synthetic waterproof lining and the battery-and resistor-powered heating system. There are three levels of heat which can be easily adjusted with an external button on the cuff.
FIVE HG-1 Waterproof Glove
Thermal liners are composed of moisture-wicking fabric to keep your hands warm and dry. Designed to be worn under your riding gloves as they offer no impact protection. If considering these as an option, ensure that you try them on with your riding gloves as they can affect dexterity and grip.
Armour & Protection
The most protection is afforded by the gauntlet glove, the tough shell (often carbon fiber) protects the forearm whereas the short cuff glove does not. This makes the extended cuff a necessary feature for race gloves.
Abrasion resistant materials such as leather, carbon fiber and Kevlar® provide crash protection.
Scaphoid protection is a key component of a motorcycle glove. The Scaphoid is a small bone in the wrist which is vulnerable to damage. Palm sliders assist by preventing the palms catching on the asphalt and tearing. More importantly it stops your hand from catching, twisting and potentially breaking - instead it slides.
Palm Sliders on the FIVE Glove RFX-3
Stitching is important to the integrity of the gloves, look for double stitching in high stress areas. Some gloves are stitched using Kevlar® for maximum strength & integrity.
Finger Bridging prevents contortion and finger separation.
Hardened knuckles are a feature of most motorcycle gloves to keep hands protected and prevents vital knuckle joints from being crushed.
Comfort & Convenience
A super convenient feature is a suede panel usually on the index finger which allows you to easily wipe water off visor without scratching the visor - great for cold or wet weather riding. Check out the Dri Rider Apex 2 Glove. Also available in a Ladies Glove!
Touchscreen compatible fingertips allow use of your phone without having to remove your gloves.
External stitching means the gloves have a more natural fit, and the gloves feel more comfortable with a smooth fitting interior.
Pre curved fingers construction to allow comfortable grasping of grips.
How to measure your hands
To find out your glove size, measure around your hand with a tape measure across your palm. See the image below for a visual guide. It is important to note that each brand of glove fits differently and has a unique size guide. If you cannot get into an AMX store to try on gloves, consult the brand specific size guide.
Alpinestars Glove Size Guide
Generally your brand new gloves should fit snugly and note that leather gloves will give a little as you break them in. Loose gloves will bunch around the palm which is uncomfortable and can be a potential riding hazard.
It is important that you have dexterity in your thumbs for using indicators, and your pointer & middle fingers for using the clutch & front brake levers.
The best motorcycle gloves will have Velcro closures in strategic places to ensure a snug fit around your wrist and arm, rather than just an elastic cuff. Short gloves may only have one closure system so look for ones that will secure the glove firmly.
There are so many brands offering quality gloves, and many riders opt to have at least two pairs of gloves in their collection to cater for different conditions and styles of motorcycle riding.
AMX Superstores stock all of the leading road brands;
As well as off-road brands;
Here are some qualifying questions you can ask yourself to put all of the information together.
What bike do you have? Do you ride a dirt bike or a road bike?
Obviously, the answer to this will determine whether you are looking at dirt bike or road motorcycle gloves. Think about what other gear you have as well - for example if you are looking at longer gloves, will it fit snugly with your jacket or is it going to clash & be uncomfortable? Bring your jacket with you if possible when trying on gloves in store.
Do you mainly ride in the Summer or Winter or all year round?
Many riders opt to have multiple glove types for different seasons and riding conditions, especially if they use their bike all year round. This ensures they have the right gear for optimal performance no matter what gets thrown at them. Think about where you live, if you ride in extreme climates or perhaps you only ride in warm weather.
What kind of riding do you do? Off road, race, commuting to and from work?
As an example, if you're just riding around urban areas on the weekend then race gloves might be a bit of overkill for you. Consider whether you plan to do any adventure or long distance riding and factor this in when purchasing motorcycle gloves.
What is your budget?
Be realistic about your budget, and remember not to compromise safety for cost. If your riding style requires maximum protection, it's definitely worth the extra bucks for a pair of gloves that will perform in the case of a crash. As a rule of thumb for any motorcycle gear in general you should aim to have the best protection you can afford. The gear is designed to protect you.
We hope that this guide will assist you with choosing motorcycle gloves that meet your safety and comfort needs so you can keep a firm grip on your bike. Of course, if you would like to discuss options with an expert, our team at AMX Superstores are happy to help. We have 17 stores across Australia or you can contact our friendly Online Customer Service Team on 1300 113 257.