No matter what kind of riding you’re into, every motorcyclist should own a pair of quality motorcycle gloves that offer real protection in the event of an accident. Falling hands first onto an asphalt road is painful enough from a standstill, and a hell of a lot more so at speed. Since you’re more likely to land hands-first in the vast majority of accident scenarios, a good pair of gloves will keep your paws protected.
Different riders have different requirements, so for the purposes of this list, we’ve decided to select products that cover a wide range of riding needs. These include options for sport, touring, and dirt riders, and dedicated summer and winter options too.
Our conclusions have been drawn from a blend of real-life experience and product familiarity, in partnership with quality reviews from trusted sources. Naturally, we also take into account customer reviews and feedback too. We also value the overall quality of a product and whether it truly offers value for money. After all, expensive doesn’t always mean good, and cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad.
So, without further ado, here’s what we came up with.
Dainese Steel Pro Gloves
First up, let’s look at sports gloves. When it comes to all things sport, Dainese is a go-to brand name. In terms of value for money, the Dainese brand can be a little too expensive for the average rider. However, when it comes to their Steel Pro gloves, you get a great return on your investment. They’re premium gloves without the over-the-top premium price tag.
Constructed from goatskin leather with advanced armor, these gloves are claimed to be the “ultimate track glove.” If you’re a regular track rider, they are worth your money. The leather is tough but supple, offering excellent flexibility, but the real benefit is in the protection. Composite and stainless steel inserts protect the knuckle area, while thermoplastic armor keeps fingers safe. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that these gloves are certified to CE – Cat. II – PrEN 13594 Standard lev. 1.
There’s a shopping list of other armored features. But are they comfortable to wear? Thanks to elasticated sections, an adjustable cuff strap, and a tightening strap, these pre-curved racing gloves have a snug fit without compromising your freedom of movement. Pay attention to the sizing though—they’re known to run a little long in the fingers.
Rev’It! Quantum 2 Gauntlets
Rev’It announced in 2020 that they had plans for a whole new series of gear coming in 2021 that would land squarely in the mid-market price range. The promises made were that this new line of gear was motorsports-derived, from their MotoGP and World SBK developed PPE, but come in at an affordable price for the quality offered. That series is the Quantum 2 series, and the Quantum 2 Gauntlet is a perfect example of fulfilling promises made.
The primary chassis of the glove is cowhide, with goatskin for the palm and some synthetic leather for extra layers across the fingers. While not carrying as much pure armor as the FIM homologation Jerez 3 GP gloves, the Quantum 2’s are still armored in every place and angle that is of concern on the track. Knuckles, fingers, outer thumb, palm slide, blade edge of the hand, and wrists are all armored, while the outside of the little finger has double reinforced and double-stitched leather to give it as much structural stability as possible in a “budget” glove. The glove features a double closure as well, with a wrist cinch and then a gauntlet flap that seals over it, so the glove will not come flying off if your bike decides it wants to launch you into orbit on the track.
The only downsides we found in our review of the Quantum 2’s is that they come from the factory extraordinarily stiff and need a good, long break-in period to fully settle in, as well as their ventilation is much more oriented towards the track. That said, if you’re looking for a sport gauntlet that is equally comfortable on the street as it is the track, the Rev’It Quantum 2’s are just about the most balanced gloves you will find at the price point.
Alpinestars Megawatt Gloves
Though these gloves are designed for both on and off-road use, we think they’re exceptionally good in the dirt. They’re lightweight, tough, durable, versatile, and very well priced. In terms of your bang-for-buck ratio, it will be difficult to find a better pair of gloves than these. And since they’re manufactured by Alpinestars, you can truth in the quality of the construction.
The Megawatt gloves are made from a combination of materials that include perforated leather, stretch-polyamide, and synthetic suede. They’re pre-curved to reduce rider fatigue and boost comfort, but without restricting your movements. One feature that we really like is the reinforced thumb and palm sections that give you a confident grip on your handlebars, whatever the situation.
Protection comes in the form of synthetic suede panels across the palm, extra suede reinforcement with foam padding for boosted abrasion protection on key impact zones, and a hard polymer knuckle protector for added safety. Despite the layers of protection, these gloves are fairly breathable and well ventilated too.
The closure is a Velcro cuff for fast and easy removal.
Joe Rocket Atomic X2 Gloves
At the budget end of the spectrum, we’d suggest these Atomic gloves from Joe Rocket. They’ll do the job and they won’t break the bank. Joe Rocket is a brand that’s well-known for delivering quality protectives on a budget, and the Atomic gloves do just that.
Manufactured from goatskin leather, stretch Spandex, neoprene, and Chamude, these short cuff gloves are comfortable and snug, without restricting your hand movements. Ideal for summer weather, they’re not that waterproof and you’ll definitely feel the cold in them if you’re riding out of season.
In terms of protection, these pre-curved, rider-friendly gloves feature 5mm high-density padding around the index and middle fingers, leather knuckle armor, and goatskin palm pads. These gloves also feature SmartTouch material that allows you to use touchscreen devices, a secure hook-and-loop closure, and a TPR pull tab.
Despite excellent long-term tests and reviews, we’d still urge caution about the life expectancy of these gloves. Since they’re budget products, don’t expect them to last forever. However, if you need affordable protection for low-stress riding, these are perfect gloves.
REV’IT! Sand 4 Glove
If you are in the market for one of the best Summer gloves to come around in a long time, then you cannot go wrong with the Rev’It Sand 4 gloves.
The palms, fingers, and lower wrist are covered in premium goatskin leather for excellent feel and high abrasion resistance. The glove uppers are made out of Rev’It’s super-durable PWRShell Mesh that carries a rating of 500D, meaning that you’ll need to slide along on it for about five seconds before it breaks apart.
That is highly unlikely, however, as the innovative TPR injection formed armor across the knuckles and fingers both breathes excellently, and are shaped so that any impact force is distrubed. This armor is also highly abrasion-resistant, meaning you can slide along on it for a while before it starts to grind down.
Add in outer thumb armor, a hard TPU palm slider, triple stitched reinforced leather along the blade edge of the hand, double layered goatskin on the palm, and you’ve got a pair of gloves that will last you many seasons without losing any effectiveness. A truly excellent product from Rev’It, hence the 90% score it got in our review.
Alpinestars SP-2 V2 Gloves
Alpinestars has a reputation for bringing a lot of their racing research and development down to the gear that is affordable for the common rider, and the SP-2 v2 gloves are no exception.
These gloves feature a full-grain leather main chassis, with synthetic suede in areas needing reinforcement such as the blade edge of the hand and impact zones. The palm is solid leather for maximum grip, while the uppers and the wrist are all perforated for maximum airflow.
Armor includes injection-formed TPU knuckles with ventilation intakes to drive air into the glove, exciting via the perforations. There is a soft slider on the palm made of non-Newtonian impact foam under double reinforced leather, which is somewhere that we would have liked to have seen a hard slider instead.
That said, the SP in the name stands for “Street Performance,” meaning that these are not meant to go on the track. As well, by removing the hard slider from the palm and reinforcing the palm with impact foam, it provides more than enough protection for street-level riding. These will keep your hands safe and intact for canyon carving and enjoying the twisties, and are not meant for blasting down the main straight at Road America.
All said, these gloves are still at a great price for breathable, wearable, high quality street protection.
Gebring Vanguard Heated Gloves
Lastly, we have a solid winter option: Gebring’s Vanguard Heated Gloves. As the name implies, these winter gloves feature a heating element that promises to keep your hands nice and toasty, even on the coldest of days.
Constructed using premium Aniline cowhide leather, these gloves are tough and durable, but remarkably pliable and flexible. The leather is backed with water-resistant Aquatex, and complemented with Thinsulate insulation. They feature superfabric patches in high-risk abrasion zones, a TPU knuckle protection, and gel pads on the palm and on certain fingers.
On the surface, they’re just normal motorcycle gloves. But on the inside, they’re something else. Lined with Polyester microsuede, these gloves feature an advanced microwire heating system that delivers impressive heat to the whole glove, even to the tip of every finger. Connected using a discreet wire connector, these gloves are what you want to be wearing if you’re riding out in the cold.
These are easily our favorite winter riding gloves in very cold weather, but if you don’t really experience cold winters, they’re not going to be for you. They’re too expensive to own just for the sake of it. But if you’re an all-season rider who likes to tear it up in the snow, these are the gloves for you.