Types of road bike gloves and how to choose them

Posted at: Mar 15, 2022

When you start riding a road bike seriously, you will want gloves. And surprisingly, there are many types of gloves to choose from, making them easy to worry about. In this issue, we summarize the types of road bike gloves and how to choose them.

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Types of road bike gloves

Design differences

There are three main types of road bike gloves: full-finger, half-finger, and inner gloves.

Full-finger gloves, which wrap around the fingertips, are essential in cold weather and prevent the fingertips from getting cold. On road bikes, the STI lever is operated with the fingertips, so the grip on the lever may vary depending on the material. Also, some gloves may not allow you to operate touch screens such as smartphones.

A type of half-finger glove without fingertips is equipped in warmer weather such as summer. The advantage is that since there are no fingertips, the gloves do not get stuffy and it does not get that hot even if worn in mid-summer. Also, since the fingertips are bare, operating a smartphone is no problem. Some people use half-finger gloves even in midwinter, but they are not suitable for cold weather.

Inner gloves can be worn under full-finger gloves in midwinter or other cold weather to increase the glove’s thermal protection. Since two gloves will be worn, they will be thicker and the feel of the levers will be less comfortable.

Material Differences

Road bike gloves are an item that varies not only in design but also in material. The difference in materials depends on three functions: breathability, windproofing, and waterproofing.

Most gloves for warmer months are made of mesh material for breathability to prevent sweating. Half-finger gloves are mainly used in summer, for example, so the back of the hand is made of mesh material and the palm is gripped to provide both a gripping and breathable feel.

On the other hand, the difficult part is winter gloves, which are often made of windproof materials to prevent the hands from getting cold. However, if windproof performance is enhanced, the gloves become thick like snowboarding gloves, and the inside becomes stuffy, making it difficult to operate levers. If you make them thinner, the windproof performance will be lower, and your hands will get very cold while riding. This balance is where the manufacturer shows his skill.

Waterproof performance is also surprisingly important for riding in the rain. During the warmer months, such as summer, you may not think anything of getting your hands wet, but during the cooler or colder months, wet gloves will cool you down like a refrigerator, and this will affect your road bike operation. For rainy days, it is best to choose gloves made of waterproof materials.

How do I choose gloves for road biking?

Best to have 3 for different seasons & uses.

Since road biking is a bare-bones ride, it is best to have three types of gloves to suit the outside temperature and weather conditions.

  1. main one for warmer weather: half-finger
  2. main in cooler weather: full fingers
  3. main in cold weather: windproof/waterproof full fingers

However, recently, high-performance gloves can be purchased by mail order for about $20 to $30, so it is recommended that you start with three types of gloves, even if they are inexpensive. Full-finger gloves for the cooler months can be made from 1 dollar work gloves.

Invest in winter gloves!

It is on midwinter rides that you will experience the most appreciation for gloves. It is almost impossible to ride bare-handed in midwinter when you are constantly exposed to the cold wind from the front, and thin gloves can be so cold that you lose feeling in your fingers.

Winter gloves for road biking have the following features

  1. thin but warm and windproof
  2. warm but also well breathable

It will keep your fingertips warm even on midwinter rides.

Unlike the time of year when a pair of cheap gloves will do the job, the performance of gloves is important when riding in the middle of winter. Especially if you are doing long rides in midwinter, cold fingers can reduce braking power and cause accidents, so invest in winter gloves.

Bare hands are acceptable in summer

Although it used to be the norm for road bikers to wear gloves to enhance their grip on the levers, in the past few years the number of professional road racers who ride bare-handed has increased, and more and more users are going gloveless during the warmer months.

While bare hands are fine, gloves in the summer have the advantage of being worn because they serve as protection for your fingers and as a towel to wipe sweat that drips onto your face.

Gloves during normal times of the year can be used with military gloves.

Outside of the cold winter and hot summer seasons, these are also times when the performance of gloves is surprisingly less experienced. Of course, there are advantages to using specialized gloves, such as a higher grip, but during times when the physical discomfort of cold and hot weather is less, it is surprisingly better to just have any glove.

In this sense, a cheap gloves or military gloves are fine. However, avoid wearing gloves made of silk or other slippery materials, as they may slip on the steering wheel.

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