For many riders summer cycling gloves or mitts are an essential piece of kit
The advantages of a good pair of gloves in winter are obvious – you avoid frostbite! However the benefit of wearing gloves for riding in summer may be less obvious. Fingerless summer cycling gloves, also known as mitts, feature padded and textured palms, which help you grip the bars, while providing cushioning.
Should you fall, mitts are also hugely useful for protecting your palms from cuts and abrasions. When buying mitts look for a close fit that is comfortable. If they are too tight, they can become uncomfortable over the course of 100 miles and can potentially cause pins and needles if circulation is affected.
Other features to look for are good quality padding, which is often in the form of gel inserts. Padding can help prevent rubbing and blisters. A good closure system, typically velcro, and a snot patch. The ‘snot patch’ is a soft piece of fabric, often on the back of the thumb, which is designed to either wipe away sweat or snot, depending on your needs.
Our pick of the best summer cycling mitts
GripGrab Roadster Cycling Mitts
Designed to be as light as possible for summer riding, the GripGrab Roadster Mitts have a thin see-through mesh on the back that allow you to tan your hands while riding – avoiding dodgy tan lines. This also means they are super breathable summer cycling gloves, for even the hottest of days in the saddle.
The palm uses GripGrab’s own ‘Doctorgel’ pad, which at just 2mm thick is it’s thinest, and allows the gloves to keep weight down to just 30g for the pair. It still offers plenty of protection and grip, even over the roughest of roads.
Giro Monaco II Gel Cycling Mitts
Made using top-notch Pittards sheep leather, the palm is comfortable, soft and moulds well to the hand, with small holes over the centre of the palm for ventilation. The Giro Technogel padding is said to have started out in the medical industry, and designed for allowing good pressure distribution, impact absorption and durability.
A lightweight mesh, nose wipe and velcro strap finishes the Giro Monaco II Gel Mitts off nicely, and makes these perfect summer cycling gloves for long summer rides. Just be weary of using anything other than white bar tape and don’t even think of changing a tyre in them!
Mavic Cosmic Pro cycling mitts
The minimalistic Mavic Cosmic Pro gloves are designed to offer comfort without a weight penalty and at just 30g for the pair, they certainly are lightweight. Dispite the well ventilated synthetic leather palms having zero padding, these are in fact comfortable and hardwearing even for extended rides of four hours plus, and have the added bonus of allowing for excellent radial grip on the bars.
The lightweight mesh upper keeps the gloves well ventilated and even with no wrist closure fitted like the preverbal glove, which combined with their lightweight, makes these top draw summer cycling gloves for summer races or jaunts in to the hills.
Craft Glow cycling mitts
Designed to be used at the height of summer, the Craft Glow gloves are minimal and breathable, with a mesh back, fingers and inner wrist. Padding has been kept to a minimum too, but well balanced between offering enough hand comfort and protection, while allowing for good dexterity when gripping the handle bars.
These summer cycling gloves offer a race fit, with a stretchy lycra cuff to keep them in check around the wrist, and reflective detailing is a nice touch, although in an ideal world, made slightly more durable.
Pearl Izumi PRO Aero cycling mitts
Weighing just 26grams for the pair and costing under £30, the Pearl Izumi PRO aero gloves tick lots of summer cycling gloves wish list boxes from the get go. The design has been kept simple with a lycra back partnered with a synthetic leather palm, which gives them and excellent tight aero fit.
The minimalistic gloves are super breathable and have a barely there feel when on, and with no padding, the gloves offer excellent radial grip, but are probably best suited to shorter rides and races.
Aero Cycling Mitts
Mitts are also available in aerodynamic versions too. These are designed for racing and are often designed to be used in conjunction with a skin suit. Good aero mitts will be fairly lightweight and feature fabrics which offer lower drag than bare skin. They typically feature less padding and a less robust construction.
Fingerless gloves provide greater dexterity, but we live in a temperate climate, famous for ‘changeable’ weather. On particularly grim days you may still want a full fingered glove and to this end, lighter weight options are available. These feature significantly less insulation than a dedicated winter glove, but do a good job of keeping the wind off on cold summer days.
It is important to remember that mitts and gloves are not for everyone. Tom Boonen famously doesn’t use them, even when riding on cobbles. An alternative can be to increase the padding on your bar tape.
Try before you buy to get the size right and check they are comfortable. As with all cycling clothing, sizing is often inconsistent between brands. If your summer cycling gloves feature a gap behind the closure strap, make sure you apply sunscreen here too. Having experienced weird brown triangles on the backs of my hands, I can report that it is not a strong look.