Wearing mitts or gloves while cycling isn’t just an essential item of clothing for winter – its summer offerings are just as important.
The benefits may be less obvious, but fingerless summer cycling gloves – sometimes called mitts – feature padded and textured palms, helping you to grip the bars better while providing cushioning.
Should you fall, mitts are also hugely useful for protecting your palms from cuts and abrasions.
When buying gloves look for a close fit that is comfortable. If they are too tight, they can dig in over longer rides 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 and can help prevent rubbing and blisters.
A good closure system, typically velcro, and a snot patch are also useful. 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 and gloves
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Assos Summer Gloves
Assos’ summer gloves feature ample padding, with mesh panels between the fingers to ensure the fit doesn’t become restrictive.
They look pretty good too, provided you can keep the white gleaming.
GripGrab Roadster Cycling Mitts
Designed to be as light as possible for summer riding, the GripGrab Roadster Mitts have thin, see-through mesh on the back that allows you to tan your hands while riding – avoiding dodgy tan lines.
A super breathable pair of summer cycling gloves, they’re even on-the-money in that sense on the hottest of days in the saddle.
The palm uses GripGrab’s own 2mm thick ‘Doctorgel’ pad, 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 is designed for allowing good pressure distribution, impact absorption and durability.
A lightweight mesh, nose wipe and velcro strap finish the Giro Monaco II Gel Mitts off nicely and make these perfect cycling gloves for long summer rides.
Sportful Giara glove
Grip comes from silicone print on the palm, and Sportful has even added some subtle reflective details.
Pearl Izumi PRO Aero cycling mitts
Weighing just 26g for the pair and costing £30/$40, the Pearl Izumi PRO aero gloves tick just about ever box on the summer cycling glove wish list.
The design has been kept simple with a lycra back partnered with a synthetic leather palm, which gives them an excellent tight aero fit. The minimalist gloves are super breathable, too.
With no padding, the gloves offer excellent radial grip, but are probably best suited to shorter rides and races.
Aero Cycling Gloves
Cycling gloves are also available in aerodynamic versions. These are intended for racing and time trialling and are often designed to be used in conjunction with a skin suit.
Good aero mitts will be fairly lightweight and feature fabrics offering lower drag coefficient than bare skin. They typically feature less padding and minimalist construction and see a cuff that extends over your wrist.
Assos RS Aero SF Gloves
Made from five different textiles, with 10 panels and three components, the Assos RS Aero SF gloves have a no-wrinkle fit and a pre-curved 3D shape.
The back panel is made from Breezer Tex, and ultralight woven fabric with a structure similar to mesh that promotes airflow.
Triangular shaped pads on the palm disperse pressure and eliminate hotspots, and there is even a terry cloth thumb panel so you don’t rub your nose raw.
POC Raceday Aero Glove
POC’s Raceday Aero Glove are engineered to be as streamlined and aero as possible. The majority of the back panel made from a four-way stretch fabric to hug the contours of your hand, wrinkle-free.
The palm is perforated and the tall elastic cuff creates a second-skin feel and eliminates the need for straps.
VeloToze Aero Glove
With a tight fit and a tall cuff, the VeloToze aero gloves are made using a textured fabric said to break up the flow of air and reduce drag.
The palm has minimalist gel padding to provide a bit of extra comfort, and there are even pull tabs between the fingers and on the wrist for easy installation and removal.
Mitts and fingerless gloves: what to look for
Fingerless gloves provide greater dexterity and lightweight gloves may provide a bit of extra protection against the elements and abrasion too.
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 didn’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 our hands, we can report that it is not a desirable look.