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Wearing the best summer cycling gloves while riding in warm weather is just as important as a pair of winter gloves for cold weather rides.
The benefits may be less obvious, but the best summer cycling gloves - sometimes called mitts if they are fingerless - feature padded and textured palms, helping you to grip the bars better while providing cushioning. They'll also help absorb sweat, so that your palms stay drier and more comfortable.
Should you fall, mitts or gloves will also help to protect your palms from cuts and abrasions.
As when buying a pair of the best winter cycling gloves, an ideal pair of summer cycling gloves will have a close and comfortable fit. Too tight, and they will dig in over longer rides and can potentially cause pins and needles if circulation is affected; too loose and you'll lose the benefit of the grip, and in the case of fingered gloves, find changing gear a challenge.
We've included more on what to look for when choosing the perfect pair of summer cycling gloves below, but first here are a few of our favourites.
Our pick of the best summer cycling gloves and mitts
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Best summer cycling gloves overall
It’s not so often you get a product which just does its job without any issues and is also reasonably priced. But Santini has managed it here - which is somewhat a surprise, as their kit can be amongst the most expensive.
The super thin backing of these gloves really helps reduce heat build up, whilst the open foam and grippy suede do a great job of preventing overheating and excessive clamminess. They’re grippy, without being distractingly so, and provide a good amount of cushioning while still offering good ‘bar feel’.
For long rides on super rough terrain, you’ll want something with a bit more cushion - but that level of cushioning has its own trade offs. As an everyday pair of mitts for riding, racing, and excursions off road, these are a great all-round option and actually reasonably priced.
Best for grip
Best for handlebar grip
GripGrab uses its unique InsideGrip design in these lightweight gloves. It places silicone grippers on the inside surface of the gloves, so they don't slip around on your hands while you're riding.
There's no padding, minimal seams and soft artificial suede palms in these mitts, so they're designed to enhance your bar feel, rather than provide you with extra comfort.
As with many aero cycling gloves, there's no closure to get in the way of airflow - you just pull your hands through the stretchy cuff. You do get reflective details on the little finger though.
Best for padding
Best for high-comfort padding
Named after the hardest section of pavé in the Paris-Roubaix Spring Classic road race, Castelli's Arenberg Gel 2 gloves are made for making keeping your hands as protected as possible.
These feature gel inserts on the palm, which it calls the Castelli Damping System (CDS). It's designed not only for comfort and greater control of the handlebars in tough terrain, but to help prevent damaging the main padding on your hand (pronator teres muscle), which, when subjected to prolonged and excessive impact, can compress the median nerve, often know as the labourer's nerve.
The gloves use a mesh backing to help maximise breathability, and have a microsuede nose wipe on the thumb to prevent soreness.
Best lightweight option
Best lightweight cycling gloves
The 100% Brisker gloves were so highly rated by our MBR siblings that we had to take a look at what the brand was up to on the road cycling side.
The Sling is a super-lightweight minimal option, the perfect summer cycling glove for riders looking to retain maximum road feedback, but improve bar grip. There are long and short finger versions available and both feel like you're not wearing gloves.
With no padding, these aren't going to be for riders who suffer from bar discomfort, but they will be music to the ears of road cyclists who like a low profile grip and want to ensure they maintain as much radial grip as possible.
Best for durability
Best for durability
Made using top-notch sheep leather, on a test of the unisex version of the Monaco II Gel mitts we found the palm to be incredibly comfortable and soft. It also moulded well to the hand, with small holes over the centre of the palm for ventilation.
The Giro Technogel padding delivered very good pressure distribution, impact absorption and durability, which makes these great summer cycling gloves for lots of long days in the saddle.
There are some gloves which offer even more cushion, but the further you go down that route, the worse the bar-feel is and your control diminishes.
Best for standing out
Best for standing out
The shiny side of us absolutely loves the amazing summer cycling gloves from Supacaz. The 'oil slick' colour option certainly draws attention to the very unique design of the SupaG gloves.
There's minimal padding, which will be great for those wanting to keep road feedback and radial grip on the bars, but not so much for anyone wanting palm cushioning on long rides.
If the statement you make with your mitts is more important than nerdy, marginal gains details, these are a great option to go for - the build quality is still good.
Best budget option
Best budget summer cycling gloves
Altura's latest iteration of its popular Progel mitts has been redesigned to reduce seams in the palms and increase the level of gel padding for additional bar comfort.
There's a synthetic suede palm, well placed padding and a silicone print for grip and a mix of bonded and sewn seams - as well as a stretch lycra upper. The cuff sits quite low on the wrist.
The Progel mitts sit towards the lower end of the market, but they're comfortable and well made, although we did find some threads had come loose after a few wearings.
Best for gravel
Best summer gloves for gravel
This rather bizarre looking pair are the ideal summer cycling gloves for gravel riders who are looking for max trigger finger grip in all terrains.
The thumb and first two fingers are designed to assist riders' confidence when braking and shifting gear, while the uncovered fingers help in maintaining hand temperature regulation and overall hand flexibility and dexterity.
Grip comes from a duo of gel inserts and silicone print on the palm, designed for comfort on rough stuff, on and off road.
Best summer cycling gloves: what to look for
What features should I look for in the best summer cycling gloves?
First of all, look for good closure systems, typically a Velcro strap, or a close fit on the wrist to ensure that your glove will stay in place well and not slip around between your hands and the bars.
A nose wipe is really useful. It's the soft piece of fabric, often on the back of the thumb, which is designed to either wipe away sweat, a runny nose or wet lenses on the best cycling glasses, depending on your needs.
Ideally try before you buy to get the size right. Check they are comfortable or ensure there is a good returns policy when making a purchase. As with all cycling clothing, sizing is often inconsistent between brands.
Often the backs of summer cycling gloves are made of lightweight mesh, so they won't protect your hands from the sun. If your summer cycling gloves don't have a SPF rating or have gaps behind the closure strap, make sure you apply one of the best cycling sunscreens here. Your hands will get little shade on a ride, so it's important to apply sunscreen before you pull on a pair.
Do the best summer cycling gloves make a difference?
As one of only three touchpoints on your bike, keeping your hands comfortable and protected is vital to ensure enjoyable riding.
While gloves won't protect your hands from every eventuality, they can lower the risk of damage from a silly tumble, or gravel rash, which can otherwise mean days or even weeks off the bike for your palms to heal.
The best summer cycling gloves will also help wick away sweat, assist with grip and provide a handy wipe for your nose/ brow, as well as providing additional handlebar comfort.
Do summer cycling gloves come with padding?
Some of the best summer cycling gloves are padded, others are more minimalist.
Unpadded summer cycling gloves may just come with silicone grip areas on the palms to help with gripping the bars in all weather and road conditions. Even this single layer of fabric will act as some form of protection from any crashes, as well as helping to prevent sweaty palms from slipping on the bars.
Padding in other gloves ranges from a thin leather pad to full-on gel padding, designed for the toughest and longest of rides.
Hand protection from repeated impact is vital on long rides which include lots of gravel or cobbles as this can cause nerve compression and damage over time.
How much padding to choose is down to personal choice. It's worth noting though that riders with smaller hands can suffer from too much padding interfering with their radial grip on the bars, so don't just assume maximum padding is best for you.
What are the loops on summer cycling gloves for?
Loops and extra long tabs at the wrist, or fabric rings on the middle fingers on cycling gloves can give them an odd appearance. These are there to help the wearer remove the gloves at the end of a ride by giving them something to pull on.
Trying to remove a small, damp, tight fitting glove otherwise can be a bit of a challenge.
Do pro cyclists wear summer cycling gloves?
Again, it's a personal choice. Some teams enforce the wearing of gloves to prevent unnecessary time off due to a hand injury that could have otherwise been prevented by using mitts or gloves.
That said, some riders have free rein and would rather have total road feedback, helping them be at one between the bike and road.
It is important to remember that mitts and gloves are not for everyone, and it really is a personal choice. Tom Boonen, now retired, famously didn't use them, even when riding on cobbles. That's true too of many other great and good riders.
It's worth noting that modern bar tape is very comfortable and can add a lot of grip and shock absorption for your hands. So an alternative may be to increase the padding on your bars by adding some of the best handlebar tape.
What's best, fingerless mitts or full-finger gloves?
Lightweight full-finger gloves may provide a bit of extra protection against the elements and abrasion. MTB riders typically use full-finger gloves and they're a useful option for gravel riding where your hands might bash against undergrowth.
Lightweight summer full-finger gloves feature significantly less insulation than a dedicated winter glove, so your hands shouldn't get too sweaty. They can also be useful to keep the wind off your hands on cold summer days.
Fingerless mitts tend to be favoured by road cyclists, as they are that bit cooler and there's less chance of them interfering with use of your controls.
You can also buy aero cycling mitts that are lightweight and feature fabrics offering lower drag coefficient than bare skin. They typically feature less padding and minimalist construction with plenty of stretch to the fabric and no closures to catch the wind, with a cuff that extends over your wrist.
These are intended for racing and time trialling and are often designed to be used in conjunction with a skin suit or one of the best aero helmets.
With Black Friday coming up on November 24th and running until the 27th, all the major retailers are already starting their discounts. On the tech side of things, we’ve rounded up the best Black Friday Wahoo deals over here and the best Garmin deals over here.
And with Christmas coming up, we absolutely have a page on the best kids’ bikes deals - from balance bikes to fully equipped gears.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.
Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas.
She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
- Stefan AbramTech features editor
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