The best mountain bike gloves will not only protect your hands in the event of a crash but also increase your grip on the handlebar.
A pair of gloves with a good fit should also reduce the amount of pressure exerted on your hands over longer rides. Summer gloves should balance protection and breathability, while winter gloves should protect your hands from the elements when riding in cold and wet conditions.
If you’re looking for a new set of mountain bike gloves, here’s our pick of the bunch, as rated by BikeRadar’s team of expert testers. We’ve covered the best winter mountain bike gloves and the best summer mountain bike gloves, with sections below for each.
The best summer mountain bike gloves, as rated by our expert testers
Bluegrass Vapour Lite
- Price: £32/€35
These featherweight gloves are as close to not wearing gloves as possible and are designed to be comfortable for long days on the bike. The palm material doesn’t bunch up, crease or fold when you fingers grip the handlebars and as it’s made from a single piece of material, there aren’t any uncomfortable seams or stitching.
In testing, they’ve also proven to be tough, remaining free from rips and tears. The stretch-focused fit isn’t too tight to restrict movement and there’s a silicone print claimed to improve grip.
Our tester liked them so much, he went out and bought a couple of sets.
Endura Hummvee Lite II
- Price: £20/$21/AU$50
Endura’s Hummvee Lite gloves deliver plenty of feel through their synthetic leather palm, which is thin but feels more protective than others here. It helps that the accurate cut makes for a snug fit with no bunching when gripping the bar.
Thanks to the mesh backing, they don’t get overly warm, and that backing (along with the impressive fit) means they’re tight enough to stay nice and secure. Our hands never shifted in the gloves when yanking hard on the bar. The snot wipe covers the back of the thumb. Plus, at their retail price, they’re a bargain.
Our only qualm is that the finger seams feel quite prominent, but you get used to them.
Troy Lee Designs Ace 2.0
- Price: £35/$36/AU$70
If you’re after ‘barely there’ gloves, the Ace 2.0s from Troy Lee Designs should be at the top of the list. They’re light and breathable, but super-secure when you pull at the bar while climbing or throwing the bike around. The thin palm delivers plenty of feel from the grip and, thanks to the well-shaped cut, we didn’t suffer any bunching.
One of the neatest features is the silky-smooth, stretchy cuff, which wraps around your wrist comfortably and securely, helping to lock the glove onto your hand without it ever feeling overly tight or irritating.
The only thing stopping them from achieving 5 stars is they’re pricey compared to most, although they do last well.
100% Celium 2
- Price: £25/$28/AU$40
With a seriously impressive, hand-hugging cut and super-secure feel, the Celium 2s feel great on the bike. Thanks to the taut, stretchy mesh upper and unobtrusive but rock-solid Velcro closure at the cuff, they don’t shift on your hands when you’re working hard on the bike and pulling at the bar.
The thin, perforated palm delivers loads of feedback from the grip and is really well-shaped so doesn’t bunch up. Pricing is reasonable too.
The downside to the gloves is we’d prefer less silicone print on the palm because it can get slippery in the wet. It’d also be nice to get a small snot wipe on the thumb too.
- Price: £45/$45
The Outsiders are great for riding in warmer weather, with a secure, comfortable fit. They’re very well made and built especially tough. We loved the soft leather palm that offers a really connected feel at the bar. Strapless cuffs help keep your wrists free of restriction.
What holds these gloves back? Well, the price is particularly high for summer gloves and the fingers were a little long for our tester.
The following gloves scored fewer than 4 out of 5 stars in our summer test but are still worth considering.
- Price: £22/$25/AU$40
The Rangers may not be the lightest or breeziest summer gloves, but they’ll take their fair share of scuffs without flinching. That said, they don’t get too sweaty when you’re working hard.
The snot wipe on the thumb is small but handy, and we like the Velcro closure, which is secure without feeling obtrusive. Considering just how solid these are, they’re really well-priced.
We’d recommend trying before you buy because they’re quite big and the fingers are a little baggy (sizing down helps to prevent this). We’re also not fans of the thick silicone print on the thumb, index and middle fingers, which gets slippery when wet.
- Price: £20/$27
7iDP’s Transition MTB gloves are well-priced, with a super-thin, perforated palm, so you can feel every lump and bump. There’s next to no print on the palm, which we prefer because it stops it getting slippery when wet.
The stretchy mesh upper keeps things breathable, so there’s no worry about getting sweaty. We like the microfibre snot wipe on the thumb too.
The upper isn’t the tightest across the back of the hand and we noticed some slight shifting inside the gloves at times. Occasionally, the palms bunched a little, which needs rectifying to avoid any hand discomfort.
Royal Racing Race
- Price: £30/$28
These Royal Racing Race gloves have a thin, feedback-rich, perforated palm. There’s no chance of overheating thanks to the mesh upper, which helps to keep things light and airy. Accurate shaping and a good cut make the Race gloves fit nicely and measure up true-to-size.
Holding the gloves back is the mesh upper, which doesn’t feel as tight across the back of the hand. We felt our hands shift inside them very slightly from time to time. They also don’t have a snot wipe.
The best winter mountain bike gloves, as rated by our expert testers
- Price: £29/$35/€35/AU$47
Despite feeling tight at first, after a lap of the laundry the 100% gloves become supple and fit great. There’s little bunching between hand and grip, the wrist closure works well, and they play nicely with touchscreens.
The Briskers excel in the wet, where they remain remarkably warm and grip the bar brilliantly. Our go-to winter gloves for years, they’re impressively durable too.
They don’t quite match the sublime feel of the Endura Singletrack gloves below on cold-but-dry days. But if we could only have one set of winter gloves, we’d pick these for their wet-weather performance.
Endura Singletrack Windproof
- Price: £30/$45/ €40/AU$60
While they feel a little stiff when new, the fit and feel on the grips of the Endura gloves is exemplary. The supple synthetic-leather palm is extremely comfortable and tactile, creating a feeling almost like riding without gloves.
Hands are kept warm in nippy air by the windproof and lightly insulated back/top. The wrist closure is neat and the construction quality appears very good.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the ‘Windproof’ name, they’re not as warm or grippy when wet as the 100% Briskers. They don’t work with touchscreens, so it’s harder to call your other half to warn them your ride’s running late… again.
- Price: £80/$85
Giro’s Proof gloves are immensely warm and waterproof, and are designed for the most adverse winter conditions. The waterproofing is provided by Giro’s OutDry membrane that’s heat bonded to the glove’s outer shell and there’s 100g of Polartec Power Dry insulation.
Their performance is closer to ski gloves in terms of warmth, but that comes at the cost of dexterity and bulkiness, so they’re on the larger, more cumbersome side. That said, we’d rather a sacrifice in ride feel than having to suffer with cold, numb hands.
Troy Lee Designs Swelter
- Price: £50/$45/€55
Troy Lee Designs’ Swelter gloves are a great option for those who run hot and push themselves in the winter but don’t want to sacrifice any dexterity over a summer glove. There’s a three-layer soft-shell fabric on the top of the glove, a fleece liner and a dual-layer palm with a silicone print on the fingertips.
The palms aren’t thickly padded, so you’ll feel the controls when riding. The gloves aren’t claimed to be waterproof but lock out most of the cold wind when riding. These gloves aren’t the best suited for the coldest of days and our tester found the fingers a little long.
Altura Polartec Waterproof
- Price: £50
This reasonably priced option from Altura proved to be totally waterproof in testing, offering a good balance between handlebar feel and insulation. The gloves feature a Polartec Micro Grid lining inside to reduce the amount of bulky insulation. They’re also windproof and we couldn’t feel any cold air trickling in over our knuckles.
Our only gripes are the fingers are a little short and the smartphone patch doesn’t work reliably.
Fox Defend Fire
- Price: £50/€55/AU$85
These are some of the only gloves with knuckle protection we’ve come across, where the armour doesn’t ruin their comfort. The D30 padding is soft (but hardens upon impact) and curved to fit the hand. It’s reassuring to have when threading through tight trees. The uninterrupted palm feels great on the bike too, with little bunching and a great fit, and the fingers work well with screens.
While fine for chilly weather, the Defend Fires aren’t the warmest on test. We’d prefer if the cuff extended slightly further up the wrist. There’s a little more side-to-side movement on the grip than with the top two gloves here, too (100% Brisker and Endura Singletrack).
Fox Ranger Fire
- Price: £35/$45/ €35/AU$60
Fox’s Ranger Fire gloves prioritise warmth on freezing winter rides, despite not having too much in the way of bulk or padding. There’s a soft, brushed fleece interior on the inside and the back of the glove is constructed from a neoprene-like fabric with a decent amount of stretch. There’s a sizeable snot wipe on the side of the thumb.
Although the gloves won’t prevent your hands from getting soaked in damp conditions, they’ll bead some of the initial water. Otherwise, your hands stay decently warm after 15 to 20 minutes once the heat has built up on colder rides.
The gloves would be even better if Fox ditched the silicone print on the fingers and thumbs, or reduced its size.
- Price: £20
Despite a minimal 54g weight with a thin, one-piece, pre-curved palm, the feel on the grips is excellent. There’s no bunching, no distracting seams between hand and bar, and they grip well in the wet.
With their four-way-stretch, breathable back, they’re great for milder days. They work with touchscreens, and are well-priced too.
While Royal says the Quantums are ‘perfect for riding all year round’, they aren’t much warmer than some summer gloves. Also, the Velcro wrist closure tab only just closes around relatively skinny wrists.
Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather MTB Glove
- Price: £45/$70/€55
Sealskinz’ Waterproof All Weather MTB gloves are designed for the worst weather and have an awesome on-the-bike feel. The waterproofing comes courtesy of the brand’s impenetrable polyurethane membrane mid-layer.
The gloves feel more like a single-layer design and there was no liner movement even when twisting our hands on the bars. The palm is soft and malleable, with its textured finish providing exceptional grip. Finger dexterity is also impressive.
The back of the gloves isn’t quite as forgiving as the palm, which put pressure on our tester’s hands. Despite there being a small suede wiper, the snot wipe isn’t soft or big enough and we’d also strongly recommend trying before you buy to verify the backs aren’t too tight for your taste.
Specialized Men’s Trail Thermal
- Price: £42/$40/€40/AU$65
More for tackling chilly rather than cold days, the Specialized Men’s Trail Thermal gloves have a wind-resistant three-layer soft-shell upper. This is combined with a hydrophobic Ax Suede palm material to improve grip and there are silicone grippers on both forefingers.
With a relaxed, true-to-size fit, the lack of bulk at the front of the glove means finding the brake or gear levers is easy. They won’t increase or maintain your hands’ heat at low intensities, but will warm up as you increase the pace.
Although insulation is limited, these are a good option for warm winter days and feel close in feel and performance to a thin summer glove.