Why You Should Wear Gloves When Cycling: 8 Undisputable Reasons

It’s easy to overlook the importance of wearing gloves when cycling, but there is a multitude of benefits that come with wearing them.

So why wear gloves when cycling?

From shock absorption to better safety and protection, gloves are an essential part of any cyclist’s gear.

In this article, we will explore eight reasons why you should always wear your cycling gloves as well as how to choose the right pair for you.

Let’s get started!

1. Protects Your Hands From Hazards

As cycling has become more popular in recent years, it is important that riders practice safe cycling and use correct protective gear while out on the roads.

Accidents are inevitable, whether they are caused by weather conditions, mechanical malfunction or other external factors.

On my long rides, I always make sure to wear my cycling gloves for extra protection.

first person view of cyclist wearing cycling gloves while riding

Firstly, cycling gloves offer impact protection from any unexpected road hazards such as potholes or gravel that may cause injury to your hands.

The padded palm and wrist area helps minimize the chance of scraping or bruising if a fall does occur.

Not only that, but gloves also help keep my hands warm in colder weather, offer extra grip on wet roads and trails, and protect against nerve compression caused by gripping the handlebar too hard.

2. Firm Grip

When it comes to road cycling, having a firm grip is essential.

The material used in many types of cycling gloves provides superior grip strength compared to bare hands or regular sports gloves, as it helps keep your hands from slipping off the bars during rides.

This allows for enhanced control while riding, especially when going downhill or performing any other type of intense activity that requires good balance and stability.

A great advantage offered by cycling gloves is their ability to protect your hands against blisters and calluses caused by prolonged contact with hard surfaces like metal handlebars.


They also wick away sweat more efficiently than most other fabrics do, thus keeping your hands dryer throughout your ride.

This allows you to have a good hold while riding, without worrying about slipping or losing control of the bike at any time.

Cycling gloves are also an excellent option when riding in wet weather as they provide extra friction between the wet handlebar and your hands for better grip.

3. Provides Much-Needed Comfort

The cushioning provided by the padding in cycling gloves helps to reduce the number of vibrations being passed through the bike and handlebar to the contact points between your hands and handlebars.

These vibrations can begin to place too much pressure on our ulnar and median nerves which can cause numbness, tingling, or pain in our fingers.

This in turn can affect our grip strength, making it harder to keep control of the bike.


By wearing cycling gloves we are able to entrap those pesky vibrations before they reach our hands.

This is important for anyone looking for an enjoyable, comfortable bike ride that doesn’t involve any pain or discomfort.

4. Shock Absorption

Riding on terrain with a rugged texture is one of the most challenging aspects of cycling. This type of riding poses a physical hazard, as vibrations and pressure can be transferred from your handlebars to your hands in the long run.

Thus, shock absorption has been made an essential consideration when selecting the best possible pair of cycling gloves.

Most modern gloves are equipped with added cushioning or gel pads that protect you from shocks and pressure underneath and between your fingers.


The integrated padding on the palm area gives additional protection from potential risk factors such as jolts and bumps — making riding experiences more comfortable and safer for you.

Here are three ways that wearing cycling gloves helps reduce shock:

  • They provide extra support for your wrists by stabilizing them against sudden jerks or impacts.
  • The thick material absorbs some of the force before it reaches your hands, giving you an added layer of protection.
  • The adjustable straps on the back allow you to customize how much pressure they give you while absorbing shock at the same time.

So when you go for that next mountain bike ride, remember to look for gloves integrated with shock-absorbing features specific for rigorous cycling conditions (check out the complete list of essential mountain biking gears).

5. Prevents Handlebar Palsy Injury

Wearing cycling gloves is an effective preventive measure against handlebar palsy, a nerve injury that plagues many cyclists.

Handlebar palsy, also known as ulnar neuropathy, is a condition resulting from the compression of the ulnar nerve, which runs through the wrist and controls sensation and movement in the ring and little fingers.

The constant pressure and vibration experienced while gripping the handlebars of a bicycle can lead to this nerve compression, causing numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected fingers.

By providing a protective barrier between a rider’s hands and the handlebars, cycling gloves can significantly reduce the risk of developing this debilitating condition.

One of the key benefits of cycling gloves is the padding they provide, which helps to absorb shock and minimize the pressure exerted on the ulnar nerve.

Gloves specifically designed for cycling often feature strategically placed gel or foam padding in the areas that come into contact with the handlebars, effectively redistributing pressure points and reducing the strain on the ulnar nerve.

This extra cushioning not only aids in the prevention of handlebar palsy but also enhances overall comfort during long rides.


Cycling gloves are also designed to offer a secure grip, which helps riders maintain a more relaxed grip on the handlebars.

A relaxed grip is essential in preventing handlebar palsy, as it allows for better blood flow and reduces the strain on the ulnar nerve.

6. Warms Up Your Hands

When hitting the road, cycling gloves are essential for warmth.

Thermal insulation and thermal regulation given by windproof gloves enable cyclists to keep their hands warm in cold weather conditions.

Full-finger gloves provide an extra layer of insulation to help keep my hands and fingers warm and toasty.

Some winter gloves also come with a lining or waterproofing material to ensure your hands stay dry even when cycling through rain or snow.

a-man-wearing-a-winter-jacket-and winter gloves

7. Face Wipe

The humble face wipe is often overlooked when it comes to bike gloves, but these small sections of material could not be more important and useful to the cyclist.

Face wipes can be located on various types of cycling gloves, typically across the thumb area.

This handy feature is a must-have for cyclists who don’t want saliva or sweat dripping down into their eyes while they ride.

The great thing about face wipes is that you can use them as often and repeatedly as you need to without having to worry about them wearing out.

Most face wipes are made from soft cloth materials that are both absorbent and durable, so you won’t have to worry about getting rashes or chafing from using them.

With face wipes, bike gloves can help reduce your sweat and keep the ride comfortable even in hot weather.

After all, being able to focus on the road ahead of you is much better than wiping your forehead every few seconds!

8. Spices Up Your Style

Rapha Cycling Gloves

Cycling gloves come in a variety of fashionable designs and colors to suit your biking style.

Not only do stylish gloves look great and make you feel more confident on the bike, but they can also give you a psychological edge over your opponents.

I personally love wearing ivory white fingerless gloves that make me stand out from the crowd and let me express my own personal fashion sense.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Pair Of Cycling Gloves

Choosing the right pair of cycling gloves is essential for an enjoyable ride.

Knowing what features to look out for will help you make a wise choice that meets your needs and budget.

Here are 4 things to consider when choosing a cycling glove.


First and foremost, you need to think about how much protection your hands need when riding.

Full-Fingered Gloves

Full-finger gloves are an important item to have when riding a bike on rough gravel and trails.

They protect your hands from the rough terrain and other hazards that you may encounter. These full-finger gloves usually have a breathable material backing them to help prevent them from overheating in warm weather.

I like to make sure that I get ones that fit snugly with no extra space in the fingertips for maximum control.

A great brand of these full-finger gloves is the Fox Racing gloves because they work with smartphone touchscreens for added convenience.

For those looking for an affordable option, POC Essential Mesh Full Finger Glove is a great choice at only $44.99.

POC Essential Mesh Glove

The glove offers optimum protection while also ensuring air circulation throughout to keep your hands comfortable while riding. These gloves are perfect for keeping your hands safe and providing excellent grip, so you can feel secure while hitting the trails or gravel paths.

Half-Fingered Gloves

For road cyclists, however, half-finger gloves provide great breathability while still allowing control of the bike brake levers.

Fingerless Gloves

Fingerless gloves are perfect for warm-weather cycling.

They offer the ventilation required to prevent your hands from overheating and allow you more control of your handlebars, gear shifters, and brakes.

As they don’t restrict movement like full-finger designs, they’re great for Road and Gravel riders who want maximum dexterity on the bikes.

The POC AVIP Short Fingerless Gloves are an example of superior quality.

POC AVIP Short Gloves

They have details such as cut-outs in the palm area to improve breathability and durable carbon fiber impact protection technology that helps protect your hands from any unexpected falls or slips along the way.

With a price tag of $49.99, these fingerless gloves deliver high performance and are an excellent way to stay cool during warm weather rides.

Cold Weather Gloves

When the weather dips below 55°F, keeping your hands warm and comfortable without losing dexterity becomes a priority.

Thankfully there are gloves available, like the POC Thermal gloves, which are perfect for remaining warm yet still having enough dexterity to move around and still complete tasks.

POC Thermal Gloves

POC Thermal gloves have just enough insulation on the back of the hand that it makes them usable down into the low 40s, which helps keep your hands from freezing up on particularly cold days.

For those looking for options beyond just temperature regulation, there is also stylish apparel with an array of colors and designs for any taste – including many that feature warmer lining materials as well as light insulation.

Whether you need something basic or more advanced and technical, there’s sure to be something out there to suit your needs while looking great at the same time.


If you’re going to take your cycling seriously, then you want a glove that fits right.

Here are four reasons why properly fitting gloves should be at the top of your list:

  • A glove that’s too small won’t provide enough protection and can cause chafing or discomfort
  • An ill-fitting glove won’t allow for maximum control while riding
  • Gloves that don’t fit properly make shifting difficult
  • Too large gloves can lead to slippage which could result in an accident

Since most of the shopping activities happening online these days, the best way to ensure you get the correct size is by using a cycling glove size guide.

cyclist wearing black cycling gloves while riding

Most brands will include sizing charts on their website along with helpful tips for measuring yourself correctly.

This ensures that when you order online, you’re getting the right size without having to try them on first.

And if all else fails, do not hesitate to reach out directly and ask questions about specific fits from their customer service team – they’ll know exactly what sizes work best.


Padding provides an extra layer of protection against any bumps or vibrations while riding and can also help keep your hands warm and dry during cold weather rides.

I personally prefer full-finger gloves with gel padding for mountain biking but when I’m road cycling, I usually opt for fingerless gloves with foam padding.

The foam padding gives me more control over the brake levers without sacrificing too much protection. It also helps prevent sweaty palms and ulnar nerve pain in my hands.


synthetic leather cycling gloves

Cycling gloves come in a variety of materials designed to keep your hands safe and comfortable while biking.

Here are some of the top material choices:

  1. Synthetic Material: Not only is synthetic material breathable, it’s also waterproof and stretchable for added comfort during long rides. Plus, it holds up well in extreme weather conditions such as snow or hailstorms. Most gloves today are made of synthetic leather on the palm area and spandex on the top.
  2. Waterproof Material: As its name suggests, this type of glove will protect your hands from moisture by preventing water from seeping through its fibers.
  3. Windproof Material: If you’re planning a ride through windy seasons or terrains, then gloves with this material are essential. They’ll block out chilly drafts and help keep your hands warm even when the temperature drops outside.

When It’s Okay Not To Use Gloves

As someone who has been cycling for many years, I can attest to the benefits of wearing gloves.

That said, there are some occasions when ditching gloves are okay – and maybe even beneficial.

For road rides in relatively mild weather, leaving the gloves at home can be a great way to keep your hands cool and comfortable.

If you’re going for a short casual and leisurely ride, it might be best not to use gloves as well.

two cyclists in the mountain

When it comes to mountain biking, however, I always recommend wearing full-fingered gloves with good padding and grip.

This extra layer of protection helps protect your hands from rocks or roots that you might come across while out on the trail.

Plus, if you have an accident and fall off your bike, having something on your hands will help reduce any potential injury from scrapes or cuts.

My Verdict

Cycling gloves are an essential piece of gear for any cyclist.

Not only do they provide protection from the elements and cushioning on long rides, but there are also several health benefits associated with wearing them.

Having a good pair of gloves just makes your life easier and every ride more enjoyable.

It protects your hands from blisters, reduces wrist fatigue, and even prevents handlebar palsy and numbness in cold weather. Remember that cycling gloves should be replaced when they become worn or damaged as their protective qualities will diminish over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

You should replace your cycling gloves when they show signs of wear, such as holes, fraying, or loss of padding. This typically occurs every 1-2 years, depending on the frequency and intensity of your rides. Prioritize comfort and safety by inspecting your gloves regularly and replacing them as needed.

Yes, special considerations for winter cycling gloves include ensuring they have adequate insulation to keep hands warm, a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect from the elements, and good grip and flexibility to maintain control over the bike.

Yes, there is a difference between men’s and women’s cycling gloves.

The primary differences are related to size, fit, and design, as women’s gloves are typically smaller, with a narrower palm and shorter fingers to accommodate the average female hand.

Additionally, women’s gloves may feature different colors and patterns to cater to personal preferences.

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