Gloves made especially for cycling, are designed to protect your hands from the elements, improve your grip on the handlebar, and provide a cushion for your palms, preventing blisters and bruises, finger cramps, and injuries.
The construction of the gloves, and the combination of materials used, will depend on the type of glove you buy, and the function it is designed to perform... warmth, protection, comfort.
A cyclists hands are exposed on the bike. Wind chill, especially when cycling in cooler climates, or in damp conditions, can make the ride very unpleasant unless your hands are protected by gloves designed to wick moisture, cut the wind, and provide warmth. For extra warmth, liner gloves can be worn under your regular gloves.
When cycling, it is sometimes necessary to put a hand out to break a fall. Wearing gloves will help protect your hands from road rash, scrapes and bruises. Wearing gloves during off-road cycling will protect your hands from trees, bushes and other things that can scratch or cut your hands.
Cycling places a lot of stress on your hands. Road shock is transmitted up through the handlebars to the rider. Gloves with the appropriate padding can prevent pain and injuries resulting from road shock, and long-term pressure on your hands. The padding in a glove can be a natural or synthetic leather, gel or other material.
Gloves With Fingers or Gloves With No Fingers?
You can purchase full fingered cycling gloves, or half- fingered gloves- gloves that have the finger tips cut out. Full-fingered gloves are usually worn for warmth, and/or protection. Half- fingered gloves are cooler, and are great from summer cycling if you don't need the protection of a full-fingered glove. Many off-road cyclists perfer to wear full- fingered gloves year around, to protect their hands from small branches and bushes, and occassional slips and falls.
Half-fingered gloves protect the palm, and back of your hands. They are suitable for warm weather cycling, and are usually made of flexible, breathable, materials. Typical design features include: toweling on the back of the glove to wipe away moisture, padding on the palm of the glove for comfort, and elastic between the fingers for easy removal.
Full-fingered gloves are worn in cooler weather, and/or for greater protection for BMX, and off-road cycling. Materials can be waterproof, windproof, and or scratch and tear proof. Full-fingered gloves are usually a little less flexible, and not as breathable as half-fingered gloves. The gloves may also be longer in the wrist so they can be tucked under long sleeve jerseys and jackets. They may also have elastic or a velcro closure at the wrist to prevent air or water from blowing up the cyclist arm.
How the Gloves Should Fit
Gloves should fit snugly but not be tight. Tight gloves may restrict blood flow to your hands. Make sure to try on the gloves before buying them, and while they are on, grip a handle bar to make sure the fingers are long enough in the cycling position.
Women's Specific Sizing
Women's specific sized gloves work great if you have small hands. Generally speaking, women's specific gloves are usually more narrow, and have shorter fingers. If you find the women's sizes to be to small for you, try a mens size glove.
Care of gloves
Some gloves are washable. If not, turn your gloves inside-out to dry after a wet or hard ride.