Perfect Grip: How to Choose the Right Fit for Cycling Gloves

How to choose the right fit for cycling gloves
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Cycling gloves are an important accessory that can improve comfort, grip, and protection. However, with so many options, it can be tricky to find the right fit. 

This article will walk through what to look for when choosing cycling gloves tailored to your hand size and biking needs.

Finding The Perfect Fit For Your Cycling Gloves

Choosing the right cycling gloves is important for comfort and performance on the bike. And the only way to find cycling gloves that fit you perfectly is if you know your actual hand size. 

A glove that fits your hand will neither be too tight nor too loose, and there won’t be excess materials around the palm or fingers. 

Here’s how to find the ideal fit for your cycling gloves:

  • Measure the circumference of your dominant hand: Before purchasing gloves, measure the circumference of your dominant hand around the widest part, usually around your knuckles. This measurement will give you a general idea of what size (S, M, L, XL) you should start with.
  • Pay attention to the length of fingers and palms: A good fit isn’t just about circumference; it’s also about the length of your fingers and palms. So make sure that the gloves properly cover your palms without leaving excess material, and that the fingers are neither too short nor too long for you.
  • Try on multiple sizes: Even if your measurements suggest a certain size, it’s important to try on different sizes to find the best fit. Too tight gloves can restrict movement and cause discomfort, while gloves that are too loose can lead to chafing or slipping during rides.

Here’s a simple guide on how to measure your hand for the right glove size:

  • Find a flexible tape measure and wrap it around the widest part of your dominant hand, typically around the knuckles. 
  • Note down the measurement in inches or centimeters. This measurement is your hand circumference.
  • Refer to the manufacturer’s sizing chart to determine your glove size based on your hand circumference.

Here’s a standard sizing chart for cycling gloves:

Hand Circumference (inches)Hand Circumference (centimeters)Glove Size
6 – 6.515 – 16.5XS
6.5 – 716.5 – 18S
7 – 7.518 – 19M
7.5 – 819 – 20.5L
8 – 8.520.5 – 21.5XL
8.5 – 921.5 – 23XXL

Please note that sizing may vary slightly between different brands, so it’s important to always refer to the specific sizing chart provided by the manufacturer.

For instance, the table below is the size chart of a popular cycling gloves brand. You can compare it to the one above and see how they differ:

Why You Need Well-Fitted Cycling Gloves

Wearing properly fitted cycling gloves has a range of benefits that can greatly improve your riding experience and overall comfort on the bike. Here are some key advantages of well-fitted cycling gloves:

Secure Grip and Control

A well-fitted pair of cycling gloves provides a snug and comfortable grip on the handlebars, and this improves your control and handling of the bike. 

The grippy palms of cycling gloves ensure that your hands remain securely in place, even when it’s wet or sweaty. 

With better grip and control, you can confidently maneuver your bike, tackle technical terrain, and navigate obstacles with precision and stability. 

Reduced Hand Fatigue

Cycling gloves with a proper fit help reduce hand fatigue by providing some cushion and support to key pressure points, like the palms and wrists. 

The padding in the gloves helps to absorb shocks and vibrations from the road or trail. 

Well-fitted gloves minimize the strain on your hands and wrists, and allow you to ride more comfortably for extended periods without feeling any discomfort or numbness in your hands. 

As a result, you can maintain a more relaxed and natural riding position, which can also improve your endurance and performance on the bike.

Protection from Blisters and Chafing

Another benefit of wearing well-fitted cycling gloves is the protection they offer against blisters, calluses, and chafing. 

The snug fit of the gloves prevents friction between your hands and the handlebars.

Also, the padding in the palms helps distribute pressure evenly, and reduces the risk of painful blisters or hot spots, especially on longer rides. 

Properly fitted gloves keep your hands comfortable and free from irritation, so you can focus on enjoying your ride without distractions or discomfort.

6 Top Features to Consider When Choosing Cycling Gloves

To find the right cycling gloves, you first need to consider your hand size, riding style, and preferences. You also need to think of your comfort, performance, and how much protection you need during your rides. Here are key factors to keep in mind:

Padding – Road biking vs. mountain biking

The amount and type of padding in cycling gloves can vary based on the type of biking you do. 

Cycling gloves for road biking often have minimal padding to maintain a lightweight and aerodynamic design, while also focusing more on grip and handlebar feel. 

In contrast, mountain biking gloves usually have more padding, especially in the palm area, to absorb shocks and vibrations from rough terrain. This helps to improve comfort and reduce fatigue during longer rides.

Breathability – Ventilation for hot weather

Breathability is a very important feature in cycling gloves, especially when cycling in hot weather. 

The best cycling gloves are made from breathable materials like mesh or perforated fabrics that allow airflow to keep your hands cool and dry. 

Proper ventilation helps prevent sweat buildup, which reduces the risk of discomfort, chafing, and blisters during long rides in warm weather.

Grip – Silicone or tactile palms for handling bars

Grip is another important feature for maintaining control and stability on the bike. Cycling gloves often feature silicone or tactile patterns on the palms to improve grip, especially in wet or sweaty weather. 

These grippy surfaces will help you to have a better hold on the handlebars. Which in turn improves your control and confidence, whether you’re navigating rough trails or cruising on smooth roads.

Finger vs. fingerless – Coverage and ventilation

The choice between full-fingered and fingerless gloves depends on personal preference and riding conditions. 

Full-fingered gloves provide more coverage and protection. And they shield your hands from sun exposure, abrasions, and debris. Full-fingered gloves are also better for mountain biking or cycling in cooler weather. 

Fingerless gloves offer better ventilation and tactile sensitivity, keeping your hands cool and allowing easy access to touchscreen devices or bike controls. And they’re more suitable for cycling in warm weather or road cycling.

Touchscreen-friendly fingertips

Some cycling gloves come with touchscreen-friendly fingertips for convenience. Cycling gloves with this feature will allow you to use your smartphone or GPS device without removing them. 

This feature is particularly useful for accessing maps, answering calls, or changing music during rides without interrupting your momentum or compromising safety.

Weather protection features – windproof and waterproof

Having cycling gloves with weather protection features can make a significant difference in your comfort and performance, especially when cycling in unfriendly weather. 

The best cycling gloves are made with windproof and waterproof materials to protect your hands from cold winds, rain, or snow, and keep them warm and dry even in inclement weather. These gloves are essential for winter cycling or riding in unpredictable weather conditions.

What Material is Best for Cycling Gloves? 

The ideal material for cycling gloves will depend on things like your personal preferences and how you intend to use them. 

If you’re confused about what materials may be best for cycling gloves, here’s a breakdown of different glove materials and how they perform.

Leather:

  • Leather gloves are very durable and will conform to the shape of your hands over time. They also have excellent grip and sensitivity. But they might not be so breathable, which can be uncomfortable in hot weather. 
  • Leather gloves also tend to be more resistant to abrasion and wear, so they’re a durable option for long-term use.

Synthetic leather:

  • Synthetic leather gloves offer similar durability but with better breathability and moisture-wicking properties. 
  • They are typically more affordable than genuine leather gloves and may require less maintenance. 

Mesh:

  • Mesh gloves are very breathable with ample airflow to keep your hands cool and dry. So they’re perfect for hot weather, though they might not last as long as leather or synthetic ones.
  • Mesh gloves are also lightweight, flexible, very comfortable, and allow your hands to move freely.

Padding materials:

  • Gel padding absorbs shocks and distributes pressure well, this makes it great for long rides to lessen hand fatigue. 
  • Foam padding gives enough cushioning for moderate rides and can be more breathable than gel padding. 
  • Chamois padding (often seen in cycling shorts) can be used in gloves for extra comfort and moisture-wicking. They also have the ability to prevent chafing. 

FAQs

How often should I replace my gloves?

It’s recommended to replace your cycling gloves every 6 to 12 months, depending on how frequently you ride and the condition of the gloves. 

Pay attention to signs of wear and tear, like fraying seams or worn-out padding. If you notice any wear or tear, then it’s time for a replacement.

How should gloves fit – tight or loose?

Cycling gloves should fit snugly without being too tight or too loose. They should conform to the shape of your hand without restricting movement. 

A proper fit ensures comfort, prevents chafing, and maximizes grip and control while riding.

How do I wash cycling gloves?

To wash cycling gloves, first, check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. 

Generally, most gloves can be hand washed in mild detergent and lukewarm water. Gently scrub any areas with stains or dirt, then rinse thoroughly. 

Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the fabric. After washing, gently squeeze out excess water and allow the gloves to air dry away from direct sunlight or heat.

Wrapping Up

To find the perfect cycling gloves, you need to think about your hand size, how you ride, what comfort and performance features matter most to you, and if you have any specific hand needs. 

You can find the ideal pair designed just for you by carefully testing and assessing different options. Finding gloves that fit well ensures you have a more enjoyable and safer experience every time you ride your bike.

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