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Best MTB gloves 2023: Comfort, grip and protection for off-road riding

Be one with your handlebar with our pick of the finest summer and winter MTB gloves

The best MTB gloves can boost comfort and control at the most critical contact point between body and bike. In addition to the pedals and saddle, a rider’s grip on the handlebar connects them to both steering inputs, braking action and allows them to change gears or activate dropper posts at crucial junctures. The right gloves will improve grip on the bar, helping you to maintain hand position, manage effective braking, and ride with increased control and confidence.

Some riders choose to hit the trails without gloves, but the benefits of wearing them are hard to ignore. Every rider has eaten dirt at one point or another, so we all know how badly hands can come away from a fall. Picking gravel out of your palms never gets any more enjoyable, and the right pair of gloves can stop them from ending up there in the first place.

MTB gloves are near essential warm during the colder months. Frozen hands and feet are common excuses for cutting winter rides short, and a pair of gloves with even a small amount of insulation or a fuzzy, fleece-backed fabric can keep you on your bike and comfortable for longer.

The best MTB gloves do the things listed above without negatively impacting finger dexterity. They offer increased grip and protection, while keeping fingers mobile for efficient braking and gear shifts. To help you find the right pair, we’ve been putting some popular options through the wringer to find the best of the bunch. We looked at everything from the lightweight and budget-friendly to the warmest and most winterproof, so no matter what type of conditions you ride in, you’ll find something to suit.

Best MTB gloves: At a glance

How to choose the best MTB gloves for you

Should I buy fingerless MTB gloves?

It’s entirely up to you. If you prefer fingerless gloves then by all means wear them, but they do tend to be less comfortable than their full-fingered counterparts, and they don’t provide the same level of protection. You also won’t be benefiting from any extra grip on the brake levers. For these reasons, we’d recommend sticking to full-fingered gloves for the purposes of MTB riding, even in the summer months.

READ NEXT: Best MTB shoes

Do I need different MTB gloves for winter and summer?

It depends how cold your hands get. If you run hot, a regular pair of MTB gloves might work well for you all year, but if you get cold easily, you’ll want something with a bit of insulation. Winter MTB gloves are thicker, warmer and might even be made from a waterproof material like Gore-Tex or neoprene. They’ll keep your hands dry in wet weather and can significantly reduce wind chill when you’re going hell for leather on the trails.

How should MTB gloves fit?

Like a glove! A snug fit is crucial if you want to get the most out of your MTB gloves. You’ll lose grip on the bar if they’re loose fitting and your hands can move around freely inside. With that said, they shouldn’t be overly tight either. This is particularly important with winter gloves, as gloves that are too small can restrict blood flow and cause the hands to become even colder.

READ NEXT: Best MTB grips

The best MTB gloves you can buy in 2023

1. Giro DND gloves: Best all-round MTB glove

Price: £23.75 | Buy now from Wiggle

This reasonably priced, minimalist glove from Giro really lives up to its ‘Down ‘n’ Dirty’ moniker. It’s a no-frills option that does everything you need it to and nothing you don’t. It’s lightweight, comfortable and flexible, with just the right amount of padding to the palm. This makes it an extremely versatile piece of kit that can turn its hand (and yours) to all sorts of riding – from all-day gravel adventures to aggressive trail riding. There’s no velcro or buttons to the wrists, which adds to the fuss-free feel, and there are even elastic gussets to the knuckles on the index and middle fingers for comfortable, flexible braking.

Key specs – Material: Four-way stretch mesh with microfibre panels; Padding: 2mm EVA crash pads: Waterproof: No; Touchscreen: Yes

Buy now from Wiggle

2. Fox Defend D30 gloves: Best protection MTB glove

Price: £37 | Buy now from Tredz

The Defend D30 from Fox is an aggressive trail-riding glove that offers excellent knuckle and palm protection while retaining an impressive degree of flexibility. It’s made from tough-as-nails Cordura stretch fabric that stands up well against scrapes and scuffs. It offers good protection from falls, which is bolstered by the D30 knuckle guards so that you can send it with that extra bit of confidence. The fit is snug, and overall the glove feels slim and low profile for the amount of protection and padding it offers. There’s also textured internal fabric in the fingers that improves feel on the levers when braking.

Key specs – Material: Cordura stretch; Padding: D30 knuckle guards; Waterproof: No; Touchscreen: Yes

Buy now from Tredz

3. 100% Sling gloves: Best lightweight MTB gloves

Price: £28 | Buy now from Wiggle

This super-lightweight glove from 100% is an excellent choice for summer. The minimalist design features vents on the back of the hands to improve air flow and breathability, which do a great job of keeping you from getting overly sweaty. They’re made from a four-way stretch fabric, which, combined with the lightness, makes it easy to forget you’re wearing gloves at all. One big clue they’re actually on your hands at all is the increased grip they offer when braking thanks to the rubberised palm material. And don’t worry about operating your head unit or phone either, because special threads in the thumbs and forefingers mean you can use touchscreen devices as normal.

Key specs – Material: Ultra-lightweight four-way stretch fabric; Padding: None; Waterproof: No; Touchscreen: Yes

Buy now from Wiggle

4. POC Resistance Enduro: Best premium MTB glove

Price: £50 | Buy now from POC

Don’t let the name fool you, POC’s Resistance Enduro gloves aren’t just for enduro riding. Sure, the heavy-duty fabrics make them great in terms of protection, but they’re still lightweight and flexible enough to work as a general trail-riding option in all seasons bar winter. Granted, they’re not the cheapest MTB gloves on the market, but you do get a lot for your money in terms of durability. They look great too, with the Swedish brand’s signature understated styling, restrained branding and some great colour options. Rubber panels on the fingers grip well on the brake levers for precise modulation even on bumpy ground, and the touchscreen compatibility is flawless.

Key specs – Material: Heavy duty polyester and elastane; Padding: None; Waterproof: No; Touchscreen: Yes

Buy now from POC

5. 100% Brisker gloves: Best winter MTB glove

Price: £34.99 | Buy now from Tredz

The original Brisker Cold Weather glove is one of the most popular and best winter MTB gloves on the market. But it does have one drawback: it’s not fully waterproof. The Hydromatic Brisker addresses this with a waterproof insert that keeps the hands bone dry when riding in wet weather. They’re not quite as breathable as non-waterproof alternatives, but if you spend your winters riding in wet conditions then they’re definitely a better option. The gloves have a great feel on the handlebar despite their thickness and offer plenty of grip on the brake levers. They also manage to stay nice and warm even when completely soaked through, which is great news when it comes to extending those winter sessions. The neoprene cuff is a nice touch too. It does a great job of sealing the elements out and fits nicely under the sleeve of a waterproof jacket for full coverage.

Key specs – Material: Insulated soft-shell; Padding: Silicone palm grips; Waterproof: Yes; Touchscreen: Yes

Buy now from Tredz

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