Skip to main content

Besides a mountain bike helmet, one of the most essential items that anyone who owns a mountain bike should have is a pair of mtb gloves. Consider them a non-negotiable. You’re going to be navigating terrain filled with thorny bushes, sharp sticks, and rocky surfaces resembling a cheese grater, MTB gloves are indispensable. At a minimum they’ll shield you from debris and the branches whizzing by. And at their best, in the unfortunate event of a fall, they’ll protect you. While there are a handful of quality options available (pun intended), let’s focus on what to look for when selecting MTB gloves.

No Jorts For MTB Gloves

open finger bike gloves

Open finger biking gloves are not recommended for maximum mountain biking protection.

We can’t stress this enough… DO NOT buy cut-off gloves. Not for mountain biking. They may protect your palms, but we’ve witnessed situations where people lost fingernails from falls while wearing them. In summary, full coverage is crucial.

Thumbs Up For Extra Coverage On Thumbs

As you would expect, thumbs on gloves take more abuse than any other part of the glove. Look for full coverage on the inside of the thumbs where you’re gripping the handlebar. A good example of this is the Giro DND glove.

Whether Or Not… It’s Weather

Even with full coverage, you don’t have to worry about sweaty palms. Since most mountain biking happens during the warmer months, a majority of models out there have mesh on the back (of your hand) to keep them cool and leather palms for protection. However, if you plan on riding year-round, consider investing in a thicker pair for winter conditions.

mountain biking gloves

What About Padding?

How much padding you want comes down to personal preference. Many people appreciate additional knuckle protection or silicone padding on the palm. On the other side of the spectrum, Dylan opts for thinner gloves year-round and avoids palm padding because it tends to bunch up for him.

Advantages To Padding

Padding on the palm offers benefits for longer rides, such as bikepacking, providing extra support when maintaining a consistent body position. Additionally, silicone on the palm enhances grip, particularly in wet conditions.

Slip-On Or Velcro Latch

Another aspect to at least think about is how the glove fastens. Some feature a Velcro cuff while others are just a slip on. Dylan prefers slip-ons for their lightweight feel, while for some the Velcro gives them that extra secure locked in feeling. Ultimately, it boils down to personal preference and how you prefer the glove to fit.