We picked out 10 of the best mountain bike gloves that excelled while testing XC/Trail riding trails in and around Wyoming and Idaho. Padded, thin, fingerless, gel, smartphone-compatible – mtb gloves come in a million shapes and sizes. Our picks are below.
Best Mountain Bike Gloves 2020
While there’s nothing that specifically says “cross country” about the Dakine Covert Bike Gloves, it definitely feels like a speedster’s option. The minimal construction keeps it as light and breathable as possible; even the cuff is elastic so you don’t have to mess with a bulkier hook-and-loop closure.
The synthetic suede palm wraps over the tip of each finger for added durability, which is a nice touch for a product that many riders consider quickly consumable. Silicone grippers on the forefingers and thumbs, as well as smartphone compatibility, make this a glove that will work for the modern rider, and a lot of mesh keeps your paws cool.
Trail riders often want a more substantial glove than you’ll find on XC riders — and the Fox Dirtpaw Race Gloves are a great compromise. With some added protection, you’ll be able to put up with more abuse. But reasonably padded knuckles don’t make this as heavy as a true downhill glove.
And you still get great features that Fox likes to put in their gloves, like a Clarino synthetic leather layer on the palm, smartphone compatibility, and silicone grippers for lever control. This glove also has a padded palm, something that you don’t always find on mountain bike gloves.
If protection is high on your list, be sure to check out the Fox Bomber Gloves. With molded plastic knuckle guards, two independent finger guards, goatskin leather on the back of the hand, and a double layer of Clarino synthetic on the palm, you’ll be about as armored as you can get.
Strategic perforation means you won’t overheat with all this protection (though it’s definitely going to be hotter than your typical minimalist cross country glove). Silicone grips make sure you always keep great control on your levers, and the Clarino is conductive for when you need to use your phone.
The Giro DVD Mountain Bike Gloves are all about “down ‘n’ dirty” riding. Despite what sounds like an enduro name, this is a solid lightweight trail glove. 2mm of crash padding adds a bit of protection without making the glove too hot or unwieldy. Reinforced fingertips will keep them rocking after several falls, too.
But at their heart, the DND gloves are about value. A synthetic suede palm will last longer than a more traditional fabric one. The reinforced fingertips won’t fray quite as fast as other options. Four-way stretch keeps you comfortable. It’s a middle-of-the-road, good-for-everyone kind of glove.
If Giro’s Xen glove looks familiar, it’s probably because it’s the prototypical mountain bike glove. Some venting on the top and palm, but padded knuckles and reinforced seams all around. Like many gloves, it includes a microfiber wipe cloth on the thumb. Synthetic leather on the palm. Touchscreen compatibility on the fingers.
The slightly heavier construction puts this more on the trail side than the cross country side, but all riders will appreciate Giro’s focus on durability. Reinforced seams, wraparound padding, and solid construction mean this glove will keep riding longer than some of its lightweight competitors.
Handup is interesting in that they have a hell of a lot more colors than they do models. In fact, there are only four models: the Summer Lite; the standard, unnamed version (called simply “Gloves” on their site), the Cold Weather, and the ColdER Weather. Every version comes with something hilarious or stokeworthy written across the palms. And there are about a million colorways.
The Summer Lite is a great choice for XC and trail riders who want maximum breathability. These gloves pack a lot of ventilation, from the Clarino synthetic leather palm to the Air Lite on the back of the hand. This particular version rocks a Southwest-inspired pattern and “STOKED” across the palms.
Hestra is known for their cold-weather gear, and their foray into mountain bike gloves is a cold-weather staple. Unlike their ski and snowboard gloves, the Hestra Windstopper is meant to be tight-fitting for better control on your handlebar. The shorter wrist gives you winter mobility and the elastic closure keeps things simple.
The big thing here is the Gore-Tex liner. It makes these gloves waterproof, windproof, and generally all-around winterproof. But Gore-Tex’s signature breathability is still on display. If you’re riding in cold, wet weather, you absolutely cannot beat Hestra.
While the POC Resistance PRO is technically a downhill glove, many trail riders will appreciate its lack of bulk; it doesn’t have the huge molded plastic guards of the Fox Bomber, but still includes multiple types of padding to protect your hands when you go over the bars or clip a tree around a corner.
Although there’s a decent amount of ventilation on these gloves, they’re likely to run pretty warm. That’s a small price to pay for added protection. The Velcro closure at the wrist is the preferred choice of many riders with smaller wrists that don’t get enough grip from elastic. And, of course, you get a terrycloth wipe, silicone lever grippers, and touchscreen compatibility.
Although TLD is better known for downhill and enduro gear, their XC gloves are a nod to the gram-counting, uphill-crushing rider. The Troy Lee Designs XC is essentially a spandex glove — there’s no padding, minimal protection, and even pretty low-key graphics.
Added reinforcing over the seams gives it a measure of durability, but this is one of the most minimal mountain bike gloves you can get. If you don’t want extra weight — just a tiny bit of protection and some wicking — this is a solid choice.
The “Gel” in the title of this glove refers to its palm padding — it’s one of the few gloves that include it (the Dirtpaw, below, also features a padded palm). Many mountain bikers avoid palm padding, but Dakine has built this glove specifically for dirt riders. It still gives you great feel and control. It just takes some of the edge off.
Beyond that, you get everything you expect from Dakine. Fantastic build quality, silicone lever grippers, touchscreen compatibility, and great moisture-wicking on the top of the hand round out what is sure to become one of your favorite options.
Mountain Bike Gloves Price Comparison
- Dakine Covert Gloves – ($24.95)
- Fox Dirtpaw Race Gloves – ($24.95)
- Fox Bomber Gloves – ($54.95)
- Giro DND Gloves – ($24.95)
- Giro Xen Gloves – ($35.00)
- Handup Summer Lite Gloves ($29.00)
- Hestra Windstopper Tracker 5 – ($69.95)
- POC Resistance Pro DH Glove $69.95)
- Troy Lee Designs XC Gloves- ($30.00)
- Dakine Syncline Gel – ($24.95)