Most riders ignore the importance of Bicycle gloves as an accessory. They are most of the time used as an afterthought, rather than a primary need. If you are a casual rider a good pair of grips is good enough. However, if you are a serious long-distance rider or aspire to be one, then having the right pair of bicycle gloves is a must. Not using gloves during long rides can lead to chaffing, blisters or potential numbness in fingers.
Let us see what are the key considerations for finding the right pair of bicycle gloves
Half Finger / Full finger:
Visibly you can see and differentiate between these two types. Your fingers are exposed in half finger gloves, whereas full finger gloves cover all your fingers. As a cyclist you tend to sweat after a long ride and it is necessary to have your fingers “aired” or sweat free for enjoying your ride. Half finger gloves are the best option in such cases, especially in Indian Subcontinent in all weather conditions. Full finger gloves are mostly used for off-roading or very cold seasons,
Velcro Strap / Pull On (Strapless design):
Traditionally the gloves have Velcro straps on the wrists for tight fitting. However, it is a general observation that the Velcro grips loosen over time and fail to close as nicely. Current trend is to have a Velcro-less design (Pull on type gloves). These gloves retain their elasticity and therefore the grip for a long time. This design is also typically a more snug fit design.
There are two surfaces for any glove – the outer side and the palm side. Fabric for both the sides is different. For the outer side, a breathable fabric (polyester / polyurethane) is used which dissipates moisture. This gives durability to the gloves. The material is often combined with 15% to 20% of Spandex / Lycra to give elasticity to the glove. The inner / palm side of the glove is made of leather / leatherette / Synthatic fabric. The material is thicker than the outer side but is much softer to protect your palms. Most of the times this surface is perforated to allow free airflow thus reducing sweating.
Padding is provided at to protect the elevated parts of the palms i.e. base of fingers and both sides of palm. The padding reduces pressure on your ulner nerve. These inserts are of foam / gel. Gel inserts are found to be more effective as they work as credible shock-absorbers on long and bumpy rides. These inserts also protect you from palm injuries in case you have a fall.
This is an optional but a must have feature in high end gloves. The tugs on the two middle fingers of the glove, help remove the gloves out of the hands, especially after a long sweaty ride. Easy removal of the gloves ensures that the gloves are not torn and maintain their shape and size for a long time.
It is very important to have a glove fitting snugly to your hand. A loose fitting glove may cause chaffing whereas a tight fitting glove may restrict blood-flow to your fingers. Please make sure that your bike gloves fit snugly enough that they don’t scrunch up and cause chafing, but not so tightly that the webbing between your fingers is taut—something that will only increase when you grab your handlebars.
A very simple trick can tell you if you have the right fit. If you can’t make a fist, your gloves are too tight. On the other hand, if your gloves bunch up in the palms, they could be too loose.
Choosing your right pair of gloves is not rocket science but finding the right pair for you will be a lot easy if you give careful considerations to the points discussed above.