Top sporty motorcycle gloves

Get cool hands for summer with these sports gloves.

A person wearing sporty motorcycling gloves

by Jim Blackstock |

Once the worst of the winter is behind us and it looks like spring and eventually, summer, are on the way, thoughts turn to lightweight and sporty riding kit, ready for the warmer weather.

A pair of well-fitting and protective gloves make any ride more enjoyable. For a start, the feeling of air flowing through vents and keeping the hands cool on a warm day is part of what makes summer riding so much fun. And the feeling of connection with the bike, thanks to little or no lining or insulation between your skin and the controls, really keys you into your riding.

Sporty gloves should give you both of these experiences but maintain the best levels of protection. You should be looking for hard knuckle armour, ideally hard protection on the fingers, as well as on the base of the palm. Plus, aim for protection over the scaphoid bone, and probably on the outside of the wrist as well. You may find the gloves are formed in leather with additional areas of man-made fabrics, such as Keprotech or Superfabric to offer additional protection from impact or abrasion if you slide after a fall.

Gloves, like all motorcycle protective clothing, should have a CE rating, either a ‘1’ or a ‘2’ with knuckle protection denoted by ‘KP’. This is optional for Level-1 gloves but mandatory for Level-2.

Related: The best sports motorcycle helmets

LS2 Swift

Best gloves for finger protection
LS2 Swift gloves

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The race-style gloves from LS2 are very impressive; CE rated to 2KP, they fit nicely, though the thumbs come up a little long. The leather is supple and they have hard-knuckle armour as well as nuggets on the fingers and Superfabric panels on the landing zones at the base of the palm and the outside of the little finger. The third and fourth fingers are bridged to prevent injury in a fall and the perforations and vents keep the hands nicely cool. We've tried these and they are excellent value for money. Read our full review of the LS2 Swift racing gloves here.

Furygan Dirt Road

Furygan Dirt Road single glove

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Tested by Gareth Evans over 1000 miles
Quality 3/5, Value 4/5

These gloves have been terrific company as I’ve been engaged in learning about life with sports bikes. That’s because they’re so easy to live with, which leaves me more headspace to think about the bike and my riding.

Furygan claims there are six different technical materials used in their construction, but basically it’s a mix of goat leather and textile which blends to provide an extremely comfortable glove that fits me perfectly. In particular I love the material used for the fingers – it’s soft yet warm and remains fully waterproof. There are capacitors in some fingers so you can use a smartphone too, although this doesn’t work perfectly 100% of the time.

That isn’t the end of the world, however, because they’re so easy to put on and take off again, so instead of haplessly poking at my mobile’s screen I simply take a glove off and use my actual fingertips. There’s a wrist strap to keep them snug, and I leave that where it is, opting instead to just use the single Velcro cuff to secure the gloves for riding. This is what makes them so quick to use.

The only negative is their longevity: after 1000 miles the fabric is starting to bobble and fray a little on the index finger of the left hand. Now, I’m left-handed, so presumably I’m subconsciously using that finger more than the rest for fumbling with keys and suchlike. I’d have still expected longer before the first signs of wear appeared.

Knox Handroid Mk4

Coolest looking sporty gloves
Knox Handroid Mk4

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These highly-regarded gloves from Knox have a sci-fi feel to them, with their skeletal external spines running along the outside of the fingers to protect them. There is hard protection over the back of the hand with padding underneath to absorb impacts while the inside features Knox palm sliders and scaphoid protection. The long cuff features the Boa closure system, using a turn-buckle and wires to bring the cuffs in.

Held Spot

Best gloves for a freer feeling
Held Spot gloves

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Rated 1KP, these Held Spot gloves are formed in goat and kangaroo leather for protection and feel, and come in a short-cuff design, good for riders who want a freer feeling. There's a Kevlar liner on the back of the hand and vents built into the chunky hard-plastic knuckle armour. The third and fourth fingers are bridged at their base and there are Superfabric panels at the base of the palm, in the landing zones. They are also touchscreen compatible and have a visor wipe on the left-hand index finger. Read our in depth review here.

RST TracTech Evo4

Great for track use
RST Tractech Evo 4 CE

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These very serious-looking gloves from RST are CE rated to 2KP, offering the highest levels of hand protection. Formed in cowhide and kangaroo leather, they have carbon knuckle protection and Kevlar in the palms with a plastic palm slider and soft padding over the scaphoid. There are pre-curved fingers, concertina sections for movement and padding on the fingers and the thumb, as well as a large panel on the wrist. Proper gloves for proper track use.

Alpinestars Supertech

Alpinestars Supertech gloves

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These gloves from Alpinestars were developed on the racetrack and it shows; incredible levels of grip, comfort, cooling and protection, rated at CE 2 KP, the highest tested level but generating extremely high levels of confidence. Formed in kangaroo and cow leather, they have hard knuckle armour and padding on the fingers and thumb. There are concertina joints to allow the hand and fingers to move, with Keprotech abrasion-resistant panels on the palm, the thumb and the outside of the fingers. There is also a hard plastic flap on the cuff with vents for cooling air. Not cheap but worth every penny.

Oxford RP-2R

Touchscreen compatabilty
Oxford RP-2R

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This sports glove from Oxford is made in leather with a full cuff and features carbon knuckle armour as well as hard carbon nuggets on the fingers. Accordion stretch panels on the fingers and an elasticated wrist make movement easy and comfortable and there is soft padding on the landing zone, over the scaphoid and on the outside of the thumb. Rated 1 KP, they are also touchscreen compatible.

Racer High Speed

Best gloves for movement
Racer High Speed

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These sports gloves from French manufacturer Racer feature TPU-plastic hard knuckle armour and nuggets on the fingers for protection with two Knox panels in the palm, one on the landing zone and one over the scaphoid. The long cuff also features another TPU protective panel and there is Superfabric on the outside of the little finger. Accordion panels allow the hand to move and there is a kangaroo leather panel on the palm for grip.

Richa Ravine

Best simple gloves
Richa Ravine gloves

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Cowhide leather construction with hard carbon knuckle protection, there are also carbon nuggets on the fingers. They have soft padding on the outside of the little finger, the landing zone at the base of the palm and over the scaphoid and achieve a 1 KP rating.

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