Even though they can be exposed to the oncoming air on many bikes (despite some going to great lengths to protect them from wind-blast), your hands can get very hot and sweaty on warmer rides if you’re not wearing summer motorcycle gloves.
Even gloves with breathable membranes, that allow the moisture developed by the hand in the way of sweat to escape, can get a bit too warm if you’re enjoying the summer or on a busy ride. So a pair of vented summer gloves will help you to keep cool.
Air will generally be admitted to the gloves either by perforations in the main material they are formed from or through specially-designed vents – or both. Of course, if air can get in, then so can water and they aren’t generally meant to be waterproof – if you’re going for a ride in the summer and there may be showers en route, then either take a pair of waterproof gloves too or accept that you may get wet.
Typically, summer gloves will feature relatively thin material with little in the way of insulation, so feel for the bike’s controls should be very good. However, just because they are cool and give great feel doesn’t mean they can't also give you protection. You should be seeing knuckle armour and protection to the fingers and the bottom of the palm.
Related: Best summer motorbike gear
Summer gloves can either be short or long, as many riders prefer shorter gloves that allow air to enter the sleeves of the jacket for better airflow. Longer gloves will inevitably protect the wrist better but will feel bulkier as a result – it’s down to personal choice which you wear.
Gloves should feature a CE rating to be sold as motorcycle clothing and there are two scores; either 1 or 2 with the addition of knuckle protection, or KP. So you should be looking for at least a rating of 1 KP or ideally, 2 KP (the KP is optional for level-1 but compulsory for Level-2).
Here are some of the cooler summer gloves around...
Tested by Ben Clarke for 3 months, 4,000 miles
Quality 5/5, Value 5/5
Every once in a while, I test a product that immediately becomes my go-to option above all else and that has certainly been the case with these Predator gloves from British firm Goldtop. So called because of a striking resemblance to the antagonist from the ‘80s action films of the same name, this glove’s retro-styling is a perfect match for my long-term test bike this year. Since I picked them up – as long as the weather is dry and above 10-degrees - I’ve been wearing them.
The perforations mean my hands stay cool in hot conditions - even in 32-degree temperatures during a trip to Europe – and they’re just about warm enough for early morning rides before the sun has come out for the day. As Goldtop gloves were back in the day, these are silk lined and this makes them extremely comfortable. The clever floating knuckle armour (top spec Knox Microlock) allows some airflow to hard-to-reach areas, too.
The palm is unlined cowhide and gives excellent feel on the bike’s controls but there’s a second small patch of Knox armour on the ‘landing zone’ for added protection. With five-strand cotton thread stitching throughout and no-split fingers, these CE certified gloves should do the job in a slide as-well-as posing at the local bike night. After 4000 miles, these fit my hand like a second skin and haven’t worn even slightly.
Tucano Urbano MRK2
Tested by Michael Neeves for one year, 4,000 miles
Quality 5/5, Value 5/5
Made from vented cloth and an Alcantara-type material, shortie summer gloves like these aren’t designed to be waterproof, or offer the last word in high-speed crash protection. But they’re EN 13594:2015 CE certified, have an armoured knuckle with a leather surround, a plastic palm protector, an extra layer of padding around the bottom of the fingers where you hold the handlebar and rubbery strips on the fingers to grip levers.
I’ve been wearing them way more than I expected over the past year: on two UK riding holidays and general tearing about on test bikes when the weather’s nice. The best thing about them is how comfortable they are - cool in hot weather, but thin enough to feel the full effect of heated grips in a chill. They’re also light and easy to take on and off. Best of all they’re affordable and have stood up to the miles perfectly with no signs of wear to the seams or structure."
Oxford Brisbane Air Short Motorcycle Gloves
Tested by Commercial Content Editor Adam Binnie
Best value for money summer gloves
I've given these gloves a thorough test in our Oxford Brisbane full review but to sum up - they feature protective leather on the palm and hard knuckle armour, yet are flexible and breathable to wear.The short cuff is secured with velcro, and they're easy to get on and off, sitting neatly under my jacket sleeves. Of all my gloves these are my favourite to wear because they're so comfy, and I actually look forward to weather warm enough to wear them." CE rating: 1 KP
Klim Dakar Gloves
Tested by Simon Relph for 1,500 miles
Quality 4/5, Value 4/5
The best flexible summer gloves
When I am riding a bike off road on a warm day, I have a tendency to turn into a snowman and melt, especially in the recent heat wave. The Klim Dakar gloves are just the job, thanks to the back of the hand being made from a breathable stretch material which allows air flow giving the gloves a cool feel with a honeycomb pattern of thermo plastic rubber offer protection for the knuckles and fingers.
The palms and fingertips are made from a suede like man made material which not only offers great feel when using the bikes controls but also offers protection, in the palm and on the two middle fingers silicon patches are printed on for additional grip of the controls. A simple looking, very comfortable, flexible glove with a lot of thought gone into them."
Alpinestars Stella SMX-1 V2 Air
The Stella SMX-1 Air V2 women's glove from Alpinestars uses a mixture of leather and mesh, with leather in the key landing zones and abrasion areas and mesh in non-critical sections to provide exceptional cooling. There is hard polymer knuckle armour with grip panels inside and touchscreen-compatible fingertips. There are also stretch and flex panels in various locations to allow the hand to move in use and the short design means they should fit under jacket cuffs easily. CE rating: 1 KP
Seal of Approval - We've tested this product and have found it performs well
These short-cuff gloves from German manufacturer Held feature significant hard knuckle armour formed in TPU plastic with large air vents built-in, to admit cooling air to the hand. They also have perforated leather over the fingers, with padding to protect the digits, as well as kangaroo leather on the palm and Superfabric abrasion-resistant sections on the fingers and the palm and a Kevlar lining on the back of the hand. I've used these and found them very comfortable and cool with great feel. CE rating: 1 KP
The Orsa from Knox is a short glove formed in perforated goat leather with a synthetic lining and additional vents to admit cooling air. They feature ventilated hard knuckle armour and protective pads on the fingers and Knox's hard protection on the heel of the palm and over the scaphoid bone. The back of the wrist is elasticated and the cuff features the cable-operated BOA closure system for fast closure. CE rating: 1 KP
Spada Air Pro
A variation on a theme from British manufacture Spada, with a glove formed in a combination of leather and mesh for cooling. The palms and fingertip are made in leather, the latter perforated while the back of the hand and upper fingers are in mesh to allow huge amounts of air in. The palms feature padded sections at the base and double-layered leather for protection and grip and the knuckles have padded rubber protection. CE rating: 1
Spidi X4 Coupe
Another short, sporty glove, the X4 Coupe from Spidi features a combination of goat leather and durable mesh in non-key locations to allow loads of air into the hand to keep it cool while the leather ensures protection from landings and abrasion. There is hard polyurethane knuckle protection as well as padded nibs on three of the four fingers and the thumb. There is an extra layer of leather over the palm with padding over the scaphoid bone and the heel of the palm. The short cuff is fastened with a hook-and-loop-equipped flap. CE rating: 1
A short glove, the cuff is slightly longer than some and offers protection to the wrist thanks to two padded sections. The main body of the Apex is made from full-grain leather with a soft lining and perforations to allow cooling air to enter. There's hard-knuckle armour as well as padded sections on each of the fingers and the thumb. The palm is double-layered for extra security and has both soft padding and a hard slider section on the landing zone. There is a printed grip panel at the base of the fingers and there are touchscreen-compatible sections on the forefingers and thumbs. CE rating: unknown
Read out full, comprehensive review of the Weise Apex gloves here.
Seal of Approval - We've tested this product and have found it performs well
The Axis gloves from RST are made in perforated leather with Amara panels in key reinforcement areas and hard knuckle protectors, as well as padding and hard plastic protection over the fingers and padding on the thumb. There are also two padded areas on the 'landing zones' on the hands - the base of the palm and over the scaphoid bone - and there are grip panels on the inside of the palm. I've tried these and found them comfortable and cool. CE rating: 1 KP
An aggressive-looking glove, the Richa Stealth is available in black as well as with white, red, blue or yellow trim and pink too. It is formed in perforated goat leather for protection and cooling and features aramid stitching to improve strength. There's a polyester lining for comfort and hard armour over the knuckles. There are also rubber sections on the fingers for extra security and foam padding on the palm and the outside of the hand and wrist. The cuff fastens with a Velcro flap. CE rating: 1
If you're looking for a bit of a retro vibe for your summer riding, these Nubuck leather gloves from Garibaldi will do the trick. The leather is heavily perforated to allow air in and double-layered on the palm with padding on the heel and an additional grip section at the base of the fingers. Available in tobacco and black, the latter comes with touchscreen-compatible sections on the forefingers and thumbs. CE rating: 1
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