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Getting numb hands can seriously sap the enjoyment out of an epic, long day in the saddle. The loss of all feelings, except pain, in your hands is not only uncomfortable but also potentially dangerous.
In the same way that padded shorts help to prevent numbness in the saddle, the right cycling gloves can help smooth out the bumps and let you ride longer.
If numb hands have ever forced you to cut a ride short this article is for you.
Let’s look at the best cycling gloves for numb hands so that you can keep on riding.
Top 9 Best Cycling Gloves To Prevent Hand Numbness Reviewed
PEARL iZUMi Elite (Best Overall)
The lightweight mesh fabrics of the Pearl iZumi Elite Gloves make them a great choice for hot days in the saddle. The perforated gel padding lets air in and moisture out to prevent palm sweating.
The gel pads themselves are thoughtfully positioned over the major nerves to provide maximum cushioning without killing feedback from the bike. The efficient use of padding also helps to keep the weight and bulk of the glove to a minimum.
The backs of the gloves are made from lightweight mesh fibres that allow air to flow through the glove and keep your hands cool. These gloves are more than a match for the hottest summer days.
- Reflective details for better visibility
- Efficiently sized gel pads maximize comfort and minimize bulk.
- Breathable design for hot days in the saddle.
MOREOK Cycling Gloves (best for road)
For a budget option, the MOREOK Cycling Gloves pack a lot of features into a small package.
The fact that they come in eleven different colors is great for matching perfectly to your cycling kit, which as we all know is the most important buying consideration.
The 5mm thick SBR padding on the palms of the glove absorb the worst shocks and keep numb hands at bay. The anti-slip silicon pattern on the padding ensures total control of the handle bars without diluting feedback.
The upper is constructed from premium, breathable Lycra to wick sweat away from your hands.
The air holes between the padding enhances airflow and breathability. Combined with the fingerless design, the MOREOK cycling gloves are a great option for epic summer days in the saddle.
- Great shock absorption using 5mm SBR padding.
- Available in 11 colours.
- Lightweight and breathable.
Giro DND (Best for MTB)
The cuff less, slip-on design of the Giro DND Mountain Bike gloves provide unrestricted movement of the wrist and by extension excellent comfort.
As the name implies (DND stands for Down and Dirty in this case) the design may be minimal but these gloves are built to last. The stretchy upper material is great for venting heat without compromising on durability.
On the other side of the glove, the 2mm EVA crash pads offer great protection in a fall and help to smooth out the trails and prevent hand numbness meaning you are always in control of the bike.
Brake lever and shifter control is further improved with the silicone fingertips.
- Full finger design for mountain bikers.
- Available in 13 different colors, including high visibility.
- Touchscreen technology.
Pearl Izumi Ride Pro AMFIB Lobster Gloves (Best for winter)
Preventing numb hands is not just about padding. Keeping your hands warm in the depths of winter goes a long way to staying comfortable on the bike.
The Pearl iZumi Ride Pro AMFIB Lobster Gloves use a fleece inner liner and a lobster claw design to reduce heat loss and provide superior insulation in the heart of winter.
The split finger design, with index and middle fingers on one side and ring finger and pinky on the other, looks strange to the uninitiated but it doesn’t have any adverse impact on dexterity.
The palm of the glove is made up mostly of leather that aids durability and grip.
- The BioViz reflective features and high contrast designs improve visibility.
- Fleece wiping surface on thumb.
- Anatomical fit for better braking and shifting.
LuxoBike Cycling Gloves (Best Budget)
Don’t be fooled by the budget price tag of the LuxoBike Cycling Gloves, the 4-zone shock-absorbing pads are a match for premium cycling gloves when it comes to comfort.
The pads reduce road vibrations and go a long way to preventing numb hands on a long bike ride. Add to that a breathable upper and you have a comfortable cycling glove that won’t break the bank.
The Velcro closure works as expected and, despite the price tag, the LuxoBike glove comes with all the features of more premium gloves including an absorbent pad to wipe away sweat.
Another useful feature is the finger loops that make it easy to take the glove off.
- 4-zone pads to reduce vibrations
- Lightweight and breathable.
- Absorbent thumb towel to wipe away sweat.
DAKINE Cross-X Gloves
The full-finger Dakine Cross-X Cycling Gloves are the go-to glove for riders who like to fly down trails.
The neoprene knuckle guards offer protection from branches and undergrowth and the 3mm foam pads on the palm offer protection against vibration.
The minimal padding keeps the worst of the vibrations away while at the same time allowing you to feel totally in control of the bars and sensitive to all the small details on the trail. The synthetic suede pads and silicon keep your hands gripped to the bars at all times.
This glove perhaps lacks some breathability but for cooler temperatures it is a durable and dependable option.
- Polygiene® permanent odor control treatment. They smell better for longer.
- Hook and loop cuffs.
- Full-finger protection.
FIRELION Cycling Gloves
The FIRELION Cycling Gloves are suitable for any cycling discipline but truly come into their own if you are a mountain biker.
The padding materials and more importantly the position of the padding is well thought through.
It will stop your hands from getting numb due to vibrations through the bars and if you take a spill, the padding on the heel should protect your hands from the worst of the impact.
Despite being full-finger gloves, they have been designed with the modern world in mind. The index finger and thumb are touchscreen compatible so you do not need to remove your gloves to quickly take a snap on the trails.
These are excellent, durable gloves at an extremely reasonable price.
- Touchscreen recognition.
- Breathable mesh upper.
- Superior padding on the heel of the palm.
Craft Hybrid Weather 2-in-1
The Craft Hybrid Weather 2-in-1 Cycling Gloves offer the best of both worlds. As a regular full-fingered glove you get great temperature protection without having to worry about overheating.
When the temperature drops further you can then rely on the integrated wind and waterproof mitten to keep your hands warm in the coldest of days.
In the same way you might pull on a thin shell jacket for tackling a descent, the mitten simply slips over the fingers to provide some extra temperature protection.
The mitten itself folds neatly into a thin slot on the back of the glove but knowing that it is there in case the weather turns offers great peace of mind.
The material of the glove prevents hands from sweating and the silicone grippers keep your hands on the bars even in wet conditions. The padding itself adds to the comfort of the glove on the bike.
- Hybrid design keeps your hand comfortable no matter the temperature.
- Metallic index finger and thumb provide touch screen compatibility.
- Reflective features and high visibility designs available.
Giro Monica II (best for summer)
The Giro Monica II are a female specific fingerless cycling glove that offer comfort and breathability on epic summer days in the saddle.
The palm of the glove is made from high quality Pittards sheep leather surrounded at the edges by Giro’s Technogel padding. This padding is renowned for providing excellent pressure distribution for keeping numb hands at bay. The padding is double-stitched for extra durability.
The upper is made from lightweight mesh fabric that combined with the vents in the palm allow good airflow and keep hands cool.
The fit is tight but not uncomfortable although taking the gloves off can be a challenge. The leather cuff at the wrist does provide a little assistance in this respect.
- Technogel padding provides excellent comfort.
- Double-stitched seams for extra durability.
- Reflective details for extra visibility.
What Causes Numb Hands When Riding A Bike?
Handlebar palsy, or Ulnar Neuropathy to give it its full medical name, is caused by compression of the ulnar nerve over prolonged periods.
In simple terms, sustained pressure on the palm of your hands when riding disrupts the blood flow to the nerves. Starved of blood, the nerves send a signal to your brain that something is wrong and you feel this as numbness or tingling.
Riding with well-padded gloves helps to distribute the force from the handlebars to the Ulnar nerve and eliminates a lot of the associated hand discomfort.
Another simple solution is to move your hand positions often on the bike.
What Are The Other Benefits Of Cycling Gloves?
As well as providing protection against numb hands when on a long bike ride, wearing cycling gloves has other benefits.
As any rider will know, falling off your bike is simply a fact of life. On our way down our natural reaction is to get our hands down and break the fall.
This is when you will be glad you are wearing cycling gloves as they will protect your palms from the worst of the road rash.
By choosing your gloves wisely you can ride comfortably in both the hottest summers and the coldest winters.
Features Of Cycling Gloves To Look Out For
Full finger or fingerless gloves
You can spot a road cyclist a mile away from the fingerless gloves.
Fingerless gloves provide a good compromise between protection and breathability.
Mountain bikers prefer full-fingered gloves as they provide more protection from falls and undergrowth.
In winter, both tribes should look for well insulated full-fingered gloves to stay warm.
All the benefits of a cycling glove are lost if it does not fit you properly. An ill-fitting glove will eventually scrunch up and chafe on a long ride.
When trying on cycling gloves focus on the webbing between your index finger and thumb. Check carefully that the webbing does not bunch and create pinch points.
Video: Hand Measurement To Get The Right Size Cycle Glove
The type of padding and its position is key to preventing numb hands on the bike. Gel padding is typically used and, when combined with a premium leather palm, provides excellent resistance to vibrations.
Mountain bike specific gloves tend to have more robust padding, especially around the heel of the palm, to lessen the impact of any falls.
The only thing worse than having cold hands is having hot hands. Although it seems counter-intuitive to use cycling gloves on summer rides, they are designed to wick sweat away from your hands and keep them cool.
Air holes between the padding also help to increase airflow over the hand as you ride and keep them cool.
Apart from offering protection against numb hands, cycling gloves also help to increase the grip on the bars. Bare, sweaty hands on a hot day can be a recipe for disaster.
The extra grip from a cycling glove goes a long way to preventing accidents from losing grip on the bars just when you need it most.
Most cycling gloves have a moisture absorbent pad on the back that is meant for wiping away sweat. Most cyclists, however, use it for the more mundane function of wiping snot. If you suffer from hay fever, this feature is a lifesaver.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Cycling Gloves Meant To Be Tight?
At the risk of stating the obvious but the best fitting gloves should be snug without being too loose.
Can You Wash Cycling Gloves?
You can and should wash your cycling gloves regularly. Most gloves come with their own instructions for cleaning but in general they can be machine-washed using cold water and a mild detergent.
Can You Get Bike Gloves Without Padding?
It is possible to get cycling gloves that have little or no padding for those riders that do not like the feel of padding. Full-fingered gloves aimed at mountain bikers typically have less padding than road cycling specific gloves.
Read more: Guide to road bikes under $2000
Aside from bonking, nothing ruins an epic day in the saddle like uncomfortable hands.
The Pearl iZumi Elite Gloves are an excellent addition to the wardrobe of any fair-weather road cyclist. The padding and breathability are both top-notch. They might look simple and understated but they are more than up to the task of keeping your hands comfortable.
If you are not quite sold on the benefits of cycling gloves, the LuxoBike Cycling Gloves are a great budget option to see for yourself. They share a lot of the qualities of the Pearl iZumi Elite Gloves but at a fraction of the price.
As temperatures drop the Craft Hybrid Weather 2-in-1 Cycling Gloves offer a unique solution to keeping the temperature just right – not too hot and not too cold.
Whether you ride a stiff, unforgiving road bike or like to tackle bumpy trails, the right cycling glove can protect your hands from getting numb and let you ride longer.
Read more: The best gloves for bike commuting