Check out our list of the top 10 best summer and mesh motorcycle gloves, and discover which glove is actually better for summer riding: textile or leather.
The sun is shining and the open road is ready and waiting. There’s just one problem: do you need to wear motorcycle gloves this season? I mean surely it’s too hot to wear puffy textiles this summer, and imagine the sweat?!
There’s a lot of things to consider when shopping for motorcycle gloves. From textile fabrics and leather wrappings to hard knuckle protection and palm sliders to kangaroo leather palms and touchscreen fingertips: whoever came up with the saying “Fits like a glove” has clearly never shopped for a motorcycling glove!
But fear not: we’ve compiled a list of 10 of our favourite motorcycle gloves to wear this summer, and help you filter out the duds.
Whether you're planning a tour, riding for sport, commuting back and forth or just cruising on the weekend: there's a glove for you somewhere on this list. We've handpicked a selection of mesh gloves, perforated leather gloves and everything else in between from the biggest brands in the business, and prices that will neither require mortgaging your house nor leave you feeling short-changed.
But before that just a word of advice when it comes to buying motorcycle gloves this season.
BEFORE YOU BUY
Broadly speaking there are two basic types of motorcycle glove: road and racing. Road gloves tend to be short (though like everything else in motorcycling this is a personal decision), whilst Race gloves need to be longer, gauntlet-style gloves to cover the cuffs and go over your leathers. Race gloves also need to be constructed of leather, whilst textile is a long-popular feature in road gloves.
Textile fabrics can range wildly from very basic nylons to high-tech abrasion materials like Superfabric. This is popular as a very strong abrasion-resistant panel, but be careful if your gloves have this in them - you wouldn't be the first to render a visor useless as you wipe the rain off or scratch your paintwork with what seems like a gentle rub. Neoprene, Lycra and other stretch materials help with fit, and comfort and breathability too and so are often found along with the fingers.
Leather gloves feature a variety of materials and sources from tanned animal hides to artificially built leather. Bovine is the most popular choice, however, Goatskin is also featured heavily in a lot of glove designs, partly due to how common it is as a manufacturing resource, as well as its durability and strength. Kangaroo is seen as the most sought-after material due to how thin and lightweight hide is, which provides a great tactile feel, and is 10 times stronger than cowhide and 50% stronger than goatskin. Buffalo leather can also be used, though this is used further in-between. You can also find animal-free leather gloves for any vegan riders out there, though make sure to look out for "synthetic" leather when researching these.
Hard knuckle protection was originally developed for track situations where the knuckles can become trapped between the ‘bike and track in low side mishaps, but this is now seen as an almost compulsory feature by many road riders.
As a general rule of thumb. hard palm sliders are more useful on the road than hard knuckles as they have been developed in an attempt to prevent jolting of the wrists by providing a near friction-free opportunity for your hands to slide away quickly in the event of tarmac contact which can help prevent injuries to the Scaphoid and other bits of the wrist. They have also been shown to help prevent collar bone injuries.
There’s also another consideration if you’re planning to venture further afield because since 2017 it is against the law in France to ride any motorcycle or scooter without CE certified gloves. Passengers also have to wear gloves on a motorcycle. This is a France only rule and is not part of the PPE initiative being forced onto other motorcycle clothing. Confused? You should try working here.
Why choose Textile gloves over leather?
Firstly, textile gloves tend to be cheaper to produce and therefore inexpensive to purchase, though this isn't to say that textile gloves are inferior to leather. To the contrary, modern fabrics such as Dupont's Cordura or Aramid are high-tenacity, super-strong materials that are two times stronger than nylon and three times more than polyester, and offer fantastic abrasion resistance and impact protection. On top of this, textile gloves are a lot lighter than leather, whilst not diminishing on protection or comfort.
Manufacturers also tend to be more flexible with their layering when it comes to textile gloves, as their structure more easily allows for additional layers to be woven into the glove. While leather is naturally better at retaining heat or keeping out the weather, the addition of an internal Thermolite lining can keep you warm during the cold, and a waterproof membrane can protect you against rainfall; Gore-Tex especially, as this membrane consists of a system of holes too small to allow water to penetrate, but large enough to allow perspiration.
Textile gloves also offer more airflow and breathability than leather, and can easily be machine washed to keep them clean.
If you're shopping for textile gloves specifically for the summer, look out for the term "Mesh" or another variant of it. Mesh is made from similar to webbing or a net, made from connected woven strands that allow for air to pass through with ease. Basically, Mesh Gloves are brilliant for intaking cool air and exhausting hot hair, giving you the feeling that the fabric "breathes".
Why choose Leather gloves over textile?
In comparison with a textile glove, most rider's perceive the leather glove as the superior of the two. Leather gloves offer a more tactile feel on a rider's hands, contorting to your fingers and palm, and offer superior grip and control over the handlebars. This is especially useful when racing or driving over long distances, as leather gloves reduce vibrations from the handlebars over long periods of time, and thus reducing hand fatigue (this is why you'll find a lot of textile gloves with leather palms and fingers!)
Leather gloves tend to last longer than textile, though they also require frequent care to prevent the leather from drying out. In the event of a slide, leather gloves tend to slide across the road, while textile is more likely to stick and cause your accident to be worse (a lot of textile gloves will come with palm sliders to prevent this).
Leather gloves are also more durable to abrasion and are naturally resistant to wind and water (though this doesn't make them inherently waterPROOF). As a side-effect though, due to their fullness and strength, leather gloves conduct far more heat as they don't tend to breathe, leaving you feeling sweaty or even claustrophobic in warmer weather.
To combat this, we recommend looking out for Perforated Leather when looking for summer gloves. Perforated leather gloves will have holes punctured into the leather, allowing for air to come into contact with the skin and to prevent the build-up of heat and sweat. While this offers less airflow than mesh and also allows for water to penetrate the gloves, it's a small price to pay to take advantage of the look and feel of leather!
What works best?
The answer is perhaps a bit of both or somewhere in between...
Whichever glove works best for you - textile or leather, mainly comes down to your personal preference. That may feel like a cop-out answer, but there isn't really a "be all, end all" glove for summer riding.
Breathability and protection are hugely important when it comes to deciding on a summer glove, but if you regularly attend track days, you may want more grip and traction for the bike's controls. If you're going touring, you may want a bit more stretch or elastane in your glove, perhaps even touchscreen-sensitive fingertips to adjust your Sat-Nav. Maybe you feel more comfortable riding with as many protective features as possible such as a scaphoid slider or a heavier knuckle shield, or perhaps you prefer riding as light as possible (but you still have a bit of protection).
Whatever option you go for isn't wrong, but knowing what you're getting for your money is always helpful! Which naturally moves us onto...
Here's our list of 10 of our most popular summer motorcycle gloves to combat the summer heat, starting from just £19.99.
You can use the key below to skip to the corresponding section:
- Knox Orsa OR3 MK2 Textile Gloves
- Alpinestars Reef Gloves
- Rukka Forsair Mesh Gloves
- REV'IT! Sand 4 Gloves
- Dainese Bora Gloves
- Richa Protect Summer 2 Gloves
- Bering KX2 Mesh Gloves
- Spidi X-Force Gloves
- Racer Bubble Fingerles Gloves
- Alpinestars SMX-1 Air V2 Gloves
Starting off strong, we have the Knox Orsa OR3 MK2 textile gloves: a follow-up to the 2019 Orsa OR3’s. A popular model with off-road and adventure riders, this Knox glove is also great for road use in hot weather thanks to its mixed textile construction.
Unlike its sister product, the Orsa MK2 leather glove, this model is made from a combination of perforated leather, air mesh textile and single-layer Clarino, resulting in an exceptionally lightweight and tactile glove with plenty of ventilation through the fingers and the back of the hand. The Clarino material seamlessly rolls over the fingertips to reduce deterioration over time, and silicone prints on the index and middle fingers improve overall grip.
Upgrading on the original Orsa OR3, the MK2 adopts a new Boa fastening system, which alongside allowing a precision, dial-in fit around your cuff, can now be operated single-handedly and is lower in profile to fit under your jacket’s sleeve.
On the back of the hand, the knuckles are covered by a smart 3-layer protective shield, consisting of TPU, honeycomb gel, and a strong temperfoam encasing. This allows the shield to flex over your knuckles during movement whilst retaining a high level of impact protection. TPU plates on the fingers and wrist further bolster the glove’s protection, but it’s the Knox Scaphoid Protection System that steals the show: this patented, dual-compound insert can be found on the palm to eliminate the effects of drag caused by leather coming into contact with the road during a slide and prevents common scaphoid injuries.
Overall, the Knox Orsa OR3 is a very well-made motorcycle glove, packed with a ton of unconventional and technical features that make for a stand-out summer glove for both off-road and on-road riding.
Buy online today for only £99.99, and is available with Free Next-Day Delivery.
Priced at just £34.99, the Reef represents one of the most affordable options on this list, which you could either see as a blessing if you're set on a lower budget glove, or it could be a telling sign of its protective features. Either way, you're buying an original Alpinestars product (and if you know Alpinestars - they don’t make bad products!)
The Reef gloves are made from breathable, comfort-stretch textile, combined with synthetic suede at the palm for abrasion resistance and grip. Whilst the gloves are CE level 1 certified, protection is limited to the hard knuckle padding and a rubberised grip, though this is to be expected given the lower price tag.
The slimmer wrist allows you to seamlessly tuck the gloves into the cuffs of your jacket, with additional stretch mesh on the back for breathability, and a touchscreen-friendly index finger for controlling your GPS or smartphone.
Taking all this into account, you can’t really go wrong with the Alpinestars Reefs. Sure, protection is a little light, but you’re getting a comfortable and tactile urban glove for just over £30 - what’s not to love! Plus they come in a variety of colours if you’re brave enough to step outside of the usual black variant (we’re particularly keen on the camo!) Also available in ladies sizes.
Buy online today for only £34.99, available with Free Next Day Delivery.
If you’re in the market for a hot-weather touring glove, the Rukka Forsair gloves are an outstanding option and are personally one of our most popular gloves this time of year.
Deviating from their usual Gore-Tex waterproof apparel, Rukka have produced a non-waterproof glove that really flourishes in the summer. This is thanks to the elastic Cordura mesh outer, which allows A LOT of airflow in through the fingers and back of the hand to cool you down and prevent any sweat from building up. The inside glove is lined with faux leather for increased resistance to abrasion, and digital print on the palm and fingertips allow reliable grip
Moving onto protection, the gloves are armed with hard knuckle protection, formed seamlessly into the mesh structure, as well as TPU inserts on the finger and palm slider to prevent scaphoid injury.
Finished with touchscreen-responsive fingertips and a velcro cuff fastening, the Forsair Mesh gloves are the ultimate summer riding glove.
Buy online today for only £89.99, available with Free UK Delivery.
The REV’IT! Sand 4’s are an expertly crafted off-road glove, with stacks of protection and airflow for hot weather riding.
Made from a mix of abrasion-resistant goatskin and 3D air mesh and stitched together with PWR yarn, these adventure-touring gloves have an extremely durable exterior with plenty of perforation on the palm and outer for cool air circulation, 500 denier PWR stretch on the back of the hand for freedom of movement, and a soft, knitted Tricot interior lining.
The knuckles are injected with malleable thermoplastic rubber (TPR) that retains a high level of impact protection while simultaneously allowing airflow in through knuckles. TPR is also applied to the finger knuckles and palm slider as well as a layer of temperfoam under the knuckles, and PWR shield on the palm for resistance to tearing and cutting.
The Sand 4’s also feature touch-screen compatible fingertips, reflective panels on the stretch lips of the fingers, and an adjustable, hook-and-loop wrist strap for a comfortable, tight fit.
Whether paired with the REV’IT Sand 4 H2O jacket and trousers or worn with an alternative adventure suit, these gloves are bound to be an ideal garment for off-road riders this Summer and the next! Also available in ladies sizes and a waterproof H2O version.
Buy online today for only £84.99, available with Free UK Delivery.
For the streetfighters in the audience, the Dainese Bora’s are the perfect urban riding gloves for dealing with summer’s intense heat waves.
Featuring a nylon main construction, with breathable mesh on the back and a synthetic suede palm, these Dainese gloves are incredibly breathable and elastic. The pre-curved fingers and soft neoprene cuff are especially comfortable, and an additional layer of material in between the fingers to increase the gloves’ durability.
Naturally moving onto protection, the gloves are armed with impact-absorbing TPR inserts on the fingers and back of the wrist, and a hardened TPR injected knuckle protector, splashed with Dainese’s branding across each hand.
For the price point, you get a high level of protection and breathability for commuting and weekend riding. Complete with Dainese’s ‘Smart Touch’ fingertips and a velcro wrist strap, these Dainese gloves are the ideal protective ‘second skin’ while you concentrate on the road.
Buy online today for only £75.95, available with Free UK Delivery.
Featuring a premium goatskin napa and drum leather chassis, these Richa gloves are naturally abrasion-resistant and feel soft and supple around your hand, with perforated areas on the fingers and back of the hand for greater air circulation. The box stitching provides the perfect finishing touch and prevents chafing between the fingers, whilst the velcro wrist closure allows a secure and comfortable fit.
The Carbon fibre/TPU knuckle shield provides superior impact protection, and the reinforced palm not only supports your hands when landing from a fall but also provide a firmer grip over your bike controls.
As the follow-up to one of Richa's most popular motorcycle gloves, the Protect Summer 2's are an absolute knock-out and should be considered if you're in the market for a two-season short glove.
Buy online today for only £74.99, available with Free UK Delivery.
Another lower-priced option for surviving the hottest months of the year is the Bering KX2 Mesh gloves: an entry-level, CE-certified motorcycle glove with breathable mesh panels for just under £50.
Made from a combination of high-quality goat leather and 3D mesh textile, the gloves are durable, tactile and breathable for complete summer comfort. The interior is lined with soft polyester, the velcro closure offers a secure and comfortable fit, and Bering’s Sensor System allows for fingertip compatibility with touchscreens.
Covered by a hard knuckle shield and reinforcements at the palm, the KX2 Mesh gloves offer effective impact protection, and the reflective detailing on the back of the hand increases rider visibility.
Buy online today for only £49.99, available with Free UK Delivery.
One of the coolest mitts you'll wear this season is the Spidi X-Force gloves; a sports-urban glove with CE-approved protection and a punched mesh outer.
Made from durable goat leather, with tactile suede microfibre on the palm and elastic neoprene on the cuff; the gloves offer comprehensive comfort for riding, and the perforated textile on the fingers and back of the hand allows essential air circulation.
In regards to protection, the gloves are armed with Spidi's Warrior Knuckle Shield, designed to absorb the brunt of abrasion and impacts, and additional protective inserts on the backs of the fingers.
The last feature we wanted to highlight is the X-Force's "Easy Fit" fastening system: an innovative fastening system that consists of an elastic wrist strap with an underlying accordion zip that auto-fastens as you secure the velcro strap, and unfasten as you take it off - take a look for yourself here!
If you're after a top-of-the-range breathable glove without the hefty price tag, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option.
Buy online today, all colours available for £119.99, available with Free UK Delivery.
If you're after a pair of minimal gloves (or you'd rather not be wearing them at all), the Racer Bubble gloves are for you!
Built from aniline leather, these Racer gloves are PERFECT for summer riding, featuring a fingerless design, knuckle padding and punctuated knuckle fingers for maximum comfort and airflow - you’ll forget you’re even wearing them!
The leather exterior of the gloves provide a better grip on your handlebars, while you focus on looking cool, and for under £20, though they won't provide as much protection as a proper full-fingered glove, it's certainly better than no gloves at all!
Buy online today for only £19.99, available with Free UK Delivery.
The main chassis is made from premium goat leather with perforation on the back of the hand, and 3D mesh panels on the fingers and thumb for optimal air circulation, whilst maintaining a high level of abrasion resistance. The leather grip zone palm and thumb increases the sensitivity of the bike’s controls, and the synthetic suede side padding improves comfort and durability.
While the hard polymer knuckle guard provides the bulk of the glove’s protection, the gloves are further reinforced with TPR finger sliders and energy-absorbing EVA foam on the palm, outer thumb and backhand.
Accordion stretch across the fingers make it easy to grab your grips, the touchscreen-compatible fingertip allows you to use with GPS systems and smartphones, and the velcro cuff closure uses a TPR puller for a secure enclosure.
Traversing the concrete jungle will never be boring with the SMX-2 Air Carbon V2’s.
Buy online today for only £69.99, available with Free UK Delivery.
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This article was written by Jonah Son.