10 fingerless cycling gloves put to the test
A good pair of mitts is essential to stave off long-ride numbness – and for crash protection, should the worst happen. Here are 10 to suit all tastes and wallets.
Sweaty hands? These could be the mitts for you. There’s ventilation for the palm, wrist and fingers, plus thin, perforated material alongside the usual stretch fabric on top of the hand. The Velcro tab makes getting them on a doddle and finger loops make them easy to remove, too. Padding is dense and in the right place, providing comfort on longer rides, while a reflective flap on the back adds visibility when signalling.
The RSEs’ plush leather gives them a classic driving-glove look. They don’t stretch much, but when holding the bars, the snug fit over the knuckles feels great. The synthetic palm has reasonably dense padding for long-ride comfort, and the terry cloth doesn’t scratch. The stretch panel at the wrist helps with getting the mitts on and off, though finger loops would make the task easier. Their quality, feel and comfort mean they’re great to ride in.
Endura FS260 Aerogel II
The Aerogel padding is visible through the rubberised mesh on the palms and you can feel it working, providing a decent barrier to road buzz. The vented palm gives way to a stretchy upper, with terry towelling down the index finger. Reinforcement between thumb and finger means they should last well. There’s a Velcro tab under the wrist, plus a pull tab for getting the mitts on and sections on the fingers for removal.
Madison’s mantra for these mitts may be ‘less is more’ but they’re well put together and packed with features – especially when you consider they’re the cheapest on test. Most of the palm is padded but it doesn’t feel clumsy and has a decent amount of ventilation. The upper is just thin, stretchy Lycra but it does its job well. There’s a Velcro wrist closure and pull-loops to help get the mitts off. The towelling isn’t the softest but should improve after a few washes.
The CPCs are true race gloves – uncluttered, comfortable and lightweight, with no excess material. There’s no Velcro tab on the wrist but they slip on and off easily, in part thanks to finger-joining loops. Padding and grip is provided by groupings of small conical pieces of rubber; even in the wet they offer relatively good grip but there’s not a huge amount of padding. The low-pile but absorbent sweat panel performs well, being nice and soft.
Specialized Body Geometry Flite
Specialized’s minimalist Flites are designed to aid aerodynamics, extending up the wrist to provide a smooth surface for air to flow over. The palm and Lycra upper have relatively little ventilation, but that’s not what these gloves are about. BG padding provides a subtle amount of comfort while the rest of the glove simply does its job. The only difficulty we faced was squeezing our hands through the tight wrist section.
Sportful’s BodyFit Pros are comfortable and well vented, with dense padded sections on the palm. A lightweight design, these summer mitts are cool and pleasant to wear on hot days. Pulling them on is easy thanks to a decent tab at the wrist. There’s no closure, just an elasticated wrist, with a bit of webbing between the fingers to help with removal. Their simple design makes them a joy to wear on the bike.
Want to cut seconds from your bike leg? The Free Aero Race mitts are designed to be as aerodynamic as possible, with a long wrist section that sits flush to the skin and fingers that are longer than most to keep the air flowing smoothly over the back of your hand. There’s no ventilation on the back, so they’re quite warm, and no cloth for wiping away sweat either, but padding and grip are both reasonable.
DHB Short Finger
These don’t have huge amounts of ventilation but the lightweight construction stops your hands getting too sweaty. The thin faux-leather palm has areas of shallow but densely packed padding and the thin, stretchy upper caused no irritation. The sweat wipe isn’t as plush as some but it’s still good for the price. Sizing is a bit on the small side, but unless you’re borderline you should get away with your usual size. The only negative is the lack of removal loops.
The PRO Aeros were designed in a wind tunnel and have a long wrist section to ensure optimal airflow over the hand. There’s no padding; the result is great feel and connection with the handlebars, though you might not want to ride in them all day. Mesh sections in between the fingers are surprisingly effective at cooling the hands. The rubbery PI logos on the palm provide plenty of grip on the bars, too.