Are cycling gloves important?
You’ve got your essentials: helmet, cycling shoes, shorts and jersey, but you might be wondering, “Do I need cycling gloves?” Unlike in regular life, when you can shove your hands in your pockets and make do without gloves even in winter, cycling gloves are much more of an essential than an accessory.

Why do you need cycling gloves?

Cycling Gloves

Here’s a quick rundown of why we recommend gloves for cycling and how to wear them. 
Warmth
In winter, the answer is very obviously "yes, you need cycling gloves" as your hands, like your feet and head, are hard to keep warm. There’s nothing quite like the misery of cold hands on a ride, not to mention the safety issues from numb, frozen fingers.
Safety
Cycling Gloves
 
Like with most cycling kit, cycling gloves are as much about safety as comfort while riding. If you fall, your hands will take a lot of the impact and reduce injury, as well as saving you from scratches while riding.
Comfort
Gloves lessen the friction between the handlebars and your skin, so you’ll be less likely to suffer rubbing and blisters. Also, the padding on cycling-specific gloves is designed to reduce numbness and tingling due to pressure on the ulnar nerve, which runs from the shoulder down the side of the palm and little finger, and the median nerve, which goes through the centre of the wrist and out across the palm, which is linked to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Grip
Because they’re made of textiles like leather or synthetics, cycling gloves grip the handlebars better than skin, especially sweaty skin. Some gloves have textured fingertips that allow you to use touchscreen devices without having to take the gloves on and off. 
Sun protection
An overlooked function of gloves, in summer especially, is that they stop your hands being exposed to hours and hours of sun and wind. Your hands tend to age faster than other parts of your body anyway and cycling speeds up damage to the skin through the effects of UV and water loss. Choose thinner gloves so your hands don’t overheat, and/or fingerless styles.

Which cycling gloves to choose
cycling gloves

Fingerless gloves
Whether you prefer fingerless or …fingerful (?) gloves depends on a couple of factors as well as your personal preference. Road cyclists, especially in warm weather, often wear fingerless, or “half finger” gloves, and opt for thinner, lightweight gloves that wick away sweat. Road gloves are usually ventilated on the back of the hand and slightly padded on the palm to reduce pressure.
Mountain bikers tend to go for thicker, full-finger cycle gloves but, again, with breathability and moisture-wicking. As mountain bikes have more suspension than road bikes, there’s less need for padding on the palms, whereas the outside of the palm and the top of the gloves are thicker to protect your hands from branches and debris flying up from the wheels.
Make sure cycling gloves aren’t too tight …
Cycle gloves are one piece of kit that shouldn’t be skin tight. If they restrict movement, or are too taut between your fingers, cycling gloves go from being a help to a serious hindrance. Too tight and they’ll cut blood flow, making your hands colder than if they were bare, but also reducing your grip and responsiveness on the bike. Basically, if you can’t ball your hand into a fist, your gloves are too tight.
… but not too loose either
Goldilocks would have gone for the “just right” fit for gloves, and so should you. Gloves that are too big will bunch up and chafe, but also your hands can slip around inside them and compromise grip. 
PS
Wash cycling gloves as often as you would your underwear, OK? They get sweaty and breed bacteria and bad smells. A cold machine wash with your other kit will do, closing the velcro, so it doesn’t lose its magical velcro-iness.

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