Short motorcycle gloves offer very similar protection to full-length summer motorcycle gloves but with a touch more freedom of movement.
They’re offered in a wider range of styles and materials when compared to ‘racing’ gloves, which are almost all full-grain leather and feature additional hard armour.
In this short motorcycle gloves review, we’ll cover short sporty leather gloves, air-flow gloves, adventure-style, Gore-Tex, scooter and low-armour custom or cruiser style motorcycle gloves.
Admittedly a shorter glove offers a little less protection than a full-on summer glove, due to the fact a full-length glove will cover more of your wrist and should prevent your jacket riding up in the event of a crash but the trade-off is a glove that’s cooler and offers more feel. A glove that’s not supple will affect your ability to use your bike’s controls without limitation.
There is a CE-standard for motorcycle gloves, EN 13594:2015. It is broken down into two categories, Level 1 and Level 2.
We spoke to SATRA who manage the CE approval and testing about what length motorcycle gloves needs to be in order to be able to meet the minimum CE approval rating. The answer is that the cuff needs to measure at least 15mm.
Motorcycle gloves with Level 1 performance provide a lower level of protection but offer greater flexibility than Level 2, whereas Level 2 gloves provide increased protection but due to their increased amount of protective armour, they may not be as flexible as a Level 1 glove.
When it comes to buying, the usual mantra of buying the best you can applies to gloves as it does any product. Always look for the certification tabs.
Some people also like the RiDE magazine reviews. You can find some gloves with a RiDE Recommended rating or a RiDE Best Buy which might be all the validation you require.
These short-cuff gloves are a great choice for road riders. Sacrificing a small amount of protection for increased comfort.
Do your homework before purchasing and try on as many pairs as you can, to get a good understanding of what works for you.
Our review criteria
We’ve set strict criteria for this gloves buying guide because with 100s of pairs of short gloves on the market, we can afford to be picky.
- Every set of gloves has to have a wrist restraint, no slip-ons here
- Bonus points if they are CE Level 1 Certified
- Bonus points if they have additional armour
The best short-cuff gloves for you
It’s impossible to say ‘this is the best short motorcycle glove’ as different gloves fit different riders in different ways.
However the best gloves all have build quality, protection and comfort in common.
Your gloves need to be comfortable, you’ll be wearing them for a long time. When it comes to comfort, price isn’t always the best gauge. Some of the most expensive gloves pack in a whole host of armour and clever retention systems but there’s no getting away from the fact they’re not as comfortable as other gloves that haven’t gone all out in the protection stakes.
As you have seen from our strict criteria above, all the gloves in this review have met a very high bar.
From under £30 to £200
There’s quite a difference when it comes to the cost of short motorcycle gloves. There are plenty of great options around the £50 mark, which might make you wonder why some cost almost £200. As you’ll see from our review below, the most expensive gloves aren’t just down to brand snobbery – they often pack in more features. It’s up to you to decide what you must have and what’s nice to have.
Although the price has been a factor in our considerations, we’ve recommended the gloves that we think are the best available for every different type of motorbike or riding style – we haven’t just gone for the most expensive.
The best short- cuff motorcycle glove?
While this review might be a bit Alpinestars-heavy, they make such a good range of gloves (and boots for that matter) that it’s hard to exclude them. We’ve picked the SP-5 as our favourite, because it’s a top choice for most applications. Short gloves aren’t usually a winter option, so the fact these are perforated shouldn’t affect your choice. They’re subtle enough to work with any style of bike, they’re made from full-grain leather and feature knuckle armour and finger padding. Plus there’s a finger bridge to prevent the little finger overextending. They have pre-curved fingers, PU patches on the palms and fingers to increase grip and they’re touchscreen enabled.
Great style, comfort and protection
They’re not cheap, we admit it but Rev’it has totally nailed the adventure motorcycle look and not to mention spec with these quality short-cuff gloves. Made from full-grain leather and goatskin, they are perforated for maximum airflow, feature hard-knuckle TPU armour a palm slider and additional thumb protection. Externally stitched and featuring a Tricot fabric lining to make them super comfortable. Not cheap but fabulously well made.
Super comfortable touring glove
Described as a short-cuff winter glove for urban riding, I feel this undersells the Cityrun. It is constructed from a mix of textile and leather, featuring Alpinestars’ Drystar membrane (their equivalent of Gore-Tex) and a thinsulate lining. They are a perfect comfortable glove for all tyres of riding bar extremely warm days. They’re touchscreen compatible for GPS devices and feature a slim-fitting cuff closure to ensure they fit under your jacket sleeves.
All the protection of a full-on racing glove
If you want to keep the race-track look but go big on comfort and flexibility, the Celer V2 from Alpinestars ticks all the boxes. Made from goats leather for improved feel and flexibility, they feature PU knuckle protection a double-layer palm for abrasion resistance, perforations on the rear for improved airflow, a finger bridge to prevent the little finger over-extending and they’re touchscreen compatible too. All in all, a top lightweight summer glove.
Versatile high-quality Gore-Tex glove
Made from a leather and textile mix, these top-rated Gore-Tex gloves from Rukka are a great touring option or just a good bet for all-weather bikers. Fully waterproof, windproof and breathable thanks to the Gore-Tex X-Trafic membrane, they feature hard knuckle armour, a visor wipe and they have touchscreen compatible fingers.
Simple style hides top-notch protection
Also available in a dark brown if this light tan colour isn’t your thing. The Victory from Weise is a perfect cruiser glove; comfortable, minimal, stylish and offering good protection. Made from hard-wearing but supple goat’s leather and featuring flexible but impact-taking memory foam armour.
Perfect for summer rides
If you want a lightweight short motorcycle glove with great feel and lots of air flow, then you’re best off looking at Motocross gloves. Although they don’t offer as much protection as a leather road glove, they offer loads of feel and keep your hands cool. These Brapp gloves from DXR are CE Certified and have a mix of textile with quality goatskin reinforced palms and as a bonus the fingers are touchscreen compatible.
A great blend of subtle protection and decent feel
Made from full-grain leather and featuring hard-knuckle protection, these gloves are perfect for scooter riders, offering great protection and feel. They have a thing fleece-type lining and a Chamude overlay on the palms to increase grip. Subtle gloves packing decent protection for the urban hustle.
Women-specific fit with top-notch protection
Another glove from Alpinestars but this really is a quality women’s option. From the Stella range, specifically designed for females, the Vika is available in this blue or it’s also in more traditional black. Made from full-grain premium leather glove with a viscoelastic knuckle protector (kinda like Blu Tak), they’re touchscreen enabled and feature finger perforations to keep your hands as cool as they look.
The best cheap summer motorcycle gloves
You don’t need to spend £100 on a pair of motorcycle gloves; there are lots of decent sets around the £50 mark. This pair of Ravine leather gloves from Richa cost just £44.99 on SportsBikeShop and represent great value for money.
They feature carbon-fibre finger and knuckle protection, a double wrist strap, a double-stitched palm, grip zones, stretch panels and reflective piping.
The only slight downside in my experience is the single-piece carbon-fibre knuckle protector. No doubt it’ll offer good protection but these single-piece carbon-fibre protectors are very rigid and I have found my middle knuckles pushing against them when riding. It’s not a massive issue, certainly not a dealbreaker and considering the price, it’s a strong contender.
If you want to go even cheaper, then check out these Texspeed Gloves. We haven’t tried them but they get great ratings on Amazon and they cost just £24.99. They don’t look to be CE approved but if you’re on a budget, they look like a good bet.
The most expensive motorcycle gloves
Four-hundred quid for a motorcycle glove? At that price, they better be something special.
These RFX racing gloves from Five are top-level gloves, made from cowhide with a goatskin palm, which is thinner and stronger. The feature tonnes of protection in the form of a TPU protective shell on the forearm, TPU and carbon knuckle protection, carbon-fibre protection zones on the outer finger knuckles, side of the palm and Thenar muscle (soft part of the lower palm) protection and there’s also a finger bridge.
Five only make gloves and they sponsor top riders like Peter Hickman, Karel Abraham, and Jules Cluzel, so you can be confident they take protection and feel seriously.
Whether they’re worth £400 is down to you.
If you want to wear the same gloves as MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi then check out these Dainese Full Metal 6 Replica gloves. As you can expect from Dainese, they’re quality gloves and packed with features. Put it this way, if they’re good enough for Valentino…
Short Motorcycle Gloves - Buyer's Guide
It's a good idea to try on different sets of motorcycle gloves from different manufacturers in order to find the best set for you. Every glove is different and they're all built to a standard defined by each manufacturer. If you buy the first pair you try, you'll never know if it really is the best glove for you.
If you're looking for the best summer motorcycle gloves, these are the features that we think you should be looking out for.
- Wrist strap: A cuff strap is mandatory but a wrist strap will keep the glove in place in the event of an accident and by doing so, keep it comfortable too.
- Hard armour: Hard armour on the knuckles on the back of your hand will reduce the impact force if you slap your hand down in an accident. If this is a single piece it won't be as comfortable as a split-piece protector.
- Finger bridge: This is where the little finger (pinky) is joined to the ring finger. This reduces the chances of your little finger being dragged back when sliding and ending up broken.
- Ventilation: Any ventilation will create airflow and reduce the sweat build-up. Sweaty hands are uncomfortable and if yuo ride on track, they could be the cause of blisters.
- Double-stitching: Double stitching in impact areas (or ideally across the majority of the glove), will help prevent the glove from bursting in an impact.
- Double-layered leather: If your glove features any panels of double-thickness or dual-layer leather then it'll help the glove hold-up to any abrasion tears caused by prolonged contact with the tarmac (think fast lowside on track).
More armour doesn't always mean a better glove. Some gloves with armour on the palms can be less comfortable than those without.
A finger bridge lowers the risk of your little finger bending back and breaking in the event of a spill. Some people find them restrictive - you can always snip this with scissors.
If you're after improved feel, look for gloves that use goatskin or kangaroo hide as it's thinner and stronger than the equivalent thickness cowhide.
If you get blisters on your palms on trackdays, this is probably because you're gripping the bars too tightly, but if your gloves aren't ventilated, sweat build-up will quickly cause your skin to wear. Vented gloves will help, as will relaxing your grip.
Motorcycle gloves FAQs
What gloves does Valentino Rossi wear?
Mr Rossi wears Dainese Full Metal 6 gloves. They are quite hard to come by as Dainese don’t make a lot of Rossi replica kit but you can find the same model (albeit in different colours).
Should I tuck my gloves in or wear them over?
If you’re wearing leathers it’s best to wear the gloves over the leathers as they will offer more protection. Some racing gloves have hard plastic (TPU) cuffs which are impossible to tuck under the sleeves of your leathers and hard to tuck under a jacket, so if you’re a ‘gloves in’ kind of rider you don’t want to buy a pair with hard-wrist protection.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this review of the best short motorcycle gloves:
Motorcycle clothing CE Ratings:
SATRA CE motorcycle glove testing: