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The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Gloves

best waterproof motorbike gloves - The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Gloves

Waterproof motorcycle gloves come in two varieties; either they’re a thinner racing-style glove with a technical layer like Gore-Tex to ensure they’re waterproof or they’re a chunkier glove, like a winter motorcycle glove, probably with more fabric than leather, less armour and a thermal lining like Thinsulate.

What you need to spend

As we put this guide together it became clear that you don’t really get cheap waterproof gloves. At least, not ones that are genuinely waterproof and will last more than a season. 

No-one wants to spend more than they need to and while we don’t want to blow your hard-earned cash we also don’t want to recommend a cheap pair of gloves that don’t do the job you want them to.

Even though you can buy a pair of waterproof motorcycle gloves for £30, we haven’t recommended any but you can see links to them below. They say buy cheap buy twice and if you want a set to last you a few years, you’re going to have to spend around £100. Sorry about that!

From under £20 to £250+

There’s quite a difference when it comes to the cost of waterproof motorcycle gloves.

There are plenty of great options around the £70 mark, which might make you wonder why some cost more than £250.

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 right now. If there are two pairs of gloves that offer very similar performance but one’s half the price of the other, then, of course, we’ve recommended the cheaper pair.

If our picks don’t work for you in terms of budgets, brands or features, then refer to our shortlist where you’re sure to find a great option.

CE Approval

As with everything motorcycling, there’s rarely a single bit of kit that covers everything. So if you’re after waterproof motorcycle gloves, you might find the best compromise isn’t in having one pair of gloves, it’s in having two!

A racing-style waterproof glove for all year riding but a waterproof thermal pair for when the mercury drops.

No matter which type you go for,  your gloves have to offer seriously good protection but in contrast to that, they have to offer lots of feel. The two aren’t usually great bedfellows.

Anyone can stick a load of armour onto a glove or wedge in a load of thermal padding but not everyone can do it and keep the glove flexible, comfortable and still able to offer plenty of feel. No-one wants to ride their motorcycling wearing what feels like a pair of boxing gloves. 

There is a CE-standard for motorcycle gloves, EN 13594:2015. It is broken down into two categories, Level 1 and Level 2.

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.

Comfort vs Protection

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 (even if, annoyingly, some still don’t state exactly which they adhere to…).

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.

If you’re looking for a set of winter motorcycle gloves, you’re probably happy to sacrifice a bit of feel for warmth, whereas if you want a set of gloves for all year riding that won’t feel like you’re wearing slippers on your hands, you’ll want a racing-style glove with a technical waterproof layer.

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 waterproof gloves on the market, we can afford to be picky.

  • Every set of gloves has to be full length. Some manufacturer’s ‘waterproof’ gloves are only three-quarter length or short which won’t be much use when it’s absolutely tipping it down.
  • Minimum CE Level 1 Certified
  • Bonus points if they have a wrist strap in addition to the standard cuff strap
  • Bonus points if they have knuckle armour
  • Bonus points if they have a little-finger bridge

There are a lot of waterproof gloves on our longlist but we boiled this down to 5 great gloves for our shortlist.

The best gloves for you

It’s impossible to say ‘this is the best motorcycle waterproof glove’. As mentioned above, different gloves work for different riders in different situations.

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.

richa leather gloves arctic waterproof motorcycle gloves - The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Gloves
Ben's Pick

Quality all-season waterproof glove

Made from a mix of abrasion-resistant textiles, and featuring a fully waterproof internal membrane, the Arctic gloves are a great blend of winter waterproof and all-season motorcycle glove. The great part is, they don’t have the bulk of a full-on winter glove but they have the waterproofing and the cold weather protection  They feature leather panels on the palms and knuckles and TPU knuckle armour to improve protection. They get rave reviews from owners and they’re also a RiDE Best Buy. 

alpinestars gloves equinox outdry wp motorbike gloves - The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Gloves
Also Great

Waterproof touring glove with summer-glove feel

Alpinestars are absolute experts when it comes to gloves (and boots). The Equinox is a do-it-all waterproof glove for all seasons and conditions. Made from a mix of leather, suede, and polyamide fabric, it features a bonded Outdry (a clever Gore-Tex rival) membrane and Primaloft insulation. There’s hard armour on the knuckles, PU panels on the palms and fingers to improve grip, a finger bridge, visor wipe and they’re touch screen compatible. They’re also CE Level 1 certified. All in all, they set a very high bar.

The best cheap waterproof motorcycle gloves

weise stealth glove 305x305 - The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Gloves

You don’t need to spend £100 on a pair of waterproof motorcycle gloves; there are lots of decent sets around the £50 mark. This pair of Buffalo Shadow Gloves cost just £35 and represent great value for money.

But while the Buffalo Shadows have a great spec and get good user reviews, we’d recommend spending a tiny bit more to get an even better glove. These Weise Stealth WP gloves are a great low-bulk waterproof option. They are made from goats leather and polyester, featuring a Hipora waterproof membrane, Thinsulate lining, TPU knuckle armour and quality YKK zips. A solid budget choice.

rukka virium gloves black waterproof motorcycle glove - The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Gloves

Anatomy of a quality waterproof motorcycle glove


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 waterproof motorcycle gloves, these are the features that we think you should be looking out for.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Waterproof membrane: It's no good just having a waterproof coating on the leather or textile outer shell. This will only withstand a light shower. Your gloves are going to get wet but a quality waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex, Drystar, Outdry or Hipora will prevent water getting into the glove but also allow airflow, so your hands will breathe and not get sweaty.

  5. 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.

  6. 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).

Motorcycle gloves: Ben's Top Tips

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.

A waterproof summer glove won't keep your hands warm on a cold winter day. You'll need some thermal insultation in the glove (or a set of bar muffs and heated grips).

Our shortlist: The best waterproof motorcycle gloves

adventure motorcycle boots review 1 1024x576 - The Best Waterproof Motorcycle Gloves

 

We found over 700 different pairs of waterproof gloves on the market – that’s a lot of choices.

We quickly whittled our list down to 50 different pairs by applying our criteria above and then picking a maximum of two pairs of gloves from each manufacturer.

This left us with 14 different pairs of waterproof gloves. We then boiled this down to a shortlist of 5 of the best waterproof motorcycle gloves for you to choose from.

Our two picks above are our recommended gloves but if for whatever reason they don’t work for you, one of the pairs of gloves from our shortlist below will.

Alpinestars Equinox Outdry

Highly Recommend

Alpinestars are absolute experts when it comes to gloves (and boots). The Equinox is a do-it-all waterproof glove for all seasons and conditions. Made from a mix of leather, suede, and polyamide fabric, it features a bonded Outdry (a clever Gore-Tex rival) membrane and Primaloft insulation. There’s hard armour on the knuckles, PU panels on the palms and fingers to improve grip, a finger bridge, visor wipe and they’re touch screen compatible. They’re also CE Level 1 certified. All in all, they set a very high bar.

Richa Arctic Textile Waterproof Gloves

Our Pick

Made from a mix of abrasion-resistant textiles, and featuring a fully waterproof internal membrane, the Arctic gloves are a great blend of winter waterproof and all-season motorcycle glove. The great part is, they don’t have the bulk of a full-on winter glove but they have the waterproofing and the cold weather protection  They feature leather panels on the palms and knuckles and TPU knuckle armour to improve protection. They get rave reviews from owners and they’re also a RiDE Best Buy. 

Spada Enforcer WP Black

This is our cheapest pick. A good quality glove from Spada, slightly chunkier than the alternatives but it has a good spec. Waterproof thanks to its Hipora membrane and it also features a Thinsulate lining. There’s carbon fibre protection on the knuckles, finger knuckles and scaphoid. It also features reinforced leather palm and a visor wipe too.

Held Air N Dry Waterproof Gloves

These are genuinely clever gloves from Held. They feature a Gore-Tex membrane and, odd as it sounds, you choose which ‘chamber’ to put your hands in when you put the gloves on. Put it in the upper chamber and you’re protected by a Gore-Tex membrane, which is fully waterproof. Put them into the lower chamber and you’ve got a breathable glove, perfect for warmer days. Truly an all-weather glove – it gets rave reviews from journalists and owners alike. 

Rukka Virium Gore-Tex

This fully waterproof Gore-Tex glove from Rukka was very close to being our top pick. It features a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane which some bikers might trust over other waterproof membranes, making it worth the asking price. However, it also features touchscreen-ready fingertips, knuckle and scaphoid hard protection, added grip areas on the palm and a two-year Rukka warranty.

 

Motorcycle gloves FAQs

What are the warmest motorcycle gloves?
Undoubtedly, the warmest motorcycle gloves are heated motorcycle gloves, which are winter thermal gloves with a heating element built-in. They can be battery powered but the most powerful ones wire into your bike’s wiring loom. These ones from Gerbing are brilliant.

What’s the best leather for motorcycle gloves?
There are lots of different types of leather used in the production of motorcycle gloves. The most common is cowhide, often referred to as full-grain leather. Goatskin and kangaroo skins are used in areas such as the palm on high-end motorcycle gloves as they are stronger than cowhide and so can be used thinner to offer more feel. You might even see some gloves using stingray leather, which has calcium deposits in it and is around 20-times more abrasion resistant than cowhide.

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. Most waterproof motorcycle gloves are designed with wider cuffs, to be worn over your sleeve.

How do you dry motorcycle gloves?
It’s best to leave them to dry as naturally as possible. However, if they are unlikely to dry in this way (i.e it’s cold) then gently warm the gloves. If you place them on a towel on a radiator, for example, this will help them dry out. Drying them with a hair-drier or other forced heat is risky as the air can get extremely hot, damaging stitching and the qualities of the fabric or leather.

Sources

Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this review of the best racing gloves:

Motorcycle clothing CE Ratings:
https://www.d3o.com/ce-standards-motorcycle-clothing/