Gloves most definitely are not a simple thing to make, or at least they aren’t a simple thing to make “right”. Just like there are no two fingerprints that are exactly alike, there are no two hands that are exactly alike. Fingers bend in weird ways, some are fat, some are long… you get the idea. And a lot of stitching goes into making just a basic glove. When you start adding knuckle protection, palm padding, the mesh between the fingers, or stretch panels, you start adding a lot more stitching. And it takes some pretty specialized equipment to do all that stitching—palm panels need a heavier needle and thread than what’s needed for the mesh panels between the fingers. Which requires a skilled machine operator to do correctly; there’s nowhere near the amount of wiggle room stitching together a pair of gloves as there is in stitching together, say, a pair of pants. Every seam on a cycling glove needs about 2mm of overlap. Use less and the seam will blow in about six–seven rides; use more, and you’ll get uncomfortable spots that will cause blisters and hot spots. When you start thinking about it, making glove is a pretty tricky business.
Finding the right glove for you can be a chore: some riders like a thin glove for more handlebar “feel”. Others require a glove with a lot of padding to help soothe trail chatter. But picking the right size is half the battle. For that, simply measuring your hand and consulting a fit chart from the manufacturer will get you on the right path: just measure the circumference of one’s hand just below the knuckles and the length of the palm and the middle finger. If the glove you want isn’t made in a women’s specific size, start with a unisex or men’s size one size down from what you typically wear in a women’s glove. Giro LA DND ($25 USD)
Sizes: S–L (tested size L)
Colors: Dark Shadow/White Dots, Black Dots, Black Sharktooth, Bright Pink Foam, Turquoise/Bright Teal
The LA DND gloves are Giro’s women-specific version of their durable, yet minimalistic, everyday slip-on riding glove. The size large women’s glove fits my hand like a glove should, tight, but not restrictive—fingertip length was perfect.
The glove has a nice and thin but durable palm material (SuperFit), and offers a lightweight, moisture-wicking four-way stretch material on the back of the hand. The glove has reinforced fingertips, a 2mm crash pad on the palm, and a nice soft nose wipe on the thumb. While the description states that the silicone fingertips provide grip and touchscreen technology, I find the touchscreen part hit or miss depending on how my phone is feeling.
I like the feel of this glove—it is not the thinnest glove I tested, but the AxSuede material and crash pad still allow for a good direct feel on the bar. I did notice that the palm seam wasn’t always in the same location across the multiple pairs of these gloves I own, and on occasion could irritate my hand, but on the pair I tested, the seam seemed to fall above my palm calluses and there was no irritation. For $25 and five unique and stylish color options, this is the best buy of the group. ION Path Gloves ($40 USD)
Colors: Black, Stream Blue, Woodland
The Path Glove is ION's lightest and best-ventilated glove. The glove features a gel pad at the palm, a breathable mesh back-hand material, and a touchscreen compatible fingertip. I tested the size medium glove. It had a great fit in the palm and fingertips but the wrist area where the Velcro closure was, was a little big. (Note that this is not a woman-specific glove)
The glove is extremely lightweight and breathable. There are no seams on the palm and the material is thin such that you have an excellent feel on the grips. There is extra silicone print on the fingertips, more than most gloves, which adds extra brake lever control, especially if it’s a bit damp out. The microfiber panel on the thumb was soft on the nose too.
I didn’t’ notice any durability issues during testing, or any irritation, but one really needs to test these lightweight gloves long-term to see how they hold up. Overall I was impressed with the light stretchy feel of the glove and the added gel pad does help reduce fatigue in my hands on those long days on the bike. Sombrio Women’s Lily Gloves ($30 USD)
Colors: Grape Pine Cone, Surf Marble, Black
The Lily Glove is a women’s specific multi-use cuffless (slip-on) glove that has a minimalist design. The glove uses an AxSuede palm fabric (like Giro DND), a terry-moss thumb panel for nose dribbles, and Kevlar thread construction for extra durability.
I tested the size large lily glove. It has an excellent fit all around. I love the slip on cuffless design, the stretchy feel, and yes I do kinda love the mustache and lips design silicone fingertips. That being said, the gloves are not touchscreen compatible nor do they offer any extra palm padding—very minimalist. While the glove has a great fit and feminine look, I didn’t love the feel on the bar. It was possible that the AxSuede fabric was a bit too thin for my hands and I needed more palm padding, but I did feel a bit of irritation on some of the longer test rides.
I really would need to do a long term review on the glove to be able to factor out other causes of the irritation, like the other sports or my day job working in the dirt with my hands. So aside from that, if you are looking for a durable glove with a minimalist design, I think it is worth testing these babies out—you can even buy last year’s colors for $21. IXS BC-X3.1 Women’s gloves ($45 USD)
Colors: Black, Fluo Red, Purple, Turquoise
The BC-X3.1 Women’s glove is IXS’s women specific lightweight breathable glove that has seamless palm design, stretch panels on the backside, mesh ventilation, silicone grip print, and reinforced fingertips. I tested the size large women specific glove. It had a skin-tight fit on the hand as a slip-on glove should, and fingertip lengths were comparable with the other gloves.
The glove has no padding on the palm or back of the hand and does not appear to be touchscreen compatible—another minimalistic design. However, the gloves do have these little silicone knuckle bars that might add a little protection in a crash but probably function more as a design feature than anything. The mesh fabric offers excellent ventilation and breathability and the glove had a nice barely-there feel on the bar. It wasn’t the thinnest glove I tested, but I was impressed by the comfort and functionality—it’s a good-looking glove that gets the job done.Pearl Izumi Women’s Summit Glove ($35 USD)
Colors: Smoked Pearl, Mist Green
The Summit Glove is Pearl Izumi’s everyday lightweight trail glove that offers back of the hand protection with a women’s specific fit. The glove features a synthetic leather palm, silicone fingertips, touchscreen compatibility, Velcro wrist closure, and soft surface to wipe the nose.
I tested the Summit Glove in the women’s size large. It was a snug fit. I was so used to all the slip-on lightweight gloves that this mid-weight glove felt thicker and tighter than the other options and it took me awhile to readjust. That being said, the glove had great breathability, it was comfortable and had a good grip and feel on the bars. I also liked that it offered a wee bit of added protection on the back of the hand.
Although I prefer cuffless, the closure on the wrist wasn’t bulky or uncomfortable and I liked how it allowed a bit of adjustability. Overall, these gloves are well constructed and appear to have good long term durability. For a price comparable to all the others, I think these are one of the top contenders and I’d put the Summit Glove as my top pick. 100% Track gloves ($27.50 USD)
Colors: Seven options
I tested the Track glove in Cyan, size medium. The glove is not a women specific glove but still has a solid fit (I typically wear a size large in women gloves, size medium in men's). Fingertip length was good, and the glove had a nice snug but not-too-tight feel around the palm and wrist cuff. The glove is another ultra-light slip on, minimalist glove. The glove features a single layer Clarino® palm, stretchy poly mesh ventilated backside, silicone palm graphics for grip, and touchscreen compatibility.
While I experienced some irritation with some of the thinner gloves, I was pleased with how the 100% glove felt. No irritation on the palm, although I prefer a bit of padding to reduce fatigue when I am out on long rides. The glove was the lightest weight glove of the group and had good breathability—no sweaty palms. I also had excellent feel on the bars.
My only concern with these gloves is durability. From visual inspection, it appears that the seams may be a weak point on the glove and because the palm material is so thin, I would plan to have a backup pair around to replace mid-season—which I think is a totally normal replacement interval for thin gloves that take a regular beating. For the price, if you like to ride in gloves that feel like they don’t exist, these are a really good option to check out.