A biker atop his motorcycle is like a knight atop his steed in more ways than one. For example, he needs armor in all the same places, including his hands.
As a writer, I want to keep my hands as safe as possible, so I’m always looking for the best gauntlet motorcycle gloves. From budget picks to high-end racing gloves, these are my favorites.
Best Gauntlet Motorcycle Gloves – Quick Picks
Scorpion EXO SGS MK II Gloves: Best Gauntlet Motorcycle Gloves Overall
Alpinestars GP Pro R3 Gloves: Best High-End Track Gloves
Klim Induction Gloves: Best Hot-Weather Gauntlet Motorcycle Gloves
Alpinestars SMX-1 Air V2 Gloves: Best Value Gauntlet Motorcycle Gloves
REAX Superfly Mesh Gloves: Best Budget Gauntlet Motorcycle Gloves
Reviews of the Best Gauntlet Motorcycle Gloves
I love these gloves primarily because they offer high quality at a low price. They're not the least expensive on the list, but the price is under $100 and very affordable. The base is goat leather and the knuckle protector carbon fiber, both high-end materials providing protection and comfort at the same time.
The protection is extensive too. In addition to the knuckle protector, the gloves also have palm sliders in case you land palm-first on the pavement.
Generally, I like a longer wrist than the MK II has, and the VELCRO isn't the most secure of wrist closures. However, this makes them good gloves for warm weather and track riding since they have a low profile.
They're also super comfortable thanks to the pre-curved design and perforated leather that promotes airflow over the skin. The touchscreen pad on the index finger is a big plus as well, allowing you to set your music or GPS without taking off your gloves.
- Great value
- Goat leather base
- Carbon-fiber knuckle protector
- Palm sliders
- Pre-curved fingers and palms
- Perforated ventilation
- Touchscreen-compatible index finger
- VELCRO wrist loosens
If you have a bigger budget, I recommend the GP Pro R3s from Alpinestars. The base uses a mix of cow and goat leather, plus kangaroo leather on the palm, for a great stretch that still resists abrasion no matter how it's twisted in a crash. Plus, the hard knuckle protector, palm reinforcement, and even finger-tip padding add impact and slide protection.
Where the R3s really shine is comfort and fit. I like the longer cuff that stays in place thanks to a double-closure system as well as the accordion panels and stretch insert that make the gloves move with your hands, giving you better control of the bike.
- Cow, goat, and kangaroo leather
- Hard knuckle protector
- Palm and side reinforcement
- Finger-tip padding
- Long double-closure cuff
- Accordion panels
- High-end price
- Not touchscreen compatible
The big downside to gauntlet gloves is that they can be constricting and uncomfortable. This is especially true in hot weather. That's why I recommend the Klim Induction Gloves if you live in a hot, humid climate or primarily ride in the summer. The main reason is the extensive perforation as well as the mesh backhand that provide airflow superior to most other gloves.
The protection is really nice too. The knuckle protector is carbon fiber complemented by 5mm foam, and the goat leather base along with reinforced palm provide abrasion resistance for asphalt.
Finally, I like the touchscreen-compatible fingers and the zipper on the cuff. It's not quite as secure as other designs, but it is more consistent and reliable.
- Excellent airflow
- Carbon-fiber knuckle protector
- 5mm foam knuckle pads
- Goat leather
- Reinforced palm
- Touchscreen-compatible fingertips
- Loose cuff
- Less durable
- Minimal stretch
Here's another Alpinestars option at a much lower price than the R3s. It doesn't have the same long cuff, but it does have some features the R3 doesn't, namely touchscreen-compatible fingertips.
Overall, the Air V2s are much simpler, but they still provide decent protection with a leather base and polymer knuckle protector. There's also foam padding in certain areas for extra cushioning.
As for comfort, note that these gloves run small and can be tight if you have wide hands. However, I did like the added stretch to the back of the glove, which allows better gripping.
- Great value
- Touchscreen-compatible fingertip
- Extra foam padding
- Extra stretch
- Short cuff
- Narrow fit
These are a great budget option if you want a straightforward short-cuff glove. The base combines cow and goat leather, and the knuckle is also wrapped in leather for extra abrasion protection.
Where this glove stands out is hot-weather comfort. On top of a mesh backhand and extensive perforation, the lining is moisture-wicking. This keeps your hands from getting sweaty and uncomfortable.
The main downside? The thumb is really short for some reason. If you have long fingers, this might not be the best bet.
- Budget price
- Cow and goat leather
- Mesh backhand
- Moisture-wicking liner
- Touchscreen-compatible thumb and fingertip
- Short thumb
Gauntlet Motorcycle Gloves vs Standard Gloves
Gauntlet gloves date back to the Middle Ages. Back then, knights wore gauntlet gloves with metal armor to protect their hands and wrists during sword fights. Today, motorcycle riders wear them to protect their hands and wrists in case of an accident.
Gauntlet gloves differ from standard motorcycle gloves in that they provide protective armor in vulnerable places, most commonly the knuckles but often at the palms, wrists, and fingertips as well. If you clench your fist, you can see how exposed the knuckle bones are, so extra protection there is a good idea.
Like standard motorcycle gloves, you want a gauntlet glove that resists abrasion. In a crash, you’re likely to reflexively stick your hands out to catch yourself. Without protective material, the pavement is going to scrape off the skin as you slide.
The best material for preventing this is leather. While cowhide is the go-to for jackets and pants, goat leather is more common for gloves because it’s more flexible, meaning you can move your hands better to control the bike.
Top-shelf gloves may go so far as to combine multiple types of leather, maximizing their properties in different parts of the glove. For example, cowhide works well on the back of the hand, where flexibility is less important, while goat leather is best at the fingers. You might then find kangaroo leather on the palms because it has superior abrasion resistance.
Knuckle Protector Material
Knuckle protectors are made of hard materials like polymer composites. I particularly recommend getting a glove with a carbon-fiber knuckle protector if possible. It’s usually a bit more expensive, but it provides superior protection and is more comfortable because of its lighter weight.
Extra Protective Features
Aside from the knuckle protector, I recommend looking for armor or reinforcements in other parts of the glove as well. The most important place is the palm since this is where most of the abrasion will happen if you stick out your hands and slide across the pavement. Palm protection could come in the form of simple material reinforcement or composite protectors.
Other places where extra protection is beneficial:
Unfortunately, the hard armor of gauntlet gloves can make them a bit less comfortable compared to standard gloves. To minimize this, look for a glove with plenty of stretch and a curved design. Additionally, perforation and mesh provide airflow, a necessity if you live in a hot environment.
You should also make sure to get the right size. Each manufacturer is different, so measure your hands and check them against the sizing guide.
I always look for gloves with touchscreen compatibility, meaning you can still activate your phone’s screen with the gloves on, at least with a finger or two, thanks to conductive pads at the fingertips. This way, if you need to stop to look at a map or make a call, you don’t have to take off your gloves.
If you’re like me, your hands are your life. You should give them the same protection on your motorcycle as you do the rest of your body. My top recommendation is the Scorpion EXO SGS MK II, and I also like the Alpinestars GP Pro R3 for maximum protection on the track.