Best Gauntlet Motorcycle Gloves

John Burns
by John Burns

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Updated March, 2021

There are two kinds of gloves in this world: those with gauntlets and those without. For the most protection from an unscheduled dismount, and from the weather, the gauntleted glove is the way to go, since its gauntlet is the part that extends up to protect your wrist and seal around the outside of your sleeve – in addition to a wrist closure. Chances of it coming off your hand in a crash are greatly reduced (which is why you’ll never see anybody on a roadrace bike in anything but gauntleted gloves), and the chance of a polar vortex blowing up your sleeve are also negated.

When it comes to outright protection in glove form, racing gloves are the way to go. But if you don’t really need 150-mph crash protection, there are plenty of other gauntlet gloves you can choose from that are much more affordable than their full-race cousins and more suitable for everyday use. There are dozens upon dozens of gauntlet gloves to choose from that can handle everything from sport riding to touring and everything in between, including the occasional track day. Here are just a select few, presented in alphabetical order.

Table of Contents

Aerostich Elkskin Gauntlets – $87

Like lots of things Aerostich sells to go the distance, these will need a bit of breaking in: Once that’s accomplished, lots of rider swear by these. These have elkskin palms, for great feel and durability. Supple deerskin in other areas provides lightweight protection and comfort. A knuckle impact pad adds further protection. Adjustable, gusseted gauntlets seal over jacket sleeves, and wrist closures use both an elasticized area and a reversed hook-and-loop strap for quick adjustability. The left thumb is equipped with a resilient visor squeegee. The Brown leather on the Brown/Natural version pictured has been specially treated to give these additional water resistant qualities compared to the Black and Natural models. These come in full and half sizes 8.5-13, insulated or not, and there’s a handy size chart on Aerostich’s site, where Mr. Objective thinks of everything. Or, try them on in person if you’re passing through Duluth.

Bottom Line

  • Supple and simple

Alpinestars SP-2 v2 Gloves – $140

The second version of the SP2 glove (hence the V2), this is one of many do-a-little-bit-of-everything gloves from Alpinestars. The general construction of the glove was modeled loosely around Alpinestars’ race gloves, as you can see by the TPU injected knuckle armor, but the SP2 is entirely cow leather. Accordion panels across the fingers and thumb provide greater flexibility compared to its predecessor, and lots of perforation from wrist to tip provide air flow. Dual wrist closures help keep the glove in place, and synthetic suede reinforcements are placed in key areas to resist abrasion. An underappreciated, and easily overlooked, addition is the small elastic panel between the thumb and first finger that provides a little more comfort. Lastly, the tips of the thumb and first finger are touchscreen compatible to operate your touchscreen devices.

Bottom Line

  • Racy style and everyday wearability

Cortech Scarab 2.0 Gloves – $95

At 95 bucks, the Scarabs are a lot of glove for the money. A comfortable, supple and tough goatskin shell contains a fleece liner, an Hipora waterproof liner and 100g 3M Thinsulate insulation – for three-season cold and inclement weather protection. Hitena knuckle and wrist guards provide impact protection, along with PU foam protectors on the fingers and heels of the hand. These too are touchscreen compatible, with a TPR shield wiper blade and 3M Scotchlite reflective piping for visibility.

Bottom Line

  • Feature-packed bargain

Firstgear Kinetic Gloves – $70

These leather Firstgear jobs get high marks from everybody for their fit, comfort, and durability – also for their non-flashy, just-the-basics construction. Soft leather panels and articulated fingers give great mobility while the padded knuckle and finger armor and Knox SPS sliders mean solid protection. You also get smartphone compatible touch sensitive index fingers and thumbs, a shield wiper on the left index finger, and reflective details for after-dark visibility. Also – a two-year warranty.

Bottom Line

  • A great, solid glove for only $70

Five RFX3 Leather Gloves – $130

The RFX3 glove from Five takes heavy inspiration from its more race-oriented cousin with its goatskin construction providing suppleness, and TPR injection molding on the wrist and palm slider providing high levels of protection for those delicate areas. Of course there’s hard knuckle armor (wrapped in perforated leather), accordion panels across the fingers and thumb for flexibility, and dual wrist closures to keep everything in place. The RFX3 has a lot of the same features as a true race glove but at a much more agreeable price.

Bottom Line

  • Racy but not pricey

Held Air N Dry Gloves – $250-275

Right, thanks to GORE-TEX 2in1 technology, these are basically two gloves in one. The first chamber is unlined and fully perforated for warm-weather breathability. The second chamber is 100% waterproof, thanks to the GORE-TEX lining. Outside, you’ll find abrasion-resistant, touchy-feely kangaroo palms allied with a DuPont CORDURA leather-detailed back lining. Impact protection takes the form of molded knuckle guards and SUPERFABRIC for an extremely high level of abrasion-resistance. Elasticated leather panels on back, thumb & fingers add to the gloves’ flexibility, 3M SCOTCHLITE reflectors add visibility.

Bottom Line

  • Two gloves (or is that four?) for the price of one

Helimot Buffalo Pro – $209

Riders up and down the San Francisco bay area and Pacific Northwest will tell you Helimot is the best-kept secret in motorcycle protection. That’s because Helimot blends comfort and safety differently than the big names, and makes everything right here in the USA. Constructed from deerskin, the Buffalo pro is liner-less, but features a squeegee on the finger (you don’t know how useful this is until you try it) and reflective taping on the fingers for better visibility. The velcro retaining strap goes over the wrist unlike most other gloves that place it under, in a more vulnerable area, the fingers are pre-curved, and knuckle protection is via thick memory foam, not injection molded armor. Company founder Helmut Kluckner is committed to both comfort and safety, and will help tailor the glove to the customer or help with repairs in the event of a crash (repairs, he claims, are largely superficial most the time). Helimot customers drink the Kool-Aid, but only because the product works and lasts a long time.

Bottom Line

  • Old-world, custom craftsmanship

Joe Rocket Flexium TX Gloves – $90

The Flexium TX glove is a no-nonsense gauntlet glove that won’t break the bank. Genuine cowhide leather is topped with double stitching throughout, and extra layers of leather are integrated into the palm and side to help resist abrasion in a crash. Injection molded knuckle armor features air vents for a little circulation while riding. Accordion panels across the fingers and thumb provide good flexibility, while a large velcro cuff is supported by a secondary wrist strap to keep the glove securely in place.

Bottom Line

  • Great gloves at a great price

Racer MultiTop 2 Waterproof Gloves – $150

For sport-touring riders who are committed to riding twisty roads no matter the weather, the Racer MultiTop 2 Waterproof gloves should be right up their alley. On the surface, the MultiTop 2 has similar features to the other gloves on this list – leather outer with kangaroo palms, carbon fiber knuckle and finger armor, padded palm protectors with a kevlar underlining, plus extra grip material along the hand for better feel at the controls. What sets this glove apart is the waterproof/breathable lining, which provides a layer against wind and cold that the other gloves here don’t. This could be the difference between a three-season or four-season glove depending on your cold tolerance.

Bottom Line

  • All-weather performance glove

Rev’It Metis Gloves – $130

Rev’It has the style game down, and the Metis is just another example. Derived from the company’s equally stylish race gloves, the Metis features goatskin construction for instant comfort and feel while still providing excellent abrasion resistance. TPU knuckle armor takes the hit should you fall, and Temperfoam underneath reduces the amount of impact energy reaching your hand. Little foam protectors can be found above the fingers, and generous use of accordion paneling across the fingers and metatarsals allow your hands to flex freely.

Bottom Line

  • High-value targets from the Netherlands

RS Taichi GP-X Gloves – $110

For a glove barely tipping over the $100 barrier, the GP-X glove by RS Taichi is a very solid choice. Billed as RS Taichi’s entry level sport/street glove, the GP-X is a full-length gauntlet design with full leather outer construction and a polyester lining inside. It’s got more features than you’d expect: carbon knuckle protection, velcro closures, and flex paneling on the first three fingers for better range of movement. The “floating” knuckle armor allows the hand to move more freely, and strategic use of foam padding helps mitigate injuries in a fall. But what impressed us about the gloves when we reviewed them was how comfortable they were, instantly.

Bottom Line

  • Japanese quality, exquisite comfort

Spidi STR-5 Gloves – $140

Arriving near the end of the alphabet, the Spidi STR-5 gloves draw their inspiration from the track, but are suitable for a wide range of street-focused riding. Constructed from 0.6mm – 0.8mm goat leather combined with high-resistance suede microfiber in reinforcement areas, the STR-5 promises great comfort combined with positive feel at the controls. Generous use of padding along the side and back of the hand keeps much of the impact energy away from your hand in a fall, and carbon knuckle protection is par for the course for gloves at this level. A large foam pad on the palms, again reinforced with suede microfiber, helps protect the key area that’s often the first part of the hand to touch the ground in a crash. Dual wrist closures ensure the glove stays put.

Bottom Line

  • Italian style and performance

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John Burns
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