For how small your hands and fingers are, they sure seem pretty important, both for daily life and motorcycle riding. They’re smaller and more fragile than other body parts, but because they are so important, riders should go out of their way to protect them by picking the right pair of gloves.
To start things off, there’s the choice of whether or not to have gauntlets. Gauntlets are extensions that cover the wrists and go over the ends of the sleeves of your jacket. This extra coverage offers more protection, keeps skin dry, and prevents wind from rushing into your jacket sleeves. Many riders prefer gauntlet-free gloves, often called “shorties” or touring gloves, mostly because of their looks, but gauntlets definitely have a few more advantages when riding.
One of our employees heard two very useful pieces of advice from the instructor at the local MSF Course (which we highly recommend for all riders). First, you want a glove that is just slightly too big for your hands, leaving just a quarter of inch extra room above the fingers. This is because when you curl your hands around the throttle, brake, or clutch, the fingers of the glove tighten and fold. It’s easy to identify new riders because they’ll shake their hands at red lights or after getting off their bikes since their fingers have gone numb from the glove being too tight. Second, you want a glove with minimal stitching on the palm side, especially at the top of the palm. When there’s stitching, there is a line of holes in the leather, which acts just like a perforation in a sheet of paper. If any tension is applied to the glove, like when diving onto the pavement, the stitching is the most likely place to rip, which will expose the palm of your hand and lead to lots of pain and road rash. For this same reason, many gloves don’t have ventilation holes on the palm side.
Otherwise, grab a pair made of sturdy leather at the very least. Many shops sell winter or summer gloves that have different inner linings to provide optimal rider comfort. Even though safety is the number one factor when choosing any motorcycle gear, comfort is important too simply because anything uncomfortable will be a distraction while riding and take focus away from the road.