The choice between full finger or half finger gloves goes way beyond aesthetics. Riding style, location, handlebar style and physiology all come into play; who knew a pair of gloves could be so complicated?
While the choices might be numerous, the decision doesn’t have to be complicated. There are five major factors that we’ve identified in choosing the ideal pair of gloves for your riding style.
1. What kind of temperatures will you be riding in?
Temperature of your average ride is a key consideration when buying new gloves. While it’s true that the less material you cover your hands with, the more cooling airflow your hands will see, keep in mind the effect that sweaty hands might have on your ride. A good light pair of gloves can keep you in control when the temperatures are high. For summertime rides, a pair of half finger gloves like Endura’s FS260 Pro will provide the grip you need without holding in the heat.
Conversely, in particularly cold temperatures, well-insulated gloves are key to keeping your digits functioning properly. Consider a glove like 45Nrth’s Sturmfist 5 when dealing with sub-zero temperatures. If you’re looking for increased dexterity in a cold-weather full-finger glove, Endura’s Luminite are still thin enough to feel controls and buttons.
2. Do you suffer from hand fatigue?
If your hands hurt when riding, a simple solution can be to increase the padding on your gloves, to absorb and spread out the force from the handlebars across a larger area of your palm. Gloves like Endura Women’s Strike II Glove are particularly effective at this. If padding is all you need your gloves for, then a half finger gloves are the way to go.
3. Do you run a high risk of hand injury while riding?
Mountain bikers especially run a high risk of injuries to their hands, often from riding too close to the native flora or fauna on the trails. Fingerless gloves should be avoided by mountain bikers, as the grip and protection of a full-fingered glove like the IXS BC-X3.1 Freeride is more suited for that purpose.
4. What is your riding style?
While full-finger gloves are more appropriate for mountain biking, your riding style will dictate whether a half-finger glove also appropriate. If you ride on the road, commute, or adventure-ride, a half-finger glove can offer you the palm protection you need without the extra material that might affect fit, comfort, or temperature.
5. How are your hands shaped?
The final consideration is one of hand shape. While there are a plethora of full-fingered gloves out there to suit virtually any hand shape, if your hands are particularly wide or narrow, you’ll likely find that a half-finger glove allows you to get a better palm fit, without having too much or too little material in the fingers. Comfort is key here, and glove fit should always be the deciding factor when looking at new gloves.
Remember that you should always try gloves on before making a purchase, to ensure that you get the best fit possible. Head to your local Live to Play Sports dealer for advice, and to try on a few different pairs of gloves before you commit to a pair! Happy riding!