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Buying Cycling Gloves

Most of the year, cycling gloves perform two useful functions: protect the palms of your hands in the event of a tumble and help absorb vibration from the road or trail. During cold weather, keeping your hands warm is a necessity and you will want a pair of full-fingered, insulated gloves.

Padding and Materials
In addition to dampening vibration, the padding in cycling gloves helps prevent finger numbness. This condition can sometimes develop during long rides or multi-day trips. It is caused by pushing your hands against the handlebars, which compresses the prominent nerve that runs up the centre of your palms. Padding materials include gel inserts (the best shock absorbers) and open-cell foam.

Most good quality gloves have full-grain leather palms and a lycra backing. If you are looking for the ultimate in hot weather, short-fingered gloves with cotton-knit backings are the coolest (temperature) gloves. While cotton is a little cooler it does dry more slowly and stretches faster than Lycra-backings. For durability, be sure to look for palms made of full-grain leather or similarly rugged synthetic leather.

Full-fingered cycling gloves generally offer less shock absorption than short-fingered gloves becuase they usually have less padding. However, they are warmer and give you extra protection during falls, or when whipped by passing branches.

Cold Weather
For cycling in colder weather, you will want a pair of insulated full-finger gloves. At temperatures approching freezing and below, insulated lobster-style (first two and last two fingers together) gloves keep your fingers even warmer and allow the dexterity needed to operate brakes and shifters.

Fit
Cycling gloves should fit snugly. A glove that’s too big will allow your hand to slip and slide inside it as you grip your handlebar. A glove that’s too tight will restrict your hand movement. Most cycling gloves will stretch over their lifespan.


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