Ask RideApart: What Are The Best Affordable Lightweight Motorcycle Gloves

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Racer Mickey Gloves

You ask, the community answers. It’s Ask Rideapart. This week: What are the best affordable lightweight motorcycle gloves?

This question comes to us by reader Jason Channell, who asks: “What are the best lighweight motorcycle gloves under $35?”

Both RideApart and CycleWorld responded with options a little over $100. Us with the $119 REV’IT! Sand Pro and CW with the $175 Kushitani Air GPS.

Jason didn’t balk at the price, saying, “I once wore a pair of $35 gloves that felt like a pair of $35.

So, let’s rephrase the question into three price tiers. What are the best lightweight gloves south of $50, from $50-100 and price-no-object.

RideApart? We’d just spend up to the $116 Racer Mickeys, which feature significant, abrasion-resistant SuperFabric impact protectors/sliders for both the knuckles and palm, elevating their level of protection way beyond that of most short cuff gloves. Add to that the fact that these things fit the human hand almost unbelievably well and you just have a winner.

If we only had $50 to $100, we’d opt for the Alpinestars Thunders, which slack a little on the abrasion protection, but excel in impact attenuation while offering excellent ventilation. Less than $50? Well, the Firstgear Mesh-Tex Gloves have both knuckle protectors and leather palms, but they’re pretty cheap and nasty. We’d spend more money since we’re partial to our hands.

Which lightweight gloves would you recommend to Jason at each price point?

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  • Piglet2010
    • Michael Howard

      I love mine. My only complaint is that, like most textile gloves, Velcro™ is not friendly to them.

  • Jorn Bjorn Jorvi

    I’ve had many pairs of Astars gloves, including the smx which appear to be the predecessors to the thunders, and they’ve all been a little off. I’d suggest getting gloves from a glove company like held or racer. Poorly made gloves are obviously something you’ll regret during a crash, but they’ll also cause premature fatigue and rub you sore when you’re upright.

  • Mike Swift

    I’ve been using Alpinestars Spartan gloves for about 8 months and I love them, think they were £35 in the UK, not sure on US price. they’re definitely summer gloves though, VERY lightweight with no warmth or insulation at all but a lot of protection for knuckles and fingers. when it’s cold but dry and I can’t be bothered with the full winter gloves I wear a thin pair of stretchy synthetic liner gloves underneath them and it works great, warm and still with good feedback from the controls. then just hope it doesn’t rain cos they’ll be like sponges.

  • Jeremy Alvarado

    alpinestars thunders are crap had them for a few months and they fell apart at the palm…. never went down or anything

  • Dan

    Rev it Monster gloves for about $100. Look good, nice ventilation, good crash protection for a short glove. I have full gauntlet gloves for serious riding, but the rev it’s are my go-to for around town.

    • Lourens Smak

      I agree… Rev’it Monster is one of the best options in the $50-100 range.

    • JP

      Rev’it gloves in general fit really nicely as well, especially around the fingers.

  • Joel Sparks

    Alpinestars Thunders are garbage. This is how mine have held up to 8 months of rubber handgrips; they look like Chewbacca mitts. I can’t imagine them holding up to anything more abrasive (the road). I’ve never been as disappointed in a motorcycling product from a reputable company.

    • kent_skinner

      I saw the photo and thought they held up to the crash pretty well. Then I read your comments.
      Holy crap! This is making me reconsider the pair of Alpinestars electric gloves I’ve been thinking about.

      • Joel Sparks

        Haha, yeah, they’ve been through nothing more stressful than Renthal soft rubber grips and Korean smog. I’ve had good Alpinestars gloves in the past that lasted years before the leather gave out, but the fact that they’re continuing to manufacture these with such an obviously crap material makes me leery about the rest of their current lineup. It’s pretty rare that a piece of kit from a legitimate manufacturer simply falls apart these days.

    • Wes Siler


  • Michael Love

    My Teknic gloves lasted better than my A-stars.

  • Mark D

    I’ve got a pair of Icon Justice gloves that do double duty as bicycle gloves, and scooter/urban gloves. I wouldn’t want to slide on the palms at 50mph, but at city speeds, they are fine. They are light, breathable, easy to get on, have a leather palm and knuckle protection, and are CHEAP. A good buy, if you’ve got real gauntlets for faster riding

  • Chris

    elkskin ropers. not too expensive, they don’t feel cheap, made in the USA, look tough (subjective) just get em.

  • Brian

    I think we need to address the needs or the situation. We talking about like a very brief commute or bop around doing errands kinda slip on easy glove? A well ventilated but still protective glove for that weekend day long ride? A glove that is protective but doesn’t look like it was meant to go to the race track? A glove for “cruising”? A glove for going offroad or getting dirty? There are lots of gloves made with different aspects of use in mind. It all depends on what the user is going to be doing, so as to have to the right tool for the job.

  • anon

    It’s pretty hard to beat the Scorpion SGS’ for short gloves. Superfabric all over the fingers and thumb, Knox SPS sliders on the palms all for $80? I can’t think of many shorty gloves that offer much better than that at any price.

  • motoguru.

    “What are the best lighweight motorcycle gloves under $35?”

    It’s pretty tough to beat the ICON Twenty-Niner’s in the $35 and under category… #leatherpalm

  • Ayabe

    Anything without palm sliders isn’t worth wearing IMHO, I mean you’re going to lose your hands. If you’re going to throw money down the drain on BS gloves, just get the cheapest Joe Rocket’s you can find(my gardening gloves have more protection). That way you’ll have an extra $15 to spend on medical bills vs the $35 BS gloves.

    Just spend $100 and get something decent…please.

  • Aaron L

    There’s no reason not to wear full gauntlets…..Around town or not, if you want to save your wrist’s skin, gauntlets are just as easy to get on and off as shorty’s.
    I’ll pitch my vote for the Price-Is-No-Object category and go Knox Handroids…
    After racing with AXO Aragon boots, I’ve become a massive fan of BOA lacing. Can’t imagine it doesn’t work well with hand protection. Plus, those gloves are sick!

    • Michael Howard

      I’m guessing you’re not familiar with hot humid summers. ;) Here in the Midwest USA, it takes a lot of willpower to force yourself to wear even the lightest, most ventilated gloves.

      • Aaron L

        Fair enough, my riding summers were all spent in upstate NY near Lake Ontario. So I guess I was a bit spoiled.
        Still, sweat or a skin graft?

        • Piglet2010

          Or getting into a major accident because your gear makes you overheat, ruining your concentration? Unless one has the time to train and be conditioned as well as a professional racer, as well as not doing rides several hours long, race gear may not be overall the safest choice, even if it is most protective in an accident.

          There have been plenty of summer days where I have had a strong urge to rip even my textile gloves and vented boots off while waiting at a stop sign or red light – racing gauntlets would be unbearable.

          • Aaron L

            Subjectivity crossroads. I take one risk, you take another.

        • Michael Howard

          Oh, I wear gloves. Just not full gauntlets in the dog days of summer.

      • subaruzi

        I live in New Orleans and always wear gloves. Really easy to do.

    • Wes Siler

      Ick, no.

    • subaruzi

      I just got the Knox recon for 100.

      So far very happy with them. Coming off 5 years of cortech adrenaline gloves.

      Check the recons. Great price

  • Dan

    I had a pair of A* Thunders & agree they’re garbage. They fell apart in the first month of daily use.
    For quick low-speed trips in the summer, I’ve got a pair of Fox Dirt Paw that were cheap & have lasted a good 10 years so far. I’ve even been down on the asphalt once and dirt countless times in them. I don’t trust them for anything involving speed, though… for that I want palm sliders.
    Putting up the cash for Held, Racer, Rev’It or other mid to high end gloves with a palm slider is the only way to go in my opinion. I’ve got a pair of old Teknic full gauntlet with palm sliders that are great… wish the company was still around.

  • phoebegoesvroom

    I really like Aerostich’s hot weather vegan and three season vegan ($47 and $57, respectively), but I wear the three seasons all the time now and have relegated the hot weather ones to bmx bike riding because I like the extra protection of a longer-cuffed glove. I don’t really know if I would trust a $35 glove to protect me very well. I’ve had both pairs of gloves for several years now, and they’ve both held up incredibly well; the hot weather ones more so because I use them very infrequently, but the three seasons are still in great shape.

  • Jason Channell

    I previously has a pair of Fox Bomber gloves that I paid about $50 for, two years ago. They were great gloves, with good feel, and held up well, as I ride nearly daily, here in the Dallas area. I was looking for something solid as a replacement, with dropping major coin.

  • Andre Yee

    I’m going for the 50 -100 range. I’ve used this

    Part mesh, part leather, with carbon knuckle, palm sliders and touch screen capability.
    Has held up pretty well for the past 6000 miles and 2 low speed crashes ~20 mph
    Leather is scuffed at the area of impact, but that’s about it
    Only signs of wear and tear are unravelling of some of the mesh parts, due to being stuck on by velcro

  • R13

    Fox Bomber. Been running them for two summers now and they are my favorite. $50.

  • Mofles Gutz

    I can’t justify spending less than 100 on gloves. I always wear gauntlets regardless of weather. I had good luck with A* SP1s. Held Evo Thrux. Both I’ve purchased for less than $150. The SP1 lasted about 3 years. Can’t say the same for the Held but I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another pair. The fit was better than A*.

  • HollywoodRider

    no object– held phantom 2 period

  • anthony

    The Scorpion SGS Gloves are the best hands down ( pun intended) for price and protection offered in any short glove.