Article by: Bryan P.
Last Edited: 28 June 2019
So, you’ve been lifting for some time – you’ve gotten a solid understanding of each muscle group along with a depth of exercises to work each of those groups. And, while you are seeing progress – you are looking for ways to add an edge to your journey towards your lift, size, or fitness goals.
Or, let’s say you are just getting started into lifting and you notice some of the more fit people at your gym lifting weights with a variety of gloves and straps and wonder if you need something similar to be taken serious.
There are numerous things to continue to improve your workouts – and for some individuals, gloves can be one of those things.
Reasons to Wear Workout Gloves
There are a variety of reasons to wear workout gloves. Some of the most common are here:
- Wrist Support (Number one recommended reason)
- Many newer glove versions have a variety of strap systems to help offer wrist support
- Sweaty hands? Us too. To ensure a firm and safe grip throughout a set, many individuals will use gloves for those heavier pull exercises (deadlifts, row movements, etc.).
- Skin Protection
Anyone that has lifted for awhile knows that it doesn’t take long for the inside of your hands to start to look like a cross between sandpaper and a neglected city street. Some individuals – especially those that work in careers where their hands need to remain soft and manicured – would benefit from placing a well made layer between their hands and those rough bars.
Hand Protection (pressure)
Like pull exercises need grip, a lot of push exercises can put pressure on the different areas of the hands. If you are experiencing pain while lifting – we recommend that you first see a doctor about it. With that said – gloves might help cushion those heavier lifts and relieve pain in different areas of the hands.
This is a VERY debatable function of weight lifting / workout gloves (with some users swearing by it and others swearing against it) – but many claim that having grip assistance can actually make your lifts more powerful. In other words, it gives your body one less thing to have to devote energy to. We are personally skeptical on this one, and can even think of arguments against it – but if you believe it to be true the mind can be very powerful.
Look around your gym – see all those people wiping down their equipment after they are done? Yeah, we don’t see it either. This is a pretty basic reason, but some people like the idea of a layer of material between them and the sweaty aftermath left on the bar by that guy with an odor more obnoxious than his obscene grunts.
Regardless of your personal reasons – it is important that you know workout gloves are definitely not for everyone – and there are certain camps of lifters that believe they actually can hinder your workouts more than help them. It is our belief, and personal experience, that gloves can help – especially in the area of wrist support and grip – but we recommend trying them out for yourself.
To help you with that, we have put together a variety of gloves that address those reasons up above for you to check out!
*This is highly debated, and appears to only be true for some lifts.
How To Choose Workout Gloves
First and foremost, when looking for a set of workout gloves, you will want to decide if workout gloves are right for you based on your own build and fitness goals. We will say, we are always ones for experimentation – and for all of the different fitness gear you could possibly purchase, workout gloves have to be one of the cheaper options. If you are unsure, the barrier to entry is relatively low and we recommend giving it a try.
Once you have decided if you do want to go down this path you will need to determine what is the most important reason (listed above) for you. Not all gloves are built the same, and many will prioritize one reason over another. If you are unsure which reason you would prioritize – we recommend prioritizing wrist support.
Best Workout Gloves For Men
Fit Active Sports – Ventilated Weight Lifting Gloves
As we stated earlier, our personal favorite reason for gloves is first and foremost – wrist support. These minimalist gloves provide wrist support as well as help with grip – those with sweaty hands should be able to appreciate it.
The gloves are constructed from many materials. Fit Active does not share what main glove construction (outer and the wrist strap) consists of, but they do say it is “resistant to water, dangerous chemicals, oils, heat and aging”. The palm itself is made of a Silicon Printed Neoprene material giving you a strong grip through your heavier lifts.
It is important to note, that while these gloves are listed as ‘mens’ gloves – they are made in a variety of sizes and should work fine for women as well.
Many users like these for the added wrist support they provide and the fact that they allow your hand to breathe while in use. Users also like these because, while they do provide some padding in the palms and lower portions of the fingers – it is not too much padding which can be detrimental to lift responsiveness.
• Great wrist support
• Well ventilated
• Some individuals might want more padding in the palms
• A small number of users had issues with both smell and quality of the product when shipped.
Best Workout Gloves For Women
Contraband Pink Label 5137 Womens Weight Lifting Gloves w/Grip-Lock Padding
As we stated under the mens section above – most gloves that you will find here come in sizes that should fit both men and women. So for the best “womens” glove we attempted to pick one that offered different benefits from the “mens”.
These contraband gloves are more traditional in the weight lifting glove space. They offer a minimalist design, with an emphasis on grip and hand protection.
The construction of these gloves is a vented mesh outer with a silicon rubber beading on the palms to provide added grip.
Many users have praised the grip of these, while appreciating their minimalist design (you will see how bulky weight lifting gloves can be below). Unlike other gloves that made it to our list, many users have praised their palm cushions and the excellent customer service provided by Contraband.
• Ventilated Mesh
• Good grip for most users
• Quick remove tabs
• Liberal return policy
• Some users found them to be a bit tight
• Grip loses some of its effectiveness at heavier weight levels
Best Nike Workout Gloves
Nike Women’s Fundamental Fitness Gloves
While the Contraband gloves are minimalist these Nike gloves take that to the next level. Even though they are constructed nicely, with a mesh – moisture wicking – outer and a synthetic leather palm, we recommend these gloves if you are looking for mild padding and skin.
Users of these gloves say they are a good quality and comfortable. They also say they wash easily. One user even points out they are good for TRX.
Note: many find these gloves fit a little small, so you may want to order a size up.
- Minimalist design
- Solid construction
- Easy to clean
- Little grip support
- No wrist support
Best Harbinger Workout Gloves
Harbinger Training Grip Wristwrap Weightlifting Gloves
While the pattern of gloves we recommend have gone in a bulky to less minimalist – we change that pattern with these. Harbinger gloves are sturdy and designed for those that need to prioritize added stability over flexibility. These gloves are designed with the heavy/power lifter in mind.
A ventilated outer helps keep your hands cool and dry, while a padded palm and leather wrap around the thumb help keep your hand protected and offer a grip. This is all finished off with a very sturdy wrist strap to help stabilize your wrists through really heavy lifts or quick and powerful movements.
A lot of users have praised the wrist support, with some claiming it has relieved wrist and forearm pain they were experiencing while lifting before.
- Very sturdy design
- A lot of stability in the wrist
- Strong grip and padding in the palm
- Rather bulky design
- Velcro needs improvement on the wrist
Best Gloves for Obstacle Course Racing
Under Armour Half Finger Training Gloves
Are you looking for another minimalist type of glove just to help keep your hands free from sweat and offer added grip? Than these gloves from Under Armour are for you.
While these aren’t the gloves famously fit Under Armour sponsored athlete, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson uses (yes, we checked), they are sure to help out many users looking for some simple help with grip during more difficult workouts.
The silicone printing on the palms add grip, while the perforated gloves help remove any excess moisture.
Users like the simplicity and durability of these gloves (many even using them for Spartan / Tough Mudder / Rugged Maniac type races). As stated above, they are minimalist in style which makes them great for grip and preventing calluses.
Note: While these gloves are “mens” they run small and may work for many women as well.
- Minimalist style
- Good grip
- Strong hand protection / Callus prevention
- Runs small
Best Adidas Workout Gloves
Adidas Fingerless Gloves
These Adidas fingerless gloves are a really good option for anyone that needs a simple glove to help keep their hands dry and improve their grip. What we like about these gloves is, due to their simplicity, they can be used for a variety of activities – not just weight lifting. Users have reported using these for alternative activities like hiking, crossfit and golf.
Expect to get the same high quality you’ve seen in other Adidas products with a “Climacool” mesh on the outer parts of the glove and lycra between the fingers to help with movement. While the Climacool fabric is designed to help pull away moisture and keep your hands cool, the gloves are also made with terry cloth fabric to help with absorption of sweat.
Many users are impressed by how thin yet durable these gloves are. They do have a very minimal amount of padding in the palm but are perfect to help keep your hands cool. They can run somewhat small/tight but come with rings to help remove the gloves.
- Keeps hands dry
- Can be too thin for some exercises
- Not recommended for heavy lifting