Summer Gloves - Giving Heat The Finger - Buyer's Guide

Recognizing that the end purpose of all riding gear is to protect your epidermis is a no-brainer, but it's not as obvious that, after a helmet, gloves are probably your most important piece of gear. And it's not an easy choice with the bewildering array of gloves available.

At the very least, a good glove should improve comfort, grip and provide protection in the event of an accident. No matter what the riding style, your body's first reaction in an accident is to extend your hands out (if you fly off your mount). When and if that tumble occurs, you'll be a happier camper if you're sporting a protective layer under those outstretched digits.

Weather conditions will be an obvious factor of glove choice, which can be a sticky decision in the dog days of summer. Yeah, it's tempting to go without or wear fingerless gloves, but don't kid yourself. Full-fingered gloves shield your mitts from blisters, sun and flying debris while still providing comfort and protection, even in the harshest summer heat.

Summer gloves come in a variety of styles and shapes, with features such as air scoops, abrasion pads and plush linings. As with jackets, cowhide is probably the most common material used. Deerskin and goatskin, however, are more flexible, and elkskin has the advantage of retaining shape and strength when wet. Technical advances in textile design have made synthetic gloves protective also, but watch out for the flimsy stuff. Look for features that pertain to your riding style; for instance, gauntlets will keep 'skeeters or icy drafts from flying up an open sleeve on long rides, but they may not be desirable for short summertime putts.

The lightweight models we've assembled here will not only keep you comfy in blazing heat, they'll also limit the intrusion of pests, chills and spills.