Waterproofing and breathability
Motorcycle gloves are made waterproof by way of a membrane located behind the outer shell fabric. That membrane should keep water out AND allow skin to breathe, otherwise it quickly gets sweaty in there!
So, what are your choices?
Gore-Tex: The priciest and most breathable of all the waterproof membranes; Gore-Tex is so confident of its quality, it guarantees its waterproofing for the life of your motorbike gloves!
Premium membranes: If a brand puts its name to a barrier membrane, it's usually very good and reliable. Examples are Alpinestars Drystar, Rev’It! Hydratex and Dainese D-Dry, which are all examples of premium waterproof membranes used in motorcycle gloves: all are hugely reliable and nearly as breathable as Gore-Tex.
"The Rest": The most common waterproof membrane you will see incorporated into motorcycle gloves are Hipora and Reissa; Both are good for the price, not quite as reliable in heavy use and definitely not as breathable.
Note: due to the cost of the membranes, it's almost impossible to produce reliably waterproof motorcycle gloves below £30.00! Proceed with caution to a purchase and only buy, if you trust the retailer or the brand.
Waterproof gloves aren't just for winter
So, you are after waterproof winter motorcycle gloves? Not surprised: Waterproof and thermal sort of go hand-in-hand. But that is not that justified: It does not just rain in winter, right?!
So, check for the level of insulation or the thickness of the lining. Overall, brands offer 3 grades of waterproof gloves:
Waterproof Mid-season Gloves: Lined and potentially lightly padded gloves, designed to combat rain as well as the inevitable risk of increased wind-chill at the same time. These gloves make riding from March to April or September to October more comfortable but will not take you snugly through the winter months.
Waterproof Thermal/Winter Gloves: These waterproof motorcycle gloves do what they say and protect you from water, wind-chill and dropping outside temperatures. Clear labelling is historically poor, so ask your GetGeared Guru for advice to get the right level of warmth and performance.
Slippery road lead to more tumbles, and when we take a tumble we stretch our hands out first instinctively to steady us and break the fall. Watch out you are protected when it is wet and do not compromise. Check for:
Knuckle hard armour or thick foam protection
Scaphoid impact protection at the wrist end of the palm
Side impact protection along the finger edge, (usually) doubled up leather with abrasion panels
Ideally you should also have carpal-bone protection at the side of the wrist
Leather or fabric, fabric or leather? In truth, it does not matter if you take a few practical considerations into account:
A premium waterproof leather glove prepared for the rough and tumble of motorcycling will not soak up water: the leather has been treated to avoid that
Below the premium end, waterproof textile gloves tend to be the ones drying out more quickly with less disruption.
Waterproof motorcycle gloves have a bad reputation for being bulky and taking away the joy of feeling the road through the handle bars, the feeling of connectedness that brings a mile to the face in every curve.
But: NOT TRUE! Waterproof motorbike gloves can be just as grippy and responsive as your unlined counterparts; Go for Gore-Tex Xtra-Fit, Outdry or MCFit laminate-lined gloves to be protected from the water AND enjoy every curve or straight like the next biker.
But, even thermal gloves no longer have to have a spongey handle: Primaloft Gold and Premium Thinsulate "G" are thin and dexterous without giving up their thermal qualities.
If you want to enjoy your ride in any weather look out for these attributes in the waterproof motorcycle gloves you choose:
Waterproof Summer Gloves: Gore-Tex Xtra-fit, OutDry or McFit will ensure excellent connectedness with road and your motorbike.
Waterproof Winter Gloves: Choose gloves insulated with Primaloft Gold and/or premium Thinsulate to retain the best grip and bike control.