How to pick the perfect workout gloves for the gym

workout gloves with weight ball and barbell


Choosing the right gear is a decision that can have a huge impact on your training. When it comes to the best workout gloves, there are many different types of gloves available and many factors to consider in your decision. Some people prefer to lift without gloves, but they can have major benefits to your grip and performance, and also protect your hands and wrists from injury.

To help you make the choose the perfect pair, here is our comprehensive guide to picking the best workout gloves.

What are the benefits of weightlifting gloves?

Weightlifting gloves can make a big difference to the grip of your hands on the bar. The softer material that lines weightlifting gloves provides a tighter, more comfortable grip when lifting heavy weights, which leads to better technique and performance.

Weightlifting gloves help to reduce calluses or blisters by protecting your palms with thick padding and also to protect your hands and wrists from repetitive strain injuries that can occur when lifting at high repetitions over an extended period of time.

Here is an in-depth breakdown of what to look for:

Better grip

Weightlifting gloves help provide a more secure grip which is important for maximizing the amount of weight that can be lifted. The alternative to weightlifting gloves is sweaty hands and fingers which can make lifts like pull-ups, chin ups, and deadlifts very difficult. Losing your grip can also be very dangerous if you are doing exercises like bench press or overhead press where dropping the weights could result in serious injury.

Palm protection

As well as preventing you from dropping the weights on yourself, weight lifting gloves are designed to minimize the risk of other types of injury. The palm offers protection against calluses and tears, while also enhancing your grip on heavy weights. When you're lifting more weight than your hands can bear, it's easy for them to slip or tear without the assistance of a sturdy glove.

In addition to protecting your palms, the reduction in friction and pressure also stops the spread of pain to other areas such as your elbows, back or neck muscles. Gloves also offer relief during long workouts due to their padding (which is especially helpful when doing exercises like pull-ups).

blonde female training back and shoulders

Wrist support

Weightlifting gloves provide crucial additional wrist support which help to prevent injuries. There is an enormous amount of pressure placed on the wrists by lifting heavy weights as they are far weaker than the actual target muscles you are trying to hit.

Just consider a 150kg deadlift; your back and legs may be able to take that strain no problem, but it's an enormous amount of weight for the wrists. Workout gloves feature adjustable wrist straps to provide extra support and ensure that you can lift injury free every time.

Improved performance

All of this added wrist support, palm protection, and extra grip, ultimately result in improved performance in the gym. The additional wrist support plus a tighter grip means that your form will be better on every lift. We all know that the key to top results is perfect form every time and gloves can guarantee help ensure correct technique.

The additional wrist support and palm protection also means that you will be able to knock out those last few crucial reps when previously your hands or wrists would have failed. It is always those last reps which provide the most benefits and so you will soon see major results if you start wearing workout gloves.

What are the best weight lifting gloves?

The best weight lifting gloves are those that feel the most comfortable and enable you to perform to your best in the gym. Some features to consider when looking for weight lifting gloves is grip size, thickness of palm padding, wrist strap type (elastic or velcro), and whether the gloves thumb holes and materials used.

If your hands get particularly sweaty while working out then this could also be an important factor in determining which pair of gloves are best for you.

You will also need to find the right size of glove, with different options available, including smaller sizes for women. Other than size, a pair of women's workout gloves will be identical to men's so there is no difference in performance.

Fingerless gloves

Fingerless and half finger weightlifting gloves are a great option for people who prefer to have their fingers free, but still want some palm protection and increased grip strength. They offer the most freedom of motion while also giving your hands support and preventing calluses from forming.

Full finger gloves

Full finger weightlifting gloves extend all the way up your arm, and are made from materials that offer top level grip ability without being too bulky or heavy.

Full finger workout gloves offer the best protection from calluses and blisters by covering the most skin, and many people with existing calluses like to wear at least one full finger glove to stop them from bursting.

What materials are the best workout gloves?

As with all workout gear, the material your gloves are made from is a very important factor to consider. There are gloves made from leather, neoprene, vinyl, and the best gloves for you may differ to your training partners'.

Some people prefer wearing leather gloves because they believe they have the best grip and create the least friction. Others feel that vinyl is best for longer workouts because it allows sweat to evaporate quickly from their hands.

Breathability is another important factor to reduce sweat and ensure a comfortable gym session, and many people find that neoprene is the most breathable fabric while still being suitably padded. As well as breathability, however, you will also need to consider durability, and most trainers find that leather is a more durable fabric than synthetic materials.

The best way to choose between different materials is to try out a few different types of gym gloves and see which are best for you. Whichever material you choose, remember that you will need to clean your gym gloves regularly or they will harbour bacteria and start to smell.

Are there any downsides to workout gloves?

Everyone is different and some people find that weightlifting gloves come with some drawbacks. Some actually experience a reduction in grip strength due to the extra layer of material, and not everyone likes the feel of workout gloves on their hands. Some people also find that they slip off easily or get in the way when you are trying to grab weights from the rack.

What are the alternatives to workout gloves?

Many people like to have their fingers free when lifting and feel that wrist support alone is enough to improve their performance. If full gloves are not for you, there are some other effective alternatives that provide all of the benefits of gloves but without any of the downsides that some people experience.

The most popular are grip straps, wraps, hooks and pads.

Wrist straps and wraps

Straps are worn to provide additional wrist support and to help prevent wrist injuries. They do this by minimizing the wrist flexing or bending that can lead to injury and pain if left unchecked. This is something so many lifters struggle with since it's impossible (or at least, very difficult) to avoid bending your wrists when lifting.

To use straps you simply wrap them around the bar, twist them tight, and then lift as normal. You will feel that a huge amount of weight is taken off your wrists and spread along your forearms instead which will ultimately help you lift heavier weights. Many lifters considered straps to be the best choice because they provide the crucial wrist support but are more breathable.

Grip hooks

While you need to wrap wrist straps around the bar, grip hooks are easier to use because all you need to do is hook them on. This takes pressure of the wrist and also secures the weights to increase your performance. Hooks are particularly effective power lifting and for pulling exercises like deadlifts, bent over rows and pull up variations. As with straps and wraps, grip hooks leave your fingers totally free and are far more breathable than full workout gloves.

Grip power pads

Grip power pads are worn instead of a traditional workout glove to provide protection to the palms, sometimes without any additional wrist support. Some people find that this is all they need to increase performance, particularly for exercises where they want a little more wrist flexibility such as pull ups, muscle ups, and bicep curls. Some pads feature straps on the wrist while others are only worn on the palm mounts.

What other training gloves are available?

Combat sport gloves

If you are into combat sports like boxing, muay thai or MMA, then there are other training gloves that are essential for those sports. These gloves are designed to prevent injuries, support your wrists, and enable you to perform without impediment. Boxing gloves have closed fingers and are padded around the knuckles and thumb, while MMA gloves uses open finger gloves so that you can still clinch and grapple.

Cycling gloves

There are also special gloves for cycling with durable grips to protect your hands over long hours holding the handlebars. Cycling gloves feature extra cushioning inside the thumb to prevent commonly occuring blisters from changing gears. Cycling gloves are made from breathable materials because cyclists often sweat a lot during long, difficult rides.

The final rep...

As with all fitness gear, choosing the best weightlifting gloves can make a big difference to your safety and performance. There are so many factors to consider, such as which gloves offer the most palm protection and wrist support, and whether your should go fingerless or full finger. The most important thing is to look for a glove that feels comfortable and helps you to lift more in the gym. You should be able to find a gym glove that fits you perfectly because they come in all sizes including smaller sizes for women.