Gel gloves are an affordable way to make cycling more comfortable by absorbing vibrations. When buying gel gloves, consider the materials, design, and thickness of the glove, and ensure that the gel matches the stress points on the hand. Try on several pairs to find the best fit and style.
In the world of cycling, vibrations are the enemy. Bike manufacturers research the best frame materials to dampen shock and vibration, often using expensive or difficult-to-manufacture materials to combat such discomfort. For the everyday cyclist, however, there are easier ways to keep your hands and wrists comfortable while riding a bike without spending a fortune on a state-of-the-art bicycle. The first and least expensive step to making your bike more comfortable is a good pair of gel gloves.
To dampen the vibrations caused by rough terrain or even flat roads, the gel gloves have inserts at specific points on the palm to absorb the vibrations before they reach your hand. The gel itself is a gel-like substance held within the palm of the glove, and because it is firm yet soft, it dampens vibration providing comfort for the palms. Gel gloves can come in a variety of styles and thicknesses and it will be up to you to try out several pairs to find the best fit and style.
When shopping for gel gloves, consider the materials, design and thickness of the glove, as these factors will have the biggest impact on your satisfaction. Lycra materials will allow for more comfort and flexibility, allowing your hand to expand and contract comfortably, but it is also more susceptible to tearing than other materials. For a sturdier glove, try leather or synthetic gloves which will allow for less flex but more durability.
Decide whether you want full-finger gloves — gloves that cover the entire finger — or fingerless gloves, which cover the palm but are cut at the first or second knuckle of each finger. Gloves with or without fingers are a matter of preference, so choose the ones you feel most comfortable with.
The most important consideration when purchasing gel gloves is the thickness and placement of the gel. Choose a glove that is too thin and you may not get adequate vibration damping. Pick one that’s too thick, and you’ll find that your hands tire quickly from the extra flex your hand will do to compensate for the thickness of the gel. Try to choose gel gloves that allow you to grip the handlebars normally, but make sure you can feel the gel doing its job under your palm.
It is very important to ensure that the gel on the palm of the glove matches the stress points on the hand. The gel won’t do you any good unless it gets between your palm and the handlebars, and most gloves don’t cover the entire palm with the gel. Then try on several pairs to make sure the gel placement is right for your hand; remember, the fit may vary based on glove size or brand, so try on as many as possible until you find the right ones for you.