Best Climbing Gloves

When you are climbing, nothing should matter but you, the pitch, the challenge, and the safety of your comrades that accompany you.  The last thing you need to be worrying about is what type of equipment and clothing you have with you, so it pays to consider what type of equipment and clothing that you use long before you begin your climb.  Considering your hands are likely to be the first and most important contact between you and the rock face, choosing the proper gloves for your climbing style is important.  Here are a few of our favorite examples of the best climbing gloves available on the market today.

Outdoor research seamseeker
  • Outdoor research seamseeker
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Flexible
  • Versatile
  • Price: See Here
Black diamond crag
  • Black diamond crag
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable
  • Great fit
  • Price: See Here
Petzl cordex
  • Petzl cordex
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comfortable
  • Great protection
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Climbing Gloves

 

 

Outdoor research seamseeker

Outdoor research seamseeker
The purpose of wearing a pair of climbing gloves is two-fold. First, gloves are designed to protect your hands from the elements, and second a pair of gloves is designed to provide the flexibility and dexterity you need to grip the wall or rock effectively. These gloves by Outdoor Research managed to perform both these jobs beautifully.
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Overall Fit

These gloves come in sizes ranging from small to extra-large, so finding a pair that suits your needs shouldn’t be that much of a problem. Also, most customers find that they are true to the size that they expected, and they don’t show any indication of shrinkage or excessive stretching over time.

Manual Dexterity

These ¾ gloves are fairly flexible given the extra padding and materials used for protection, and the fingers enjoy a wide range of independent motion, so gripping the crack in the wall or rock face is a relatively easy thing to do.

Overall Construction

These gloves offer a combination of polyester and spandex at the back of the hand, a goat leather palm, and a neoprene cuff. They provide just enough stretch overall to allow for easy movement without restriction, and protection for the palms.

Comfort

While the extra gel padding at the palm may be a bit much for some users, we found the gloves to be very comfortable overall, with little restriction in the upper palm and fingers, and a comfortably snug fit throughout the lower palm and the back of the hand.

Durability

The combination of materials in these gloves makes them very durable, and usable in a wide array of climbing situations. If properly cared for, there is no reason why these gloves wouldn’t last for years to come.

Summary

The Seamseeker gloves by Outdoor Research may not win any awards for looks or fashion, but when it comes to climbing gloves, they are hard to beat. They successfully combine superior flexibility and protection in a way that is easy on the hands and the wallet at the same time. While the extra gel padding may not be desired by some climbers, overall this is a great climbing glove.
Pros
  • Great flexibility and dexterity
  • ¾ design is very versatile
  • Combination of materials allow for a great fit without too much stretching over time
Cons
  • Gel padding at palm may be annoying to some.
 

Black diamond crag

Black diamond crag
Black Diamond is a leading brand in the world of climbing, and with very good reason. They have consistently provided gear that is well made, affordable, and designed with the climbing enthusiast in mind. These crag climbing gloves are a great testament to that tradition.
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Overall Fit

These gloves come in sizes ranging from extra small to extra-large. Most customers find that they fit as expected about ¾ of the time, with some finding them to be a bit on the smaller size. However, the glove fits snugly overall, and there is little sliding or shifting, which is essential while you’re on the mountain.

Manual Dexterity

Generally speaking, these gloves offer adequate flexibility for climbing and belaying situations, and most people will find that they are a great choice for scrambling around rocky slopes and bouldering as well. While we wouldn’t suggest their use in situations where fingertip sensitivity is important such as crack climbing or smearing, overall these gloves work very well indeed.

Overall Construction

These gloves feature a combination of synthetic leather and breathable stretch mesh material that allows for great overall flexibility and strength. Reinforcement is added to the index finger and thumb crotch, which make it ideal for handling belay lines or ropes in general.

Comfort

These gloves are some of the more comfortable ones we’ve found, and most climbers don’t really notice them until they think about the protection that is offered by the tough synthetic leather.

Durability

The synthetic leather material and flexible mesh backing combine to make a very durable glove overall, and the hook and loop closure allows for a secure fit, which leads to overall longevity.

Summary

While they don’t provide as much manual dexterity or fingertip sensitivity as we would like in the best climbing glove, the Black Diamond Crag Climbing gloves excel in protection and overall fit. They would be a great addition to any climbing gear package.
Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Reinforced index finger and thumb crotch
  • Overall great fit
Cons
  • Manual dexterity somewhat lacking.
 

Petzl cordex lightweight

Petzl cordex lightweight
If you’re looking for a fantastic belay or repelling glove to add to your climbing gear, the Petzl Cordex Lightweight gloves should certainly be on the list. They provide a great balance between protection, durability and flexibility overall.
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Overall Fit

These gloves are sized between small and extra-large, so finding a pair that fits your needs shouldn’t be too much of a problem. They do tend to run a little large about a third of the time, so you might want to consider sizing down for a more proper fit.

Manual Dexterity

While these gloves don’t offer the same manual dexterity as many ¾ gloves, they do come pretty close to it for full finger gloves. They are ergonomically designed to maximize a fingers range of motion and still offer a good amount of protection. However, some climbers might find the extra leather at the fingertips to be more of a dexterity hindrance then anything else

Overall Construction

These gloves from Petzl are constructed from a combination of durable goat skin leather and breathable nylon material for increased overall durability and ventilation where you need it most. In addition, strategic areas, such the index finger, thumb crotch, and finger tips have a double layer of leather for added protection and durability.

Comfort

Not surprisingly, these are some of the most comfortable gloves to wear for repelling and belaying purposes that you can find. While we consider them a bit on the heavy side for crack climbing overall, they are more than comfortable for general climbing use.

Durability

With the combination of thicker goat skin leather and strategic reinforcement of typical problem areas, these gloves will likely last for quite a few years with proper care and maintenance.

Summary

While these gloves may run a bit large, and do have slightly limited manual dexterity, when it comes to a great belay or repelling glove, the Petzl Cordex Lightweight gloves are a very solid choice for any climber.
Pros
  • Very durable construction
  • Provides superior protection to the hands
  • Comfortable to wear
Cons
  • Slightly less manual dexterity than we would have liked
  • Tends to run a bit large.
 

Metolius finger

Metolius finger
These ¾ finger gloves from Metolius offer a great combination of superior manual dexterity and protection for your hands while climbing. While they may not be the first choice for all situations, they certainly should be in the running for your go-to climbing gloves.
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Overall Fit

These gloves only come in small and large, so finding a good fit might be a bit problematic for some people. However, if you fall into one of those two categories, you should be relatively fine with these gloves. There have been reports of the gloves being somewhat ill-fitting in the heel of the hand and wrist area, but overall, complaints have been minor.

Manual Dexterity

These gloves are the classic ¾ finger design, and they offer fantastic finger dexterity and range of motion.

Overall Construction

These gloves are made from tough cowhide leather, and are tripled stitched in the palm area for added protection from tears and wear through. In addition, all the typical wear areas are reinforced with additional leather, and the slip on style makes it easy to wear.

Comfort

Provided that you find the right fit for your needs, these gloves are some of the most comfortable that you’ll find on the market today once they are broken in. Like most leather products, these gloves will stretch slightly over time, and grow to more closely fit the hands of the user or owner.

Durability

The thicker leather and reinforced areas, and triple stitching of these gloves make for a very durable, and long lasting glove. Short of being cut by an extremely sharp edge, or wearing through after a couple years of solid everyday use, these gloves should last as long as you need them.

Summary

While we certainly would have liked to see more sizing choices, these leather climbing gloves by Metolius are a fantastic choice if you’re concerned about dexterity and overall protection.
Pros
  • Very durable construction
  • High Dexterity
  • Comfortable to wear
Cons
  • Limited sizes

Black diamond stone

Black diamond stone
These ¾ finger leather gloves from Black Diamond offer fantastic manual dexterity and adequate durability overall at a great price.
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Overall Fit

These gloves come in a wide range of sizes, from extra-small to extra-large, so even if your hands are a bit different from the average size, you’ll probably be able to wear a pair of these gloves. Most customers find them true to size, but they may not be an exact fit in either direction, so consider sizing up or down as needed to get the fit you desire.

Manual Dexterity

When it comes to finger range of motion and overall hand flexibility, these gloves from Black Diamond are very hard to beat. The classic ¾ finger design offers a full range of motion while still providing the protection you have come to expect from Black Diamond.

Overall Construction

These gloves are fashioned from quality goat leather and feature a reinforced leather palm and knuckle patches for added strength. They also feature Kevlar stitching and a hook and loop cuff closures for a secure fit.

Comfort

These gloves are a great find for those climbers who are more comfortable in gloves that have a minimal amount of material and padding overall. While some users might enjoy a bit more padding in the palm area, for the most part, these gloves are light and easy to wear.

Durability

Truth be told, these gloves are not as durable as some of the others on this list, but for the most part, they do standup adequately to normal climbing use.

Summary

These Stone Climbing Gloves from Black Diamond are a great all-around choice for climbing gloves when dexterity and comfort are important. While we would have liked to see a bit more durability overall, these gloves should serve you for quite a few years of climbing.
Pros
  • Good range of sizes
  • Excellent manual dexterity
  • All leather construction
Cons
  • Minor durability issues.

Metolius belay

Metolius belay
If you’re looking for a belay or repelling glove that offers great comfort and overall protection for your hands, this glove is a great choice.
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Overall Fit

These gloves are provided in a somewhat limited range of sizes, namely extra small, small and extra-large, so finding the right size for your needs may be a bit problematic.

Manual Dexterity

When it comes to gripping the belay or rappel line, these gloves offer great manual dexterity. They allow for a full range of motion, from completely open to close into a tight fist with relative ease, and each of the fingers can move somewhat independently of each other. While it doesn’t offer the same flexibility as a ¾ climbing glove, this one is more than adequate for most climbing situations.

Overall Construction

These gloves are fashioned from genuine leather and feature a hook and loop closure, and reinforcement in the palm, index finger, thumb, and pinky side of the hand. It’s well suited for handling repels and belays situations.

Comfort

Overall, these gloves are quite comfortable and perfect for rope work and belaying while climbing with friends. While they may be a bit too much material to use for crack climbing or wall climbing, If you’re the one handling the rope, you can’t go too wrong.

Durability

If used for their intended purpose, these gloves have a life longer than most climbing gloves, sometimes lasting for nearly five to seven years. The strong and durable leather and reinforced areas help to keep wear and tear on these gloves to a minimum.

Summary

If you’re climbing adventures mean that you are doing a lot of belaying, these gloves are true workhorses. While they may be a bit cumbersome to use for climbing the walls, if you’re using ropes of any type, these gloves are a great way to go.
Pros
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Long lasting
  • Superior for belay work.
Cons
  • A bit specialized for general purposes

Ocun crack

Ocun crack
If you enjoy the challenge of crack climbing, and insist on meeting that challenge head on regularly, you’re going to need to get yourself a pair of crack climbing gloves. While these gloves by Ocun are truly specialized, they are one of the best on the market today for crack climbing enthusiasts.
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Overall Fit

These gloves range in size from extra small to extra-large, and feature a microfiber stretch suede material that easily conforms to the hands for added comfort and flexibility. Chances are you’ll be able to find a pair that fits your needs without too much problem.

Manual Dexterity

When it comes to providing a full range of motion and independent finger movement, these gloves are simple superior to most other climbing gloves out there. While ¾ gloves offer a good amount of finger movement, these gloves can easily surpass them.

Overall Construction

Crack climbing gloves, by design are quite different than normal climbing gloves, or even belay gloves. These gloves by Ocun are no exception to that. They are constructed from microfiber stretch suede material with a very adhesive rubber to provide maximum friction while climbing. They are also designed with the anatomy of the hand in mind, making them ideal for protecting your hand while it’s in a very awkward and tight position.

Comfort

While these gloves are certainly less comfortable than normal climbing gloves, when it comes to crack climbing gloves, they are by far the most comfortable on the market today.

Durability

Overall, these gloves are fairly durable, although there have been a few instances where the strap that wraps around the palm breaks after significant use.

Summary

If you enjoy crack climbing, and you’re tired of taping up your hands, a quality pair of crack gloves is a wise investment. If you make that choice, you can’t go wrong with these gloves by Ocun.
Pros
  • Relatively slim profile is perfect for crack climbing
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Offers better protection compared to taping
Cons
  • Not as durable as we would like
  • May run a bit small

Outdoor research splitter

Outdoor research splitter
These gloves from Outdoor Research are another version of the classic crack climbing gloves that offer a lightweight and durable alternative to the Ocun gloves listed above.
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Overall Fit

These gloves are offered in a somewhat limited range of sizes, namely extra-small, small/medium, and large/extra-large sizes. Thankfully, the gloves are truly adjustable at the wrist, so getting a good fit isn’t too much of a hassle.

Manual Dexterity

Similar to other crack climbing gloves, these gloves from Outdoor Research offer great manual dexterity and flexibility overall. In addition, the anti-slip rubber on the back of the hand allows you to grip the rock in the crack from both your fingers and your hand, provided that the crack is wide enough.

Overall Construction

These climbing gloves are fashioned out of a combination of polyester, polyurethane and rubber material. They are overall light weight and thin, with a completely open palm area. The gloves are secured to the wrist area with a loop and hook Velcro strap that is completely adjustable.

Comfort

These Outdoor Research gloves are extremely comfortable in the palm and wrist area, although some customers have found them to be a little too light weight and thin around the finger and knuckle area.

Durability

While these gloves are remarkably thin and lightweight, the materials used and overall construction still make them fairly durable. On average these gloves have been shown to last about 2 to 3 years of steady use.

Summary

If you want to explore an alternative to the Ocun crack glove listed above, and you’d rather have more of your palm area exposed to the rock face, these splitter gloves by Outdoor Research is certainly a viable option.

Pros
  • Lightweight and easy to wear
  • Very tactile
  • Easily adjustable
Cons
  • Finger holes sometimes too thin on the material

Outdoor research woman's seamseeker

Outdoor research woman's seamseeker
While these Seamseeker gloves from Outdoor Research may be a little less tough than we would like to see in a pair of climbing gloves, they are more than suitable for a beginner or someone who doesn’t climb that often.
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Overall Fit

These gloves are offered in the standard small, medium and large sizes, and most customers find them to be relatively true to size.

Manual Dexterity

Like many ¾ finger climbing gloves, this entry from Outdoor Research provide a great range of finger movement, along with the ability to twist and turn the hands as need to find the next crevice or crack to use.

Overall Construction

These gloves are constructed from lightweight nylon material with split suede overlays on the palm and fingers for additional protection and durability. In addition the Velcro straps at the wrists provide a more secure fit overall.

Comfort

These gloves offer a comfortable and lightweight option for climbing in a wide array of situations.

Durability

While these gloves are certainly reinforced in key problem areas, other portions of the glove are a bit thinner and less tough overall than we would have preferred. These gloves will probably last about 1 to 2 years with very active use and regular maintenance.
Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Useful in a wide array of climbing situations
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Not as durable as some other climbing gloves listed here.

Outdoor research air brake

Outdoor research air brake
Designed to be used for belay and rappelling, these gloves are constructed to make stopping a descent via rope easy and relatively painless for both the climber and belayer.
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Overall Fit

These gloves range in size from small to extra –large and are shown to be true to size about 85% of the time.

Manual Dexterity

These gloves provide a decent range of motion for the fingers, and the hand is able to easily wrap around a climbing rope with enough pressure to cause someone to stop gently without too much of a hassle. In addition, they can easily release the rope with a fluid motion.

Overall Construction

These gloves are constructed out of polyester material with leather overlays on the palm and interior areas of the finger joints for added strength and durability while using ropes. In addition, the Velcro wrist closure is easy to adjust when needed.

Comfort

These gloves are some of the most comfortable and lightweight belayer gloves that we’ve seen in a long time. Not only does the polyester material provide superior breathability, but these gloves easily pulls sweat away from the hands and they are also very quick drying, so you don’t have to worry about sweaty palms.

Durability

While these gloves are well suited for belaying and repelling, they are not truly durable enough to withstand the rigors of some of the more abrasive types of climbing such as canyoneering or crack climbing.

Summary

If you want a pair of climbing gloves that are excellent for belay and rope work in general, and offer great dexterity and stopping strength, these gloves from Outdoor Research certainly should be considered.
Pros
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Great manual dexterity
  • Easily adjustable
Cons
  • Limited sizes
  • Not suitable for more extreme forms of climbing.

Criteria Used For The Evaluation

A good pair of climbing gloves is almost essential to a good climbing adventure.  However, choosing the right type of glove for your needs can be a bit of a daunting task, especially for a novice climber.  Here are a few of the criteria that we looked at to help making the choice of your next pair of climbing gloves a little bit easier.

Overall Fit

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of a pair of the best climbing gloves is how they fit on your hands.  Climbing by its very nature is a tactile sport, so the last thing you need is a pair of gloves that are either too large, too bulky or even too small.  In the world of climbing, your gloves should fit, well, like gloves.  Comfortable yet snug, and allow for enough freedom of movement for your fingers to grip properly and your hands to flex adequately.

The climbing gloves on this list, with the exception of a few, are able to fit a wide range of hand sizes and types.  While gloves like the Metolius Belay gloves and the Ocun Crack Climbing gloves offer limited sizes somewhat, for the most part, the average climber, should be able to find a pair of gloves on this list that fits their hands relatively well.

Manual Dexterity

In addition to how these gloves fit, a climber also needs to be concerned about how much movement of the fingers, palm, and heel and back of the hand is allowed by the gloves in question.  Believe it or not, your hand has a fairly wide range of motion that it can employ, and when you’re climbing, chances are you’ll use all of it.  So having a glove like the Black Diamond Stone Climbing Gloves that allow for a fantastic range of motion for your fingers and hands overall will quickly become a great asset, no matter what type of climbing you enjoy.

Overall Construction

Climbing gloves can take a serious amount of abuse over time.  Between being squeezed into cracks, wrapping quickly around a rope to prevent a fall, and grabbing onto the next handhold or grip point, gloves are liable to wear out very quickly if their overall construction isn’t up to par.

Thankfully, these climbing gloves listed here are some of the best that we could find in regards to materials used, stitching, padding, reinforcement and overall construction quality.  Places like the thumb through, the index finger, or the palm, which routinely receive more abuse are reinforced with tough materials like leather or rubber to keep them in good shape.

Comfort

If a pair of gloves doesn’t feel right on your hands, you won’t be able to concentrate on the climb.  It really is as simple as that.  So choosing a pair of climbing gloves that is comfortable for you to wear in a number of climbing environments is essential to the whole process.  When considering the potential comfort of a glove we took a look at the overall size and shape, the materials used, the sizes available, as well as the range of allowable motion.  All these factors contribute greatly to the overall comfort of the glove.

In the cases of the examples on this list, most of the gloves proved to be fairly comfortable for the average climber, with preferences taken into consideration.  Some like the Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves and the Ocun Crack Climbing Gloves were shown to be a bit restrictive and uncomfortable around the knuckle area, for the most part, a climber won’t notice these gloves while they’re climbing.

Durability

Since the best climbing gloves available take so much abuse on a regular basis, they need to be durable enough to go the distance.  After all, they are sometimes your first and best contact against a rock face.  Their tactile strength needs to be enough to not only allow for a superior grip, but also be able to protect your hands from the sharp edges, debris, and other dangers of rock climbing.  So they need to be tough, maybe tougher than you.

Most of the gloves on this list are made of tougher materials, and sometimes are even double or triple stitched for added protection and durability.  While there were a few, like the Woman’s Seamseeker glove by Outdoor Research, for the most part, these gloves can easily offer years of service to your climbing adventures.

 

More to think about when choosing your next pair of climbing gloves

In some cases, climbing gloves are like potato chips.  You can never have just one pair.  However, they can be a little on the expensive side, so it pays to take some additional things into consideration before you make a purchase.  Here are a few other things you should think about before making that purchase.

What type of climbing are you most likely to do?

There are about as many different types of climbing as there are climbers.  It’s one of the most fascinating and sometimes frustrating aspects of the sport.  And as you can expect, for each type of climbing, there are gloves that are better suited for them.

For example, fingerless and ¾ finger gloves are better suited for times when you have to grip onto cracks or where your fingertips need to have extreme fine motor skills to get the job done.  Full finger gloves, however, are more suited to general rope work or belaying, and some bouldering techniques, as well as canyoneering.

How sensitive do you need your hands to be?

Depending on your style and preferences when you climb, you’ll need your hands to be able to feel the rock or wall beneath them with relatively high level of sensitivity.  With practice, you’ll be able to use your sense of touch to tell you if a hold will support you, or whether a crack opens wider a little further down, or whether you should start another pitch if possible.  It’s truly amazing what your hands and touch can tell you if you simply know how to listen to them.

However, if your gloves prevent you from having the sensitivity that you need, they really aren’t worth your time as a climber.  However, you also need to think about being able to protect your hands adequately from the bumps, scrapes and other minor injuries that you’ll experience along the way.

 FAQs

Q:   How should I care for my climbing gloves?

The way you care for your climbing gloves depends greatly on the material that they’re made from and how often you use them.  The first thing to do, is to inspect them before and after each ascent for signs of undue wear, tears or significant changes in size.  Next, make sure that you keep them properly cleaned and conditioned, especially if they are primarily made of leather.  And lastly, make sure that when you do clean them, you allow them to dry completely before use.

Q:   How can I find the right fit for my climbing gloves?

The short answer to this question is to try a few pairs on and find the one that fits your hand the best.  However, if you’re buying the climbing gloves online, that isn’t always possible or practical.  So you need to determine your overall glove size and go from there.

To determine your glove size, if you don’t know it, you’ll need to take a tape measure and wrap it around your hand just below your first set of knuckles.  If the measurement is between six and eight inches, you’re probably a small,  between seven and nine inches, you’re most likely a medium, and between eight and eleven inches you’re most likely a large.

Of course, if you have a pair well-fitting driving or cycling gloves that fit, you can use those as a model for your climbing glove size as well.

Q:   What are some different types of climbing gloves?

There are actually a few different types of climbing gloves available on the market today, and most of the differences are based on the type of climbing that the person enjoys.  For example, there are gloves that are designed specifically for crack climbing, mountaineering, traditional climbing, and even belay and repelling as well.  There are even gloves that are specifically designed for canyoneering and bouldering as well.

Of course, using these different types of gloves is not mandatory.  If you enjoy using a pair of fingerless crack gloves while bouldering, there is nothing inherently wrong with that.  Some climbers actually don’t use any gloves at all, although we wouldn’t recommend that choice, since it offers little protection for your hands.

Generally speaking, though, climbing gloves can be divided into a few broad categories – fingerless,  ¾ finger,  and full finger gloves.  As you can expect, they offer various levels of protection versus manual dexterity.  Fingerless and ¾ finger gloves offer the most tactile dexterity and flexibility of movement, but offer a minimal amount of protection.  Full fingered gloves offer more protection, but may offer less overall dexterity.

Final thoughts

Having the right equipment and clothing with you as you climb is essential to both enjoying the sport and doing it safely.  Protecting your hands is certainly part of that picture, and finding the best climbing gloves is an important step to making sure that your climbing experience is a grand one indeed.