6 Best Vegan Cycling Gloves in 2020 [Buying Guide]

vegan cycling gloves

Cyclists wear gloves for a number of reasons.

To prevent road rash, to protect their palms, to keep their hands warm when riding in a colder environment, and to improve their grip when holding the handlebars. Cycling gloves have different qualities, and the ones you’ll choose will be heavily dependent on the environment you’ll be riding on.

For that reason, you have gloves with different weight, padding, insulation, and waterproofing. In addition, you have full-finger and half-finger gloves, with the latter being quite popular in hot climates. Some are designed to protect you from elements like rain or snow, and others are designed to keep your hands ventilated.

In this article, we’re covering some of the best vegan cycling gloves to use in different seasons, plus, we have only listed gloves that are vegan-friendly (no leather or suede) so that you can ride with compassion.

Here are the 6 best vegan cycling gloves:

6 Best Vegan Cycling Gloves in 2020

Castelli Rosso Corsa Expresso (Best for Summer)

The Castelli Rosso Corsa Expresso are an exceptional pair of half-finger gloves for riders looking for breathability combined with effective padding for shock absorption.

If you’re not a fan of padding, then these are not for you. The Expresso comes with thick gel padding, with four pads located across the bottom of each finger, one on the thumb, three sitting across the bottom of the hand, a circular pad situated in the middle of the palm, and a long, thin pad that goes from the smallest finger down to the wrist.

Key Features
  • Castelli Damping System (CDS)
  • High-Stretch Cuffs
  • Gel Padding and Silicone Grip
  • Half-Finger Gloves

Giro Zero CS Gloves (Runner-up for Summer)

The Giro Zero CS gloves are premium cycling gloves for those looking for zero padding.

They’re constructed following Super Fit Engineering, a proprietary process that defines the fit, design, and patterning of every Giro glove to achieve maximum comfort and performance.

In other words, the gloves are carefully tailored to match the size and shape of your hands, while at the same time ensuring that you have optimal grip, handlebar feel, and effective padding for protection.

Key Features
  • Super Fit Engineering
  • Three-Piece Palm Construction
  • Half-Finger Gloves

Castelli Estremo Gloves (Best for Winter)

The Castelli Estremo are designed for cyclists that wish to properly tackle freezing or sub-freezing conditions and also need to protect themselves for unwanted elements such as moderate rain or snow.

Not the warmest pair of cycling gloves in the market, but you’re able to wear them comfortably in temperatures from -5°C to +5°C, but if you feel like they can’t handle even lower temperatures, you can wear liner gloves underneath.

The outers on the gloves are made from Windstopper X-Fast fabric that is both wind and water-resistant, which holds up well under moderate rain, but it might not be ideal for days when it pours really hard.

Key Features
  • GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ X-Fast fabric
  • Silicone Print on the Palm
  • Fleece Liner
  • Microsuede Thumb Panel

dhb Windslam Stretch Cycling Gloves (Runner-up For Winter)

Do you need winter cycling gloves but don’t enjoy the feel of bulky, thick fabric between your hands and the handlebars?

The dhb Windslam are low-bulk gloves with built-in stretch, created with the goal of providing cyclists with exceptional dexterity as well as ease of shifting and braking, without sacrificing insulation.

They’re often advertised as spring/autumn cycling gloves, but they function well in winter months, especially if you can’t handle the lack of dexterity that comes with thick, bulky winter gloves.

Key Features
  • Windproof and Lightweight
  • Low-Bulk Construction for Enhanced Dexterity and Control
  • Windslam Rear Panel For Optimal Protection

Castelli Scalda Elite Gloves (Best for Spring/Autumn)

The Castelli Scalda gloves are designed with a long finger structure, but have a slim enough profile that helps you retain dexterity, allowing you to smoothly handle shifting and braking.

They feature a neoprene fabric (which is considered to be waterproof) and it’s also a bulky fabric. However, this one is thin enough that doesn’t remove your sense of touch when holding the bars. In addition, the low profile provides the gloves with solid flexibility which translates into more freedom of movement during your rides.

While not designed for chilly conditions, they can handle cool weather effectively, as the gloves offer you decent warm and insulation.

Key Features
  • Windproof and Water-Resistant
  • Fleece Lining
  • Silicone Palm Grip
  • Touchscreen-compatible Fingertips

Giordana AV 200 Winter Gloves (Runner-up for Spring/Autumn)

The AV 200 are mid-weight gloves designed to tackle milder climates.

They’re windproof and water-resistant, breathable, and have a foam gel padding covering the palm which provides you with both protection and comfort.

While they’re promoted as winter gloves, their insulation properties are not as efficient in chilly temperatures, but in hindsight, that makes them an ideal choice once Spring and Autumn come about.

They have a Acqua Zero Eco treated gauntlet made of super stretchy Blizzard fabric that is designed to fend off the elements, but at the same time, it doesn’t restrict your fingers.

Key Features
  • Midweight Insulation and Windproof Shell
  • Water-Resistant
  • Silicone Grip Palms & Touchscreen Compatible Fingers
  • Super Stretchy

What to Look for in Vegan Cycling Gloves

Fit

This is one of the most important aspects you should consider before purchasing anything, including cycling gloves. For instance, gloves that are too small or tight will cause you discomfort by digging through your fingers.

On the other hand, if the gloves are too big, then your hands will start to wiggle on the inside and it’ll just become more difficult to properly grip the handlebars on the bike.

Gloves come in a variety of sizes and widths. Some are designed for people with smaller and narrower hands, and others are designed to fit people with big and wide hands.

Fortunately, manufacturers typically include sizing guides such as the one below:

How do you determine the size of your hands? You do it by measuring the circumference of your hand at the widest part of the palm (the knuckles) and make a fist before taking the measurement.

The number you obtain after that is your hand width measurement.

If you don’t wish to go through that trouble, you can always head to a store and try out different pairs of gloves to see which one fits the best. That might be more practical for you.

In the end, the gloves should have a snug fit, and should NOT be too small or big. 

Padding Levels

There are different forms of padding for cycling gloves.

On the more extreme end, you have gloves with no padding (which offers no protection, basically), and on the other hand, you have gloves that are super padded. In between, you can find varying levels of padding.

The padding is generally placed around the areas of your palm which are in contact with your bike’s hoods and drops. However, the location of the padding may differ between gloves.

cycling glove padding

There are three types of padding used in gloves, all of which are vegan-friendly.

  • Foam: The least expensive form of padding, but still quite protective. However, it doesn’t provide you with a proper grippy feel when holding the handlebars.
  • Eva: You’ve probably heard of EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) because they’re often used in running shoes due to their ability to cushion your feet upon impact. This material can be found in mid and high-tier gloves.
  • Gel: This material has a very soft feel and is also very squishy. It’s also often used in mid and high-tier gloves.

Whether or not you should wear gloves with padding is really up to you.

Gloves with padding absorb road vibrations and distribute the pressure evenly when you’re riding on difficult, uneven terrains. At the same time, too much padding makes it difficult to feel and grip the handlebars properly.

In the end, it all comes down to the type of terrain you’re riding on.

If you’re on a flat road, the least amount of padding seems to be the ideal option.

Touch-Screen Technology

If you’re cycling (outside a competition), you’re probably checking your smartphone mid-ride to check your messages or to check if you have any calls. It’s not unusual to see cyclists or casual riders do that.

However, it’s not practical to remove your gloves mid-ride to touch your phone — not only because it can be freezing cold but also because it’s a bit more troublesome.

For that reason, cycling gloves with touch-screen technology exist. In most cases, you will find gloves in which the index finger is smartphone-friendly, and so it allows you to perform any actions without removing the gloves.

Some models actually have three fingers that are smartphone-friendly, some of which are mentioned on this list.

Windproof, Water-resistant and Waterproof (For Winter Gloves)

To deal with the elements brought by unpredictable weather, gloves with windproof, water-resistance, and waterproof qualities enter the panorama. If you can’t have waterproof gloves, you can, at least, use gloves with water-resistant properties.

Certain gloves are treated using a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. This ensures the droplets of water slide off the outer fabric as soon as they land. Naturally, this keeps your hands from getting wet.

Other gloves include membranes that provide the gloves with water-resistant properties, while at the same time, allowing them to remain windproof and breathable.

waterproof membrane

Fully waterproof gloves, on the other hand, are usually made of neoprene, which is essentially the same material crafters use to create scuba diving gloves. However, like most waterproof gloves, there is little to no ventilation or breathability.

Therefore, it’s not unusual for your hands to start sweating 10-15 minutes into the circuit.

Insulation (For Winter Gloves)

There are typically two ways in which gloves can be insulated. One is vegan-friendly, but the other is not.

  • Synthetic insulation (vegan)
  • Down insulation (not vegan)

Synthetic insulation

This one is as you probably are guessing.

It’s the culmination of polyester or plastic-based fibers that are resistant to moisture, making them dry faster when wet. Today, there are many types of synthetic insulation armed with different names like Thermolite, Thinsulate, Quallofil, and Breathefil.

Down Insulation

Down insulation, unfortunately, is comprised of duck or goose’ plumage, which is a fluffy matter that is located underneath a goose or duck’s feathers.

Even though it’s considered warmer than synthetic insulation, down insulation is not breathable, and therefore most manufacturers tend to opt for the synthetic option.

This, of course, is a great sign for vegan cyclists.

Value

Like any sports equipment, you’re going to find cheap and expensive options.

Obviously, expensive options are usually sold by very recognized brands. However, in most cases, more expensive gloves are also made with more durable materials. In addition, they’re also armed with more features that add functionality to the ride.

As you move up the price range, you’re going to find gloves made with better fabric, better padding, a more ergonomic fit, and a more high-end construction when it comes to the actual skill of the worker doing the stitching.

Essentially, what this means is — if you purchase more expensive gloves, they will probably last you for a longer time. However, it also depends on how frequently you ride the bike. If you’re a rather competitive human and love cycling and see yourself doing it for a long period of time, then choosing a better pair of gloves is certainly in your line of interest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions asked by most beginner cyclists.

What gloves should I purchase?

It depends on the season or climate you shall be riding in. If you’re riding under a scorching sun and you’re sweating bullets, then perhaps you’re better armed with fingerless gloves that keep your palms fresh and dry.

On the other hand, if you’re riding in a chilling environment, then full-fingered gloves are the best. However, within the full-fingered gloves, you have to make a decision based on whether you need protection against elements like wind, rain, or snow.

The materials and thickness of the glove will vary based on the temperature you’re faced with.

Why do cyclists wear gloves?

The main reason cyclists wear gloves is to protect themselves in case they should fall. It’s a natural reaction for us to break the fall using our palms, and thus, gloves have nicely padded palms.

However, you also have to gauge the type of circuit you’ll be cycling in and whether or not there’s a chance you may fall. It’s definitely something that can happen, even if you’re a proficient cyclist.

Gloves are also useful to wipe the sweat off your forehead without getting your hands humid.

How should my gloves fit?

As we’ve mentioned earlier in the blog post, the gloves should fit snugly on your hands.

They shouldn’t feel too tight, otherwise, they restrict your finger movements. And they shouldn’t feel too loose because it can lead to issues like skin abrasion caused by the excessive rubbing between your palms and the inner fabric of the gloves.

Do you recommend neoprene gloves?

Neoprene gloves are typically not recommended when you’re cycling because they’re not very breathable (which may lead your hands to sweat profusely), plus they have a thick layer that reduces feel and grip when holding the handlebars.

However, they’re very effective when it’s pouring heavily.

How do I wash my cycling gloves?

Most gloves are easy to clean, especially the ones made from vegan-friendly materials like polyester or nylon.

If you own a pair of polyester gloves, you can typically throw them in the washing machine, and in some cases, even tumble them dry. Naturally, gloves usually come with tags informing you about how they should be washed so keep an eye on that.

Of course, certain gloves you might have to hand wash. In that case, you should perhaps use something like a soft bristle brush to clear out the dirt before getting rid of the stains, etc. Use mild soap, and avoid harsh chemicals at all costs for increased longevity.

Bottom Line

A cyclist needs great gloves, but a vegan cyclist needs great gloves that aren’t a by-product of animal cruelty. 

Cycling gloves can provide you with the comfort, grip, and thick padding that keeps your hands from getting injured.

Plus, depending on the season, you can acquire gloves that assist you with different things. For example, in hotter climates, it’s known that palms tend to get sweaty and cyclists lose grip as a result.

For that reason, breathable gloves with enhanced grip exist to make your life easier. Naturally, if it’s cold, they can also keep you warm, but at the same time, protect you against the elements by keeping your hands dry.

If you want to enhance your cycling experience, gloves are a crucial element to achieve that goal.

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About the Author: Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than three years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!