Whether you’re belaying, rappelling, or climbing up cracks, your hands are an essential tool and they have immeasurable importance when you go climbing because they help you grasp the rocks and manage your ropes. But rock climbing is hard on your hands and you may find yourself searching for the best climbing gloves to add a layer of protection around your skin, particularly when handling ropes.
But searching for a pair of top-rated rock climbing gloves can be difficult because not all designs will serve the same purpose. Belay and rappelling gloves will protect your hands from the ropes, while crack climbing gloves will protect your hands against the rock. We’ve made a list of quality products and provided you with a detailed buying guide so that you can find exactly what you need.
How To Choose A Pair Of Climbing Gloves – Buying Guide
The best climbing gloves will always be made of a strong and durable material, which should protect your hands from scrapes or cuts, as well as enhance your grip when performing rope work. The most common materials used are high-quality leather or synthetics.
Leather climbing gloves are more durable but less flexible. For many climbers, they will need to spend time breaking in the gloves so that they soften and mold to the shape of your hand. You will also not have maximum dexterity with leather gloves.
Synthetic materials like nylon or polyester are also durable, but they are also more flexible because they are lightweight. However, synthetic materials will not mold to your hand. But they are more breathable for better comfort.
Finally, crack climbing gloves will often be made out of a quality rubber because it improves your grip when jamming in cracks. The rubber should be similar to the type which is used on the sole of climbing shoes and will still be comfortable to wear.
While there are different materials used in climbing gloves, there are also different types of climbing gloves. The most common types are belaying or rappelling gloves and crack climbing gloves.
Belay gloves or rappelling gloves are mostly used to protect your hands against rope burn as you belay or rappel. These types of gloves should cover your entire hand and have extra padding in the palm so that you will be properly protected from the rope.
Crack climbing gloves are made to protect the back of your hands while you are jamming inside cracks. The gloves are bare on the palm and fingers so that you can still feel the rock but ensure that you won’t cut any sensitive veins if you are finding your holds and placements. Loops around the fingers and a wrist closure will keep the gloves secure while you climb.
Full Finger vs. Fingerless
There are also full finger and fingerless gloves for rope climbing, which means that you can choose your level of protection. Full-finger gloves will protect your hands more than fingerless gloves because they leave less skin exposed. However, the downside is that you will have less sensitivity, dexterity, and flexibility.
Fingerless climbing gloves are more flexible and have better dexterity for rope management, but they provide less protection. These types of gloves will cover the majority of your finger leaving only the fingertips exposed or they can leave up to half of your fingers exposed. However, with more sensitivity, rock climbers sometimes prefer a fingerless design.
However, the best rock climbing gloves are lightweight and should feature a carabiner hole. This will allow you to easily carry multiple pairs of gloves by attaching them to your harness. You can then change gloves as you see fit.
Top-rated rock climbing gloves should fit snugly, but not be so tight or small that you cannot fully extend your fingers or move them. The proper fit shouldn’t be too big either. If you can feel the gloves slide around on your hand or they are slipping off, they are too large and will not serve you well.
Most brands have various glove sizes available, alongside a size chart to help you determine the proper fit. Climbing glove reviews can be a helpful resource that can also help you choose the best size and determine whether the brand’s chart is true to size or if it runs large or small.
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Q: Should I Wear Gloves While Rock Climbing?
It depends on your needs and preferences. Whether you wear gloves or not will likely depend on what type of rock climbing activity you are interested in trying. Ice climbing gloves are crucial because they protect your hands from the cold and can prevent injuries like frostbite. But if you are climbing in the summer, definitely don’t need gloves unless you’re crack climbing.
If you’re on belay duty or rappelling, gloves can protect you from injuries from rope burn and give you a better grip. But ultimately, it will be your choice. You don’t have to wear gloves in all climbing situations.
Q: What Are Rappel Gloves?
Rappel gloves are a specific type of full-finger or half-finger climbing glove that protects your hands from rope burn. They will allow you to securely hold the rope and prevent friction burns or other injuries. The best rock climbing gloves for rappelling should be durable and have an adjustable wrist cuff for comfort.
Q: Can You Wear Gloves Bouldering?
No, not unless the boulder problem is a crack climb. Otherwise, there is no need to wear gloves while bouldering, ever, and it will dramatically reduce your performance.
Q: Do You Need Belay Gloves?
Yes and no. You are not required to wear belay gloves and some climbers prefer to use their bare hands. But sometimes there are situations where climbers would benefit from the protection that gloves provide their hands and skin. Rope burn is gnarly, and you don’t want to take it lightly. It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether you want to wear gloves while belaying.
Globo Surf Overview
Our review of the top-rated rock climbing gloves can help you decide which gloves you need for your adventure. With our help, you can also decide whether you need to use gloves and how they might benefit your experience on the rocks. With the best climbing gloves, you will have quality protection that can make you more comfortable while you climb, belay, or rappel.
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Do you own a pair of the rock climbing gloves that made it onto our list? Let us know which rock climbing gloves your favorite are in the comments section below.