The best armored glove

You should always wear some kind of protective glove while motorcycling. On and off-road accidents might otherwise result in serious or even permanent hand injury.
You should always wear some kind of protective glove while motorcycling. On and off-road accidents might otherwise result in serious or even permanent hand injury. (BestReviews)

Armored gloves come in a variety of styles aimed at providing extra protection whether you’re working in the yard, riding your motorcycle, or indulging in outdoor activities like shooting or airsoft. Some armored gloves are highly function-specific, some take a more versatile approach.

We've been looking at what's currently available so we can help you decide which are the best armored gloves to buy. We've also made a few recommendations at the end. Our favorites, the ILM Alloy Steel Tactical Gloves, are highly durable gloves that combine ergonomic hand protection with excellent value.


What to know before you buy armored gloves

Type of protection offered

Armored gloves need to offer protection beyond a little extra padding in sensitive areas. Plastic (PVC), aluminum or steel are the usual materials, covering either the knuckles along the back of the hand, or both that and the individual joints of the fingers.

Plastic is the cheapest product but offers the least impact protection. Plastic armored gloves are fine for yard work where the backs of your hands get knocked and bumped from time to time, and OK for paintball or airsoft, but not for motorcycling or tasks where you might be at risk of heavy items falling on your hands.


Aluminum offers more protection than plastic and is equally lightweight, but steel (sometimes called alloy steel) is best. In the relatively small areas reinforced in armored gloves, the weight difference is negligible.

Kevlar may also be used. It’s more to add strength and durability to the overall construction than impact protection, though it can help prevent piercing by sharp objects.

Fit and other features

Fit is obviously a key issue and something we address in one of our FAQs below. Unfortunately it can be challenging to find armored gloves for small hands.

Beyond that, you’ll want to look at comfort and durability.


Base material is often a nylon or polyester-based fabric that offers reasonable durability and tear resistance. It may also offer some degree of water protection, but few are fully waterproof. Breathable fabric areas keep your hands from getting too hot and chaffing. Synthetic and natural leathers are also found, the latter known for its hard-wearing nature — and still the most popular choice with motorcyclists — but more prone to water damage than synthetics if not treated with care. Stretch panels may improve wearability in all materials. Cuffs are generally elasticated or have Velcro closures, both of which are usually effective.

Armored motorcycle gloves are frequently pre-curved for a better grip on handlebars. The challenge there is that they’re not so good off the bike. With general-purpose armored gloves, look for a palm that has nonslip fabric. They won’t prevent you from opening your hand fully, and will give better grip on things like damp tool handles.

Cold-weather protection is not usually particularly good with armored gloves. If you need additional warmth, it’s a good idea to buy a pair of thin thermal inner gloves. These shouldn’t compromise movement.

Armored gloves cost

You’ll probably pay around $10 to $15 for a pair of cheap armored gloves with plastic or PVC panels or inserts. Most of those with tougher, more protective metal areas run $20 to $40. You can pay more for armored gloves from big name brands, but that won’t necessarily get you better protection.

Armored gloves FAQ

Q. Do armored gloves need to reach particular safety standards?

A. Sporting gloves and motorcycle gloves do not. Work-related armored safety gloves may need to conform to U.S. standard ANSI/ISEA 105. An employer or site manager should advise on the that.

Q. How do I know what size glove to order?

A. Some makers give guidance based on the width of your palm at the widest point. Others simply say S, M, L, etc. It's worth checking owner feedback to see if customers find them larger or smaller than expected. Try them on immediately they arrive so you can change them if necessary.

Which armored gloves should I get?

Our take: Primarily aimed at motorcyclists, these super-tough gloves have a variety of uses.

What we like: Real leather provides durability and comfort. Steel inserts provide superior protection to knuckles and joints. Index finger has special pad for touch screens. Antislip palm. Cuff is adjustable.

What we dislike: Occasionally inconsistent manufacture means size can be off or wrist opening tight.

Best bang for your buck: Valken Full Finger Plastic Back Gloves

Our take: Good value hand protection for little more cost than standard gardening gloves.

What we like: Basic but effective plastic armor. Padded palms resist abrasion. Snug Velcro wrist closure. Ideal for house and yard work, airsoft, etc. Very low cost.

What we dislike: A small percentage have torn more easily than expected.

Honorable mention: Freetoo Tactical Gloves

Our take: Stylish and durable gloves offer good freedom of movement.

What we like: Tough PVC inserts protect knuckles. Synthetic leather palm gives good grip. Double stitched for durability. Breathable fabric keeps hands comfortable. Light and flexible.

What we dislike: Not available in small size. Not protective enough for motorcycling.

Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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