Lifting adjustable dumbells, pressing barbells stacked with plates, and repping out rounds with free weights are all great ways to build muscle and develop strength — but these routines can also take a serious toll on your hands. To fight back, we suggest adding one of the best weightlifting gloves to your gym bag.
We know some guys say calluses can be a satisfying milestone on the road to becoming a more serious weightlifter, but once your skin starts to blister and tear, things get less fun. That’s why investing in a pair of weightlifting gloves is a great way to not just make weightlifting more comfortable, but also improve your grip and performance without sacrificing your soft, lovely-to-hold hands.
Like many fitness product categories, the best weightlifting gloves can be found across a variety of styles. Some are made of thicker materials that improve grip but aren’t as breathable or comfortable. Some are light, movable, and perfect for folks just trying to put a barrier between their bare skin and tough knurling (more on what this is in a bit). The pair of gloves you pick is going to depend on how much lifting you do, how heavy your weights are, and the type of weight you lift.
SPY Editors tested six pairs of the best weightlifting gloves available and ranked them based on comfort, design, and whether or not they improved athletic performance. You can find a full list of our review criteria and how we scored below.
The Best Weightlifting Gloves At a Glance
What Are WeightLifting Gloves?
Though it may seem self-explanatory, let’s touch on this real quick. Weightlifting gloves are gloves designed to be worn at the gym and protect against calluses, blisters, tears, and rips in the skin while lifting heavy weights. They’ve increased in popularity with the rise of heavy weightlifting because the need for protection becomes clear, quickly, as does the desire for improved performance.
Types of Weighlifting Gloves
After our testing, we’ve gauged there are two general types of weightlifting gloves available:
- Gloves made for gripping, which have tougher, stiffer materials but are less comfortable and breathable.
- Gloves made for callous protection and comfort that are less likely to improve your grip but are easier for moving and working out.
The gripping weightlifting gloves won’t protect against callouses as much, and in fact, may produce some of their own due to their stiff construction. They’re typically preferred by more serious weightlifters who don’t care about calluses. The protective gloves are better for generalist fitness enthusiasts who enjoy strength training complimentary to their cardio workouts, lift moderate weight, and don’t like how uncomfortable knurling can get.
It’s a Personal Preference
Us? Well, SPY Editor Taylor Galla prefers the protective weightlifting gloves. She’s consistent with strength training and opts for dumbbells over barbells because she has developed calluses due to the weight she presses. She doesn’t need the more intense gloves for the type of movement she does nor does she find their structure and marginal improvements to performance worth the discomfort and stifling heat they create for her hands.
With that said, if you’re somebody who works with barbells and trains with much heavier weight don’t worry — we’ve factored their utility into our overall review.
Why Are Weightlifting Gloves Important?
Weightlifting gloves can help protect against damage to your hands from knurling, which is the rough surface of the handle on barbells and dumbbells put there to help you grip it. Knurling is essentially tiny little diamond-shaped bumps carved into the surface of the metal that creates friction with your skin so you can get a better grip. Some knurling feels like a rough surface while others can be painful depending on the weight you’re trying to move. We’ve learned that the best weightlifting gloves put a barrier between your skin and knurling, making lifts more comfortable and potentially improving performance.
|Style||Palm + Fingers|
|Available Sizes||Unisex, XS-XL|
|Materials||Lightweight, stretchy mesh material|
As soon as we put on these weightlifting gloves we wanted to make them a consistent part of our routine. They’re lightweight and come with a gap in fabric on the back of your hand that creates tons of breathability. They’re easy to slip on and off and have pads on the palms that make lifting more comfortable and grip easier.
They only cover your palms and the bases of your fingers — a key criterion for us for temperature control. The wrist wrap, while minimal, secures you in them with minimal constriction. They’re made with super lightweight, thin, breathable mesh and almost suede material that feels soft to the touch. The back is completely mesh, and the tips of two fingers have little tabs for making it easier to pull them off.
- Lightweight, breathable
- Cushion on fingers and palms
- Flexible fit
- Easy to put on and take off
- Affordable price tag
- Wrist wrap provides almost no structure
- Don’t give a lot of grip support
|Style||Palms + fingers + wrist strap|
|Available Sizes||Unisex, XS-XL|
|Materials||Lightweight suede, mesh|
These are the best weightlifting gloves from SIMARI and are very comfortable and flexible and have the addition of a strong wrist strap that provides a ton of support. They’re made with thicker material that’s less breathable and got hotter during our test workouts. However, they have pads on the palms that help improve grip and similar tabs on the fingers for easy on/off.
The addition of the wrist strap definitely makes these gloves feel more intense and structured than the ones from GloFit, but they’re still much more comfortable than others on this list. We’d still classify these in the “protective” category and label them great for casual strength trainers who value comfort over prime grip.
- Lightweight, breathable mesh material
- Wrist strap gives extra support for heavier lights
- Wrist palm pads make heavy weights more comfortable
- Comfortable, flexible fit
- Easy to get on and off
- Affordable price tag
- Got very warm during test workouts
|Style||Full coverage of fingers, palm, and wrist|
|Available Sizes||Unisex, XS-XXXL|
|Materials||Leather, thick microfiber|
These are the best weightlifting gloves for dedicated weightlifters. They provide a ton of coverage with thick leather and dense material, have extremely structured wrist straps, and are built for maximizing your performance with a barbell.
These are not lightweight, breathable weightlifting gloves designed to make lifting more comfortable. These are made to maximize your grip and give you the structure needed to lift very heavy weight. The wrist strap wraps around multiple times so you’re braced for stability and it has large straps of velcro for securing you in.
- Wrist strap provides a lot of structure
- Thicker leather material provides even more protection against calluses
- Finger loops for pulling gloves off
- Very tight fit that feels secure
- Much hotter and less breathable than lighter gloves
- More expensive price tag
|Style||Just wrist and palm, nothing covers the hand|
|Available Sizes||One size|
|Materials||Rubber and fabric for wrist wrap|
This weightlifting glove design from Grip Power Pads is more of a grip than a full glove, but we decided to include it nonetheless because it does provide protection for your hands when lifting heavy weight.
Instead of a glove you slip on and off, you strap your wrist in, and the cobra flips and molds to your palm, wrapping around the barbell as you pull and lift so you don’t tear skin. If you haven’t already guessed, this pair definitely falls under the more intense weightlifting glove category.
One of the reasons why we left this “glove” in this ranking and ranked it highly is because it doesn’t stifle or wrap your hand in unnecessary material. All it has is a rubber barrier between your hand and the barbell, which we found refreshing in a sea of mesh and leather.
- Minimalist design is very comfortable
- Very protective against knurling
- Rubber molds to your hand
- Comes in a variety of colors
- One size may not fit all palms
- Intimidating design if you’re not sure how to wear it at first
- Expensive price tag
|Style||Palm and finger coverage|
|Materials||Thicker fabric and leather|
These Harbinger weightlifting gloves are another in the “protection” camp but this one has a bit too much material for our liking without adding support. While they definitely protect your hands during a workout, the thicker material got hot and we wanted to take them off halfway through.
These gloves from Harbinger work just fine, but they’re not very comfortable. The thick leather accents constrain your hand and provide more support than we needed. The wrist strap gives you more structure than other options, but it also makes them harder to take on and off. Although these may soften up with very extended use, we’d recommend these for folks who want a middle ground between comfort and performance.
- Fingerless design
- Leather improves grip
- Affordable price tag
- Less comfortable
- Warmer to wear, especially mid-workout
|Style||Full gloves with finger coverage|
|Materials||Spandex and leather|
The Beast Mode weightlifting gloves from Bionic are full-finger gloves that offer premium protection but sacrifice breathability. Since our top criterion was comfort, they were our least favorite of all the options tested. They were more difficult to get on and off but once you had them on securely they did improve lifts.
If you need the best full-hand weightlifting gloves, these are a great pick. For us, the extra material on the fingers is unnecessary and just makes them warmer and less comfortable to wear. Your fingertips aren’t as involved in heavy lifts so the real focus is your palms, wrists, and the base of your fingers wrapped around the weight. We’d recommend these if you’re more comfortable wearing full gloves, but they weren’t our favorite.
- Full glove protection against germs using communal equipment
- Multiple color options
- Leather palms improves grip
- Full finger design makes them much warmer
- Fit very slim without a lot of room for movement
What to Consider When Buying the Best Weightlifting Gloves
The first thing to consider is how much you lift. Are you a daily strength trainer? Do you only lift a few times a week? If it’s not your main source of exercise and movement, nor your preferred, then you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a pair of gloves. You can opt for a more amateur pair with a more affordable price tag.
If lifting is all you want to do and you’re watching YouTube videos of perfect deadlift form, then a more expensive glove with more coverage is a juice worth the squeeze.
The Weights You Pick Up
If you’re only using dumbbells, We’d argue weightlifting gloves are a nice compliment that’ll make you look more serious and legit in the gym, but are unlikely to drastically improve your performance. If you’ve invested in a few barbells and hate the way they’re ripping up your hands? A pair of weightlifting gloves should be your next purchase.
Temperature and Flexibility
Through this testing process, we learned that we hate when our hands get too hot during workouts and we also need to be able to move freely. The gloves that were too tight or too hot were immediately brought down a peg in our book. If you’re similarly sensitive to temperature and movement restriction that’s important to consider.
If performance improvement is your main priority, a tighter glove with thicker materials is the way to go.
How We Tested The Best Weightlifting Gloves
To review the best weightlifting gloves, we wore each pair during our regular strength workouts to see how they performed. We took them on and off mid-workout, attempted adjusting their fit, and noted our specific criteria to see how they stacked up against one another.
In addition to specs like the available sizes, material and fit we also took notes on certain subjective factors.
If we haven’t already made it clear, comfort is very important. The gloves that were easy to slip on and off, didn’t suffocate our hands, and didn’t make us want to rip them off mid-workout scored higher.
Wrist and Grip Strength
We took note of how the gloves improved our wrist and grip strength — two of the main purposes of weightlifting gloves. Did our wrists feel more stable lifting weights off the ground and over our head? Did our grip tire less easily while wearing them?
Overall Workout Improvement
We took note of how much our workouts improved with these gloves on. Was we more confident lifting heavier weights? Did we get a better grip on heavier weights more easily? Was our workout better than it would’ve been had we not been wearing these gloves?
Why Trust SPY When Shopping for the Best Weightlifting Gloves?
At SPY, finding the best fitness gear is something we’re passionate about. We stay up on the latest trends and collaborations to find the best new products you need to have on your radar, and that includes weightlifting gloves.
Other than the best weightlifting gloves, SPY has been testing fitness gear left and right. Recently, we’re reviewed the best smart scales, the best ankle weights, and even the Therabody Smart Goggles. We’re also hot on the trail of the best walking pad treadmills.
If you’re interested, you can read more about How We Test Products at SPY.
About The Author
Taylor Galla, SPY’s Senior E-Commerce Editor is a fitness enthusiast and frequent weightlifter who has experience reviewing a multitude of fitness product categories including fitness mirrors, spin bikes, and adjustable dumbbells.
She’s a certified yoga teacher with experience in live teaching classes and her boyfriend works in professional sports with multiple coaching certifications.