If you kayak year-round, on a regular basis, then using the best kayaking gloves can help to keep your hands from turning to ice during colder weather, and can even promote circulation, making it easier to paddle. These gloves can also protect the hands from injuries from sharp rocks and can prevent blisters and callouses. These gloves will provide an extra layer of protection not just from cold weather and water conditions, but also from sunburn, abrasions, rope burn, cuts, and other injuries that can occur when you’re kayaking in challenging weather conditions.
But finding a good pair of gloves can be harder than you may think. Considering how popular kayaking is, there are dozens of pairs of gloves on the market to choose from, which can make it difficult for kayakers and beginners, who have never used these types of gloves to find a solid pair, one that’s designed to handle the elements, protect the hands, and keep them warm in freezing temperatures. Because of this, I decided to create a buyer’s guide that included all the information you need to know in order to make an informed decision regarding which type of gloves will work the best for you, based on how often you paddle, what your budget is like, and what type of temperatures you often find yourself paddling in. I’ve also tested out many of the leading pairs on the market that earned top marks from many kayaking enthusiasts. I’ve narrowed it down to the top six pairs that most kayakers can agree are durable, well-designed, and comfortable enough for all-day wear.
Kayaking Gloves Comparison Chart
WindRider Pro Sailing Gloves
These fingerless gloves are fast-drying, highly breathable, and made out of Lycra and spandex materials. The mesh backing on the gloves helps promote breathability, which prevents excessive sweating in hot temperatures. The palms of the gloves feature brushed Amara leather, providing protection from injuries such as abrasions and blisters. Since the gloves feature a fingerless design, they will not inhibit your ability to handle a paddle and can even improve your grip.
- Mesh panels
- Highly breathable
- Fingerless design promotes full range of motion
- Cannot provide protection from colder temperatures
These fingerless gloves allow you to easily grip a paddle, are highly breathable and will not cause the hands to sweat excessively in hotter weather, and come equipped with leather on the palms, to provide protection from abrasions and blisters, allowing you to comfortably wear these gloves all day long. These gloves are perfect for kayaking, SUP use, sailing, and other types of watersports, however, they’re not designed for cold weather use.
WOOWAVE Diving Gloves
These gloves are not specific to diving, in fact, they’re a popular option among kayakers, SUP users, kayak anglers, and other types of watersport enthusiasts. These gloves are made out of three-millimeter thick neoprene which is durable, elastic, and designed to keep your hands nice and warm in colder temperatures. The seams of the gloves have been glued and blind-stitched, for improved durability. The textured palm provides an anti-slip grip that allows you to handle your paddle like a pro. The gloves feature an ergonomic design that promotes user comfort, despite the thickness of the gloves, although you will definitely notice and change in your grip and ability to handle the paddle, compared to when you wear fingerless gloves or no gloves at all. However, a change in your range of motion is a small price to pay for gloves that will protect your fingers and hands from cold air and water temperatures, while providing protection against blisters, abrasions, and other types of injuries.
- Textured palms
- Anti-slip grip
- Made out of three-millimeter neoprene
- Covered by a one-year warranty
- Can inhibit range of motion, making it more challenging to paddle
These gloves provide top of the line thermal protection and a rubberized anti-slip grip with a thick textured palm that protects the hands and fingers from damage and cold weather conditions. The gloves are designed to conform to the shape of your hands, for a more comfortable fit. The thick, three-millimeter neoprene material will have an impact on your range of motion and can make it more difficult to handle a paddle, but it’s a fair tradeoff for gloves that will protect your hands and fingers from injury and dangerously cold water temperatures.
Palmyth UV Fishing Gloves
These UV gloves are perfect for your next warm-weather kayaking adventure. The fingerless design allows you to easily grip the paddle for improved paddling efficiency. The gloves themselves are made out of UV protected materials that will protect your hands from sunburn and irritation. The palms of the gloves are layered with synthetic leather, complete with non-slip silicone dots that reinforce the palms for improved durability and grip. The extra layer of padding on the palms will prevent blisters, abrasion, and promotes user comfort for all-day wear. The gloves are highly breathable, stretchy, and designed to conform to the shape of your hands.
- Made out of UV material
- Lightweight and stretchy
- Palms are reinforced with synthetic leather and silicone dots for improved grip
- Should not be used in cold weather and cold water conditions
These gloves are specifically designed for warmer weather conditions. Made out of UV protected material, the gloves can prevent sunburns and general skin irritation, are made out of fast-drying material and feature a design that’s highly breathable. The fingerless glove design also improves your ability to easily handle a paddle, so they will not have a negative impact on your paddling ability. This pair is machine-washable, comes complete with finger-tip pull tabs that allow you to easily remove the gloves, and are designed for a wide range of watersports.
Brace Master Sailing Gloves
These full-finger gloves are designed for sailing, kayaking, SUP use, rafting, canoeing, and more. The palms feature high-quality leather that’s designed to minimize the chances of abrasions and blisters while helping to improve your grip. The adjustable wrist strap and flexible fingers ensure you enjoy free range of motion, so your paddling ability and grip are not hindered. The gloves are made out of a fast-drying, breathable material that will absorb sweat and water, to promote user comfort.
- Fast-drying material
- Full-finger design
- Flexible fingers
- Palms are covered in leather
- Can cause excessive sweating in warm weather conditions
- The thickness of the gloves can make it difficult to properly grip the paddle
The full-finger design makes these gloves appropriate for cold air and water temperatures, helping to keep your fingers and hands warm while improving circulation. These gloves may not provide the same type of grip you’ll enjoy when you wear fingerless gloves or go gloveless, but in freezing temperatures, this is a fair compromise. The heavily padded palms will ensure your hands are well-protected from injuries, blisters, and abrasions, while the flexible design will improve your grip in challenging water conditions. These gloves are perfect for fall and winter use but tend to cause excessive sweating in hotter weather.
NeopSkin Water Gloves
These full-finger gloves provide the perfect hand protection for dangerous water conditions. The gloves have been blind-stitched, complete with glued seams. The gloves come in either three-millimeter and five-millimeter neoprene thickness levels, both of which can have an impact on the flexibility of the gloves, yet they provide top of the line protection for the hands, keeping them warm in freezing water conditions while minimizing the chances of abrasions, rope burn, callouses, and abrasions. These are the gloves you want to wear once winter hits and the water temperature starts to drop. The premium neoprene material is covered with a soft elastic fabric that will further improve the glove’s ability to keep your hands nice and warm. The palm of the gloves comes equipped with an anti-slip palm rubber printed design that improves your hold on the paddle. The wrists feature adjustable closures that reduce the amount of water that’s able to enter the gloves.
- Adjustable wrist closures
- Available in three-millimeter and five-millimeter thick neoprene
- Flexible finger design
- Full-finger style gloves
- Thickness of the neoprene can have an impact on your ability to hold the paddle tightly
These gloves are made out of high-quality neoprene material and a soft elastic fabric that will further improve the glove’s thermal protection. The palms are covered with a type of anti-slip coating, however, considering the thickness of the neoprene, you’ll find that it can be difficult to grasp the paddle properly. This is a common issue with neoprene gloves, but for most kayakers, this won’t be a deal-breaker, especially in freezing conditions.
Bassdash ALTIMATE Sun Protection Fingerless Gloves for Kayaking
These are fingerless gloves that feature a four-way stretch for ultimate flexibility. The gloves are made out of synthetic microfiber leather and a quick-drying polyester and spandex blend. The material is also UV protected, which will protect the hands from harmful UV rays. This lightweight fabric is highly breathable and helps to wick moisture away from the skin, keeping your hands nice and dry. The palms of the gloves feature a durable synthetic non-slip leather material that will improve your grip on your paddle and fishing rod.
- Non-slip material on palms of gloves
- Lightweight, fast-drying
- Made out of polyester and spandex
- Four-way stretch
- Only three sizes available
These gloves are incredibly stretchy, so they’ll easily conform to the shape of your hands. The fast-drying material will help to minimize skin irritation, which can occur if your hands are left inside wet gloves throughout the day. The price is right, the gloves are durable, and designed to improve your grip on your paddle, thanks to the anti-slip materials. These gloves are a steal for the price and will work for a wide range of watersports including kayaking, SUP use, sailing, and more.
Kayaking Gloves Buyer’s Guide
There are many important accessories and pieces of equipment that you need to buy if you love spending time on the water in your kayak, but a pair of waterproof gloves are important in order to protect your hands from dangerous conditions. The biggest consideration will be the temperature of the water and air and how thick the padding is on the palms of the gloves.
When you’re shopping for new kayaking gloves, consider the thickness of the glove and the type of material they’re made out of. Most kayaking gloves will be made out of neoprene alone, or it can be combined with another type of material such as spandex or Lycra. These synthetics are popular for gloves made for warm weather since they offer the type of lightweight protection you need, and can also stand up to damage, often featuring an abrasion-resistant design. But gloves made out of this material are recommended for the summer months only and don’t provide the type of protection needed for colder weather and water temperatures.
When you’re kayaking, your hand will have the most contact with the water. They’re going to be cold, wet, and sore. Because of this, providing adequate protection will be important.
When it comes to gloves, thicker gloves aren’t always better. Since neoprene is a warm type of material, wearing thicker neoprene material in warm weather can cause your hands to sweat excessively. I recommend sticking with neoprene that’s no more than two-millimeters thick. One millimeter is even better. For winter, you’ll want to use gloves that are around three millimeters thick. Keep in mind, thicker neoprene can be stiff, which can make it more difficult to grasp the paddle. Look for gloves that are pre-formed or designed to conform to the shape of your hands.
Some paddlers prefer a thicker palm, which will consist of layers of synthetic material. This will help to protect the hands from blisters, providing the same type of protection that you’d normally expect from weightlifting gloves or cycling gloves. However, this added padding can also have a negative impact on how you grip the paddle.
As you can see, when it comes to the thickness of the gloves, you’ll have to often choose between dexterity and protection. In colder climates, keeping your hands dry and warm should be the priority, but in other climates, you should consider how a lack of maneuverability can impact even the simplest movements.
It’s also important to ensure that the gloves fit properly. Gloves that are too loose will be uncomfortable for all-day use and can result in blisters. It can also have a negative impact on how warm the gloves keep you. Gloves that are too tight can hinder circulation which can be a big problem in already cold weather conditions. For kayak fishing, if the gloves you wear are too tight, you will not be able to use the reel properly, which can make it difficult to haul in a fish.
The grip on the palm is one of the most essential parts of a glove. This is because you want to have a good grip on your paddle, regardless of whether the gloves are dry or wet.
Full-Finger and Fingerless Gloves
There are a couple of different styles of paddling gloves to choose from. In most cases, the style you’ll go with is more a matter of personal preference. These styles include fingerless and full-finger.
Similar to biker gloves, fingerless gloves are designed to cover the palm of your hands but will leave your fingers exposed. These gloves will allow you to still use your fingers to tie or grab things, or open bags, unlike full-finger gloves. But because the fingers are not protected, you may be more susceptible to blistering and cold temperatures.
Full-finger gloves will cover your entire hand and your fingers. This can be a better option if you want to keep your hands warm in cold weather conditions, which can help to protect your fingers from extremely cold temperatures and can even prevent blistering. The downside of wearing these gloves is the fact that they can restrict your ability to handle small objects and can make it difficult to grip the paddle.
Do I Need Kayaking Gloves?
These gloves are specifically designed for kayaking, so they’re usually waterproof and used to keep your hands protected from the elements and dry. Unlike regular gloves, they also have some non-slip fabric located on the palm side of the glove. This non-slip fabric allows you to keep a tighter grip on the paddle.
If you paddle in cold weather or over long distances, these gloves can keep your hands protected from blisters. They can also keep your hands dry and warm in cold water and weather conditions.
Kayaking Glove Tips
For most paddlers, nothing can really beat a good pair of kayaking gloves. In fact, the right pair of gloves can make handling waves in your kayak more bearable and easier, as long as the gloves keep your hands warm and dry. While you don’t always have to or need to wear gloves when you’re out on the water, you’ll always want to keep a pair on hand. Usually, the hands of the kayaker will be challenged by spray, wind, air temperature, grip, and friction, not to mention other sources of wetness. The inland kayaker may not worry about this quite as much as the coastal kayaker, especially when it comes to keeping the hands warm and dry. However, with dropping temperatures that come with the fall months, it’s always a good idea to consider investing in some extra protection for the hands when you’re out in your kayak, regardless of where you go or the type of waters you normally travel.
- The gloves you choose should be capable of allowing you to keep a firm and controlled grip on a paddle at all times. If you’re not able to instantly feel the shaft and make it respond the way you need it to, then it can compromise your ability to control your strokes and essentially the direction of the vessel.
- A good pair of kayaking gloves should have a non-slip surface that allows you to hold onto the paddle firmly when necessary.
- The gloves should naturally conform to the shape of your hand when the hand is relaxed into the open position. The shape will mimic the natural position of your own hand
- Gloves that are too small will place a lot of pressure on your knuckles, which can lead to swelling, pain, and general discomfort, which is another reason why ensuring the gloves fit properly is so important. When you’re sizing gloves, pay attention to the width of your hand at the knuckles. The length of your fingers will also be important since gloves that are too short can also place too much pressure on the knuckles and will not protect the wrist adequately.
The best kayaking gloves will work with the average water temperature and air temperature, whether you need thinner or thicker gloves, should allow you to easily handle a paddle, without restricting your movement, and should be comfortable enough to promote all-day wear. Many of the gloves in my lineup check all of these boxes and are available in a variety of sizes, so you’ll have no problem choosing the right fit. This guide is designed to help you choose a pair of gloves that will meet your budget, work with your paddling needs, and should be chosen depending on the season, allowing you to select a pair that offers the perfect level of thickness. Now that you know what features to look for, you should have no trouble finding the perfect pair, one that will keep your hands well protected from the elements, freezing temperatures, and a pair that will minimize the chances of hand injuries and prevent blisters, allowing you to enjoy your time out on the water in total comfort.