As the saying goes, “Dress for the slide, not for the ride.

Sometimes your gear is the only thing between you and the road, so it only makes sense to be sure your gear is the safest it can be, without sacrificing comfort.

Today, we’re taking a look at a rider’s best options for hand protection.  

Historically that meant leather, until other advanced materials appeared on the scene. Now, riders have a full range of options:  leather, metal, Kevlar and other advanced “body armor” aramid fibers, rubberized composite materials, high density foam, and more.

Let’s look at each, to help you determine which type of protective glove is best for you.

Which Part of Your Hand Needs Protection?

First consider how you ride:

  • For touring or commuting, you may be more concerned with protecting your hands from the occasional stone or bee, low side slide, or road accident. 
  • If you are an aggressive track rider or sport bike racer, you may thinking about the hazards and requirements of these particular sports, and opt for a higher level of protection entirely.

Next, consider which part of your hands need extra protection:

  • In a slide, it is natural to put your hand out, so palm protection is key.
  • For that same reason, it’s also a good idea to reinforce the pinky and outside of hand.
  • Hard knuckles for protection from flying road debris — the backs of fingers need protection, too.
  • Extremely strong, “body armor” aramid thread (like Kevlar) to keep gloves intact when put to the test ( ie, the stress of a slide, etc. ).

Whether you do track days, aggressive off-road riding, or just want to be as safe as you can be for the daily commute … look for gloves with adequate protection in these specific areas.

Options: Hard Knuckle Motorcycle Gloves, and Beyond

1.  Cordura Nylon, Kevlar, and other protective materials

Cordura and other “ballistic” nylon fabrics are tightly woven and offer extra abrasion resistance when used for the textile shell of a non-leather glove.

Kevlar or other aramid “body armor” thread fibers is often used to reinforce one or more of the key areas … to give you extra protection, without sacrificing comfort. 

2.  Rubberized Knuckles:  More Comfortable Hard Knuckle Gloves

It should come as no surprise that we started designing hard knuckle, protective gloves with flexible, composite knuckle protection, instead of more rigid materials.  This hits the sweet spot of protection AND comfort/fit.

In our experience, rubber knuckles flex and move with your hand — so it feels more comfortable in a glove, while adding solid protection.

With metal knuckles fit can be an issue because metal knuckles don’t always mold to your hands as well. For this reason, we don’t use metal knuckles in our gloves.

3.  Metal Knuckle Motorcycle Gloves

It is not uncommon to find riders who prefer truly hard knuckles made of metal or other rigid molded plastic composites. This is a rider classic, year round.

In our experience, more flexible knuckle armor (rubberized knuckles) offer more than adequate protection without sacrificing fit and comfort, like metal knuckles do. 

4.  Premium Carbon Fibers and Composite Materials:

Technology is constantly producing innovative new materials that are stronger and lighterA look at high performance cars and other sports equipment will turn up many examples of that (carbon fiber hockey sticks, golf clubs, skis, etc.).

Some of these premium innovative materials can come with a hefty price tag, so it may not be essential for you to have the latest technology on your hands — but it’s good to know what’s out there.

5.  Reinforced Leather Gloves:  Naturally Protective

Having explored a full range of armored glove materials, keep in mind that many riders simply prefer leather gloves, or a strong abrasion resistant textile, like nylon.

For extra protection, look for features like a double layer of leather on the palm, the addition an EVA skid pad on the palm, or Kevlar or other aramid fiber stitching for extra strength.

Check out all 9 Olympia extra protective, armored glove styles:

PS – We make over 70 styles of gloves, many with extra protection and some with free shipping. To learn more about our armored motorcycle glove styles, visit a local dealer or our online store:      


What level of protection is right for you?

You only get one set of paws … so take extra good care of them. 

Take it from Chip F. …


Have you ever had the experience of a slide?  Did your gloves hold up?  Tell us about it about it below, we’d like to know.

 Ride safe!