The 10 Best Climbing Gloves
This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in October of 2016. Whether you're belaying, rappelling, or free-soloing a long crack, you can rely on a pair of these climbing gloves to protect your hands from craggy edges. Some even help improve your grip by adding additional friction to the palms or backs of the hands. They come in various styles and sizes, from thick leather models good for cold weather ascents to fingerless ones ideal for preserving dexterity. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 26, 2020:
While it cannot be argued that climbing gloves can be a hindrance in certain situations, and you will rarely see a very experienced climber using them, they also provide the valuable benefit of protecting your skin from cuts and abrasion. Ideally, your hands would be tough enough to stand up to the inevitable abuse they will experience when scaling cliff faces and during indoor bouldering sessions, but for most beginners and even some intermediate climbers, this simply isn't the case, so if you are looking for something that can help you avoid those painful flappers, we've put together a nice list of options to choose from.
If you are trying to maintain as much finger dexterity as possible, so you can jam those digits into tight crevices or maneuver your quickdraws and carabiners easily, you'll want to stick to either half-finger options, such as the Black Diamond Crag Half-Finger, or completely fingerless models, like the Ocun Crack and Climb X Super Crack. Of course these will provide the least amount of protection, especially in the case of the Climb X Super Crack, which only cover the back of your hand.
3/4 finger models, like the Black Diamond Stone, Metolius 3/4 Finger, and Outdoor Research Women's Seamseeker offer a nice compromise in that they will protect most of the skin on your digits and all of the palm, while leaving the finger tips uncovered to grip those tiny ledges.
Full-finger models, such as the Black Diamond Crag, Petzl Cordex Plus, and Arc'teryx Alpha SL, should fit your digits tightly enough that you can still use them to climb effectively, as long as you get the right size of course. They are also a smart choice for cold-weather climbs, since keeping fingers warm is very important. However, you shouldn't get a pair like these and expect they won't interfere with your grip at all, as this would just be an unrealistic expectation. In the case of the Wells Lamont Premium, we don't recommend them for climbing at all, but if you need a tough and affordable pair for belaying, they make a decent option.
Black Diamond Crack With a minimalist design, the Black Diamond Crack shouldn't interfere with jamming your hands into the tightest of crevices. They leave your palm and fingers completely free so as not to affect grip, and do a good job of simulating tape, yet are a lot easier and less time consuming than taping your hands before every climb. Despite their very thin material, they are surprisingly durable. blackdiamondequipment.com