February 23, 2024

8 min

Equipment reviews

The best sailing gloves: 2024

Zhik sailing gloves

A good pair of sailing gloves is essential to every sailor’s packing list. Cold weather makes wearing gloves essential, while for those hauling on lines and winching, especially if one’s hands are not hardened from regular sailing, they can be a real bonus even when it’s not cold. There are many different sorts of sailing gloves, including technical sailing gloves, fingerless sailing gloves, cold weather gloves, and more. It can be hard to know which sailing gloves are best for you. 

The skippers and mates at Rubicon 3 spend much of their lives at sea, so we have an excellent insight into what’s good out there and what’s not when it comes to a sailing glove. So, without further ado, here’s our guide to what to look for and our Best Sailing Gloves: 2024

Understanding the Essentials: The Anatomy of Technical Sailing Gloves

Technical sailing gloves, a critical component of sailing gear, have evolved significantly, incorporating advanced materials and designs to protect your hands and improve performance. Critical features like padded synthetic leather palms, adjustable velcro wrist straps, and breathable fabric construction are engineered to offer a secure grip, comfort, and durability. Together, these elements ensure that your gloves are up to the task, whether you’re gripping lines in wet conditions or tying knots.

The Significance of Material and Design

Synthetic leather, known for its durability and resistance to rope burn, forms the backbone of many high-quality sailing gloves, including the renowned Gill Deckhand Gloves and Helly Hansen Sailing Gloves. This material, coupled with reinforcements in high-pressure points and double stitching, provides maximum durability. Meanwhile, breathable fabric and mesh panels ensure hands stay dry and comfortable, minimizing hand fatigue during prolonged periods on the water.

The design also plays a pivotal role, with features like pre-curved fingers and pre-shaped construction minimizing uncomfortable side seams and ensuring a snug fit with minimum stretch. This ergonomic approach enhances comfort and improves dexterity for handling delicate tasks.

The Role of Finger Configuration

The debate between fingerless gloves and full-fingered gloves hinges on the balance between protection and dexterity. Fingerless sailing gloves offer enhanced feel and control, crucial for managing finer rigging tasks and tying knots. In contrast, full-fingered gloves, including the Gill Helmsman Gloves, provide comprehensive protection against cold climates and rope burns, making them indispensable for sailing in more extreme conditions.

Adjustability for a Perfect Fit

Adjustability is another critical factor, with oversized velcro-adjusted wrist closures and inner velcro wrist adjustments allowing for a tailored fit. These features secure the glove firmly in place and integrate seamlessly with other sailing apparel, like foul weather jackets, ensuring that sleeves remain watertight and secure. The Gill Helmsman Gloves, for example, feature an adjustable velcro wrist strap that complements their thermal insulation, making them a top choice for cold-weather sailing.

How do you know what size gloves you need?

It’s essential to buy the right size glove. Measure around the top of your hand, taking a line around the top of your palm. Don’t include your thumb in the measurement. Your gloves should be a close fit but still have enough flexibility to allow you to bend your hand easily and carry out all the usual tasks, grip lines, etc.

So, with no further delay, here are the eight pairs of sailing gloves we like in 2024:

  1. Gill Championship Gloves
  2. Harken Reflex Gloves
  3. Gill Deckhand Gloves
  4. Gill Helmsman Gloves (Full-Fingered)
  5. Helly Hansen Sailing Gloves
  6. SealSkinz Waterproof Gloves
  7. Ronstan Sticky Race Gloves
  8. FitsT4 Sports Sailing Gloves

Gill Championship Gloves

The Gill Championship Gloves are the quintessential choice for sailors seeking all-around excellence. Their reinforced palms and double stitching promise high durability, while the Dura-Grip fabric ensures an excellent hold under all conditions. The breathable fabric and pre-curved fingers enhance comfort, offering a natural fit. It has three full fingers, leaving the index finger and thumb open for more intricate deckwork. With a Velcro wrist strap for a secure, adjustable fit, these gloves are well-suited for various sailing conditions, embodying versatility and performance.

  • Durability: High with reinforced palms and double stitching.
  • Grip: Excellent due to Dura-Grip fabric, ensuring a firm hold in all conditions.
  • Comfort: Breathable fabric and pre-curved fingers for a natural fit.
  • Adjustability: Velcro wrist strap for a secure, adjustable fit.
  • Best For: All-around performance; a versatile choice for various sailing conditions.
Gill championship glove


Harken Reflex Gloves

Harken Reflex Gloves are designed for competition and offer unmatched durability with Kevlar stitching and reinforced pressure points. The superior grip is courtesy of padded synthetic leather palms, ensuring control in high-performance racing and intense environments. Breathability is achieved through mesh panels, reducing hand fatigue significantly. Oversized Velcro wrist closures guarantee a snug fit, making these gloves ideal for sailors who demand the best durability and performance.

  • Durability: Maximum, with Kevlar stitching and reinforced pressure points.
  • Grip: Superior grip with padded synthetic leather palms.
  • Comfort: Mesh panels for breathability, reducing hand fatigue.
  • Adjustability: Oversized velcro wrist closures for a snug fit.
  • Best For: High-performance racing and intense sailing environments.
Harken reflex glove


Gill Deckhand Gloves

The Gill Deckhand Gloves (Fingerless) perfectly balances protection and dexterity. Crafted with synthetic leather and reinforced in critical areas, they are durable. Their grip is particularly effective for delicate tasks, supported by lightweight and breathable fabric for comfort. The easy-adjust Velcro wrist strap makes them suitable for warm-weather sailing where tactile sensitivity is paramount.

  • Durability: Good, with synthetic leather and reinforced areas.
  • Grip: Great grip, especially for delicate tasks.
  • Comfort: Lightweight and breathable, offering a balance of protection and dexterity.
  • Adjustability: Velcro wrist strap for easy adjustment.
  • Best For: Warm-weather sailing, where dexterity and feel are prioritized.
Gill fingerless glove


Gill Helmsman Gloves (Full-Fingered)

Tailored for the chill of open waters, the Gill Helmsman Gloves (Full-Fingered) feature a water-repellent outer layer, ensuring durability and a secure grip in wet and cold conditions. Their thermal insulation and pre-shaped construction provide warmth and comfort, while the adjustable Velcro wrist strap ensures a snug fit. Designed explicitly for cold-weather sailing, they integrate seamlessly with foul-weather jackets, minimizing the risk of dampness.

  • Durability: Designed for cold weather, with a water-repellent outer layer.
  • Grip: Secure grip, even in wet and cold conditions.
  • Comfort: Thermal insulation and pre-shaped construction for warmth.
  • Adjustability: Adjustable velcro wrist strap for a snug fit.
  • Best For: Cold weather sailing, providing warmth without sacrificing grip. Their length means the tops will be inside your foul weather jacket, minimizing the risk of damp getting in.
Gill helmsman glove


Helly Hansen Sailing Gloves

Helly Hansen Sailing Gloves boast reinforced synthetic leather palms, ensuring longevity and an excellent grip with a silicone print for handling wet lines. The breathable, quick-drying fabric enhances comfort, while the hook and loop closure with inner Velcro wrist adjustment ensures a snug fit. These gloves offer a balanced feature set, making them suitable for general sailing.

  • Durability: Reinforced synthetic leather palms for longevity.
  • Grip: Excellent grip with silicone print for handling wet lines.
  • Comfort: Breathable and quick-drying fabric for comfort.
  • Adjustability: Hook and loop closure inner velcro wrist adjustment ensures a snug fit
  • Best For: General sailing, offering a good balance of features.
Helly hansen sailing glove


Musto Performance Short Finger Gloves

The Musto Performance Short Finger Gloves are engineered for racing and regattas, where agility and grip are crucial. They provide padded protection against wear in key areas and have extra grip for secure rope handling. The flexible construction and breathable spandex backside ensure comfort, while the Velcro wrist adjustment allows for a custom fit, highlighting their suitability for high-intensity sailing activities.

  • Durability: Padded protection on key areas against wear.
  • Grip: Enhanced grip for secure handling of ropes.
  • Comfort: Flexible construction and breathable backside spandex.
  • Adjustability: Velcro wrist adjustment for a custom fit.
  • Best For: Racing and regattas, where agility and grip are key.
Musto performance glove


SealSkinz Waterproof Gloves

For sailors braving wet and cold conditions, SealSkinz Waterproof Gloves offer optimal protection with a waterproof, windproof, durable outer layer. The textured palm ensures a secure grip even in wet conditions, complemented by thermal lining for warmth and a breathable membrane for comfort. The adjustable wrist strap keeps water out, making these gloves indispensable for challenging weather.

  • Durability: Waterproof and windproof with a durable outer layer.
  • Grip: Textured palm for a secure grip in wet conditions.
  • Comfort: Thermal lining for warmth and a breathable membrane.
  • Adjustability: Adjustable wrist strap to keep water out.
  • Best For: Sailing in damp and cold conditions, providing excellent protection.
Sealskinz gloves


Ronstan Sticky Race Gloves

Ronstan Sticky Race Gloves are designed for performance sailing, where control and speed are essential. They offer good durability with rugged construction and reinforced stitching. The sticky palm and fingers afford an excellent grip, while the lightweight design and breathable materials ensure comfort. A neoprene wrist closure guarantees a firm, comfortable fit, emphasizing their role in competitive sailing environments.

  • Durability: Good, with tough construction and reinforced stitching.
  • Grip: Sticky palm and fingers for excellent grip.
  • Comfort: Lightweight design with breathable materials.
  • Adjustability: Neoprene wrist for a firm, comfortable fit.
  • Best For: Performance sailing, where control and speed are critical.
Ronstan sailing glove


FitsT4 Sports Sailing Gloves

The FitsT4 Sports Sailing Gloves are hard-wearing and robust. Their synthetic leather palms and fingerless design allow you to handle sailing gear and complete tasks efficiently. They have velcro wrist straps to ensure a secure fit, and the backside spandex gives goodbreathability when working hard or in warm conditions. 

  • Durability: High with reinforced synthetic leather and protection on wear points.
  • Grip: Excellent, with added grip textures on palms and fingers.
  • Comfort: Padded areas for comfort, with breathable sections for ventilation.
  • Adjustability: Adjustable wrist straps for a customized fit.
  • Best For: Versatile sailing conditions, offering robust protection and comfort.
Fits4 sailing glove
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