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My 5 Favorite Summer Motorcycle Gloves to Beat the Heat

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Riding a motorcycle is basically like having free air-conditioning. Once you get a little wind in your hair, that 90-degree day starts to feel a lot cooler, and if we’re being honest, who cares what the thermostat says if you’re having a good time? Of course, that’s assuming you’ve got the right summer motorcycle gloves on.

Being hot and sweaty is no fun, but sweaty hands suck particularly hard. If you’re still rocking full leather gauntlets, insulated touring gloves, or something else that feels like sticking your hand in a furnace, here are a few of my favorite light and breezy options to keep your hands happy while you’re twisting the wick. 


Alpinestars SMX 1 Air V2

The Alpinestars SMX 1 Air v2 is the best value for getting the job done. With its mesh construction, maximizing airflow to keep hands cool in sweltering conditions, sturdy knuckle protection and TPR finger sliders offer robust safety measures while maintaining agility and flexibility for riders.

Combining ventilation, protection, and ergonomic design, the SMX 1 Air v2 stands out for its comprehensive approach to summer riding comfort and safety. All this with a fair price point.

The Quick List of Heated Motorcycle Gloves

  1. Alpinestars SMX 1 Air V2 – Road worthy and wildly affordable
  2. Dainese Mig 3– New version upgrades ventilation while keeping it’s CE-2 Level protection
  3. Held Air N Dry Motorcycle Gloves – 100% Waterproof for those Summer rains
  4. Klim Badlands Aero Pro– Bombproof protection with premium materials.
  5. 100% Derestricted Motorcycle Gloves – Motocross level ventilation

Best Motorcycle Gloves for Summer

1. Alpinestars SMX 1 Air V2

Safety-wise the Air V2s punch way above their price point and deliver reliable protection where you need it. At the top of the hand and throughout the palm and fingers you get soft full-grain leather, the knuckles are covered by an uninterrupted strip of carbon fiber.

Alpinestars’ SMX Air series has been many a rider’s first pair of summer motorcycle gloves, but even if you’re a veteran motorcyclist, they bring a ton of value to the table. The SMX-1 Air V2 is a particularly budget-friendly pick, and if you’re shopping for something around the $60 mark, these are tough to beat. 

Me waving at the camera while wearing the SMX-1 Summer Motorcycle Gloves.
Me testing out Alpinestars SMX-1 V2 Summer Gloves while riding the Washington BDR.

Additional reinforcement comes courtesy of synthetic goat skin leather at the palm and along the vulnerable outer seam. Everywhere else on the glove you’ll find highly breathable mesh and elastic panels designed to optimize comfort and keep air flowing freely.

Now, this is an extremely budget-friendly option, so it feels a little unfair to take shots at it here, but there are definitely a few compromises you’ll want to consider if these summer motorcycle gloves are on your shortlist.

The first is that although they’re 100% road worthy, they’re lacking the high-tech safety features of the more premium gloves on this list. There are no hard TPU sliders at the palm, and you’re definitely not getting any Superfabric at this price.

We’ll also mention that while Alpinestars did a great job of adding reinforcements without adding cost, they achieve it by using synthetic leather in those areas rather than natural full-grain goat or kangaroo leather.  

Alpine Stars SMX 1 Air V2 motorcycle gloves close up.

The Good 🤩

  • Super well ventilated.
  • Flexible and extremely comfortable.
  • Wildly Affordable.

The Not-So-Good 😔

  • Protection is road-worthy, but basic.
  • Would prefer to see more full-grain leather.
  • If it rains or is humid the black dyes leak and turn your hands black.

2. Dainese Mig 3

Dainese updated their ever-popular Mig C2 summer motorcycle gloves this year, and the latest iteration is their best yet. The original Mig gloves were always a great hot-weather option, but Dainese managed to upgrade the airflow even further without losing the CE-2 level safety certification of the original. 

More 3D mesh has been added to the low-risk zones at top of the wrist and the ends of the fingers, while the outgoing model’s all-synthetic suede palm has been beefed up with more full-grain leather in the areas you want it.

There’s still a healthy base layer of synthetic suede throughout the palm for optimal comfort, but the reinforced portions look and feel much more protective now. Aside from that, much of the Mig 3 is still the summer motorcycle glove you know and love.

Me throwing up my hands on my bike in the Vietnamese countryside.

It’s still got the split hardshell knuckle protectors that provide impact protection without limiting flexibility, the side seam is still well protected with double-stitched full-grain cowhide, and the glove still gives the svelte European fit Dainese is known for.

The latest model also boasts Dainese’s latest Smart Touch material at the finger and thumb, so the Mig is now fully touchscreen-friendly. 

As far as cons go, the only real complaint we have is the price. The new Mig 3 is about $10 more than the outgoing model depending on where you shop, and while that’s nothing outrageous, the Mig is no longer a “sub $100 glove.”

Dainese also swapped out the previous Mig’s silicone finger grips for the new Smart Touch material, so while we consider it a welcome tradeoff, riders who aren’t using touchscreen devices may lament the loss of extra grip at the levers. 

Dainese Mig 3 Unisex summer motorcycle gloves.

The Good 🤩

  • Improved ventilation without sacrificing protection.
  • More full-grain leather incorporated into the palm.
  • Now touchscreen-friendly.

The Not-So-Good 😔

  • Slight price increase.
  • Silicone fingertip grips are gone.

3. Held Air N Dry Motorcycle Gloves for Summer

The Held Air N Dry is arguably one of the most underrated motorcycle gloves of all time. Perforated materials are impossible to waterproof (you know, because they’re full of holes), yet here we have a full-length perforated gauntlet that is 100% storm ready.

So how does Held do it? Simple: They cheat. On the outside, the Held Air N Dry looks like a highly breathable full-length touring glove, because that’s what it is. Take a look at the inside, however, and you’ll see how the sausage is made.

Held uses a “dual compartment” system inside the Air N Dry which allows you to choose which opening you slide your hand into. Go with the bottom section, and you’ll be treated to one of the most aggressively perforated kangaroo leather palms we’ve ever seen.

Should storm clouds appear on the horizon, however, all you need to do is slide your hand into the top compartment, and you’ll be completely protected by a full-length Gore-Tex membrane. 

“Waterproof hot weather touring glove” isn’t a phrase that should exist, and yet, here it is. The fact that these summer motorcycle gloves also happen to pack enough top-notch protection to suit even the most aggressive sport-touring junkies (hard TPU protection on the knuckles, Superfabric seam protection, and a healthy smattering of full grain leather and Cordura fabric) seems too good to be true. 

You’ll have to pay a pretty penny for the Held Air N Dry’s versatility, and they won’t flow nearly as much air on the top of the glove as the mesh-laden mitts on our list, but the simple fact that you can have this much weather and safety protection in the dead of summer makes them too good to leave out. 

Held Air N Dry motorcycle gloves enlarged for details.

The Good 🤩

  • 100% waterproof.
  • Great ventilation and feel.
  • Outstanding safety features.

The Not-So-Good 😔

  • Expensive.
  • Not as breathable as mesh-heavy options.

4. Klim Badlands Aero Pro

Klim’s “Badlands” line of adventure gear is widely regarded as the best in the business, and the Klim Badlands Aero Pro is the hot-weather version of their popular Badlands GTX glove. 

Essentially what you’ve got here is all the same bombproof protection of the Badlands GTX, but you’re trading out the waterproof GoreTex liner for breathable perforated leather panels.

Safety-wise, everything else is left intact here: You’re still getting that insanely rugged carbon/ceramic knuckle guard, the same XRD padding along your digits, and the same ceramic-printed palm slider that makes the Badlands GTX feel so indestructible. 

My buddy Ngoc and I riding motorcycles in Vietnam.

Everywhere else you’re looking at full grain leather, but with the added benefit of box-stiched seams, so there are no uncomfortable edges digging into your hands while you ride. You’ll also get Klim’s fantastic Mult-e-Touch panels at the fingertips for touchscreen compatibility, and some extra low-profile reflectivity courtesy of 3M Scotchlite carbon black panels. 

The Badlands Aero Pro is an impressive piece of kit, but it has its tradeoffs as well. The first is that it’s pretty damn expensive, especially for a short cuff summer motorcycle glove. The second is that although its perforated leather is well suited for airflow, we’ve got some concerns on how well it would hold up to asphalt compared to non-perforated material.

Klim does a good job of using non-perforated material in the most crucial areas (the heel of the hand in particular), but the thumb and fingers don’t look too confidence-inspiring.

Klim Badlands Aero Pro motorcycle gloves close up.

The Good 🤩

  • Bombproof protection.
  • Breathable perforated leather construction.
  • Premium materials throughout.

The Not-So-Good 😔

  • Expensive for a short cuff summer motorcycle glove.
  • Somehow only CE level 1 certified.

5. 100% Derestricted Motorcycle Gloves for Summer

If you mainly ride off-road but occasionally find yourself linking dirt trails with stretches of tarmac, take a look at the 100% Derestricted gloves. These summer motorcycle gloves were made specifically with the hardcore dual sport rider in mind, and they’ve got all the features an off-road warrior could ask for. 

At their core, the 100% Derestricted are essentially dirtbike gloves: They’re stretchy and form-fitting, made with tons of mesh, and add a touch of silicone at each of the forefingers for extra grip at the controls. They differ, however, by adding in a few street-inspired touches that make them ideal for street-legal trail bikes. 

The top of the hand, for example, sports full grain leather protection out to the first knuckle for extra abrasion resistance. There’s also a solid knuckle protector sewn in (a welcome addition for anyone who has ever taken a tree branch to the hand), added padding on each of the fingers, and a double-layer of synthetic leather on the palm for abrasion resistance. 

The 100% Derestricted is a massive improvement in safety over a regular MX glove, but their main fault is that they’re still not really meant for street use.

Granted, hard sliders, leather, and a double-layer clarino palm will all fare better against pavement than the typical mesh/single-layer palm of an off-road only design, but there’s nowhere near enough protection here for highway speeds.

You’ll also have to cough up a few extra bucks for the Derestricted compared to other dirt-only summer motorcycle gloves, but we think they’re a good compromise if you keep your pavement time to a minimum. 

100% Derestricted summer motorcycle gloves close up.

The Good 🤩

  • Motocross level ventilation.
  • Hard plastic knuckle protection.
  • Double reinforced clarino palm.

The Not-So-Good 😔

  • Not enough protection for highway use.
  • More expensive than a standard dirt-only glove.

So which summer motorcycle glove are you wearing this next ride? Hope this list helped you find the perfect pair.

READ MORE: 5 Best Adventure Motorcycle Boots or 5 Adventure Motorcycle Pants that will go the distance.

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