Best climbing gloves

Sports Apparel

Rock climbing is a great form of exercise. It can burn from 500 to 900 calories per hour.

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Which climbing gloves are best?

If you’ve ever done any type of climbing, you know how important it is to protect your hands. Although not all climbers like to use gloves, some swear by them. The right climbing gloves will not only protect your hands and help you get a solid grip on multiple surface types, but they can also keep you warm and dry when conditions are less than ideal. 

The type of climbing you plan to do and how frequently you use the gloves will help determine the best set for you. Our top pick is Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves — light, durable and good for many different surface types. 

What to know before you buy climbing gloves

Types of climbing 

Belaying, rappelling, crack climbing and even ice climbing can be fun and a good source of exercise. They can also be dangerous, so safety is a priority. 

Crack-climbing gloves are often made from rubber and are fingerless to provide better grip. Full-finger leather gloves offer the most protection from rocks and ropes, and leather fingerless gloves provide a happy medium if you want to still be able to feel the surface. 

Surface types

The surface you’re climbing is as important as the type of climbing you plan to do. Sharp, jagged rocks can cut up your hands, no matter how tough your skin. Strong, durable gloves are best here. 

Smoother surfaces pose a different challenge that calls for a different type of glove. Rubber can help you get a firm grip. 

Weather conditions 

If you’re out in the cold, ice climbing or climbing in slick conditions, your hands can become stiff and sensitive. You’ll want to consider gloves with fingers. 

What to look for in a quality climbing glove


If you’re looking for durable gloves made to last, leather is usually your best bet, but these tend to be heavier and less breathable than mesh, polyester, spandex or nylon. These types of gloves are typically more lightweight and versatile, though much thinner leather gloves are available as well. 


Don’t pay attention only to the outer layer of the gloves — consider the lining, too. Your hands can sweat while climbing, and you want material that can wick away moisture. Wool and fleece liners, on the other hand, can help keep your hands warm in colder conditions. 


Many climbers who opt not to wear gloves say gloves impair their grip, so make sure your gloves offer a solid grip. Depending on the conditions, that might mean fingerless or rubber gloves. Even when ice climbing, consider grip in addition to hand warmth. 

How much you can expect to spend on a climbing glove

Basic climbing gloves will run you $15-$25. Specialty gloves for belaying, rappelling, crack climbing or climbing in ultracold weather will cost $30-$60 because they are typically made with higher-quality material. 

Climbing-glove FAQ

What climbing gloves are best for sensitive skin?

A. If your hands tend to be chapped or sensitive, look for gloves with fingertips. A glove with high-quality padding offers additional protection when climbing on sharp, rough surfaces.

How should climbing gloves fit?

A. The fit and size of climbing gloves is based on the gloves’ material. Leather-glove users should size down, as the best fit is snug. If your gloves are made from a synthetic material, they should fit true to size because they will not stretch with use.

How else can I protect my hands when climbing?

A. Besides wearing quality gloves, wash your hands and apply lotion after climbing. You can also try filing your calluses, or using chalk under your gloves 

What are the best climbing gloves to buy?

Top climbing gloves 

Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves

Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves 

What you need to know: These durable, ultra-tactile climbing gloves are built to keep you protected, so you can climb all day in any condition.

What you’ll love: This ultra-light anti-slip glove with open-palm construction offers enhanced grip and increased dexterity. The glove’s construction and design offer rugged protection for multiple types of rock faces.

What you should consider: These gloves were not designed for belaying. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top climbing gloves for the money

Ocun Crack Climbing Gloves

Ocun Crack Climbing Gloves

What you need to know: This budget-friendly climbing glove with a thick material will protect your hands from pain and pressure.

What you’ll love: Due to the gloves’ thick padding, climbers can avoid using bulky tape. These gloves have an anatomical shape with microfiber stretch suede and adhesive rubber that contains high-sensitivity adhesive for enhanced friction.

What you should consider: These gloves can feel tight on your hands if you are new to crack climbing, but this is the correct fit for optimal climbing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Petzl Lightweight Gloves for Climbers

Petzl Lightweight Gloves for Climbers

What you need to know: These lightweight, durable and comfortable gloves are ideal for belaying as well as other standard tasks that require gloves.

What you’ll love: These leather climbing gloves were built to last. They are thick enough to protect your hands but still breathable. They will give you a strong grip on the rope.

What you should consider: Customers have noted these gloves run large.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Ryan Dempsey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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