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Picking Scuba Diving Gloves – Our Complete Guide

It’s important you put some thought into any footwear you intend to wear for diving. Dedicated diving footwear, called dive boots, offers protection from potentially injurious objects like sharp rocks and coral reefs. You also get enough traction to confidently walk on slippery or rough shores.

It’s easy to think scuba gloves are only needed when one is diving in cold water. But scuba gloves do a lot more than providing warmth as they also protect your hands from cuts and scratches.

Whether you are diving in icy cold water, tropical water, underwater caves, shipwrecks, and so on, there’s always a pair of scuba gloves for any diving condition.

A quality pair of scuba gloves is able to provide the proper amount of warmth and protection for your diving condition while allowing your hands (and fingers) to move freely. Also, scuba gloves should be easy to wear and remove.

Below, you’ll find a buying guide to help you choose the right gloves. So here we go.

Why Wear Diving Gloves?

Diving gloves are safety pieces of diving gear you should always wear when diving. They come in different thicknesses for warm and got water conditions. In cold water, diving gloves provide warmth to your hands and allow you to dive more comfortably.

The other major reason for wearing diving gloves is for the protection of your hands from cuts, scratches, and so on. And this applies whether you are diving in warm or cold waters.

How To Choose Your Diving Gloves?

Below are factors to put into consideration when buying diving gloves:


Common materials used to manufacture diving gloves include synthetic materials, leather, and neoprene. However, neoprene is by far the most popular as it’s comfortable, flexible, and durable. Neoprene is also well-suited for underwater use and that’s why other scuba diving gear like suits and booties are also made from the material.

Depending on the purpose of your gloves, they may be reinforced in particular regions like the palm for greater resistance.


Since gloves come in different thicknesses, the major factor that determines the thickness you go for is the temperature of the water where you are diving. For warm tropical waters, scuba gloves that are 1 mm or 1.5 mm thick are ideal. For moderately cold weather such as the Mediterranean Sea, you’ll need 2 mm or 3 mm thick gloves.

For very cold waters, or if you are diving deep, you’ll need scuba gloves that are more than 3 mm thick.

Design/Style and Dexterity

There are three designs of dive gloves – open finger, full finger, and mitten – and the one you go for depends on the water temperature of your diving site and the level of dexterity you are looking for.

Scuba divers need some level of dexterity underwater as they may need to clear water from their masks, operate dive computers, reels or compasses, adjust the air levels in their BCD, communicate with a dive buddy, and so on.

Open finger dive gloves cover only your palm and the first half of each finger. The result of this is increased dexterity or range of movement at the cost of having less insulation or protection. However, technical divers favor open finger dives since they need more range of movement to operate cameras or small tools underwater.

Full-finger gloves offer better insulation and protection but offer less dexterity than open-finger gloves. However, they are the gloves of choice in cold water conditions since the need for warmth far outweighs that of dexterity.

Mitten-style gloves don’t separate the fingers but instead group them together for more warmth. As a result, dive mittens provide more warmth than any other dive glove design. However, it has the lowest range of movement. Dive mittens are suitable for very cold waters (freezing waters) where the need for warmth is paramount and any other features like dexterity are secondary.

Closure Type

The closure of your gloves determines how easy it is to put them on or off and how warm they keep your hands. Dive gloves could feature no closure, simply sliding on and off your hands.

Some dive gloves come with a hook and loop closure that helps create a tight seal with your hands. There are also dive gloves with zippers that make putting them on or off easy while also creating a tight seal to keep water out.


The quality of dive gloves’ seams is important as it determines how well the gloves can keep water out as well as their durability. Most dive gloves are blind-stitched for the purposes mentioned earlier.

Comfort and Fit

Your dive gloves must be comfortable regardless of the design. An uncomfortable pair of dive gloves is essentially useless. Also, your gloves must be of the right size. If they are too small, it’s going to be uncomfortable, may cut circulation to your hands, and the seams may come apart in which case your hands get cold.

And if your gloves are too big, they’ll be unable to create a seal and keep water out. Water will get into your gloves and your hands get cold.

Final Thoughts

I believe you don’t need any convincing about the benefits of dive gloves as I’ve mentioned them several times throughout this article like a broken record. There are different designs of dive gloves and it all comes down to your personal preferences and diving conditions to choose the one that’s right for you.

The buying guide is there to help you understand what to look for in a pair of dive gloves. With that, you should have no problem choosing the right gloves for your diving sessions.

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