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Surfing Gloves: An Easy Guide

Surfing in warmer climates means you can get away with wearing surfing gloves. However, some surfers still opt to wear gloves in warmer climates for comfort and to protect their hands from rocks and reefs. But when you get to colder climates or icy cold waters, surfing gloves become a necessity. You either wear them or have your hands become numb, which I can tell you isn’t a pleasant experience. Also, you need warm, functioning hands to enjoy your surfing experience.

There are many surfing gloves on the market. Surfing gloves come in different designs and thicknesses and all gloves may seem to be the same at a glance. But you only need to try a couple of surfing globes to know all gloves aren’t made equal.

Below, you’ll find a guide to help you choose the one that suits your needs. So here we go.

Why do You Need Surfing Gloves?

Surfing gloves provide protection for the hands when surfing in cold waters. Surfers that suffer from cold hands in either hot or warm water will also benefit from surfing gloves. Apart from providing warmth, surfing gloves also protect the hands from marine animals, cuts, scratches, and so on.

Why Don’t Surfers Like Surfing Gloves?

Many surfers don’t like surfing gloves because wearing gloves impact flexibility, movement, as well as connection to their surfboards. But all these are a small price to pay if you are surfing in cold waters. Also, modern surfing gloves are better designed and won’t affect your performance as much as the older ones.

How to Choose Your Surfing Gloves?

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


Neoprene, the material used to manufacture wetsuits, is also used to manufacture surfing gloves. Neoprene is comfortable, flexible, durable, and well-suited for underwater use. Depending on the purpose of your gloves, they may be reinforced at particular regions like the palm for greater resistance.


Surfing gloves come in different thicknesses and the thickness you choose is dependent on the diving conditions. Warm tropical waters require gloves that are 1 mm or 1.5 mm thick. 3 mm thick gloves are ideal for moderately cold weather while 5 mm gloves are suitable for cold waters.

Style / Design & Impact on Dexterity

Surfing gloves can be designed to be full-finger, open-finger, or mitten. The style you choose should be dependent on the level of dexterity you want as well as the surfing conditions.

Full finger surfing gloves allow full dexterity and protection of each finger. They are the surfing gloves of choice for both cold and hot water. You just have to choose the right thickness option.

Mittens are designed for frigid waters and optimized to provide more warmth as the fingers are grouped. It offers the lowest level of dexterity but warmth is paramount in the conditions where the gloves are used.

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.

Closure Type

Some surfing gloves have zippers while some have a hook and a loop. There are even gloves that have no closure and just slide on and off your hands. The significance of the closure of surfing gloves is that it affects the ease of putting on and removing the gloves.

Some people prefer gloves with zippers while others prefer the ones with no closures. It’s a matter of personal preference here.

Comfort & Fit

The single most important determinant of whether a surfing glove will be comfortable, provided it’s a quality glove, is fit. If your gloves are too small, you won’t be comfortable due to the pressure on your hands. And should it be too big, water is going to get inside the gloves and your hands will be cold.

Manufacturers provide sizing charts which can be found on the Amazon product page or the manufacturers’ website. Use the sizing chart to choose the right size for you.

How to Maintain Your Surfing Gloves?

Wash your gloves with fresh water after every surfing session and leave them to dry in a shaded area. Every once in a while, wash your gloves with mild soap and water. And it’s recommended you wash your gloves by hand and not use a washer.

Final Thoughts

Now you know the benefits of wearing surfing gloves and the conditions that necessitate the need to wear them. This list has the best surfing gloves on the market so you can get one that offers superb performance and durability.

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