In this latest article refresh, we gave both our top seven chart and CrossFit glove buyer’s guide a good reshuffle to bring it up to date.
This included adding three new models – the popular Mechanix Wear Specialty Vent Work Gloves and Under Armour’s Coolswitch Flux Gloves, as well as the Seibertron Workout Gloves, which are excellent for rope climbs.
CrossFit is one of the most demanding and dynamic fitness programs on the planet – testing athletes of all abilities with ever-changing daily workouts that challenge strength, fitness and willpower!
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This is where good CrossFit gloves come into play!
While not essential for every WOD, CrossFit gloves can give athletes protection and support on heavy lifts, as well as a grip boost on pullups, rope climbs and kettlebell work – especially when the sweat starts to pour!
Whatever activity you need gloves for, there is certainly no one-size-fits-all training glove – which is where this article can help. Today, we are highlighting some of our favorite CrossFit gloves in 2020, as well as offering a buyer’s guide to help you get a grip on the glove market.
Note that, in this article, our top seven chart focuses solely on gloves. If you are looking for grips – which are mainly used for the lifting portions of your WOD – check out our separate page on the best grips for CrossFit as well.
Size: XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL
Material: Synthetic leather, TrekDry mesh
Wrist Strap: No
Features: Full-finger design, multiple color choices, adjustable TPR wrist closure, reinforced thumb and index finger, pull tab, machine-washable
Perhaps initially surprisingly, our top pick for the best CrossFit gloves are not actually a pair of fitness gloves – these Original Work Gloves from Mechanix Wear are primarily built for manual labor and DIY!
Despite this, these highly-rated gloves are often seen worn by athletes at the CrossFit Games and in gyms around the world. Along with a very affordable price tag, the Originals offer the right mix of protection and flexibility. This is down to a durable synthetic leather palm, along with a TrekDry mesh on the back of the hand for breathability.
This machine-washable glove also features a tapered TPR closure for a secure fit. The good news – it comes in an extensive range of sizes and colors, so everybody can use them!
Size: XS, S, M, L
Material: Synthetic materials
Wrist Strap: No
Features: Half-finger design, multiple color choices, pull tabs for easy removal, thumb sweat wipe, extended 24-month warranty
These popular unisex fitness gloves are another solid choice for the CrossFit box, with a very attractive design. Whether you want pink, aqua, yellow or good ol’ black, GloFit’s Freedom gloves look the part.
They also perform very well indeed. Made entirely from synthetic materials, these gloves feature a breathable perforated microfiber on the rear, with a cushioned anti-slip pad on the palm for enhanced grip on pullups and rope climbs. This adds up to deliver a glove that supports you without making you too warm.
Even if you do start to sweat, there’s a panel of toweling material on the thumb section, allowing you to wipe your brow. Another convenience-enhancing feature is the inclusion of two tabs on the fingers for easy glove removal. A great choice!
Size: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Material: Synthetic leather, TrekDry mesh
Wrist Strap: No
Features: Full-finger design, perforated palm, low-profile TPR hook and loop closure, pull tab, micro-fleece sweat wipe, machine-washable
Next up, another appearance for Mechanix on this chart with the Specialty Vent Work Gloves. While it’s a pricier pair of gloves, it offers something a little different to the Originals (see above).
While the Original gloves can leave you a little sweaty after prolonged use, this upgraded variation features ventilation holes in the palm. Combine this with the lightweight TrekDry mesh material on the rear and you have an all-round more breathable glove that’s perfect as the heat rises.
The Specialty Vent also offers a convenient micro-fleece thumb panel for dabbing away sweat during your WOD, while some high-use areas are reinforced for enhanced durability. With five sizes to choose from there should be no trouble finding the right fit.
Size: S/M, M, L, XL, XXL
Material: Polyester, cotton, silicone
Wrist Strap: No
Features: Half-finger design, multiple colors choices, perforated palms, silicone palm grip, cooling interior coating, terry cloth thumb panel, machine-washable.
While several Under Armour gloves would prove worthwhile for CrossFit sessions, the Coolswitch Flux gloves are a good all-rounder, adding support where needed while keeping you cool during high-intensity WODs.
This is largely down to being half-fingerless, featuring perforated palms, and due to the use of an ‘exclusive’ interior coating, which is said to pull heat away from the skin for a cooler feel and more comfort.
The mix of polyester and a touch of cotton also helps make these machine-washable gloves feel great against the skin. With silicone added to the palm, they can also boost grip on pullup bars and kettlebells, and prove to be pretty durable. Finally, the addition of a terry cloth thumb panel is a welcome addition.
No fitness gear list is usually complete without an offering from Nike – and CrossFit gloves are no exception!
With a stylish Nike design – including three color choices, all with embroidered Swoosh logo – these Core Lock Training Gloves are made from the brand’s Dri-FIT fabric. As the name suggests, this high-performance material helps wick sweat away from the skin for more comfort when the temperature rises.
They aren’t as durable as some others on this list, yet they provide a good mix of support and comfort. Available in four sizes, these gloves fit snugly, with a stretchy wristband and adjustable Velcro closure. The extended middle finger makes it easier to get these gloves off – perfect for when you are switching exercises in your WOD.
Some workout gloves are great for pullups, some are great for lifting heavy barbells – these Seibertron workout gloves are particularly good for climbing ropes. For this reason, they are a good choice if you need the edge for WODs heavy on the rope climbs.
This is because these half-finger gloves offer good flexibility and maximum protection, with a reinforced synthetic leather palm and SBR padding, along with Kevlar stitching for exceptional durability against rope friction.
This affordable and relatively minimalist glove only comes in a stealthy black design, although finding the right fit is easy, with six different sizes to choose from and an adjustable Velcro strap to lock you in. The pull tabs on two fingers and ID tag at the bottom are both nice additions too.
Size: XS, S, M, L, XL
Material: Mesh, microfiber, foam
Wrist Strap: Some variations
Features: Half-finger design, multiple color choices, semi open-back design, adjustable Velcro strap, sweat wipe patch, finger pull-off tabs, optional wristband version
The Ultralight workout gloves from Viomir are an incredibly popular choice for CrossFit and functional training – and not just because it’s an affordable pair!
These gloves live up to their name, with an ultra-light, ultra-breathable design that remains comfortable during high-intensity exercise. This is thanks to a relatively open back, along with highly-perforated mesh on the rear. The front features a double-layer palm made with microfiber and foam for comfort and durability.
As with other gloves, Viomir’s Ultralight offers a few convenient design additions, such as a sweat wipe patch on the thumb and pull-off tabs on the fingers. Finally, this glove is available with a thick wristband if you want the additional support for heavy lifting.
As mentioned, CrossFit gloves are by no means essential for every workout. In fact, if you are new to the fitness program, a good pair of CrossFit shoes for beginners would be a better way to spend your cash.
However, CrossFit gloves do serve a purpose and are used by both newbies and professional CrossFit athletes alike.
While you should always aim to improve your own grip strength, having some extra control and support in the form of gloves can be very welcome as fatigue starts to set in – whether you are performing pullups or using slam balls.
If you have particularly sweaty hands, or are trying to protect your hands from developing calluses (or even protect existing calluses from infection), gloves can certainly help.
However, not every glove is built the same. Some are ideal for lighter work, some are good for rope climbing, while some gloves are built for lifting. The following sections give you the ins and outs of training gloves, and what you should look out for when buying a pair – whether it’s your first or fifteenth!
There are many styles of training glove you could opt for, all best-suited for different uses. First off, if you are looking for gloves to help protect and support your hands and wrists during the lifting portions of your WOD (deadlifts, Olympic lifts, and so on), check out our page dedicated to weightlifting gloves for everything you need to know.
Now, one of the first design decisions you will have to make is whether to go for a half-finger (‘fingerless’) or full-finger glove.
There is no right or wrong answer – it is entirely down to your personal preference. In general, full-finger gloves naturally offer the better protection and enhance your grip across the entire hand. Half finger gloves offer better flexibility and allow you to actually feel the metal/rope, as well as giving your fingers chance to breathe.
On that note, consider the ventilation. Some gloves are designed with more ventilation in mind, which is crucial for warmer temperatures, as well as sweaty conditions (which are pretty common in high-intensity WODs!).
While the materials used play a big part, this ventilation may also come in the form of having an open back (not as open as on CrossFit grips, but with a sizable panel removed) or by having perforations/ventilation holes in the palm.
Flexibility in a glove is also naturally very important. Stability and protection may be crucial when lifting a heavy barbell, but equally you need mobility in your hands and wrists when you are performing dynamic movements such as press ups, burpees, pullups, muscle ups and rope climbs.
This is why the training gloves featured on this page don’t tend to offer integrated wrist straps – these are more common on dedicated weightlifting gloves.
Next, consider the padding. Some gloves are designed to be thin and lightweight, while some offer more padding in the palm and fingers.
Ample padding will naturally offer you more comfort and protection from calluses, but will give you less of a connection with the surface you are grabbing. On the other hand (no pun intended…), a glove with thinner padding will offer better feedback from the bar/rope/rings, while giving better grip overall. This thinner glove tends to be more useful for CrossFit.
While we explore materials and fit below, another thing that may come into play is the aesthetics of the glove – in other words, what they look like. Of course, CrossFit is certainly not a fashion show, but it’s understandable that you will feel more confident performing your WOD if you are wearing gear that fits your style.
Luckily, there are many designs out there. Some will be minimalist and stealthy, for the no-nonsense athlete or the introvert. Other gloves are available in an assortment of loud colors, plastered with patterns and logos, for those athletes who prefer to make an impression.
The materials a glove is made from are just as important as anything else. They can make or break the performance, fit and durability – so pay attention!
As noted above, flexibility and feel are more of a requirement on training gloves (compared to the stability and cushioning on weightlifting gloves), and this is reflected in the materials used.
Whereas weightlifting gloves make use of durable leather, CrossFit gloves tend to be made with synthetic materials that deliver flexibility, breathability and durability. Still, for high-friction areas such as the palm and thumb, synthetic/genuine leather tends to be commonly used.
Some gloves will also enhance the durability and grip by adding silicone or rubber patterns onto the palms.
These hardwearing palms are balanced by the use of lightweight and breathable fabrics like spandex, Lycra, polyester and cotton meshes on the rear of the glove. Some brands use their own proprietary blend, such as TrekDry, Speedwick or Dri-FIT, which do similar jobs, although with more moisture-wicking properties.
Whatever glove and material you are looking at, consider whether or not the glove is washable – check with the manufacturer, although most will mention this on the advertising material.
Some gloves will be machine-washable, which is ideal as you can simply toss them in with your regular laundry load after your workout. If your gloves aren’t machine washable, you should always at least wipe them down after a sweaty workout, leaving them to air dry to avoid them becoming damp or smelly.
Like any piece of fitness gear, the fit of the glove is very important. A good fit allows the gloves to do the job they are built to do.
You don’t want a glove that is too big, otherwise your hands may slide around inside, which can cause friction and even calluses. However, buying a glove that is too small will be uncomfortable and may restrict your movement, such as being unable to wrap your hand around the bar.
Ultimately, you want your glove to… well, fit like a glove!
If you are buying a pair of training gloves in a store, then there’s no excuse to walk out with an ill-fitting pair – you should try on several pairs until you find one that feels comfortable.
Buying CrossFit gloves online may give you more choice and better prices, but it can be difficult to find your perfect size. However, most brands will offer a sizing guide, which usually involves you measuring the circumference of the palm and the length of your middle finger then comparing it with a chart.
While this may require a little more effort initially, ending up with the right size will ensure you aren’t left with a useless pair of gloves.
In addition to providing good grip, flexibility, breathability, durability and a comfortable fit, some gloves provide a few additional features to make the experience more convenient. These features are worth looking out for, although should not be the sole reason you buy the glove.
One common feature you will find is pull-off tabs. These are usually placed at the wrist and – in the case of half-finger gloves – on one or two of the middle fingers. They are in place to help you both put on and remove the glove, which can be tricky with sweaty hands.
Another feature to keep an eye out for when sweat is concerned is the addition of an absorbent panel of material, usually on the thumb section. Often made from terry cloth or microfiber, this allows you to dab your brow when the heat rises.
Some full-fingered gloves also focus on conductivity to allow you to interact with touchscreens, such as smartphones or CrossFit watches without having to remove your gloves. For CrossFit, this isn’t usually a big deal, considering how little you will need to use technology during a WOD, although it doesn’t hurt the appeal of these gloves.
Gloves are most certainly allowed in CrossFit! However, whether or not you should wear them is another question.
Of course, gloves have big advantages. Providing that you find the right mix of padding and flexibility, gloves can help boost your grip, whether you are struggling because of fatigue or sweat. Even if you can perform pullups like a champion, would you be able to do more if you had a better grip on the bar?
Gloves are also popular because they provide protection from calluses and – if you already have calluses – protection from infection.
Even if you consider your hands strong enough to survive brutal barbell treatment or rope climbs, the fact that you do CrossFit WODs multiple times a week may give you more reason to wear gloves – to give your hands the occasional break, and your calluses time to heal.
However, like many things in the fitness world, gloves split opinion. Some people just dislike them with a passion.
Just like weightlifters, some CrossFit athletes wear their torn-up hands and calluses as a badge of pride. They also love the feel of the cold metal of a barbell or the friction of a rope, as they work their way through a WOD.
Whether you feel this glove rebuking is justified or not, gloves do have their disadvantages. For example, some can be quite bulky, which means you lose a lot of feel for the barbell/kettlebell/pullup bar, which can result in slipping – the exact opposite of what a good glove should do!
If a glove is too loose, it can also cause friction and calluses – again, this is the exact opposite of why you may wear a glove in the first place.
However, if you can find a glove that isn’t too bulky and that fits correctly, then gloves can be very useful. Even if you only wear them for certain workouts or for when your hands are in bad condition, it’s worth having a pair of CrossFit gloves in your workout bag.
It’s a good question, although we believe that there is no one perfect CrossFit glove – everybody is different.
Reebok are the official apparel sponsor of CrossFit and, unsurprisingly, offer a series of high-performance training gloves, including some affordable models and some premium CrossFit gloves.
Are these the best? At over $50 for a pair, you would think so, although if you aren’t a fan of full-finger gloves, then perhaps not. Equally, if you are shopping on more of a budget, they won’t be suitable.
Ultimately, the best CrossFit gloves for you will come down to your individual taste in design, materials and features. Because of this, we suggest you browse our top seven chart above for some inspiration, although it is then worth browsing the wider market to see what else is out there.
Wherever you shop – whether online or in a store – look for a glove that offers good protection and a durable palm, although something with enough flexibility for dynamic movements such as pullups and rope climbs.
For heavy lifting, CrossFit grips or dedicated weightlifting gloves usually offer more stability in the wrist, although this comes at the cost of mobility.
Of course, gloves are usually affordable enough that you can buy two or three pairs, which allows you to try multiple styles to see what you prefer. It also allows you to have a more supportive glove for WODs that focus on lifting, as well as a thinner and more flexible pair for those that require more mobility.
Wearing gloves for lifting a heavy barbell makes sense, as it can help protect your skin from developing unsightly and painful calluses.
However, it’s less common to develop calluses through performing calisthenic movements, like pullups and chin-ups. Yet many people still wear gloves. Why?
There are a few reasons you may wish to wear gloves while performing pullups, and all are valid.
The first is that your grip is weak. Your back and biceps may be able to smash out a few more reps, but your hands start to slip due to a weaker grip, preventing you from completing your set. Wearing a pair of lightweight gloves with silicone or rubber grips can help you keep a hold of the bar for longer.
However, wearing gloves for this reason may be papering over cracks. In the long run it will be better to work on developing your grip strength, which will help you in other aspects of both your gym and day-to-day life. You can work on your grip by squeezing a tennis ball, using a hand gripper tool, or performing farmer’s walks in the gym.
The next reason is along similar lines – your hands get too sweaty. Some people struggle with excessive perspiration and no matter how much chalk you use, sweat still causes you to slip when holding the pullup bar. Luckily, gloves will go a long way to preventing this sweat from interfering with your reps.
Another reason you may want to use gloves for pullups is to protect your hands if you already have cuts or calluses.
Consider how many people use the pullup bars in your CrossFit box, and how often – if ever – they are cleaned. Now you can imagine the bacteria that may be living on the bar! Therefore, wearing gloves to protect open sores is a smart idea.
With all that said, you can now make up your own mind whether or not you need to wear gloves. Ultimately, you probably shouldn’t just wear gloves for the sake of it – they can actually hinder your progress if you don’t need them, and you won’t win any admirers along the way!
Some lifters and CrossFit athletes wear their calluses with pride, showing the world that they lift and they lift hard!
However, some of us don’t get as much pleasure from calluses. If you work as in healthcare, retail, hospitality, beauty or professional industries, you may not want rough and unsightly calluses on your hands.
While workout gloves can go some way to protecting your hands from calluses, let’s look at some other ways you can prevent calluses from appearing and from getting worse.
Calluses are born thanks to the pressure and friction created when repeatedly gripping a barbell, dumbbell or some other rough surface.
The first way to prevent calluses, then, would be to hold the bar correctly. Aim to have the bar snugly in the upper palm of your hand, where your palm joins your fingers (essentially underneath the knuckles). This positioning will avoid the bar from pinching your skin when being pulled or pushed.
Be sure to use chalk in the gym, providing your gym allows it. A layer of chalk on your hands will reduce sweat and give a firmer grip. This will mean less chance of the bar moving in your hands, and less chance of calluses developing.
Also, after your session, be sure to clean and moisturize your hands. Regardless of whether you are a guy or a girl, keeping your hands moist promotes healthier skin, which will make it less prone to calluses.
Buying a pair of training gloves for CrossFit isn’t going to suddenly turn you into a superhuman overnight, but you may benefit from the protection from calluses and increased grip they can offer – whether you are squeezing out one more muscle up or slamming those battle ropes.
Today’s article will have given you some inspiration and a good dose of information to take with you as you shop for gloves online or in store. Use it to make an informed decision to find a pair of gloves that will help you achieve everything you want to in your CrossFit journey!