If you are looking for the best calisthenics gloves, then you are in the right place.
Gloves can be an important ally in workouts that involve a lot of hanging or pulling. As the workout progresses, you may find your grip strength starting to diminish rapidly. Furthermore, calluses can form or, even worse, rip during your training.
This is where a quality pair of calisthenics gloves can be useful.
However, it is difficult to find a pair that is truly qualitative.
This is why I decided to make it easy for you and write this article on how to choose a quality pair of workout gloves, as well as present my top recommendations.
Summary: The best calisthenics gloves
Press on any of the links below to scroll down to the review of the chosen item.
Best overall: Fit Active Sports Gloves
Best minimalist: Pull-up & Dip Grip Pads
Best for cold environments: Bionic Gloves
Best protection: Skott 2019 Evo 2 Weightlifting Gloves
Best for cross training: Fit Vikings Gymnastics Grips
Training calisthenics with gloves: benefits and drawbacks
Using gloves in your training is a highly debated topic. There are people who consider you less of an athlete for protecting your hands. Unfortunately, there is a lot of dogma associated with the calisthenics community.
But I digress.
Using gloves is a matter of preference. To make the choice easier for you, let us examine the benefits and drawbacks of using them.
Benefit #1: Grip comfort and increased endurance
One major benefit of using gloves in your calisthenics training is the increased endurance of your hands. This is especially noticeable at the end of a workout routine.
More often than not, your hands give up before your muscles.
If you have been doing lots of pull-ups or hanging exercises, then you know what I am talking about. You still have the muscular endurance to hang on the bar. However, your palms are burning and you can no longer hang for the life of you.
In this instance, a pair of calisthenics gloves is ideal.
They will provide the necessary comfort to stop your palms from hurting, allowing you to squeeze in a few extra repetitions.
Benefit #2: Injury protection
Most people who train have calluses - an area of thickened skin due to too much friction.
Unfortunately, gloves will not prevent calluses from forming. They can slow down the process but they cannot stop it.
However, there is a kind of injury that can be prevented with the help of gloves.
As I’ve mentioned, calluses will form regardless of whether you are using gloves or not. However, once a callus forms, if your hands get too dry and you keep applying friction to them, the calluses will tear. The torn skin in your palm will prevent you from training for about a week until it heals.
However, this is rare.
To give you an idea, I’ve been doing calisthenics for about six years now - mostly without gloves. In all this time, I’ve only tore a callus once.
Benefit #3: Wrist support
Sometimes your muscles and palms can take the load but there is another weak link.
Whether it is your muscles, palms, or wrists that give up, the result is still the same. You will not be able to complete the exercise for the amount of repetitions you set yourself to do.
Even though a pair of calisthenics gloves can not prevent muscular failure, it can help with the palms (addressed above) and wrist support. Fortunately, most calisthenics gloves come with straps to support your wrists during exercise.
This feature is especially handy in calisthenics.
With most of us doing handstands, planches, and heavy dips on parallel bars, our wrists are taking a beating. The extra support comes in handy not only for increased performance, but also to keep injuries at bay.
Drawback #1: Can inhibit grip strength
There is this misconception that gloves improve your grip strength. Unfortunately, it is not true. What gloves do is improve your endurance - in the sense that, the cushioning stops your hands from hurting, allowing you to squeeze in extra repetitions.
Furthermore, they also prevent the weight or bar from slipping from your hands.
However, this, again, does not mean that the strength of your grip is higher.
Some people believe that your grip strength is limited with the use of gloves.
From experience, I have to agree with them. The extra cushioning adds girth to whatever you will be gripping. A thicker grip means that your forearm muscles (which are responsible for your grip strength) will have to work harder.
Keep in mind, however, that the difference is minimal. If you are a beginner, you will feel it. On the other hand, if you are advanced, it will not harm your grip in any noticeable way.
How to choose your ideal calisthenics gloves
In this chapter, I will teach you how to find the best calisthenics gloves.
Finding good gloves can be a daunting task, especially since there are so many options on the market. Furthermore, different people have different wants and needs, which makes the task even more difficult.
For this reason, I can tell you that there is no absolute best.
However, I will show you what to look for to find your absolute best.
There are five factors you should look at:
These factors are all important and, in my opinion, none of them should be overlooked.
When you first decide to purchase a pair of gloves, you should decide the type you would like.
Each type is suitable for different environments and has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Full finger gloves
If you like training outside, then this type of gloves is great for colder weather. Even on a cold day, your performance will stay relatively high with their help.
Furthermore, they are a great option in terms of hygiene.
Not a lot of people think about hygiene, especially during their training. However, rusty bars and dusty equipment is not fun, especially if you have a small open wound. Full finger gloves will keep a relatively high level of hygiene in your training.
Unfortunately, they will not allow your hands to breathe as well as fingerless gloves.
If you couple this with a warm environment, you can imagine that your hands will get very sweaty and so will the gloves. You will have to wash them often, otherwise, they will catch an unpleasant smell that you will not be able to take off.
Lastly, these may limit your range of motion in certain exercises.
This is highly dependent on the design and model though.
I recommend you to look for a pair that doesn’t have too much cushion on the fingers, or check the calisthenics gloves reviews below.
If you are looking for gloves suitable for warm environments, then the fingerless type may be a good choice for you.
One of the advantages of this type of gloves is their breathability. Thanks to their open design, they will keep your hands (mostly) dry and the chances of catching a smell due to sweat decrease considerably.
Furthermore, you won’t have to wash them nearly as often.
These come in three different subtypes:
Fingerless gloves are, well... gloves without fingers. They are a great choice for extra protection of your palms, since they usually have a lot of cushion. Some of them also come with a wrist strap for support.
Grip pads only cover your palms. Even though don't offer any wrist support, they make up for it by being thinner and allowing a better grip of the bar.
Gymnastics hand grips are a good choice for their breathability and wrist support. Covering only three fingers, they offer the most room for airflow. Furthermore, they are all equipped with a wrist strap which comes in handy for extra support.
Material & build quality
After you decide what type of gloves you would like, it is time to choose a material. For a durable yet comfortable glove, I recommend you to look for the ones made or consisting of the following materials:
All of the gloves reviewed below are made of one or a combination of these materials.
Furthermore, if you want protection, you want to look for a glove that is thick or padded.
A thick or padded glove will offer your hands the protection they need for an injury-free workout. Since a thin glove is more susceptible to ripping apart in the middle of your workout, looking for thicker gloves is a must.
Lastly, you do not want just any glove.
You should look for those pairs that have special non-slip material on the part that covers your palm, to help with your grip.
The flexibility of a calisthenics glove is also very important.
If you want a thicker glove that will offer more protection, be mindful of the fact that it won’t be as flexible as the breathable gloves. This is a trade-off you will have to accept: better protection but less breathable and more rigid, or more breathable, but less protection and more flexible.
This comes down to personal preference and should be tested on your own.
However, remember that a thicker glove can mean less grip strength and more sweat, while a thinner one can mean less protection and less durability.
As far as fit is concerned, the gloves should mould to your hands.
If the glove is too tight, then your freedom of movement is limited.
If the glove is loose, then you may find yourself getting blisters during your workouts.
To test the flexibility and fit of a glove, put it on your hand. Once you decide it’s not too tight or too loose, make your hand into a fist. From here, rotate your fist in 360-degree circles to the left and to the right, to make sure that the gloves are flexible enough for you.
For some people wrist straps are a must, while others can do without them.
As mentioned above, wrist straps offer an extra layer of protection to your wrists, as well as keep your performance high in movements where your wrist might fail - like the planche.
Should you worry about wrist straps?
It depends on your goals and the exercises you will be performing.
For example, if you are only sticking to the basics like pull-ups, push-ups, and dips, then wrist straps are not that important. It would be nice to have them, but they are not mandatory.
However, if your training includes handstands, one arm pull-ups, planche, deadlifts, and other difficult elements, then there is no question about the need for straps. Without straps, you may find your wrist injured sooner or later.
Bottom line is this:
Calisthenics gloves with wrist straps are not vital, but are certainly nice to have.
If you can choose between gloves with straps and gloves without straps, then we recommend you to pick the one with straps.
I have mentioned size in the flexibility section above, but let’s be a bit more specific.
To find the right size for your gloves, take your dominant hand and measure it by wrapping a tape measure around. Measure just below your knuckles, excluding the thumb. With the tape measure wrapped around, make a fist to find the exact width of your hand.
Depending on the manufacturer, the size will be indicated by a number, or a letter (standing for extra-small, small, medium, etc.)
See the table below to find your correct size:
Calisthenics gloves reviews
Now that you know all the important information on choosing the right calisthenics gloves for you, let us go ahead and see my top picks for the best calisthenics gloves.
As you will see, each one is ideal for different wants people have.
If you are a minimalist, I recommend you to go with the pads; if you train in a cold environment, you should consider the bionic gloves, and so on.
Fit Active Sports Gloves
These gloves come in a single color, black, making them suitable for both men and women. The open hand design allows for breathability, offering comfort by preventing your hands from overheating and getting sweaty. With these, your palm is covered in its entirety for optimal protection against blisters and calluses.
The Fit Active Sport Gloves are made of silicon printed neoprene which is resistant to water, oil, heat, and aging, making this a durable pair of gloves. On the palm you will also find rubber padding for extra grip.
They feature a fingerless design, which is important if you are looking for flexible gloves.
As far as sizing is concerned, the gloves come in five sizes, from extra small to extra large. Before purchasing these, we recommend you to measure your palm and use the table above to determine the perfect size for you.
Lastly, the Fit Active Sport Gloves come with a wrist strap. This feature makes them the ideal pair for calisthenics, because they will offer support in the more difficult exercises of this sport. Furthermore, the wrist strap is velcro, therefore, easily adjustable.
Being built with silicon printed neoprene which is resistant to most factors that can ruin a pair of gloves - from water, to oil, and heat - these are very durable. Looking at the price point, these are clearly a steal.
Pullup & Dip Neoprene Grip Pads
The first thing we noticed and liked about these pads is their minimalist design. With these, you don’t have to spend mental energy thinking about what color you should choose and whether they have whatever feature. What you see is what you get.
They are made of high-quality neoprene, which counteracts sweat, preventing your hands from slipping during the workout. As far as thickness is concerned, they are thick enough to provide protection against injury, but thin enough to not mess with your grip.
The pads are highly flexible and breathable, since they only cover your palms.
Another thing we liked was that you didn’t have to think about size. These are one size fits all; just slip them on your hand and start exercising.
As you can see, the pads do not come with a wrist strap. Therefore, if you are thinking about more difficult exercises, then these may not be the best option for you.
These pads are made of odorless, high-quality neoprene, which makes them durable and efficient. They prevent your hands from getting sweaty and slippery, as well as protect your palms from blisters and calluses. For their price point, we believe these are a very good bargain.
These gloves are made with washable cabretta leather, designed in such a way to fit like a second skin. Covering your entire hand, these are very good at keeping your hands warm in cold environments, as well as protecting not only your palms but your fingers too.
Since they are made of leather, they are also durable (more so than the neoprene ones).
One of the features that we liked is the politowel thumb, which gives you the ability to easily wipe away your sweat.
The pads in the Bionic glove are placed in a way to even out the surface of your hand, so that the pressure can be distributed uniformly whenever you are gripping a surface. This helps you exert just a bit more strength and prevents your grip from fatiguing as fast.
You might have noticed that when you curl your fingers into a fist, they rotate ever so slightly towards the center of your palm. The people at Bionic have noticed this and made the fingers of the glove pre-curled. This has allowed them to ensure a comfortable, effortless grip.
As far as flexibility is concerned, that is taken care of as well. Bionic uses breathable Lycra over the motion zones - knuckles and finger webs - so that the gloves are flexible and breathable.
Unfortunately, these gloves do not have a wrist wrap. Since they have been actually designed for golfers, a wrist wrap was not necessary.
Lastly, you should know that even though this glove is one of the best on the list, it doesn’t come in a pair. Again, since they have been designed with golfers in mind, they don’t come in a pair (most golfers only use one glove). Therefore, you will have to purchase a glove for each hand separately.
I was so pleased with these gloves that, if they had a wrist wrap, they would have been the best calisthenics gloves in my opinion. The grip is outstanding, the materials are quality, and the flexibility is outstanding for a full finger glove.
The leather makes these gloves durable, while the Lycra over the knuckles and finger webs makes them breathable and flexible.
Skott Evo 2 Weightlifting Gloves
As opposed to other gloves in this list, the design of the Skott Evo 2 Weightlifting Gloves is not minimalist at all. They give you this feel of heavy duty gloves which can take a good beating.
These gloves are made of high-quality gym rated materials and are very durable.
As mentioned above, the palm is padded with high density foam to protect your hands from developing calluses. Furthermore, the Evo 2 have gel printed palms for an increased grip.
The fit is great. According to the manufacturer, these gloves feature a 3D unisex fit system. This system is meant to offer a snug and comfortable fit, regardless of whether the glove is used by a man or woman. I can tell you from experience that the glove fits as they intended; it is snug, yet comfortable.
As far as breathability is concerned, it is not the greatest. For this reason, the gloves can catch an unpleasant smell. Therefore, you may have to wash them weekly or every other week.
The wrist wrap on the Skott Evo 2 gloves is fantastic. Made with excellent quality Velcro, and being wider than your usual wrist wraps, the gloves will stay fixed the whole workout.
These gloves come in sizes ranging from S (small) to XXL (XX-large).
The quality of the materials, stitching, padding, and the feel you get when you are using the Evo 2 all scream quality. These gloves will last you for a long time and, in our opinion, they are an investment worth making.
Fit Vikings Gymnastics Grips
These grips have a minimalist design. Even though it may seem like you only get a wrist strap with a bit of material to cover your palms, do not get deceived. These are among the best grips on the market.
The wrist wraps are neoprene, while the grips themselves are full grain leather (or suede, depending on your choice). The leather part is durable and offers good protection against calluses. However, it is unobtrusive; your grip will be uninhibited by the thickness of the material.
Thanks to the design of these grips, flexibility and breathability are not an issue.
The Fit Vikings Gymnastics Grips come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. To get your size for these grips, measure from the base of your middle finger to the base of your wrist.
The wrist wrap is 2” (5 cm) wide and 16” (40 cm) long and closes with a comfortable velcro. It had no issue supporting my wrist through a variety of movements ranging from heavy deadlifts to handstand and straddle planche.
Being made with natural cow leather, neoprene wrist strap, and velcro, all bound together with solid stitching, these gymnastics grips offer a very good quality. They are durable and offer a very stable grip on all surfaces.
My opinion: should you use gloves for calisthenics or not?
Now that I have gone over the best calisthenics gloves, what is my actual take on the topic? Should you be using gloves and grips, or should you chalk it up, get some thick skin (literally), and work out that way?
Honestly, both. There is a time and a place for gloves and grips, and there are moments when I recommend not using them.
The following is just my own opinion on the subject:
When should you not use gloves?
As far as I am concerned, I like to work out without gloves most of the time. If you let your skin thicken (about two to three weeks of workouts) you will soon find the following:
If you come to think about it, training means you are forcing your body to adapt to certain stimuli. The same goes with your grip. If you constantly force your body to be good at gripping stuff without support, then it will eventually get good at it.
What about the callus tears and rips?
As mentioned above, in five to six years of training I’ve only had that happen once. If you don’t do freestyle calisthenics where you jump on the bar and all around it, then chances are you won’t have to go through many rips and tears, if any.
When should you use gloves?
As mentioned, there is a time and a place for gloves. For me, personally, that time is at the end of a workout where I’ve done a lot of pulling, and now I have to hang on the bar and do some toes to bar, leg raises, or whatever variation I’m training.
At the end of a pulling heavy workout, I find my palms (calluses) so inflamed that I can barely hold onto the bar for a prolonged period of time.
In that instance I am going to use gloves.
This way I can squeeze in a few extra repetitions which, as we all know, make the difference between progressing and stagnating.
As you have seen, there are quite some factors involved in choosing the right gloves. Before you purchase a pair, make sure that you take into account the type, material, size, flexibility, and whether it comes with a wrist strap - if you need it.
From the pairs I have mentioned above, the best calisthenics gloves are the ones from Fit Active Sport, thanks to being breathable, flexible, offering the right amount of padding and good wrist support.
However, the other pairs are good in their own right but for different people.
So if you are looking for a full finger glove, or a more minimalist one, then you have some options in that regard as well.
Over to you.