For the most part, I try to avoid wearing gloves whenever I can. There’s just something to be said for the feeling of your skin against the bar, and I don’t think anything beats it.
That said, sometimes you either wear gloves, or you don’t work out. If you’d rather be in the gym than on the sidelines when your hands are torn up; it’s time to throw on a pair of gloves.
Beyond people who feel like I do, there’s also plenty of people who rely on a solid pair of gloves for every workout they do. Whichever side of the line you stand on, this post is for you.
Today, we’re going to cover the ins and outs of seven of the best CrossFit gloves that are available today. We’ll also drill down some of the different criteria you should evaluate any pair of gloves you look at by, so you can be sure you’re picking the perfect gloves for your workouts.
Whether you wear gloves all the time, or only when you have to, the fact of the matter is you need a pair of gloves. They say that the only guarantees in life are death and taxes. I’d argue that there’s a third: CrossFit is going to tear up your hands sometimes.
When your hands are torn up, throwing on a pair of gloves often makes the difference between getting your WoD in and needing to take the day off. A solid pair of gloves will protect any cuts or tears on your palms.
Besides protecting your hands from the pain of working out when your hands are a mess, they’ll also protect against infection. Think about how many people touched that bar today before you did. Do you really want to be gripping that thing with tears on your hands?
Plus, there are going to be plenty of times when a pair of gloves comes in handy on days when your hands are in good shape, too.
When you’re deep into a workout and your hands feel like they’re literally made of water, throwing on a pair of gloves will help you power through your workout with your grip intact. Plus, when your hands are at their sweatiest, this is when you try and overcompensate with your grip and end up tearing your hands up because you’re over-gripping the bar.
Another bonus of wearing gloves is that they’ll keep your hands in somewhat presentable condition for the real world.
Some guys are still wearing their cuts, callous’ and blisters like a badge of honor, but if you’d like to be able to shake someone’s hand without them feeling like they just met Thing from the X-Men, gloves are the answer.
Now that we’ve established why you need a pair of CrossFit gloves let’s take a closer look at what your options are.
In the past, it was virtually impossible to find gloves specifically designed for CrossFit. This fact led us to find alternatives, some of which are very good. For years, people at the gym have been wearing everything from batting gloves to handball gloves and pretty much every other sport-specific glove you can think of.
Nowadays, there’s more choice than ever, so it’s helpful to break down the different kinds of gloves on the market so you can identify the best CrossFit gloves for you.
These are gloves designed specifically for CrossFit. These gloves are born from the old days when you’d have to pick up batting gloves or football gloves to use in your workouts. These are similar to a pair of leather work gloves, looks-wise, but they incorporate features specifically designed for CrossFit workouts.
CrossFit grips are an evolved version of the grips gymnasts have been using for decades. They protect your palms, and wrist support, while still allowing you uncompromised use of your fingers.
These are a solid fit for anyone who feels like they lose their feel for the bar if they wear gloves during a workout since your fingers are free.
I call them “CrossFit wrist wraps,” but there’s nothing that separates these from the wrist wraps that powerlifters have always used. Wrist wraps don’t offer much in the way of palm protection, but they offer ample wrist and joint support and can help prevent sprain injuries during heavy lifts.
When it comes to CrossFit, there are no hard and fast rules about which type of apparel you should put on your hands.
Some people feel comfortable wearing gloves for every single workout. The truth is, each type of glove has its place in the gym, and some are better for certain workouts for others. Some people will even keep all three in their gym bag and switch between them depending on the workout they’re doing.
CrossFit gloves tend to perform best for exercises like the rope climb, chin-ups, kettlebell work and other AMRAP exercises, and muscle up on rings. They’re also your best bet for bar work, provided you can get used to the feel of the bar when we’re gloves.
Grips are great for bar work as well, but depending on the particular workout, you may find that you prefer full gloves or just wristbands or wraps.
Wrist wraps are probably the least useful of the three. Wraps are great for any Olympic-style workouts you do, like clean and jerk, snatch, deadlifts, and overhead squats.
Thankfully, all three types of hand gear are relatively inexpensive, so it’s fairly easy to try them all out and decide which is best for you, or rotate between different types of handwear during your workouts.
There are a few key features that differentiate the different products on the market, and these features are the key to nailing down the best CrossFit gloves for your style.
One of the most important factors to look at is durability. What good is a pair of CrossFit gloves if you’re going to wear through the palm in a month?
Just as CrossFit can be hell for your hands, the same goes for your gloves, too. The fact is, most general-purpose gloves just can’t stand up to CrossFit workouts. Look for a pair of gloves that feature things like a double-layered palm and reinforced stitching, as they’ll stand up much better.
Most CrossFit gloves rely on several different materials to get the job done. A good pair of gloves offers support and protection where you need it, they’re breathable, and they allow you to still “feel” when you grip something. Look for materials like leather, neoprene, silicone, and lycra, as these fabrics are regularly seen in the best CrossFit gloves.
Breathability is vital, as it will determine how comfortable the gloves are to wear, and how they’re going to stink after a few months of regular use.
Gloves that are designed with breathability in mind are more comfortable because you won’t be dealing with sweaty hands inside the glove, and they’re also more resistant to odors.
Even the most breathable gloves are going to stink eventually. When you get to that point, being able to pop your gloves into the wash with the rest of your gym gear is key. Before buying any hand gear, make sure you can wash it.
Have you ever considered how often you pull your phone out in between workouts? If you’re like me, you do it a lot. Whether you’re trying to fire off a quick text or enter your PR into your favorite CrossFit app, being able to use your phone while you’re still wearing gloves is a big plus.
This is a non-factor when it comes to wraps or grips, but if you’re in the market for a pair of full-fingered gloves, this may be an essential feature for you.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the seven best gloves on the market right now.
These grips feature a full grain leather palm and quadruple stitching throughout to ensure durability. The design is also extremely breathable, so you won’t have to worry about your hands sweating more than usual. Since there are no fingers, you’ll also be able to use your phone while wearing them.
The wrist straps use the same material as the palm of the glove, so they provide ample wrist support, and the wrist straps are adjustable to ensure a perfect fit for everyone.
Bear KompleX makes these grips in five different colors and four different sizes. You’ll be able to find the perfect grips for you regardless of your style or the size of your hands.
These grips are designed to ride a little higher up your hand, so they protect your palm and the bottom of your fingers as well. They’re made from durable nubuck and feature a neoprene interior and wrist strap.
The hand holes have some stretch to them, so they’re a good choice for people with large fingers.
Comfort wise, these grips are among the most comfortable options on the market. While they aren’t as breathable as some other grips, they do offer ample breathability.
One gripe we have with these is that the stitching isn’t reinforced enough, which may lead to durability issues. They also feature some extra padding in the palm area, which may limit your feel during bar workouts.
WODies may be the most well-engineered gloves on the market, and they possess some characteristics that make them the perfect gloves for many CrossFitters.
The palm features JerkFit’s GripRidge technology, a textured finish that absorbs more chalk than other wraps, allowing you to get a better feel during your workouts. The fabric glides over your hand during workouts, which reduces friction and helps prevent tears and calluses.
WODies have 3” wide elastic weightlifting straps for superior wrist support during high-weight workouts.
As for fit, this is where WoDies separate themselves from the pack. The finger holes can be customized for a perfect fit, and they’re available in four different palm sizes to fit the needs of any size hands.
They’re also arguably the most stylish option on the market, and they’re available in tons of cool colors and patterns to help you express your personality in the box.
Most importantly, the thin yet supportive material allows you to power through your workouts without ever feeling like your grip or feel is compromised. Even people who hate wearing gloves or grips are going to like WODies.
These gloves provide full protection for your palm and the lower half of your palms. The entire glove is made from neoprene, with silicone impregnated into the fabric at crucial points, like the balls of your hand and the palms. Extra wide wrist straps protect your wrist from sprains.
However, the interior of the glove is also made from neoprene, which some people find to be slippery. I wasn’t bothered by it, but I could see some people feeling like the neoprene against their hand makes them question their grip.
Fit wise; these gloves are tough to beat, as they’re available in six different sizes from XXS to XL. Whether you have hands like a gorilla, or hands like a child, FitActive has you covered with these gloves.
While these gloves offer a great fit and incredible comfort, they do leave some to be desired in the durability category. Neoprene just doesn’t stand up to workouts the same way other fabrics can, and you’re bound to wear through these gloves if you’re using them every day.
As someone who doesn’t like to wear gloves on most days, I love being able to break these out occasionally, on days when my hands really need a rest. They’re also one of the most affordable options, so buying these to stash for occasional use won’t break the bank.
These gloves are made from breathable nylon with a double-reinforced palm. The palm has a silicone pattern for added grip. These gloves also do a great job absorbing chalk, which should further improve your grip and feel for the bar.
Like the Emerge grips, these also ride higher on your hand, so they should protect you from blisters and calluses along the lower part of your fingers. Extra wide wrist straps provide ample support to protect you from sprains during your heaviest lifts.
Since these grips are so similar to the Emerge set, they also fall victim to the same issues. Some people aren’t going to like the way the silicone grips on the palm feel. While these appear slightly better constructed than the Emerge pair, the stitching on the finger holes does seem a bit suspect, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it started to rip after a few months of regular use.
That said, if you’re interested in the Emerge grips, these may be an even better choice, as they’re a bit cheaper.
One of the first things you’ll notice about these grips is they’re exceptionally thin. This is perfect for those of us who have a hard time getting a feel during their workouts when they’re wearing grips or gloves.
The exterior (the part that touches the bar) of these gloves is untreated suede, which improves with chalk absorption, and provides a feel that’s about as close to bare hands as you’ll get with any grip or glove.
Like all the other grips we reviewed, these include wrist straps. However, they’re about half as wide as the rest of the competition, so they don’t provide quite as much support during Olympic style workouts.
While these gloves provided hands-down the best feel during my workout, the two finger design leaves a large portion of your palm vulnerable to tearing and blisters.
Overall, these might not be your best option if you’re nursing some severely torn hands. But, they do provide an unparalleled feel and the most durable design on the market. PHERAL FIT is also the only grip we’ve covered that offers a money-back guarantee if your grips fail you within six months.
This classic model from Mechanix may be designed for the guys at the auto shop up the street, but they’re also ideally suited for the box, too.
The Covet glove features a single layer suede palm with double reinforced thumb and index finger, which provides added protection from blisters and tears to your fingers. The rear of the glove is breathable nylon, and Mechanix’s Trekdry lining keeps your hands cool while wicking moisture away from your hands.
These gloves are also machine washable, so you’ll be able to toss these puppies in the wash whenever they smell less than fresh.
On the downside, these gloves aren’t explicitly designed for CrossFitters, so there are some inherent design issues here. For one, while the single layer palm provides an excellent feel, it leaves something to be desired when it comes to durability.
Whether you wear gloves full time, or only when you need to, the fact of the matter is that you’ll want to keep a set of them in your bag at all times. You never know when a tear or blister is going to ruin your workout.
Finding the best CrossFit gloves for your style can be a daunting task, but it’s far from impossible. If possible, try out a bunch of different styles and brands and don’t settle until you find the best option for your workouts.
For us, our favorite pair is the Bear KompleX. While they may not be the most durable grips on the market, but if you’re like me and only throw them on occasionally, you should get plenty of good workouts from them.
Whichever gloves or grips you choose, I hope you’re wearing them the next time you achieve your PR!
…for only around 4 minutes lol.
It was funny when Bob Harper showed off his CrossFit friends on the Biggest Loser doing random WOD’s in his workout playground. His team of contestants were just floored seeing them do weird, foreign movements like overhead squats and handstand pushups. And when he said this was something his team could “potentially do” at some point…it hit me.
That’s so true. Sure, I was never as out of shape as the contestants, but I know that feeling of being pretty out of shape and thinking something like a muscle up was impossible.
Also, the whole place was DECKED OUTTTT in Rogue Fitness equipment. From the Games to now prime time television, it’s awesome seeing Rogue really flesh out their business.
Anyway…yeah…as you can see in these videos (we’ll see how long they stay up lol…), the CrossFit segment was only around 4 minutes long. Still, it was cool seeing our heroes like Rich Froning, Camille, Matt Chan, Kristan Clever, and Miranda Oldroyd on national TV.
Props to Carols Villafana for posting these on YouTube:
…since I really don’t watch TV aside from a few shows and sports. Most shows are a waste of time to me. Channel surfing + junk food were one of the many reasons I got out fat when I was younger.
What got me hooked on watching all 2 hours of last night’s Biggest Loser episode? Getting all those flashbacks to when I started hitting up the gym.
It was the summer going into my senior year of high school.
My weight reached an all-time high due to poor eating and sleeping habits, along with a lack of any physical activity whatsoever. Since I stopped playing sports around 8th grade, the only activities I had outside of school were guitar and video games. Yeah…can’t lose weight with those hobbies…
…that’s when I knew I had to make some changes with my life. I’ve done some workouts at home using some light dumbbells and even Dance Dance Revolution for some cardio (lol), but I knew that signing up for a gym membership had to be done to see the results I wanted.
Seeing the contestants struggle with their workouts and their new lifestyle changes seemed all too familiar to me. I was so self-conscious about how I’d looked when working out. Whether it’s doing a lift for the first time or how weird it would be for a guy to use an elliptical machine.
Honestly, that self-consciousness at the gym didn’t disappear until I got deep into CrossFit. I mean I’ve fallen off the GHD with no shame haha. That’s where I am now.
Watching the show reminded me how tough those mental hurdles were to overcome. But you know what? It’s all about starting somewhere, right?
When I started out at Planet Fitness, I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I pretty much just came up with my own stuff based off the material on JohnStoneFitness.com and the forums there. Then I thought LOTS of cardio was necessary, so I did 1-2 hour cardio sessions (bike, treadmill, or elliptical) on top of 30 minute lifting sessions.
I’ll never forget my first cardio “session.”
It was pretty much a 30 minute walk on the treadmill because I had NO ENDURANCE at all and my asthma was pretty bad then.
Hey, it was a start and I did see results. Even more so the following summer going into my freshman year of college. So much for that… (beer + Domino’s + Easy Mac + barely any sleep)
I watched the Biggest Loser last night only to see the CrossFit people, which ended up being such a small part of the episode. However, watching the show reminded me so much of where I started.
It reminded me that I don’t want to go back to that. That lifestyle where I constantly felt like shit. That lifestyle I was really unhappy about.
Fortunately, I’m now in that place, that zone where I no longer have worries about getting into shape. It’s all about executing that solid plan made for your body.
So all these thoughts of my beginnings really got me thinking of people starting fresh in 2013. I was already pretty damn self-conscious at Planet Fitness, a “judgement free zone” (lulz…felt more the opposite). Then things were taken to a whole new level at my school gym, where guys stared at each other working out and girls were afraid of stepping foot in due to the same reason.
What about a newbie signing up for a CrossFit gym?
I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot of people new to CrossFit would find many of our gyms intimidating simply because of the shit they see in the Games on TV and also the intense personalities of some athletes.
It’s hard for a lot of outsiders to see the welcoming culture under the image of intensity.
So for you newcomers, here are some things I just wanted to point out:
Whether CrossFit or another type of gym, each has its own personality. Some are totally hardcore while others cater to almost everyone. If you’re thinking of signing up, visit the local box and talk with the trainers there to get a feel for it. You’re going to be working out here 3-5+ times a week, so it should be a place you like.
We all started somewhere. The majority of people are not going to be lifting heavy-ass weights or getting sub-3 minute Fran times right out of the gate. Just keep doing your thing and listen to what your coaches have to say.
You make a mistake with a movement? No biggie.
You fail a lift at a very light weight? Shake it off.
You trip or something during a run? Get back up.
All that matters is that you’re working towards a healthier lifestyle. The community around you can’t help but respect that.
Leave your ego at the door.
I noticed this especially with guys who’ve had some previous lifting background. A lot of these lifts and movements will be new to you, so focus on getting your form down. Yeah, your form will go to shit at times during certain workouts, but it’s best if you lay down a solid foundation when you start.
It’ll help reduce any bad habits that’ll be hard to shake off down the road, which’ll drastically reduce your chances of injury. I’ve seen way too many people who can’t accept that their form sucks, yet continue to push through with it. It’s people like that who give CrossFit a bad name. Don’t be that guy or girl. Your body will thank you later as well.
And in the long-run, nailing down your form will help you lift more weight. 1 simple tweak in your form can help you shoot up in weight for a lift. I’ve experienced this countless times and still continue to.
You want it to get to the point where you can visualize what a lift SHOULD look like and then things just happen automatically. Then you’ll have less things to think about while you work out.
Yes, we all have many reasons why we do it. And that’s pretty damn awesome.
However, if you really do want to see results consistently and faster, focus on 1 thing at a time. Do you want to drop fat/health? Do you want to improve your performance? Or do you have some other reason for hitting up a CrossFit box?
I’m suggesting focusing on 1 main goal, especially in the beginning, because scattered plans tend to give you scattered results. I’ve been there numerous times. For example, I’ve bounced back and forth between dropping body fat and performance for quite a while. It wasn’t until I asked myself why I CrossFit that I decided to keep my focus on fat loss right now.
So far so good.
Having that proper focus will make things easier for you and for your CrossFit trainers, as they’ll be able to give you better, more personalized suggestions to achieving your goals.
Think about how lucky you are.
You have this awesome opportunity to change things. To live a healthier lifestyle. To make yourself look pretty damn good. To make yourself stronger and faster than ever before.
Enjoy yourself out there. Savor every single rep. Feel that pump you get from a heavy lifting sesh. Soak in the flow of those butterfly kipping pullups.
And it’s sweet how you can share these experiences with other people. You don’t have to go through this journey alone. Between your coaches and other people in your class, you have a lot of like-minded individuals who want to see you succeed.
Joke around. Do a WOD. Have a good time.
The fun factor of CrossFit is what gets me to show up each day with ease.
Happy new year! Kip it real, my friends.
Here’s the first KippingItReal Photoshop Friday. Enjoy:
Man. That’s a loaded question.
As much as I’d love to PR my Fran time, that would be so fuckin cliche. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t pick anything from your typical CrossFit exercise list. I could easily spend all night listing down the best CrossFit WODs out there, and there’s no way I’d be able to narrow down to 1 that I would be totally happy with.
And no…I won’t partake in something like CrossFit endurance training. If tomorrow were my last day on this earth, I wouldn’t want to end things with one of the many intense CrossFit workouts. Forget about some extreme exercise program tomorrow. I could give two shits about “forging elite fitness.”
The more I think about it, the more I’d rather keep things simple. Go back to basics.
Lift heavy. Motherfucker.
I would most likely do a whole WOD of cleans. For the first part of my workout, I’d do some strength shit. Building up to a new 1 rep max would be my plan. 250# or 255# would be a sweet final PR.
After doing that for a good 20 minutes or so, I’d do a fairly long AMRAP, maybe like 20 minutes of something with squat cleans, double unders, and pull ups.
I don’t see any logic or purpose to this WOD, but those are a few of my favorite movements. Even if this were my last workout, I wouldn’t go all out.
Every single rep. I’d cherish it – I’d feel every muscle in my body working together to complete each squat clean; I’d feel every rotation of my jump rope overhead; and I’d string together some of the smoothest butterflies I could ever do.
Rather than shoot for some crazy time for some crazy WOD with no standard, I’d simply appreciate this workout for the art found in CrossFit. Despite all the BEAST MODEEEE (roar) and skull-n-bonez mentalities in our CrossFit world, there’s much more to our sport.
When you stop for a moment and see the forest from the trees, that bad day at your box or that failed PR seems like nothing. Whenever I get down because of shit like this, I always ask myself, “Why do I CrossFit?”
I hit up my local box 5 times a week because:
1) I don’t want to be fat again.
2) I love doing these CrossFit workouts. Hitting up the gym is no longer a chore.
3) This shit makes me happy as fuck.
And how do I make sure I always maintain those 3 reasons above? Just show up. Simple as that.
So in the grander scheme of things, those little obstacles in my way don’t mean shit. And if tomorrow were that final day of working out, I would savor being in that moment. Being in the now.
…but I’m going to live tomorrow’s WOD and my entire day in the moment. I’m sure, like myself, a lot of you lose sight of what really matters with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We get pissed at the stupidest shit. We bitch over all these #firstworldproblems. We don’t realize how fuckin lucky we are.
Enjoy tomorrow. Kick some ass. YOLO 😛
Kip it real, my friends.