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The best climbing gloves for people of all skill levels

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The best gloves for rock climbers

Without gloves, climbing can cause significant damage to your skin over time as your body builds up calluses to protect itself. A pair of climbing gloves let you tackle your climbing goals without the need for calluses or hindering dexterity.

Shop this article: Black Diamond Crag GlovesMetolius 3/4 and Outdoor Research Splitter.

Finger length

The first decision you need to make is whether you want full-finger, half-finger or fingerless gloves. Each of these styles offers unique benefits.

  • Full-finger gloves offer the most protection but sacrifice some dexterity. They also provide the most warmth, which can be welcome on chilly days but not as much on warm, sunny outings.
  • Half-finger gloves don’t hinder dexterity much. This makes tasks such as tying knots, placing gear and grabbing small ledges easier. They also allow you to use a phone to snap a few shots of your climb without much hassle. However, you sacrifice protection and may still wind up with callouses, cuts and scrapes on your fingers.
  • Fingerless gloves cover the back of the hand, offering some extra protection when jamming cracks. They don’t interfere with your grip, but they also don’t protect the fingers or palms.


Good-quality material is essential in climbing gloves because they face so much abuse. Cow leather is among the most durable options, but it is stiffer and can affect your feel more than goat hide. Natural leather gloves are often the most expensive, so those on a budget may need to opt for synthetic material instead.

Strategic reinforcement in the palms and double or triple-stitching are good signs that a pair of gloves can last through plenty of use. If climbing in cold weather, choose a pair that's wind- and water-resistant with insulation commensurate with the conditions you expect.

Best full-finger climbing gloves

Black Diamond Crag Gloves

An affordable pair suitable for casual climbers, the Black Diamond Crag gloves aren’t the most durable but get the job done. They offer a tight fit in the fingers to preserve your dexterity and have reliable hook and loop closures.

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Metolius Belay Gloves

These gloves are thick with a triple-stitched construction to ensure longevity. They are also reinforced with split cowhide on the palms.

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Best half-finger climbing gloves

Black Diamond The Stone

These use thick goatskin leather and are tough enough to withstand regular use. They're also supple and get more flexible over time. With Kevlar stitching, you don’t have to worry about the seams splitting either.

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Black Diamond Crag Half-Finger

These inexpensive half-finger gloves are suitable for casual climbers. They provide extra protection but don’t interfere with the ability to feel the rock.

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Metolius 3/4

The Metolius 3/4 come in sizes ranging from XS to XL, so there should be a pair that perfectly fits every user. They have split cowhide palms and are reinforced at all wear points.

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Best fingerless climbing gloves

Outdoor Research Splitter

These preserve full dexterity but still protect the back of the hands when jamming cracks. They are machine-washable for easy care.

Sold by Amazon and Backcountry

Ocun Crack Gloves

These use a slightly stretchy microfiber material that creates more friction against the rock than your skin.

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Best cold weather and ice climbing gloves

Black Diamond Arc

If you are searching for an ultralight option that offers a waterproof barrier and a reasonable level of warmth, these Arc gloves fit the bill. They are more affordable than you would expect considering their quality too.

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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