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Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for Best archery protective gloves

Over time, the bow and arrow has become a beloved tool of choice for many people, including pop culture characters and superheroes. It’s a growing sport of interest for young people and a weapon for those in the wilderness. To use a bow and arrow effectively, you need patience, skill, and the proper protection.

Archery protective gloves shield your hands from the strain and potential damage that comes with regularly shooting an arrow. (It’s not as easy as it looks on screen!) Whether you’re playing for fun or shooting for competition, protecting your fingers and hands is vitally important.

In the short term, archery gloves help you resist relatively minor annoyances like blisters and calluses. They also protect you from more serious long-term issues such as bruises and nerve damage. A proper glove allows you to effectively wield your bow and arrow to match your style of shooting. In his guide, we detail the options available and the important decisions you must make before buying archery protective gloves.

Most archers don’t feel pain or soreness initially, but just like typing regularly at a computer, repeatedly shooting an arrow could eventually lead to nerve damage without proper protection.

Key considerations

Drawing hand

For your drawing hand, there are two main types of protective items: the glove and the tab. Let’s look at each.


This isn’t your typical glove — at least, it doesn’t have to be. The protective glove may be a full glove or one that only covers three fingers. Full gloves offer added protection, but the extra layers may be cumbersome for some archers. Three-finger gloves offer protection where you’re most vulnerable without feeling as heavy as full gloves. What’s more, three-finger gloves can go on either hand, as the thumb and pinky are omitted.


A tab is a small piece of durable fabric, usually leather or cloth, that protects your fingers without covering your palm or the back of your hand. Typically attached to one finger with a retaining loop, the patch covers the upper interior of your fingers when you pull back a bow. A tab affords increased freedom and control to skilled archers while still supporting the fingertips.

Bow hand

Archers typically wear arm guards or bracers on their bow arm, but some opt for gloves as well, especially if using a drawstring bow in which the arrow gets drawn back along the hand. These protective gloves cover the index finger and thumb and allow you to safely draw your bow along the space in between. These options are typically thick and durable enough to withstand regular wear and tear.


There are several materials from which to choose, each with benefits and drawbacks.

Leather: Leather gloves are among the most popular archery protective gloves. They are durable and long-lasting but may feel heavy and cumbersome if they aren’t the right size. For recreational users, leather gloves may be ideal, but for competitive archers, they may be too thick to allow a good feel for the bow. Leather gloves tend to cost more than those made of other materials.

Polyester: These gloves will be lighter and likely more elastic. The initial fit is more snug, and because they tend to be thinner, they offer a good feel for the bow and arrow. Polyester gloves may not hold up over time, though, and they may struggle against inclement weather.

Hybrid: Some options combine leather and polyester for the best of both fabrics. In most cases, leather will be used on the fingertips, which is the most vulnerable area, while the rest of the glove will be polystester.


Finding the right glove size is imperative for proper protection and dexterity. The gloves should be comfortable and snug, but not so much that they cause pain. That said, they shouldn’t be baggy or heavy, either, as a loose fit could disrupt your motion.

For three-finger gloves, measure the distance from the top of your wrist to your middle finger for length and the width of your index, middle, and ring fingers when pressed together. This should give you an accurate size if you’re not able to try on a glove in person.

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Did You Know?
Hunters tend to use gloves, whereas target shooters and athletes usually opt for tabs. That said, the decision of which to wear ultimately comes down to personal preference.



Black, tan, brown, and dark green are the most common colors in archery protective gloves. You may also find some with a camouflage pattern. Red or yellow gloves may be available, too. These are typically best for practice or competition.

Wrist strap

Some gloves have a strap that you can tighten or loosen for a secure fit. These gloves tend to provide better protection from the elements, such as wind and rain.


While you want a snug fit, you may want some air to get in so your hands stay cool. This is particularly useful if you’re practicing on a hot or humid day or shooting many arrows over a short period. Some gloves have a mesh coating around the palm to prevent moisture accumulation. Notably, you might not want to use mesh gloves in cold temperatures.

Remove any jewelry and other adornments, such as a watch or fitness tracker, before heading out with your bow and arrow.



Archery bow: Diamond Archery SB-1 Compound Bow
The adventure begins with the right bow. We recommend this option from Diamond Archery. It welcomes those of all skill levels and boasts plenty of features.

Archery quiver: Easton Flipside 3-Tube Hip Quiver
Once you have a bow, you’ll need a place for your arrows. Check out this convenient, inexpensive quiver that is easy to carry and will protect your arrows.

Archery target: Field Logic Block Classic Archery Target
Practice makes perfect in archery. We recommend a suitable, long-lasting target like this option from Field Logic that’s lightweight and offers noticeable contrast.

Archery nocks: Carbon Express Launchpad Precision Nock
A nock is the vital connection point between the bowstring and the arrow. This set from Carbon Express is at the top of our list for its lightweight, durable design and low price.

 Did You Know?
Archery dates back thousands of years, triumphed by ancient civilizations and employed through the Middle Ages. Arrows, bows, and protective gear have evolved over time, too.

Archery protective glove prices

Inexpensive: You can find a decent pair of archery protective gloves for around $10. These will likely be thin and light and may be geared toward beginners.

Mid-range: Most archery gloves cost between $10 and $20. Ranging in thickness and size, the options found in this price range may cater to any or all skill levels.

Expensive: For serious archers, protective gloves costing $20 or a few dollars more may be the best choice. These will be durable (likely made of leather) and designed to withstand regular wear and tear.


  • Grab a spare pair. It’s worthwhile having a backup pair of archery protective gloves on hand, especially if you’re prone to misplacing things or expect to experience weather changes.
  • Practice! Proper form for shooting an arrow takes patience and a lot of practice. Wearing protective gear will help keep you comfortable when starting out.
  • Break it in. Leather archery gloves need some time to break in, just like leather footwear. If you opt for leather, be aware that they will be somewhat stiff at first.
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Most archers draw the arrow with three fingers, which allows for control without placing too much pressure on you. More advanced archers may opt for the two-finger approach.


Q. What other protective gear should I wear when shooting?

A. In addition to protecting your fingers, you’ll likely want to guard your bow arm, especially if you’re a beginner. Forearm guards protect against the bowstring whipping back and sticking your arm. You might also want a chest guard; this prevents loose clothing from interfering in the release of the arrow and any abrasions that may occur.

Q. Why do leather gloves need to be broken in?

A. The leather will be stiff otherwise, and you won’t have the feel and control you need. It’s best to avoid any serious outings or competition before your gloves are broken in. Note that gloves made of polyester or a polyester-leather combination don’t require as much of a break-in period.

Q. Can I use any outdoor gloves for archery?

A. While some gloves designed for working outside or keeping your hands warm and dry may provide a bit of protection, archery gloves offer the short-term and long-term safety you need if you use a bow and arrow regularly. Specifically, they protect your fingers, where you are most vulnerable. They also offer control when wielding your bow and arrow. These two traits are paramount in archery gloves and are unlikely to be offered in other gloves.


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