If you’ve recently taken the step into triathlons, you’ve no doubt discovered that the list of triathlon gear is a bit different from your normal running gear.
Chances are you can do just fine with minimal equipment if you’re not a dedicated cyclist or swimmer. But certain pieces of gear can be of great use when training for your lesser disciplines, or even to help you out in the race.
Swim gloves for triathletes are one of those pieces of gear. There are two different types – one for building arm and shoulder muscle in training and one to keep your hands warm.
Here’s the full list of gloves we suggest considering, and we’ve covered both warmth and paddle gloves.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Best Overall For Swim Training
1. Speedo Aquatic Fitness Gloves
The Speedo Aquatic Fitness Gloves are our top choice. Speedo is one of the biggest names in swim gear, so it makes sense that they’d be making top-quality products.
The gloves are made of thick, sturdy neoprene, with webs between the fingers for excellent resistance in the water. You can get them in a variety of colors and sizes, to suit every style.
These gloves have a rubber palm, which is helpful for gripping the pool wall or equipment when doing aqua exercises. Be aware, though, that they may be a little too stiff to close your hand around a weight comfortably.
Adjustable Velcro wrist closures help you to get a comfortably tight fit. It may be a good idea to wear some kind of wrist strap over the Velcro while in the water, as it may come undone easily or wear out, especially if a significant portion of the Velcro is exposed.
The glove’s seams are sewn to provide durability and strength against the forces of the water. Your fingertips are exposed, which means water is likely to get into the glove, but this just enhances a natural water feel.
If you do want to wear these gloves with a wetsuit, their length should allow for you to tuck them in quite comfortably.
- Available in multiple colors
- Adjustable wrist closure
- Webbed design
- Exposed fingertips
- A bit stiff to grip weights during aqua exercises
Best Durable Design
2. Head Swim Glove
The Head Swim Glove is made from thick neoprene that stands up to the force and abrasion of the water well.
The palm is also full neoprene, which makes them super durable. Chlorine-resistance also protects them in pool water.
The webbed design helps to propel you forward in the water, strengthening your arm and shoulder muscles.
Your fingertips will be exposed, which helps keep you cool if you aren’t swimming in freezing water. It also enhances the natural feeling of being in the water.
Small cuffs around each finger and a wide hook-and-loop Velcro wrist closure keep this glove tight on your hand, even with the force of the water against it.
Take note, though, that swimmers with small wrists may find the hook-and-loop strap to have too much Velcro left over after it’s been tightened. The can create drag in the water and wearing out the Velcro.
It may be wise to cover this up with a wrist band or elastic band to keep it flush with the arm.
- Hardwearing neoprene palm
- Adjustable hook-and-loop closure
- Made with chlorine-resistant neoprene
- Webbed construction
- The Velcro hook-and-loop strip may not fit well around small wrists
3. Aqua Sphere Swim Swim Gloves
These gloves may look a little more simple than the others, but they serve their purpose well and can be used in any kind of water, at any depth.
Like the others, they’re made of thick, durable neoprene which not only provides good resistance against water but also keeps you warmer while swimming. The material is quick-drying so you don’t need to stick them in the dryer.
A hook-and-loop closure keeps the gloves tight on your hands while you’re moving in the water. They’re excellent for both shallow and deep water swimming.
- Made from flexible neoprene
- Quick-drying material
- Velcro loop closure
- Can be used in deep or shallow water
- The Velcro may wear out quickly
Wetsuit Gloves for Warmth
Top Overall For Warmth
4. Synergy Swim Gloves
If warmth is what you’re after, we highly recommend the Synergy Swim Gloves.
They’re made of 2mm thick neoprene, which fits snug against your skin and prevents the cold of the water from getting through to your skin.
Inside the glove, a smooth skin liner forms a seal that does an excellent job of keeping water out. Lengthened cuffs make it even warmer and also make it easy to tuck into your wetsuit.
Double-stitched, heat-taped seams make them highly durable. On the palm, a non-slip silicone finish allows you to grip things with ease.
They don’t stretch much, so it could be slightly difficult to get them on. But once they’re on, they’re not going anywhere as you move through the water!
- Lengthened cuffs
- 2mm thick neoprene
- Double-stitched seams
- Smooth skin inner
- They don’t stretch much so may be difficult to get on
Best Thick Gloves
5. BPS Water Gloves
These gloves come in 3mm or 5mm thick neoprene, so you can match whichever cold-weather wetsuit you wear. They’ll do a great job of keeping your hands toasty in freezing water!
The gloves have glued and stitched seams for extra durability. For easy grip, there’s a rubberized texture on the palms. An adjustable strap around the wrist allows for a customized fit.
You can get these gloves in extra small and XXL, so whatever the size of your hands, there’s something for you. They also come with a 12-month guarantee.
- Available in 3mm or 5mm thick neoprene
- Rubberized palm grip pattern
- Adjustable wrist closure
- Stitched and glued seams
- Might be difficult to get on as they don’t stretch much
Best For Small Hands
6. Mares Flexa Classic Gloves
If you have small hands, you know how hard it can be to find gloves to fit snugly.
The Mares Flexa Classic Gloves start at size 2X-small, so your worries are over! They’re also great quality, being made of 3mm thick neoprene.
The gloves are double-lined for extra durability and comfort. A rubber-textured palm gives you excellent grip, and the “fingernail cut” shape keeps your fingers comfy.
Take note that the wrists of these gloves aren’t adjustable, although they’re long enough to tuck comfortably into your wetsuit.
- 3mm thick neoprene
- Fingernail cut design
- Textured rubber palm
- Double-lined inner
- The wrists are non-adjustable
7. NeopSkin Water Gloves
These gloves are flexible and easy to wear. You can choose between 3mm and 5mm neoprene, both of which have rubber texture on the palm for good grip.
If you tend to swim in intrepid waters, you can also choose a Kevlar-reinforced glove, which is cut-resistant and keeps your hands extremely safe.
The Velcro wrist closure is in a hook-and-loop style strap, which helps you to get a comfortable but tight fit on your own arm. This helps keep the glove tight on your hand against the pressure of the water but also stops water from getting in.
These gloves are created in an ergonomic design to fit and move with your hand comfortably and effectively. The seams are glued and blind-stitched for extra durability, and there’s a layer of nylon over the top of the neoprene for more warmth.
- Adjustable Velcro wrist closure
- Made from stretchy neoprene
- Pre-shaped ergonomic design
- Glued, blind-stitched seams
- Those with thicker fingers should size up for a comfy fit
8. OMGear Neoprene Gloves
If you like a bit of color, OMGear neoprene gloves come in a few different colors and designs. Solid black, black and blue, and patterned backs are some of the options you can choose from.
They’re made of 3mm or 5mm thick 4-way stretch neoprene, with a nylon laminate layer for extra protection.
A non-slip rubber palm and adjustable elastic strap make wearing these gloves a comfortable and ergonomic experience. The straps prevent debris and water from getting in, as well as keeping them secure on your hands.
The seams are glued and stitched, making them as strong as they can be. Be aware that these gloves aren’t waterproof, but although your hands won’t necessarily stay dry they’ll definitely be insulated.
- Neoprene with nylon laminate
- Anti-slip rubber on the palm
- Elastic wrist strap
- Sewn, stitched and glued seams
- Not waterproof
Got questions about the best swim gloves for triathletes? Here’s what you need to know!
Can I Wear Gloves During a Swim Race?
In most races, gloves are NOT legal. This goes for both warming gloves and training gloves.
There is one exception, though. In water below 65℉, where wetsuits are compulsory, swim gloves can be worn for extra warmth. It’s important to note that these gloves are warming gloves and not “paddle” gloves.
The only time an athlete can wear swim gloves in other conditions is when they have a medical exemption and need to wear them.
Benefits of Using Swim Gloves in the Water:
The most obvious benefit is that swim gloves keep you warmer in cold water. But these warming gloves are just one type of swim glove.
The other type of swim glove makes an excellent alternative to swim paddles, which are used in swimming training to enhance the “pull” feeling and move the swimmer forward significantly more than an empty hand.
If you’re training for a triathlon and wanting to get stronger in the pool, swim gloves feel more natural than swim paddles but also increase your strength and performance in the pool. They create more resistance in the water, helping the wearer to build strength in their arms and shoulders.
Things to Look for When Choosing the Best Pair of Swim Gloves for You
Choosing the best swim gloves is a personal thing. But there are a few things you should definitely consider before choosing a pair.
Firstly, the wrists should be adjustable. This allows you to tighten them to your preference because if they aren’t tight enough they’ll come off as you’re swimming.
Secondly, consider whether you want an open or closed-finger design. Typically, a closed-finger design works better if you’re aiming to build strength, as the webbing between the fingers is what creates the resistance.
You can also get knuckle gloves, which don’t cover the fingers. These create some resistance due to their thick material, but not as much as those with finger webbing.
If you’re going to be wearing your gloves in competition, the gloves you choose should also be of a length that’s able to be tucked into your wetsuit to provide the most streamlined fit possible.
How to Choose Swimming Gloves
Decide What You Need It For
If you’re training with swim gloves in order to strengthen your arms and shoulders, you should choose something with decent webbing for resistance in the water.
If you just need a pair of gloves to keep your hands warm in low temperatures, you don’t need webbing. In fact, gloves with webbing are expressly not allowed in triathlons, so if strengthening is your goal, you’ll have to stick to using your gloves in training.
Ensuring the Right Fit
If your glove is too small, you’ll have trouble getting them on and you won’t feel comfortable while you’re swimming. A too-tight glove can also cut off circulation, leading to cold or tingly hands that don’t work as well as they should in the water.
On the other hand, if a glove is too large, chances are there will be a bit too much drag and water may end up getting into your glove.
Make sure it fits… Well, like a glove! The gloves should fit snugly without causing any discomfort and without room for much movement.
Types and Designs
Most paddle swim gloves will have a type of webbing between the fingers to create resistance in the water. Other types of designs are modeled more on swim paddles, with a hard paddle-like piece that fits around the hand.
Whichever design you choose, when you spread your hand, the webbing or paddle creates resistance as you move it through the water.
Obviously, if you want a pair of gloves to keep you warm, you’ll be looking at gloves with no webbing.
Gloves to keep your fingers warm in cold water are usually made of neoprene, the same stuff your wetsuit is made of.
Paddle-type gloves can be made of different materials, as they include webbing. It’s important to choose a material that’s comfortable for you.