Best Sailing Gloves

Best Sailing Gloves | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Gloves are an often overlooked piece of sailing gear that can keep you safe and comfortable on your next voyage.

In this article, we'll review ten of the best sailing gloves available today. We'll also overview the most common glove materials, their benefits, and which works best for different situations.

The best sailing glove for warm weather is the fingerless NRS Boaters Glove, and the best choice for cold weather is the L.L.Bean waterproof ski glove. The best drysuit-compatible glove is the Gill Helmsman waterproof glove, and the best wool glove liner is the Icebreaker Oasis glove.

We sourced product specifications directly from sailing glove manufacturers. Also, our reviews come from the experience of sailors who purchased these gloves and used them on the water.


Table of contents

Qualities of the Best Sailing Gloves

The best sailing gloves are lightweight, waterproof, and comfortable. Additionally, they must allow a good range of movement so you can perform tasks such as controlling sheets and tying knots.

Sailing gloves should be insulated if you intend to use them in cold climates. Water resistance is especially important on insulated gloves, as waterlogged material can quickly numb your hands.

Sailing gloves designed for warmer climates should be breathable and washable. The best warm weather sailing gloves are made of lightweight material that prevents clammy hands and sheds dirt.

Sailing gloves should be durable and made from high-quality materials. Ordinary hardware store gloves usually aren't up to the task, and they're usually not water-resistant. That's why it's important to consider purpose-built sailing gloves.

Sailing Glove Materials

Sailing gloves are made of a variety of materials such as leather, polyester, neoprene, and other synthetic compounds. Today, the vast majority of sailing gloves are made of synthetic materials due to their lightweight, durability, and water resistance. Synthetic gloves are also more affordable than leather gloves.

Leather Sailing Gloves

Classical sailing gloves are made of high-quality leather, such as suede. These traditional gloves are popular in some sailing circles, especially in New England. Leather sailing gloves are relatively resistant to weather, though they hold up better when treated with Scotchgard or similar substance. Premium leather sailing gloves are costly, though they can last a generation or more.

Synthetic Sailing Gloves

Most modern sailing gloves are made of synthetic materials such as nylon and neoprene. These gloves are affordable, durable, and often highly water-resistant. Synthetic gloves can also be quite breathable, which is a major plus in hot and humid environments. Many sailing glove companies use proprietary synthetic materials, though they're all fundamentally similar in form and function.

Top Ten Best Sailing Gloves

Due to the enormous selection of sailing gloves available online, it can be difficult to pick the right pair. That's why we put together this list of the top ten best leather and synthetic sailing gloves available today.

1. Musto Performance Long Finger Glove

Here's a flexible and durable set of sailing gloves designed for warm and hot climates. The Musto Performance sailing gloves allow easy movement and provide protection against rope burn, scratches, and slippery surfaces. These gloves also feature a wrist cutout for your watch.

These gloves are made of a flexible and comfortable fabric that's designed to allow an excellent range of motion. The palm and fingers of the glove are coated in a non-slip material which also protects your hands against friction burns. Though these gloves don't keep water out, they're highly breathable, which reduces the likelihood of skin damage.

The Musto Performance long-finger gloves are 70% nylon along with neoprene, spandex, and synthetic rubber. They're washable and easy to clean, as they're made from woven fiber.

Key Features:

  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Nylon Construction
  • Flexible Fabric
  • Non-slip grip

2. West Marine Short Finger Sailing Gloves

Here is an affordable pair of synthetic sailing gloves that provide a great range of motion for your fingers. The West Marine short finger sailing gloves only cover your hands up to your knuckles, allowing you to use your phone or perform fine tasks with your fingers.

West Marine is well known for producing good quality sailing products, and these gloves are no exception. These sailing gloves are made of durable synthetic materials that are abrasion-resistant and long-lasting. These are not ultra-premium gloves, but they're tough, and they get the job done at the right price.

West Marine uses proprietary reinforced AX Suede material and durable threading to increase the working life of these gloves. They also feature a neoprene cuff, which is comfortable and easy to take on and off. These gloves are ideal for sailing in mild conditions where the tips of your fingers can be exposed.

Key Features:

  • AX Suede construction
  • Neoprene cuff
  • Flexible material
  • Exposed short-finger design
  • Reinforced stitching

3. Harken Classic Sailing Gloves

Harken Classic sailing gloves are a popular and high-quality option for serious sailors. These gloves are flexible and durable and designed to function in wet and dry conditions. Harkin classic sailing gloves are available in full finger and three-quarter finger configurations.

The fingers of these gloves are made of durable suede material, which is water-resistant and offers a high level of protection against abrasion. The underside of the fingers is lined with non-slip rubber for a superior grip. These gloves won't keep your hands completely dry, but they offer some level of insulation and cold weather protection.

Beneath the suede fingers, the gloves are made of a flexible woven nylon material. This makes them easy to put on and remove. They also feature a velcro cuff, which is easy to use and long-lasting. And for less than $50, the Harkin Classic sailing gloves are an affordable addition to your sailing gear kit.

Key Features:

  • Suede and synthetic construction
  • Full-finger and three-quarter finger configuration
  • Flexible fiber construction
  • Ideal for mild weather
  • Velcro cuff

4. Mustang Survival EP3250 Ocean Sailing Gloves

The Mustang Survival EP3250 ocean sailing gloves are designed for use in rough open water. These gloves are insulated and suitable for offshore cruising, racing, and relatively cold weather sailing. These full-finger gloves keep your hands warm in rough conditions.

Mustang Survival designed these gloves for work and sailing. They're just as useful on the water as they are on the dock, and they feature abrasion-resistant PVC finger coatings that reduce slip on water and oil.

These gloves are designed for cool weather sailing, but not sub-zero conditions. They'd work well for San Francisco winter sailing, but they're not quite up to Chicago or Maine winter sailing. Mustang Survival EP3250 gloves are made primarily 3mm neoprene, which is flexible and durable. Sailors open prefer neoprene for its soft feel and comfortable qualities.

Key Features:

  • Ideal for mild and cool weather
  • Durable 3mm neoprene construction
  • Slip-resistant
  • Designed for work and sailing
  • PVC finger coating

5. Scully and Scully Leather Gloves

For traditional sailing, you can't go wrong with premium Scully and Scully leather gloves. These Italian-made leather gloves are some of the finest yachting gloves available today, and they're popular in traditional sailing communities.

Scully and Scully Leather gloves are made with fine brown leather, which is surprisingly durable and ages well when maintained. The inside of the gloves is lined with cashmere, which is extremely comfortable and flexible. Sailors often treat these gloves with a waterproofing compound such as Scotchgard, as they're not waterproof out of the box.

Leather provides a reasonable level of insulation in cold weather. As long as they're kept dry, they'll protect your hands against abrasion and cold wind. With a waterproof treatment, these gloves are an excellent choice for calm water and colder temperatures.

Key Features:

  • Made in Italy
  • Premium brown leather construction
  • Cashmere liner
  • Full-finger configuration
  • Button-down cuff

6. FitsT4 Synthetic Sailing Gloves

The FitsT4 synthetic sailing gloves are the most affordable item on our list, and they're a great option for warm-weather sailing. These three-quarter finger gloves offer UV protection and excellent grip at a price that anyone can afford.

These lightweight synthetic gloves are usually available for less than $20, and they feature the same anti-slip grip material that's found much pricier products. They are flexible and comfortable thanks to fine woven-fiber construction.

The palm and finger sections are made of synthetic leather. They're mildly padded, which protect your hands against rope burn and blisters. The elastic wrist section firmly secures the gloves to your hands, and most sailors find them highly comfortable. A rubberized non-slip coating on the underside makes it easier to grip the helm and other slippery surfaces.

Key Features:

  • Highly affordable
  • Three-quarter finger configuration
  • 100% synthetic construction
  • Made for warm weather sailing
  • Washable

7. GILL Helmsman Sailing Gloves

The GILL Helmsman sailing gloves are completely waterproof and an excellent addition to your rough weather gear. These full-finger gloves feature a sleeve that is designed to work in conjunction with your drysuit. Most would consider these an ideal choice for offshore cruising, especially in areas where the weather gets dicey.

These gloves have an extended cuff that fits beneath the sleeve of a drysuit. This creates a watertight seal between your sleeve and your gloves. These gloves are made of thick synthetic material, and the fingers are curved to increase mobility. Seamless Dura-Grip fabric makes it easy to grip wet surfaces and also prevents tearing.

These gloves are truly weatherproof, which sets them apart from the other gloves on this list. Offshore sailors trust GILL Helmsman sailing gloves, and it's also popular with fisherman and commercial vessel crews.

Key Features:

  • Drysuit compatible
  • Completely waterproof
  • Semi-insulated
  • Ideal for wet conditions
  • Long cuff length

8. L.L.Bean Waterproof Ski Gloves

Sometimes, the best sailing gloves aren't designed for sailing at all. The L.L.Bean waterproof ski gloves are an excellent and often overlooked option for winter sailing. They're waterproof, insulated, and completely impervious to the elements.

L.L.Bean is famous for manufacturing high-quality winter gear. Their gloves are popular amongst sailors in cold climates, as years of experience have proven them in marine environments. After all, L.L.Bean is based in Maine, which has one of the most prominent sailing communities in the country.

These gloves feature a multi-layer design. The outer shell is durable nylon, and the inside insulation is 97% polyester and 3% spandex. The palm is constructed with durable and slip-resistant polyurethane. The fingers feature a smartphone-compatible coating that allows you to use touch screens without taking off your gloves. The entire shell is waterproof, and the glove tie down around the wrist to form a watertight seal.

Key Features:

  • Insulated
  • Completely waterproof
  • Multi-layer synthetic construction
  • Smartphone and touch screen compatible
  • Anti-slip polyurethane palms

9. Icebreaker Oasis Glove Liners

Glove liners add an extra layer of insulation to your waterproof gloves. These Icebreaker Oasis merino wool glove liners are ideal for cold weather, and they work with your existing waterproof gloves. You can also wear them exclusively in a variety of weather conditions.

These high-quality Merino wool gloves can absorb up to 30% of their weight in water before feeling wet. This means that they're comfortable to wear even when your hands begin to sweat, and they will retain a remarkable amount of heat when soaked through with seawater.

These Merino wool gloves are tough and easy to clean, though they're not as flexible as synthetic materials. That said, they're available in multiple sizes. Wool is also environmentally friendly and comfortable. It's nearly impossible to tear high-quality wool gloves, which means they're likely to last many years. These wool glove liners are ideal for climates where cold weather can strike suddenly.

Key Features:

  • 100% merino wool
  • Retains heat when wet
  • Can be used alone or as a glove liner
  • Comfortable and durable material
  • Excellent insulating properties

10. NRS Boaters Glove

Open-finger gloves like the NRS Boaters Glove provide excellent mobility and protection against rashes and rope injury. They're comfortable, lightweight, and economical. Plus, the NRS Boaters Glove is one of the most stylish options on the market.

Unlike most of the other gloves on this list, the NRS Boaters Glove features allow full finger mobility. This allows you to perform precise movements, such as writing with a pencil or using a camera. These gloves protect your palm from friction-related injuries such as rope burns and blisters. They make it more comfortable to grip the helm for a long period of time, and they provide a level of slip resistance.

These gloves are made of synthetic leather, nylon, and spandex. The blue fabric provides UV protection, which protects your hands from sunburn. These flexible synthetic gloves feature a cuff snap which creates a firm grip at the base of your hand.

Key Features:

  • Full finger mobility
  • Anti-slip silicone palm grip
  • Cuff snap
  • UV protection
  • Nylon, synthetic leather, and spandex construction
Best Sailing Gloves
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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