There’s a great debate between riders about the need for gloves. For those who choose not to use them, you might be able to convert them based on four factors: comfort, grip, protection and style. As these are the elements that a glove-wearing customer will be looking for when shopping, you need to make sure your inventory provides them regardless.
First, let’s look at comfort. Riders will be out in all kinds of weather, so it’s best to stock all-season gloves, lighter gloves for warmer weather and thicker or heated gloves for colder days. After all, riders will want to protect their hands from chaffing and blistering, because nothing is more uncomfortable than gripping the handlebars with cracked and/or tender skin.
While many synthetic gloves are quite breathable, some warm-weather gloves go beyond to promote extra cooling with an expanded mesh panel covering the back of the hand. On the flip side, there are also windproof gloves featuring windproof fabric over the backs of the hands and on the fingers. Cold-weather gloves can come in slim, neoprene types or thicker, insulated ones. These insulated ones may even have waterproof lining and drain holes for moisture runoff.
The second concern is grip. Sweaty hands are slick, whereas gloves (which can prevent sweating) provide a better hold. In addition, more and more gloves are featuring a pre-curved design to prevent tension in the stretched fabric from fighting against the finger muscles. Leather is a prime gripping material, but many synthetic gloves will feature silicone or other special lining material in the gripping areas. Another tactile feature that some gloves have is touchscreen-compatible fingers — not necessarily important for riding, but it could be a tipping point for any customer in today’s digital age.
Protection is the third key factor. After all, when we fall, our first instinct is to reach out and prevent our upper body from connecting with the ground, meaning our hands will be the first point of impact. Without gloves, the delicate skin of riders’ hands will be torn up. All-leather gloves provide that sort of protection around the entirety of the hand, but synthetic gloves, which often focus on the extra comfort qualities mentioned above (as well as style, which we’ll get to), will often include leather on the palms, since those are the likely sources of impact. However, knuckles are also easy to tear, so many premium gloves feature injection-molded knuckle armor that already conforms to the knuckles’ shape.
Finally, let’s talk style. Gloves come in a wide variety of designs and colors meant to suit most any taste and piece of gear on the market. There are, of course, the classic black and brown leather gloves as well as leather half gloves, which expose the fingers, knuckles and wrist. The latter certainly provide style and some protection, but they do so at the cost of full protection, better grip and total comfort.
As long as you offer a variety of gloves, you sport a better chance of turning a non-glove user into a buyer; regardless, you’ll be able to please the legions of glove-users out there.