The best kayaking gloves are an essential investment for anyone who enjoys year-round paddling in kayaks and canoes, or while stand-up paddleboarding


Whether you’re a kayaker, a canoeist, a stand-up paddleboarder or an all-rounder, paddling can be hard on your hands, especially in the colder months, and a finding a pair of the best kayaking gloves can make the difference between an enjoyable experience on the water and an uncomfortable ordeal. Far from a luxury option, they are an essential element of what you need to wear while kayaking.

Even fair-weather paddlers will appreciate a good pair of kayaking gloves in certain situations, not least because having saltwater constantly on your hands when you’re holding on to the shaft of a kayaking paddle can lead to painful sores developing. In some environments paddlers can encounter jagged or barnacle-covered rocks and other abrasive and sharp surfaces, and just as having the best kayaking shoes is essential for protecting your feet, so wearing the best kayaking gloves is crucial for preventing hand injuries.

They may look like a pretty simple piece of kit, but there’s more going on in the design and construction of the best kayaking gloves than you might appreciate at first glance. Choosing the best paddling gloves for you isn’t quite as simple as it seems: you need to consider how much grip they offer, how they stay securely on your hands, the material used and how thick it is, striking a balance between dexterity and thermal protection. See below for a more detail on all of these factors.

There are myriad kayaking gloves on the market, and we have been busy testing some of the best. Read on to find out what we discovered.

Best kayaking gloves all-round

Palm Grab Gloves

Specifications: Materials: 2mm super-stretch Neospan titanium neoprene | Design: Full-finger glove | Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL | Colours: Black

Reasons to buy: Good dexterity | Titanium coated for extra warmth | Can be used most of the year, in all sorts of conditions | Great grip | GlideSkin cuff seal | High-vis element
Reasons to avoid: No wrist-fastening system | No recycled content

These fantastically functional and high-performing kayaking gloves from paddling specialists Palm offer great protection from cold water and wind chill, while still allowing you to retain a high level of hand movement and tactile feeling.

The 2mm neoprene construction means the Grabs are comfortable to wear for paddling 9 months of the year or more, because your hands don’t overheat, and they’re coated in titanium to provide more thermal protection when it’s required (although, in really cold mid-winter conditions they’re a tad thin).

There is no fastening system on the wrists, but the GlideSkin cuff seal is tight and secure, and prevents drips from rolling down your arms and into the gloves. The PU grip pattern on the palm of the Grab Gloves is great for keeping a secure hold on your paddle (or T-grip if you’re canoeing or SUPing), and while they are only available in black (as are almost all kayaking gloves) the neon logo on the back of the hand makes them easy to locate in your kit bag (or the water, if you happen to drop them).

There’s a snap popper to keep the pair together during transportation and/or storage.

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Best kayaking gloves for cold-weather kayaking

Gill Neoprene Gloves

Gill Neoprene Winter Gloves

Specifications: Materials: 3mm double-lined neoprene | Design: Full-finger glove | Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL / XLL | Colours: Black

Reasons to buy: Very warm | Robustly made | Excellent silicon grip | Smoothskin wrist seal prevent ingress of water
Reasons to avoid: Less maneuverability than thinner gloves | Too warm for some conditions | No connector

Designed and made with 3mm-thick double-lined neoprene, these gloriously toasty gloves from sailing experts Gill Marine are very warm and protective, and can be worn during all kind of aquatic activities, from yachting and dinghy sailing through to kayaking, SUPing and wild swimming.

They feature full-hand silicon sharkskin-style grip on the palm side, perfect for holding a paddle, and boast a Smoothskin wrist seal to keep water out. Robustly made to cope with all kinds of rough treatment on wild seas, they should last a lifetime if you don’t lose one (there’s no popper to keep the pair together).

These gloves have a reflective feature on the little finger, which could prove useful in the event of a rescue. The thickness does inevitably impact on how much you can feel through the material and how freely you can move your hand while wearing these gloves, but that’s the price of the advanced thermal protection.

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Best kayaking gloves for dexterity

NRS Fuse Gloves

NRS Fuse Gloves

Specifications: Materials: 1mm neoprene with titanium | Design: Full-finger glove | Sizes: XXS / XS / S / M / L /XL / XXL | Colours: Black

Reasons to buy: Excellent tactility | Superb grip | Easy to put on and take off | Multi-season use | Well made | Reflective element on back of the hand | Pairing popper to keep gloves together |Comprehensive range of sizes
Reasons to avoid: Not warm enough for very cold weather paddling | Not as durable as others

Constructed with 1mm-thin neoprene, these highly flexible gloves offer excellent levels of dexterity and tactile feel – to the extent that you almost forget you’re wearing gloves at all.

The Fuse still manage to provide decent thermal protection and keep your hands warm in most conditions, however, thanks to the inclusion of heat-reflecting titanium in the material mix. The palm side has a full-hand silicon grip pattern that supplies excellent grip when you are out paddling, and there is a reflective element on the back of the hand for extra safety when you’re kayaking, canoeing or SUPing after dark.

The stretchy slip-on wrist cuff makes these gloves extremely quick and easy to pull on and off, and largely prevents the ingress of water while you’re out paddling. There’s a snap-popper on the wrist to keep the pair together during storage and transportation.

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Best kayaking gloves for all-year paddling

Sharkskin Chillproof Gloves

Sharkskin Chillproof Watersports Gloves

Specifications: Materials: Chillproof (3-layer composite material) | Design: Full-finger glove | Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL / 2XL | Colours: Black

Reasons to buy: Excellent warmth for weight/thickness | Zonal design for dexterity and thermal performance | Really comfortable to wear | Tactile palm | Windproof
Reasons to avoid: Water can get into the glove if you don’t secure the wrist tightly under a top | No pairing feature | No recycled content used

Used by Scuba divers as well as paddlers (and other watersport enthusiasts), these smart and versatile gloves from Australian aquatic experts Sharkskin have an intelligent zonal design that offers the wearer real warmth in cold conditions, while preserving great levels of dexterity.

The single-layer amara-covered palm has a suede-like grip, while the back of the hand (where most heat loss occurs) is covered with a Chillproof fabric – a windproof, three-layer composite material with four-way stretch that Sharkskin say boasts the thermal properties of a 2.5 to 3mm-thick neoprene wetsuit, while offering far more maneuverability and levels of tactility.

After testing them we can confirm that these gloves punched well above their weight on all counts: they kept my hands warm, allowed advanced freedom of movement and preserved my sense of touch. They’re very comfortable to wear for long periods of time, with a hollow-fibre fleecy feel on the inside for warmth and next-to-skin luxuriousness.

These gloves have a water repellent finish (DWR) so they shed water while you paddle, and there is a Velcro fastener that allows you to get a get secure fit under the sleeve of a cag or wetsuit (but if you don’t get this tight cold water can dribble up into the glove, which can negate all the good work the Chillproof fabric is doing).

The only other complaint we have about these excellent gloves is that there’s no popper or other feature to keep the pair together during transportation and storage, and I’d hate to lose one.

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Best kayaking gloves for value

Two Bare Feet 2.5mm Superstretch Neoprene Gloves

Specifications: Materials: 2.5mm neoprene | Design: Full-finger glove | Sizes: S / M / L / XL | Colours: Black

Reasons to buy: Good grip | Versatile | Reasonable price | Tight cuff to prevent ingress of water
Reasons to avoid: No fastening system | No connector to keep the pair together | No recycled content

Constructed entirely from 2.5mm neoprene, these simple stretchy gloves are warm and comfortable, and very versatile – you can wear them for all sorts of watersports, from stand-up paddleboarding to surfing – but we have been using them primarily for kayaking.

Available for a real bargain, these wonderfully warm gloves out-perform their price tag and provide more than the relatively basic design suggests. They have really decent grip for handling a paddle shaft, offer a good balance between thermal protection and tactile performance, and feature tight-fitting (but comfortable) cinched glideskin-interior wrist openings, which keep cold water from dribbling into the interior of the glove while you’re paddling.

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Best budget kayaking gloves

Lomo Neoprene Amara kayaking gloves

Specifications: Materials: Neoprene and Amara | Design: Full-finger glove | Sizes: XXS / XS / S / M / L /XL / XXL | Colours: Black

Reasons to buy: Very reasonably priced | Tactile Amara palm | Decent thermal properties
Reasons to avoid: Not as tight-fitting and snug as other gloves | Wrist seal can let in water | No pairing feature

You’re simply not going to find a paddling glove that offers as much value for money as this model from Lomo, which is ideal for paddlers who occasionally venture out on the water beyond the balmy conditions of summer, but don’t have the budget for a more advanced pair of hand warmers.

The amara (synthetic suede) palm provides reasonable (if not fail-safe) grip and decent dexterity, while the 2mm-thick neoprene main material supplies thermal protection to the parts of your paws where you lose the most heat (the back of your hands).

They’re not perfect – the construction isn’t quite on a par with the excellent (but considerably more expensive) Sharkskin Chillproof gloves, and the fit is a lot less snug than most of the gloves on test here, and therefore provides less warmth – but for the pricetag, they do the job for a short paddle in most conditions.

There’s a Velcro tightening tab for fastening the gloves around your wrist, but unless you get a really good fit under the sleeve of a cag or other top, water can sometimes ingress.

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Best kayaking gloves for versatility

Decathlon Tribord 900 Gant Voile Sailing Gloves

Specifications: Materials: 1mm neoprene | Design: Full-finger glove | Sizes: S–M / L–XL / 2XL–3XL | Colours: Black

Reasons to buy: Really secure and snug fit | Allow good dexterity | Robustly made | Reflective safety elements | Good price
Reasons to avoid: Not warm enough for very cold conditions | No wrist seal | No pairing feature

Okay, so technically these are sailing gloves, but the same features that protect your hands from rope burn and chafing when you’re yachting or dinghy sailing also make the Tribord 900 Gant Voile Sailing Gloves ideal for paddling.

The 1mm-thick neoprene construction keeps the chill at bay by trapping and warming air inside the glove, while the Duragrip (coated polyurethane) palm offers great grip for clasping a paddle or an oar, and excellent blister-preventing cover for your hands. The design of these reasonably priced gloves from the Decathlon family includes a reflective feature on the back, for safety and improved visibility (including during any potential rescue).

While the thermal protection is reasonable for nine months of the year, these gloves are not warm enough for properly frigid conditions out on the water. The fit is tight and snug, but water can ingress at the wrists. There’s also no popper for pairing the gloves.

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Best kayaking gloves for warm weather paddling

Sea to Summit Eclipse Paddle Gloves

Specifications: Materials: Spandex / Sun-Protective Synthetic leather | Design: Open-finger glove | Sizes: S / M / L / XL | Colours: Blue

Reasons to buy: Good palm protection | Decent grip | Highly Breathable | UPF50+ sun protection
Reasons to avoid: No thermal properties

Gloves aren’t just for cold-weather kayaking – plenty of paddlers like a bit of paw protection in the summer too, and in the height of summer (or if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that’s reliably warm) your skin needs to be shielded from the sun as well as the wind and the chill, especially if you spend long hours on the water.

Different challenges present themselves in hot weather, including high levels of perspiration. These well-made fingerless gloves from excellent Australian brand Sea to Summit are double-layered in areas of high wear and tear, and supply solar protection to the tune of UPF50+.

With a synthetic leather palm, they provide great grip, so your paddle doesn’t slip around in your hands when you work up a sweat (something that’s particularly important if you paddle race craft such as surfskis). The supportive 2mm-thick neoprene cuff has a hook-and-loop closure system, which facilitates flexibility in your wrist during your stroke action.

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Best kayaking gloves for technical paddling

Palm Throttle Gloves

Specifications: Materials: 2mm CR limestone neoprene with amara-reinforced palms | Design: Full-finger gloves | Sizes: S / M / L / XL | Colours: Jet grey

Reasons to buy: Excellent build quality | Velcro wrist-fastening system | Amara palms with tactile grip | Reinforced areas including knuckle protection | Snot wiper
Reasons to avoid: Short wrist | Water can ingress

Our second inclusion from paddling specialists Palm, the Throttle is a slightly heavier duty glove than the Grab, with more all-round hand protection.

Like the lighter, tighter Grab, the Throttle also features 2mm neoprene as the primary material, but instead of a titanium element to increase the thermal performance, this glove goes with additional protective padding across the knuckles and forefingers.

The Throttle is an altogether tougher glove, fit and ready for rougher adventures on boisterous rivers and coastlines. It has a Velcro fastener on the wrist, which is shorter than the cuff on the Grab because these gloves have different priorities – the Throttle is more interested in allowing rapid and unimpeded movement (for when you need to make a quick stroke count), and less worried about a bit of cold water seeping in.

The palm area is overlaid with an amara patch, a kind of synthetic suede-like material, which supplies additional padding along with good non-slip grip. There’s a snap popper to keep the pair together.

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Best kayaking gloves for multifunctional use

Sealskinz Lyng Gloves

Specifications: Materials: Fusion Control (Softshell, Suede, Merino wool & Aquasealz waterproof membrane) | Design: Full-finger gloves | Sizes: S / M / L / XL / XXL | Colours: Black & Grey / Navy blue, black & yellow

Reasons to buy: Totally waterproof | Completely windproof | Breathable | Sumptuously comfortable
Reasons to avoid: Water can dribble in at the wrist | Relatively expensive

One of the most technically advanced and versatile gloves on test here, the Sealskinz Lyng gloves can be used for cold-weather pursuits ranging from ice climbing to mountain biking, but being reliably wind- and waterproof, they’re also a good option for kayaking and paddlesports.

The multilayer Fusion Control construction features a Softshell outer, backed by the Aquasealz waterproof membrane, with a luxuriously comfortable Merino wool inner, to keep your hands snug as well as dry. AX Suede is used on the palm side of the glove, providing a grippy surface for securely holding a paddle.

The wool inner wicks away moisture that builds up on the inside, which can pass through the membrane as vapour, allowing your hands to breath while staying protected from cold water coming in from the outside. However, while there is a gusseted Velcro flap to close the gloves tightly around your wrist, some water can seep in (luckily, merino wool retains its thermal properties even when wet).

These gloves size on the large side, but despite the sophisticated 3-layer system they still permit some degree of dexterity – although not as much as the tight-fitting NRS Fuse – and there’s a pad on the forefinger that allows you to operate touchscreens while wearing them.

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Best kayaking pogies

Lomo Polar Neoprene Pogies

Specifications: Materials: 3mm Neoprene | Design: Pogie | Sizes: One size | Colours: Black

Reasons to buy: Easy to use | Provide good wind protection and warmth | Help you maintain a direct connection with your paddle | Well ventilated
Reasons to avoid: Water can easily get in | No seal around the wrist | Bulky

Some kayakers prefer to keep their bare hands on the shaft of the paddle, either because they feel it improves performance or that it preserves the connection between them, the kit and the aquatic environment they’re exploring.

Gloves can certainly dampen the tactile experience of paddling to some degree, but they do keep your hands warm and allow you to get out on the water in all weather. Pogies, however, can offer the best of both worlds. Shaped a little like large mitten, minus the thumb, pogies have a wide end with a flap that opens, wraps around the shaft of the paddle and closes again (usually with Velcro); you then put your hands inside them to grip the paddle.

Your hands are thus protected from the water, the wind and the cold, but you can properly feel the paddle in your hands with no barrier between the shaft and your skin. It’s worth noting that, although pogies don’t need to worry about being overly flexible and therefore are often made with thick neoprene with excellent thermal properties, some water usually finds its way in at some point. Pogies can be particularly good in the shoulder seasons, but in really freezing mid-winter conditions, you could potentially combine a pair of thinner kayaking gloves with pogies to really banish the cold.

If this sounds interesting enough to explore, but you don’t want to spend too much finding out whether such a set-up suits your paddling, then the 3mm-thick, soft-lined Polar Neoprene Pogies from Lomo are cheap to buy, easy to use and very comfortable.

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How to choose the best kayaking gloves for you

Finding the best kayaking glove for your aquatic adventures involves weighing up lots of factors – the most important of all being your personal paddling preferences, and where and when you do the majority of your kayaking. If you never venture out on the water in truly cold conditions, there’s no point getting a very thick pair of gloves that are cumbersome to wear, for example – you’re better off with a thinner pair offering some thermal protection combined with reasonable dexterity. The following considerations will help you make a well-informed choice.

Build quality and cost

There are countless kayaking gloves out there on the market, but the quality varies enormously – many of the cheap, no-name generic ones are substandard, being badly designed and poorly made. Choose gloves from a brand you recognize and respect.


Most kayaking gloves are made from neoprene, which is a tough material with excellent thermal properties that performs brilliantly in the water. It is, however, terrible for the environment, and – depending on the thickness of the material – it can severely reduce levels of dexterity. Thinner gloves sometimes feature titanium to improve their thermal performance, and more expensive models often employ a multi-layer construction utalising several fabrics with different properties. Amara (a synthetic suede-like material) is often used to improve the grip on the paddle-facing palm of the glove, while fleece and merino wool can supply comfortable inner lining.

Design and thickness

If you’re looking for cold-water kayaking gloves, the biggest decision you need to make is whether to prioritise thickness (and warmth) or thinness (and dexterity). If you’re a sea kayaker or a whitewater paddler, you’ll need to retain a good degree of dexterity to perform tasks such as getting your spray skirt on to the coaming of your kayak cockpit. The best kayaking gloves manage to combine good thermal protection with a high level of maneuverability.

Ease of use

Another choice is whether to place more importance on high-performance or ease of use. Tight-fitting gloves with skin-gripping wrist seals that prevent the ingress of water work really well once you’re wearing them, but can be a faff to get on.


If you’re likely to be out paddling for long periods of time, then comfort will be a high priority, and not just in terms of whether your hands are warm enough. The best kayaking gloves will often feature a lining made from fleecy material, or perhaps merino wool – both of which offer great next-to-skin comfort and still perform well when wet.

Compatibility and versatility

Many people enjoy multiple outdoor activities on and off the water that require the use of gloves, especially in winter – if that sounds like you, there are some excellent multi-functional gloves on the market that will serve you well for kayaking and work well when worn for other aquatic and land-based outdoor pursuits.