If you are looking for climbing gloves, you made it to the right place! In this article, we will break down the best climbing gloves on the market today. We handpicked 8 variants among the 35 models we have looked into, and these were tested side-by-side.

Rest assured that these gloves were tested maximally, from rappel descents to nail-ups on El Cap! 

Now, it’s time to finally put our top picks out here:

Petzl Cordex Climbing Gloves

This is our recommendation for belaying and rappelling. It boasts of a nylon backing with a well-placed reinforced leather palm. This feature promotes protection while still being comfortable, even on the index finger, which other models can’t.

Additionally, the Cordex gloves are made of a synthetic material at the back, which is why it’s lightweight and breathable when compared to those made of leather all throughout. So if it’s way too hot out, this is a great option.

A lot of people enjoy a pair of Cordex gloves mainly because of their breathability and durability. It was said that the comfort this brings is comparable with that of Black Diamond Transition and is even more comfortable than Metolius Belay.

  • Length: full-finger
  • Material: leather and synthetic
  • Great durability and dexterity
  • Breathable due to synthetic backing
  • Insufficient protection for the back of the hands

Black Diamond Crag Half-Finger

If you’re on the search for the best half-finger glove for aid climbing, then this one from Black Diamond might be the one for you. It features lightweight, comfortable, and breathability all in one. It is built with synthetic material all over and fares well with hot weather conditions and shorter big wall climbs.

The gloves house a couple of loops for clipping purposes, specifically onto carabiners. It also has a padded portion to protect the knuckles when jugging ropes. In terms of comfort, it surpasses its leather counterparts easily.

On the other end of the spectrum, one of Crag’s drawbacks is that it lacks in the durability department. Since the palm area is thin, it offers insufficient protection when rappelling. Plus, heat easily transfers in from rope friction.

So, in short, it easily wears out, and you might have to replace it sooner. Now, if you’re looking for a heavy-duty glove and if you’re willing to compromise comfort, you can try the full-leather Metolius Climbing model.

  • Length: half-finger
  • Material: synthetic leather
  • Affordable
  • Breathable
  • Great dexterity
  • Lacks durability
  • Limited finger coverage

Ocun Crack Climbing Gloves

For crack climbing, this easily is our best recommendation. The Ocun crack climbing gloves ranked #1 in the balance and sensitivity departments. We have tested these through a few thousand feet of plastic cracks and rock, and we found them to be majestic.

This works as a tape gloves alternative without adding too much weight and volume to your claim. It is slim but durable! In comparison to our top Ocun crack glove, we found that the Outdoor Research Splitter Glove didn’t feel durable, while the Climb X Super Crack Glove felt bulky.

The downside, however, is finicky wrist closure. For activities such as this, it may be another thing to think about and put in the effort. Additionally, please take note that the Ocun seems to be relatively small in size, so make sure to order one size larger!

Another thing to consider is that this variant is on the pricier side, but you truly get what you pay for.

  • Length: the back of the hand
  • Material: synthetic and rubber
  • Durable
  • Slim for crack climbing
  • Efficient sticky rubber
  • Finicky wrist closure

Black Diamond Transition Climbing Gloves

If comfort and durability are your top priority, then the Black Diamond Transition is worth looking into. It is made of well-sewn leather with a synthetic construction, making it one of the most durable and comfortable on the market.

The battle in this department was neck-to-neck between this and the Petzl Cordex, but the Black Diamond Transition won the race. It is breathable but sturdy.

Although it has won the comfort and durability category, it fell short against the Cordex when it comes to dexterity. Also, keep in mind that these gloves run small, so you might want to order something bigger as compared to what you normally wear.

  • Length: full-finger
  • Material: leather and synthetic
  • Full hand protection
  • Breathable
  • Poor dexterity

Black Diamond Stone Climbing Gloves

This is our best option for the most durable and comfortable gloves for aid climbing. This pair is our favorite among all the half-finger leather gloves we have tested. It is easy and quick to break in because it’s relatively thin.

For this reason, it offers a great deal of comfort than Metolius climbing, but it’s also less sturdy. Moreover, it’s not breathable, so there can be a lot of sweating in there! And as we know, sweat equals wearing out!

  • Length: half-finger
  • Material: leather
  • Comfortable even in cold conditions
  • Great knuckle reinforcement
  • Lacks durability in wrist closure
  • Easily wears out

Metolius Belay Climbing Gloves

The Metolius Belay is one at the top of our list when it comes to belaying. It is heavy and durable, making it perfect! In fact, it remains to be the sturdiest among all that we’ve tried. It is made of thick leather, beefy stitching, and a wrist closure that’s thoughtfully comfortable.

This variant also fares well with cragging because this activity only requires lesser wear time. Plus, it has a relatively longer break-in duration as compared to its competitors. If protection is what you need, this can deliver that and more!

  • Length: full-finger
  • Material: leather
  • Thick leather
  • Durable
  • Comfortable wrist closure
  • Uncomfortable thick stitches
  • Lacks breathability

Black Diamond Crag Climbing Gloves

The Black Diamond Crag Glove boasts breathability and lightweightness. Among the full-fingers we have tried, this by far is the lightest. It is made fully synthetic, which is why it offers great breathability for extended use or for hot weather climbs.

However, because of its material, it lacks in the durability department. We initially loved this one for belaying, but we realized that it’s quite a thing for anything longer than single-pitch rappels. Protection is not much while rappelling. But, a great thing about this is that it fits true to size!

Despite the insufficiency in the durability category, these are relatively cheap! 

  • Length: full-finger
  • Material: Synthetic
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Lacks durability
  • No protection during long rappels

Metolius 3/4 Climbing Gloves

Now, last but not least is the star of the most durable gloves for air climbing show: the Metolius Climbing Glove. It is built with a full-leather construction to protect your hands at all costs. 

But, one of its disadvantages is that they are stiff and abrasive. Thus, blisters may arise along the way. This is especially true in extended use conditions.

One of our team members used this variant to climb El Capitan for four days and came home with blisters in the majority of his fingers. 

  • Length: ¾
  • Material: synthetic leather
  • Durable leather build
  • Solid clip-in loops and wrist closure
  • High price tag
  • Abrasive and stiff, so it may cause blisters in the long run

How We Tested the Gloves

Our comprehensive evaluation started with an extensive collection of competitive gloves, including personal favorites, recommended models, and promising newcomers. A series of hands-on tests were performed to measure aspects like dexterity, durability, comfort, and breathability. From rappelling fixed lines to mountain biking, local crags, and daily tasks, these gloves were put to the ultimate test.

Final Thoughts

Your gloves are an extension of your climbing experience, offering protection, comfort, and the grip needed to tackle different terrains and weather conditions. We hope this guide empowers you to make an informed decision, choosing the best gloves to enhance your climbing adventure. Remember, the perfect pair of gloves adds not just to safety but also to the sheer joy of climbing!