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 in 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

PETZL CORDEX PLUS Gloves - Lightweight, Breathable Leather Belay Gloves for Climbing and Rappelling - Tan - XS
  • UNCOMPROMISED DURABILITY: Sometimes 'durable' gloves are bulky, stiff, and uncomfortable. With the Petzl CORDEX PLUS gloves, you don't have to compromise. The CORDEX PLUS features more leather in than our CORDEX glove, especially in the back of the glove and the palm. Soft, premium leather requires no break in period — striking a perfect balance between dexterity and durability.
  • PROTECTION WHERE YOU NEED IT MOST: A double layer of leather provides enhanced protection in high-traffic areas (fingertips, between thumb and forefinger) help prolong the CORDEX PLUS's lifespan. Extra padding in the palm of the glove helps prevent protect against heat generated during multiple rappels.
  • EASE OF USE: Simple, yet durable velcrohook-and-loop closure. Carabiner hole for easy storage and/or racking. No break-in period. Easy on and off.
  • EXTRA PADDING: Padding in the palm of the glove helps prevent protect against heat generated during multiple rappels.
  • CARABINER HOLE: Wrist hole fits most carabiners for easy storage and/or racking on your harness or gear rack.

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 the 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

Black Diamond Equipment - Crag Half-Finger Gloves - Black - Small
  • Breathable stretch mesh fabric and knuckle padding
  • Synthetic leather palm and fingers with reinforced index finger and thumb crotch for durability
  • Hook-and-loop cuff closure with pull-on/clip-in loop
  • CE certified to EN 420 and EN 388 (2131)

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 lightweightness, comfort, 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 the 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

Ocun Crack Gloves for Crack Climbing I Rock Climbing Gloves, X-Small
  • MATERIAL: Made with microfiber stretch suede and adhesive rubber CAT 1.1 for the perfect balance of performance and protection.
  • DESIGN: Specially designed gloves engineered for maximal comfort while crack climbing, with a Velcro closure that tucks away so they stay secure while climbing.
  • CLIMBING ADHESION TECHNOLOGY: Features CAT Rubber 1.1 a “super sticky” compound developed with an emphasis on high adhesion that significantly increases friction.
  • OCUN: (Ot:s-oon) Climbing is our passion! Bringing innovative engineering and precise Czech manufacturing to the design, function, and safety of all climbing equipment since 1998. 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.

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 or plastic cracks and rock and we found it to be majestic. This works as a tape gloves alternative without adding too much weight and volume to your clim. 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 effort to. 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: back of hand
  • Material: synthetic and rubber
  • Durable
  • Slim for crack climbing
  • Efficient sticky rubber
  • Finicky wrist closure

Black Diamond Transition Climbing Gloves

Black Diamond Transition Climbing Gloves, Natural, X-Small
  • Goat leather and Weave stretch fabric
  • Leather knuckle and palm patches with Kevlar stitching
  • Hook-and-loop cuff closure

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

Black Diamond Stone Climbing Gloves, Natural, X-Large
  • Goat leather
  • Reinforced leather palm and knuckle patches with Kevlar stitching
  • Hook-and-loop cuff closure

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 the 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

Metolius Full Finger Belay Glove - Naural Large
  • Cowhide main body with triple-stitched, split cowhide palm reinforcement
  • Biner clip in loop
  • All wear areas are reinforced

The Metolius Belay is one 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

Black Diamond Equipment - Crag Gloves - Black - Small
  • Available in women’s specific sizes and colors
  • Breathable stretch mesh fabric and knuckle padding
  • Synthetic leather palm and fingers with reinforced index finger and thumb crotch for durability
  • Hook-and-loop cuff closure with pull-on/clip-in loop
  • CE certified to EN 420 and EN 388 (2131)

The Black Diamond Crag Glove boasts of breathability and lightweightness. Among the full-fingers we have tried,this by far is the lightest. It is made of full 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’re 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 Glovs

Metolius 3/4 Climbing Glove - Natural X-Small
  • Cowhide main body with triple-stitched, split cowhide palm reinforcement
  • All wear areas are reinforced
  • Double-stitched finger openings
  • Bar-tacked webbing clip-in loop

Now, last but not the 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 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 may cause blisters in the long run

How are the gloves tested?

The first thing we did is we collected all the competitive gloves out there. We gathered those we love firsthand, those that are recommended by climbing guides, and those that are relatively new that seem to have great promise.

After that, we came up with a series of tests. Each glove was tested while rappelling a fixed line for more than ten hours, then climbing gym for a month, and belaying for a month as well.

Moreover, these were also tested to a bin of climbing objects: carabiners, belay devices, slings, and pitons. This is how we tested for dexterity. Additionally, these gloves were used at the local crags, mountain biking, and even general tasks.

So there you go! We hope you learned a thing or two and we hope we made you at least an inch closer to your dream climbing gloves.

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