Yesterday I failed to make a turn and rode into a thorny bush, which cut my hands.

I have often feared similar situations. For example, when descending, I often need to take a difficult line, in order to evade some hanging vegetation in one half of the fire road. I fear that a wound on the wrist at high speed can make me lose control.

So I am looking for some kind of protective gloves. I do not need any padding on the inside. Rather, I am looking for:

  • Cut resistance. To resist thorns on the trail and cuts from sharp rock, should I find myself on the ground.
  • Breathability. Riding for 10 hours in the sun is already exhausting, the gloves should not wick sweat and become wet rags.

Does such a product exist? What features and marketing slang to look for when purchasing?

  • 3
    Pretty much all gloves will protect against bushes. Since you will hit the ground with your hand palms first and your fingers have thicker skin, you can safely pick some gloves which only cover the hand palms (and not the finger tops). This will help breath-ability. Go to a store nearby. Then you can try which gloves fit well. You will probably have a very good feeling about which ones breath more as well, if you try them on.
    – Foxhill
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 9:17
  • Go for padding. In a fall onto a sharp rock the bruise can be nasty (Speaking from an experiance while rock climbing), and I see no downside of padding.
    – mattnz
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 20:15

4 Answers 4


Look at Downhill MTB gloves, they are meant for folks who are likely to crash in the brush and often have padding on fronts of fingers and knuckles and leather palm protection.


Recently in my country the only DH gloves that the shops are selling are made of skinny fabric with no padding, so I've turned my head towards motorcycling gear. I have had a two types of gloves by a motorcycling accessory maker.

They tend to be sturdier, but also a bit heavier. I don't complain about weight, just acknowledge it. They are so rugged that they last "forever", so I end up re-purposing them as work gloves when they get aesthetically unbearable for public display.

Often these gloves have reinforcement and protection for the fingers in the form of rubber or foam-like inserts on top of the finger and knuckles. The fabric normally is very resistant and in my case has proven to be resistant to cuts from sharp rocks and in some circumstances even thorn proof.

I think the gloves I've chosen are intended for Motocross or Enduro, but there are some "lighter" options in some stores.

The only downsides I have found is that with thicker fabric, the glove takes forever to dry (if you get them soaked in a pond of heavy rain). The padding absorbs water so they also get heavier in case of soaking. Also, after washing the glove tends to get stiff, but you solve it by using a small amount of fabric softener or "massaging" the glove before using.


I use mechanics gloves purchased at the hardware store. Mine are unpadded leather (goatskin) and have saved my hands from several crashes that otherwise would have caused nasty abrasions, judging by the damage to the gloves. "Mechanix" and "Grease Monkey" brand gloves are usually what I see on the hands of local mountain bikers.

  • I also use these gloves for mountain biking. I have found them to wear out relatively fast, but for the price, they are a pretty good deal and provide a some good protection.
    – Benzo
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 22:03

I looked into DH gloves, but was disappointed, that the only locally available model has non-breathable fabric.

enter image description here

Then, I got the Endura MT500. Those things are quite pricy. However, they offer:

  • excellent breathability for the summer heat
  • I haven't tried the rubber locations, but the fabric holds well against bushes and tree branches (my original intent)
  • excellent grip
  • a fast-drying location to wipe off sweat

enter image description here

I was actually so fascinated, that I went on to purchase other items form the same product line.

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