It is probably around the time you realize that you need the best wetsuit gloves when you stop being a casual surfer or diver. Once you go deeper into the water or hitting those northwest waves, you will want something to keep your hands warm and safe.
Same as land gloves, wetsuit gloves can be very different depending on the time and place they are used. Some are thin and tight, and some are thick and protective.
To get the best wetsuit gloves you will need to know where you are going and what are you planning to do. While regular scuba gloves might give you some protection while surfing, they will not really do the job.
Also, if you are used to surf and dive in a warm location such as summertime Hawaii, you will need to prepare yourself when going colder.
Ocean temperatures in southern California can drop to ~58 °F in the winter, making it essential to wear a suit and gloves if you plan on staying healthy.
Best Wetsuit Gloves on the Market in 2019
Thankfully, new technologies and production processes have given us gloves that would be unimaginable just a decade ago, especially for an average surfer or diver.
Now, we can expect some very thin and very warm gloves that are also much more fitting than before. Additionally, they are not as pricey as before and affordable for even a casual surfer.
Finally, it is always possible to get several pairs and combine them with different wetsuits, depending if you want a better grip and more dexterity in your fingers, or want to keep your hands warm and cozy.
Very thick and super stretchy, these gloves will provide more than enough protection from the cold, even in the chilliest of waters.
It has a 5mm (~1/5th of an inch) thick layer of neoprene mesh that sticks to the skin, making the glove much more comfortable than other ones with the same thickness. Additionally, the sealed seams prevent any water from entering the glove.
Finally, while the gloves are not made to protect from any cuts or injuries, the large neoprene barrier alone will shield your hand from some minor jags in the rocks, or any splinters made in your surfboard.
- Very Warm
- Sealed Seams
- 3-month warranty
Although Dyneema is the primary material of this glove, there is a polyurethane mesh layer on the palm side as to give you a better grip when diving or surfing.
This is not a thick glove, and it will not save you from the coldest of oceans, but in medium temperature waters, it will be perfect due to its flexibility. You will be able to feel the objects you are holding.
The point of the Dyneema single-thread glove is to be abrasion and cut resistant. Dyneema is the world’s strongest fiber, and it will protect you from any cuts and scrapes you might be at risk of underwater.
Finally, the fitting on these gloves is slightly large, meaning that those with smaller hands will see some water coming in. But, if you select the right size, this entry will be minimal.
- Abrasion and cut resistant
- Easy to move your fingers
- Polyurethane mesh on the palm side for better grip
These gloves are an excellent choice due to their versatility. Underwater they are thin and allows dexterous activities, making them perfect for shallow water scuba diving.
But, if you want to surf in them, that is also good. They have a printer palm that allows for a better grip and creates a non-slip surface on your hand.
Additionally, the lightweight and good seams make the glove fit perfectly on most hands and are easy to take off and pull back on again.
Finally, the while the small thickness of 1.5mm (~1/16th of an inch) will not save you from any serious cuts and stabs, it will offer some protection from abrasive and pointy surfaces and critters.
- Easy to put on and off
- Good grip
- Little water penetration
These are some heavy-duty gloves. Made with nylon and neoprene, these gloves offer excellent protection from both temperature and injury.
They are 5mm thick, which is a lot of material on its own, but the mix between nylon and neoprene gives it also good flexibility and strength, making the gloves quite durable.
While they are not made for surfing directly, they do have a good grip, and you will be able to paddle even icy water with them. This is if you don’t find them too heavy.
Their advantages start to show when you are diving, as they will offer immense protection from jagged rocks and some critters that would like to take your fingers back to their lair. You will even be able to propel yourself on very rough stones without even feeling them.
- Ergonomic design (the fingers are pre-bent)
- Good grip
With a lot of thought given to both the design and materials, these gloves are really versatile and will do well in most situations.
Unlike other models, everything about this model is high-tech. The neoprene alloy is made very flexible and more akin to much thinner gloves. There is no difficulty making very delicate finger movements.
The 3mm (1/8th inch) thickness will keep you warm in everything but polar waters, and the O-seal on the wrist will prevent any water from seeping into the glove.
Additionally, there is a tacky grip imprinted on the palm, providing a better grip than even bare hands. It doesn’t offer a lot of protection against cuts but works well with abrasive surfaces.
Finally, the O’Neill ‘’Technobutter’’ hydrophobic mesh makes the gloves feel comfortable and light to wear.
- Ergonomic fit
- O-Ring wrist seal
- Good grip
Wetsuit Gloves Buyer’s Guide
Buying a good pair of wetsuit gloves is easier now than ever before. But, if you want to have the best wetsuit gloves on the market, some prep will be needed.
First of all, it is important to know where you will be using your gloves, as well as when. Warmer water will give you more leeway to go thinner but will make the gloves unusable in the winter.
Additionally, if you plan on just grabbing your surfboard with your gloves, you won’t need as much finger movement as if you would want to use something like a harpoon, or collect small seashells on the sea floor.
Finally, some defense from cuts and other injuries should also be nice. Unlike old-time rubber, modern materials can be light and tear resistant at the same time.
As the gloves are not as expensive as they used to be, always focus on the best pair you can find for your next trip. If the circumstances for the journey after that one change dramatically, you can always exchange your gloves for a different pair.
If you plan on diving deep, you will need thicker and tighter gloves. Not only are the depths very cold, but the pressure might also impact your circulation, making your hands function differently than what you are used to.
Additionally, you don’t want to get cut in deep water. Good protection is needed when you want to handle a knife underwater, or just want to touch rocks and sea life.
Otherwise, if you plan on surfing, you will want a better grip. Something that won’t slide off your board would be preferable.
The material doesn’t need to be as thick, unless in very cold climates, but there should be some protection keeping your hands safe while paddling to the open.
Warm vs. Cold
While higher thickness does mean more cold resistance, there is a law of diminishing returns here. Generally, anything higher than 1/5th of an inch will have no additional impact, and it will impair your finger use.
But, if you really hate having your hands cold, you will want to use some hydrophobic material that will keep them dry and insulated from the water outside.
While rubber-like materials are all good insulators, the best insulation is air, as it will prevent your body heat from dispersing.
Also, having a good seal on the wrist means much more than having thick gloves.
Having your fingers is the main reason why you are using gloves and not mittens. You should expect all models to have the ability to stretch and use all your fingers.
The main difference is that you will want much more finger movement and sense when you are scuba-diving. Regardless of you want to fix your air intake, use a harpoon, or propel yourself with some rocks, you will want to feel what you are doing.
Surfing is different, as you are not concerned with finesse as much as the grip. For surfing, you will want something that is easy to put into a fist, with maybe some sticky print on the palm side.
Most surfers and divers have their first experience during the summer, and in shallow waters, when gloves are not the priority.
But, if you want to get the most from your diving and surfing, you will need to go to great depths and search for big winds, and that means a drop in temperature.
Thankfully, there are a lot of good gloves to choose from, letting you pick the best wetsuit gloves for the exact purpose you need.
See you in the water!