Fingerless Gloves Are Stupid

10.17.2013 | 1:39 pm

NewImageA “Hey, I was on TV” note from Fatty: Yesterday I was on a local mid-day TV show called “Browser 5.0,” where I was their “Blog of the Week” feature. Check it out here. Oh, and then leave a comment on their site telling them how handsome and telegenic I am.

And for those of you who are wondering why I seem to be growing my hair out, it’s because I’ve got a big ol’ cyst growing on the right side of my head, and I’m using hair to try to hide it. How’s that for over-sharing?

There comes a time in a man’s life when he realizes he can no longer tolerate the madness around him (it’s also possible that women come to similar realizations, but I am not a woman and have no wish to make any assumptions). A time when that man must stand up to the insanity that surrounds him. A time when that man needs to stop biting his tongue, no matter the consequences, and make his voice heard.

I have held my peace too long; I have permitted foolishness and thus tacitly endorsed it. 

No longer. Today I proclaim, once and for all, for all to know and bear witness:

Fingerless gloves are stupid.

And I am not saying this out of pique or due to some attempt to manufacture controversy. No. I am saying it because it is true, and because I have proof. Which I shall now present, in an airtight and incontrovertible method that brooks no dissent.

Grievance The First: Odd Tans

There is no denying that there is a certain fetishistic fashion appeal to fingerless gloves. Especially if they’re black leather. Like this:

IMG 7573

Sure, those are going to look great when you wear them to the next Duran Duran reunion concert. 

But here’s the thing: as a cyclist, there’s a pretty good chance eventually you’re going to want to wear those gloves outside. Quite possibly during daylight hours. Which means you’re going to be exposed to sun. Thanks to your fingerless gloves, you’re going to wind up with a tan that looks something like this:


Although with any luck your hand won’t look so old and wrinkly. And hairy. 

Grievance the Second: Reduced Safety

One of the really wonderful things about gloves is that they do two really good things for your riding:

  1. They form a grippy layer between your sweaty hands and the handlebars, making it so that you don’t slip.
  2. If you do fall, your gloves protect your palm and fingers.

Do I have to spell out the problem with fingerless gloves here? Do I? OK, I will. 

  1. Your gloves can only improve grip on the parts they cover.
  2. Your gloves can only protect the parts of your hands they cover. 

Grievance the Third: Removal of Fingerless Gloves

When you remove a regular, full-fingered glove, you simply pull at the fingertips and it comes off. Easy.

With fingerless gloves, of course, there are no fingertips to pull on, which means you have to pull starting at the base of the glove, hence turning the stupid thing inside out as you pull it off, resulting in something that looks like this:

IMG 7574

So. Let’s suppose that you are an avid fingerless glove wearer (and I know that some of you are). And let’s further suppose it takes an extra three seconds per glove each time you remove your gloves — it’s a well-documented fact that fingerless gloves take a horrendous amount of time to remove — and five seconds per glove to turn them back right-side out the next time you want to wear them.

How much time do you think that will cost you over the course of your life? Well, if you ride 300 days per year for 50 years, that works out to almost 67 hours

That’s right, almost sixty seven hours of your life you’ll spend doing nothing but turning gloves inside out and then right side out again.

Just think of all the things you could do with that 67 hours:

  • Get six really good nights’ sleep.
  • Make, eat, and then ride off the best cake in the world.
  • Watch the extended Lord of the Rings Trilogy and most of the special bonus features 
  • Ride your bike from Salt Lake City to Saint George, Utah. And Back.
What a waste of time wearing fingerless gloves is. What a tragedy to spend your time doing something so utterly pointless.

Grievance the Fourth: Silliness

Of course, the real problem with fingerless gloves is that they’re just silly. What is the real practical purpose of them?

It’s not coolness. Your fingertips aren’t exactly hotspots of heat dissipation, if you catch my meaning. And if you don’t catch my meaning (and I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t), I’ll be more clear: Your hands aren’t going to be a lot — if any — cooler when you wear fingerless gloves than when you wear full-fingered gloves. Really.

It’s not weight savings. Your fingerless gloves don’t weigh any less than your full-fingered gloves. But even if they did, it would be truly weird of you to wear them for that reason.

It’s not about phoneability. OK, it’s entirely possible that you actually do wear fingerless gloves so you can get to your phone and tweet and take pictures and update your Facebook page with your status (On my way to a Duran Duran concert!). Because a lot of people don’t realize that you can buy full-fingered gloves that work just fine with your phone screen. 

Behold the Specialized Ridge Wiretap

IMG 7579

Yep, those are the gloves I wear on pretty much every ride: both mountain and road. And because they’re very dapper and understated, and because black goes with pretty much everything, I am also wearing them right now while I am typing this post. 

It’s not about grab-ability: The Hammer — who, I am disappointed to announce, often wears fingerless gloves while riding — tells me that it’s a lot easier to grab food out of her Top Tube Bag when she’s got fingerless gloves on.

To which I respond, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t use a top tube bag, then, silly.”

Actually I’m totally lying. I would never even think such a thing much less say it and this is a very good use case for fingerless gloves and I love you dear. 

PS: For those of you who are saying to yourselves, “Well what about short-fingered gloves?” Stop it. Being neither one thing nor the other, they are even worse.


  1. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.17.2013 | 1:53 pm

    Well I could be all serious and say: “I wear fingerless gloves because the finger part of the full-fingered gloves is never long enough for my ginormously long fingers.”

    But, really, I just wanted to say: “I snorted out loud in laughter at the concept of short-fingered gloves.” This was a silly stupid line, so of course I liked it a lot.

  2. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 10.17.2013 | 2:02 pm

    I am with The Hammer, not to mention that I sweat like a pig and take advantage of any extra cooling I can get. Rule #7 notwithstanding, I have even been known to ride in a sleeveless jersey. Full finger gloves? Pfff, I say, unless the temperature is in the 40’s.

    By the by, the bike parts are almost all in, and the build is about to begin. Pictures will be following shortly. Yes, indeed.

  3. Comment by rohit | 10.17.2013 | 2:07 pm

    you’ve missed the most important part: More cloth for snot removal. I know you have made this argument before, but it is mysteriously left out of this screed…

  4. Comment by SteveB | 10.17.2013 | 2:08 pm

    hum… I wear fingerless gloves. I thought the funky tan lines were a sort of secret brotherhood and sisterhood of cycling badge.

    And of COURSE its about the weight – no weight weenie worth their ultra-light carbon frame would be caught dead with heavy gloves.

    I will grant that full fingered gloves help with snot absorption and help avoid having sticky GU gel fingers.

  5. Comment by Wife#.667 | 10.17.2013 | 2:14 pm

    I am feeling pretty darn superior right about now since all I use is full-fingered gloves. At last, one of the cool kids. I have arrived.

    Reason#17 … extra toilet paper coverage?

  6. Comment by Lowco2 | 10.17.2013 | 2:24 pm

    That one photo was really odd, don’t your fingernails tan?

  7. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 10.17.2013 | 2:29 pm

    Thank you for the Hank Azaria (sp?) link. Special snaps for not standing for the interview and towering over the host, And thank you also for the “Best Cake” recipe. I intend to try this for our next round-up, since I continue to bring home too much pie.

    As for fingerless gloves. …..what was the question? Oh yeah, opening Gel Packs, Shots Blocks and Honey Stinger Waffles. In fact for HSW’s I now bring scissors. I know, I know “…don’t run with scissors”, but I’m riding so it’s OK, right?

    October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While I have committed to my ‘pink’ cast, maybe we can all take a moment and kick some money to our personal favorite group(s), and individuals who continue to Fight Like Susan

    Any Fatties in Austin this weekend?

    Or for the Awesome Team Bohl Crew Chief Jenni:

    Or something for the kids:

  8. Comment by Welnic | 10.17.2013 | 2:38 pm

    I think that if you ride 300 days a year for fifty years you should just never take your gloves off.

    My hands are very wide and my fingers are short, fingerless gloves are the only gloves that fit me well.

  9. Comment by gigante32 | 10.17.2013 | 2:59 pm

    You read my mind! I dropped fingerless gloves 2 years ago, never looking back.

  10. Comment by Brianne | 10.17.2013 | 3:03 pm

    I LOVE my Serfas short-fingered gloves with EASY OFF LOOPS for easy removal!!! They come in men’s too.;)

  11. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 10.17.2013 | 3:04 pm

    I wouldn’t wear gloves at all until it’s below about 50F, except that my white bar tape gets dirty faster and I hate re-wrapping them. So the time difference between the fingerless glove removal and messing with bar tape is a wash for me. (I know, I know; get black bar tape). Tan lines, as you know being a former WA-stater, is not a problem here.

  12. Comment by ClydeinKS | 10.17.2013 | 3:06 pm

    Finally the explanation I have waited for from a twitter preview.
    Staying with Duran Duran, “Is There Something I Should Know?” Not anymore, thanks for clearing it up.
    In an “Ordinary World” we would probably all follow this logic, yet there may be a “New Moon on Monday” and we will all follow suit? Although, if we ALL followed Fatty strictly as Fatty does maybe the world would “Come Undone”?
    Maybe I’ll join “The Wild Boys” and convert, have to think about some more but may wait for advice from Leroy’s dog.

  13. Comment by Saso | 10.17.2013 | 3:11 pm

    I defend fingerless gloves. Less sweating during warm days, better manipulation of gels, phone, food while riding. And I am not pulling them off from the bottom but from the top – not a problem at all.

  14. Comment by UpTheGrade SR, CA | 10.17.2013 | 3:22 pm

    Are you serious? (..well, I suppose not, but anyway..)
    If I wear full fingered gloves, how am I supposed to:
    - get some things out of my Jersey pockets, (and not everything at once)
    - root out that thing blocking my nose
    - make the proper hand signals to those extra friendly cars that just want to hug me
    - find that super sharp thorn still stuck in my tire after a puncture (eyesight going, so have to use feel)
    - and most importantly – adhere slavishly to dressing exactly like the Pros who all wear fingerless gloves, even in the snow, so its got to be better. Right?

  15. Comment by Drew | 10.17.2013 | 3:25 pm

    Can I get an exemption for having webbed hands? (Seriously).

  16. Comment by SteveB | 10.17.2013 | 3:25 pm

    @Brianne and you’ve saved yourself 67 hours! What will you do with all that extra time? The marketing speel on those gloves is pretty amazing – do they work as well as advertised?

  17. Comment by bikemike | 10.17.2013 | 3:56 pm

    I don’t make any severe changes without seeing a pie chart graph denoting the evidence to make the change. Pie chart graph, please.

  18. Comment by NotActuallyMyName | 10.17.2013 | 4:04 pm

    I wear the specialized ridge gloves, pre wireline. Love em. I think I got them on Fatty’s recommendation years ago.

  19. Comment by Rebuttal | 10.17.2013 | 4:15 pm

    Fingerless gloves and…

    …cooling: Like sticking one leg out from under the blanket. Why does it work? Who knows? But it works.

    …snot: Ever heard of a farmer’s blow? Put more oomph into it!

    …removal: My fox gloves come with little pockets on the 2nd and 3rd fingers that make removal easier than even full fingered gloves.

    …feel: Sure, you sacrifice “safety”, but I’ve never skinned my fingers like I’ve skinned my palms. On the other hand, I can never push the unlock button of my car keys in my jersey pocket with full-fingered gloves, but it’s easy with fingerless gloves.

  20. Comment by Vince | 10.17.2013 | 4:25 pm

    It’s too hard to open food whilst wearing full fingered gloves.

  21. Comment by New Zealand EV | 10.17.2013 | 4:31 pm

    I use fingerless gloves in summer and really like these ones from a local NZ supplier Ground Effects. The gloves are solid without the wrist strap and they have finger pulls to make it easier to pull them off.

  22. Comment by Jim B | 10.17.2013 | 4:42 pm

    The advantage of fingerless gloves it that the airstream which slips through the gap around each finger and exits at the wrist strap generates lift via the Bernoulli principle, making it much easier to climb hills.

    Of course, going down hill, one must be careful to wrap your fingers tightly around the handlebar to cut off the airflow to prevent take off.

  23. Comment by Shawn Gossman | 10.17.2013 | 5:00 pm

    Haha, great post! I always wear fingerless gloves mainly to get that unique tan line going on! I like to express myself as a cyclist and quite a few people have noticed it. However, I have noticed that the cut in the fingers of the glove is catching my handlebar tape quite a bit and soon I will need to re-tape it so you might be on to something here! Great post!

  24. Comment by Cyclingjimbo | 10.17.2013 | 5:37 pm

    So Leroy, what does your dog have to say about full fingered vs. fingerless gloves?

  25. Comment by Jim | 10.17.2013 | 9:12 pm

    What a crock of lies! Total propaganda.

    The reason to wear short fingered gloves is to pick your nose better. Nothing worse than being on a long ride particularly in the woods, and having a big dried snot boulder stuck up there that cannot be dislodged. It’s true. If you have ever looked close, you’ll notice most mountain bikers wear fingerless gloves. There are also these green slimy accretions of snot at the base of trees and on rocks in streams – both places frequented by mountain bikers. Need I say more?

    If you’re wearing one of those nice full fingered gloves – say a nice pair of Fox Racing Stealth Bombers – it causes trouble. If you stick a digital snot dislodger, er, I mean finger, up your airhole, you might as well be using a pipe wrench. The combined diameter of finger plus glove is *far* greater than the combined diameter of the nostril and the snot boulder and you will be lucky to get your hand back out of your nasal cavity. If riding with full fingered gloves and stricken by a welded-in snot boulder, your only option is to stop, open the tail bag, break out the multitool, and pray to whatever god it is you pray to that there is some tool on there that is both sharp, yet slightly curved and grippy. The only multi-tool I ever had like that was Colombian made and had this tiny spoon on it. After that my respect for Colombian cycling went way up. What brilliant people, to build a tiny SnotShovel onto a cycling multi-tool! The thing also had a tiny lighter on it which would be useful in a survival situation, if you were stranded and needed to burn your lycra cycling clothing for warmth.

    At any rate, if you’re wearing full fingered gloves, your only alternatives are to use the multi-tool to dig the snot boulder out, or to use an appropriately shaped small stick. I’ve heard some people say it’s possible to use the CO2 cartridge to freeze the snot, then hit your nose with a rock and the shattered snot boulder then falls out in pieces, but I think that’s probably a waste of CO2 and bad for the environment, what with global warming and snot accretions.

    Where was I again… Oh yeah, this was a totally fraudulent story on Fatty’s part urging you to buy fingered gloves. Short fingered is the way to go, unless you want to go wheezing and making flute reed noises as you bimble through the woods.

    I suspect next week he’ll be announcing a collabo with Twin Six on some full-fingered gloves, with the proceeds going to Chinese orphans or something. No doubt a good cause, but it will be under false pretenses. The real reason to wear full fingered gloves is because you want people to think you don’t pick your nose when you mountain bike. Thing is, other than a few aging graduates of Dr. Wehrner von Braun’s advanced course in Snot Rocketry and Shreddodynamics, everybody does. Just admit it.

    Huhuh. You said “bimble.” – FC

  26. Comment by Kevin | 10.17.2013 | 9:34 pm

    +1 for fingerless from another dude with long fingers. Finding full finger gloves that fit just doesn’t happen. I’ll stick with my Ergon HX-1’s!

  27. Comment by LIdsB2 | 10.17.2013 | 9:42 pm

    Bimble. I don’t know that word, but then neither does the dictionary. Unless, of course, you speak of the unincorporated community in Knox County, Kentucky, United States…but that just wouldn’t make sense. I suppose Jim may have intended to type “bumble,” since the “i” and the “u” are so close to one another. I often think, fish must get awfully tired of seafood. What are your thoughts, Hobson?

  28. Comment by J | 10.18.2013 | 5:26 am

    Not to forget that half-finger/fingerless gloves are a pain to extract from your hands. If you want to drive an OCD person insane, ask him to remove the glove quickly and neatly without turning it inside out. It will drive someone insane!

  29. Comment by Slo Joe | 10.18.2013 | 5:47 am

    Gloves? Gloves? I don’t need no steenk’n gloves!! (said by probably the only recumbent rider here.)

    Why you ask?

    Don’t need padding to relieve palm pressure. There is no pressure on a bent, especially you know where.
    Never put your hands down when you fall: Do The Turtle.
    We like even hand tan lines.
    Everyone knows, recumbent dorks as we are, that we bring along a hanky. :o)
    Easy to grab food like the Hammer and also reach the bottle of hand sanitizer because everyone knows, recumbent riders carry everything.
    Thus, we do save 67 hours a year.
    And we save the ridiculous buck$ today’s bike accessories costs.
    To name a few…..

    Ride Long and Prosper

  30. Comment by Jimmy | 10.18.2013 | 6:08 am

    Just face it… wearing fingerless gloves are pointless.

  31. Comment by art | 10.18.2013 | 6:23 am

    It must be nice to not have monkey hands. It’s hard enough to find gloves to that fit my skinny wrists and giant palms (Castelli Rosso Corsa ftw) without having to accommodate my freakishly long fingers as well. Offroad, I just ride bare fisted and accept blisters shredded knuckles as a part of life.

    As for getting them off without turning them inside out, I use the opposite hand shoe horn style to push the glove off rather than pulling it.

  32. Comment by fuzzy | 10.18.2013 | 6:45 am

    Tan line worries?

    From an exponenet of a sport whose tan lines mean that, if you spend some time on a beach wearing ‘budgie smugglers’ (Speedo swimming briefs) you look like a freak sunbathing in a white and hairy short sleeved skin suit?

    Do me a favour Fatty!

    Cycling mitts are the only true way in the summer. Full finger gloves do make me feel uncomfortably warm in the hand department. Sometimes mitts do to but I will tolerate that to avoid revisiting the picking grit from the roadrashed palm days of my youth.


    We use bimble here in parts of the UK to mean making leaisurley progress- I’m just going to bimble on up to the shop to stock up on tubes.

    Luv ‘n Stuff
    Fuzzy from the UK

  33. Comment by Jacob | 10.18.2013 | 7:21 am

    Jim, I’d like to point out that some of us have exceedingly large nostrils. I’m actually able to comfortably stick three quarters in each nostril. Their size is what I suspect is the reason that I can’t do the snot rocket. There’s just too much volume to effectively funnel the air to a high enough speed to reach escape velocity.

  34. Comment by Heidi | 10.18.2013 | 8:12 am


    Sorry, just reacting to the interviewer’s lead-in to the story coming up after the break…

  35. Comment by Al Pastor | 10.18.2013 | 8:18 am


    I’ve started to put sunscreen on my hands. Not because of tan lines, but because i sunburn in about 15 minutes.

  36. Comment by zeeeter | 10.18.2013 | 8:38 am

    I’ve decided to try to cook the best cake in the world. However, as we’re all ramping up to our intense Cyclocross training in a big way I’ve decided to apply Costco rules to the list of ingredients. The recipe does say that one package of chocolate chips should be used. Have you seen their bags of chocolate chips!? I’m really going to enjoy this . . .

  37. Comment by PhillipIvan | 10.18.2013 | 5:36 pm

    Here is why your wrong, sometimes.

    I have big hands, bigger than yours, but my fingers are longer again, longer than everyones. I never find a pair of full fingered gloves, for any occupation, that fit well. I wear XXL gloves which are too loose around my palm and still too short in the finger. With fingerless gloves I can wear XL, and have a snug fit around the palm and never worry that the designer would have made the fingers way to short if they can stitched the ends closed.

  38. Comment by TheLurker | 10.19.2013 | 4:07 am

    “Bimble. I don’t know that word, but then neither does the dictionary.” Give it another decade or so and the dictionaries will catch up. In the meantime herewith a working definition.

    Bimble –
    Noun. A leisurely journey, often short, by bicycle. Also used a verb and commonly used ironically when describing a proposed cycle ride.

    “I was just bimbling along…”

    “Oh it’ll just be a bimble to x and back; it’ll be a doddle.”

    This latter example should be read as, “A 160k full gas pelt up a series of horrendous hills in which you, ya wuss, will be hard pushed to keep up; that’s if we don’t drop you completely.”

  39. Comment by Eric | 10.19.2013 | 10:19 am

    My giro *fingerless* gloves have little hooks you grab with your opposite hand and they come right off.

  40. Comment by Andrew | 10.19.2013 | 11:39 am

    My hands aren’t very fat, and I have long fingers. All gloves that have long enough fingers are extremely loose on the palms. Maybe I’m just not quite enough of a Fatty to make the jump to non-fingerless gloves. :)

  41. Comment by Mike | 10.19.2013 | 12:38 pm

    It’s hot as hell here in AZ! The less glove, the better. I wear them to keep my bar tape clean – $40 gloves vs. $75 new bar tape installed.

  42. Comment by "Bicycle Bill" | 10.20.2013 | 2:07 pm

    “It’s not weight savings. Your fingerless gloves don’t weigh any less than your full-fingered gloves. But even if they did, it would be truly weird of you to wear them for that reason.”

    Try telling that to the weight-weenies.  You know, the ones who swap out aluminum spoke nipples for titanium in order to save a few grams.


  43. Comment by Skye | 10.21.2013 | 1:18 pm

    I have one irrefutable, non-arguable reason for wearing fingerless gloves, and its not even a funny one: I need ready access to my fingertips for blood sugar testing. As an insulin-dependent, pump-wearing diabetic, my fingertips are key to enabling my (feeble) attempt to manage my external pancreas system to keep my blood sugar in line. No fingers = no easy blood = no idea where blood sugar is = all sorts of horrors and a lousy ride, to boot.

    I’m going to concede that this is in fact a perfectly compelling and awesome reason to wear fingerless gloves. – FC

  44. Comment by Heidi | 10.21.2013 | 1:59 pm

    Whaaaa? One of your ads is offering me Chinese women to date. Thanks, really, but no.

    You know that the Google ad there bases what it shows you on where your browser’s recently been, right? So, um, you may want to have a conversation with some of the other folks who have access to your computer. For what it’s worth, that ad shows me a mix of ads for social media monitoring products (the topic I’ve been researching at work lately). – FC

  45. Comment by Needles | 10.24.2013 | 2:08 pm

    As a friend of mine once noted, the only thing you can do with gloves on is wet your drawers. Hence my predilection for fingerless gloves…


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