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The top 11 best MTB gloves with knuckle protection

This list covers the best MTB gloves with knuckle protection.

As soon as I went from road racing to mountain biking, I found myself eating dust far more often than I was hoping for. In part, this was because I was new to the sport, even though I thought I had ample experience as a cyclist and could simply use that experience into another discipline of cycling.

But there’s something seductively alluring in going faster than you’re comfortable with down a trail, and getting that odd mixture of fear and excitement running through your body. It’s something that has drawn me to mountain biking.

It also meant I wiped out on treacherous parts more often than I like to admit, which is the core reason I never ride without gloves. Because accidents happen easily enough, and a joyous ride can quickly turn into a very painful one.

The MTB gloves with knuckly protection offer the most protection for your hands during those times, hopefully few and far in between, when you’re sitting up at the side of the trail wondering what just happened.

I’ve done face plants on more than one occassion, went down onto the pavement without wearing a helmet, cursing myself afterwards because of my stupidity, and am the proud owner of a piece of surgical steel screwed into my collarbone. So I come from a place of some experience, when I say that this list of the best MTB gloves with knuckly protection was created with care.

Safety first always. You’ll thank yourself after you’ve needed it.

100% Cognito Gloves

100% Cognito Gloves
100% Cognito Gloves

The 100% Cognito Gloves are lightweight MTB summer gloves with knuckle protectors.

Like a number of other gloves featuring added protection, these gloves us D30 material, which is a multi-density foam meant to harden with impact.

Furthermore the gloves have a Clarino synthetic leather palm with silicone on the index and ring finger.

The cuff is closed using a velcro strap. Naturally the gloves are touchscreen compatible.

A simple enough set of gloves in a number of attractive colors to protect you against a quick whip of a branch across the knuckles. Don’t expect them to save you from crashing into a rock though (no glove will).

100% Geomatic Gloves

100% Geomatic Gloves
100% Geomatic Gloves

The 100% Geomatic Gloves feature protection in the form of small TPR pyramids embedded in the upper construction. This design looks like the gloves Jean-Claude van Damme wore in Kickboxer, so it’s a plus in the design department for me.

TPR is a soft kind of rubber, and the fact that they dot a large area, means a larger area is protected while the glove can still flex easily enough. The TPR also extends towards all fingers (except the thumb).

It features the same Clarino synthetic palm as the Cognito gloves but rather has a slip-on cuff versus one using velcro.

100% makes well-designed gloves. Coming in many great color options this slim-fitting glove is for the fashion-minded. And be honest, who doesn’t want to make a statement on their bikes. I know I do.

Fox Defend D30 Gloves

Fox Defend D30 Gloves
Fox Defend D30 Gloves

The Fox Defend D30 Gloves is very similar to the 100% Cognito Gloves.

It features the same type of knuckly protection, made from the same D30 impact foam.

It’s design is just as understated with a glove coming either in black or steel-blue.

The slip-on cuff sits underneath a Cordura durable palm with zero seams except for an added panel in the lower palm.

A minimal summer MTB glove for those who want some protection above riding gloveless.

Fox Defend Fire Gloves

Fox Defend Fire Gloves
Fox Defend Fire Gloves

The Fox Defend Fire Gloves are cold-weather MTB gloves that offer D30 knuckle protection.

The AX Suede palm can be considered waterproof and the Cordura upper offers, besides the knuckle protection, ample comfort and protection against wind and rain.

Because of the less-than-ideal weather this glove is probably going to be used in all of the fingers feature silicone to be able to maintain a tight grip on possibly slippery handlebars and brake levers.

Hestra All Mountain Sr. Gloves

Hestra All Mountain Sr. Gloves

The Hestra All Mountain Sr. Gloves is a seriously well-made dedicated mountain bike glove from this Swedish family-run company.

The knuckly protection is achieved by a hard insert. The front of the fingers have some added material as well. Where it matters the glove is reinforced with Clarino synthetic leather.

Although not water resistant or equipped with windblocker fabric, the glove offers good protection in various chillier temperatures, especially when your body has warmed up itself.

As for the design, you either hate or love the high contrast black-beige panelling. There’s no other design to choose from. Whatever your preference, the fact this is a high-quality mountain bike glove is unmistakable.

Leatt 4.0 Lite Gloves

Leatt 4.0 Lite Gloves
Leatt 4.0 Lite Gloves

The Leatt 4.0 Lite Gloves are gloves feature Airflex impact gel across a large top section of the gloves and the outer two fingers.

The grid-like structure is means to absorb and disperse the energy of a possible impact, lowering the risk of injury, which has earned them an official certification for protective equipment.

It won’t mean you can prevent a boxer fracture when slamming into something immovable. No glove can. ut it does mean that Leatt has taken the subject of protection serious, with these gloves as a result.

The rest of the glove is anything but bulky with a virtually seamless Nanogrip palm for excellent bar feel and grip. So these gloves are excellent for maintaining maximum control in combination with protection for downhill riding.

POC Essential DH Gloves

POC Essential DH Gloves
POC Essential DH Gloves

The POC Essential DH Gloves are pure-bred downhill mountain bike gloves with EVA foam impact protection covered by four-stretch lycra.

A seamless vented palm with virtually no cuff ensures maximum grip and dexterity because that’s what you’d want flying downhill.

Touchscreen compatibility and silicone strips on ring- and index finger come with the territory of being a summer cycling glove for mountain biking.

With only black to choose from and a hefty price tag for this functional glove, it means you prefer function above form for your downhill adventures.

POC Resistance Pro DH Gloves

POC Resistance Pro DH Gloves
POC Resistance Pro DH Gloves

The POC Resistance Pro DH Gloves are padded gloves for downhill mountain biking. Every mountain biker has had sudden crashes that come out of nowhere, leaving you wondering what just happened.

The EVA foam padding is sturdy enough on impact to protect your hands in these cases, but still offer flexibility so you don’t get the feeling you’re using a winter glove. The padding sits underneath a highly abbrasive-resistant ceramic fabric covering the knuckels and outer three fingers.

The thin seamless vented palm offers silicone padding to take out the sting of jarring downhill sections, or for longer trail rides, which provides a perfect combination of grip and comfort.

It’s not my favorite design-wise. But design-preference notwithstanding, the quality and comfort of the glove is undeniable.

Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather MTB Gloves

Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather MTB Gloves

The Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather MTB Gloves are, as the name suggest, meant for riding on the trail in wet conditions.

Besides being waterproof gloves with foam padding, the gloves also have added foam in the upper construction functioning as knuckle protectors.

Silicone on the ring- and indexfinger ensures that you remain in control of the brakes at any time.

These gloves are all-weather condition gloves that don’t feature extra insulation.

Troy Lee Designs Gambit Gloves

Troy Lee Designs Gambit Gloves
Troy Lee Designs Gambit Gloves

Don’t be fooled by all the motocross pictures. The Troy Lee Designs Gambit Gloves are perfect fleece-lined soft-shell cold-weather gloves with D30 knuckle protection.

Though not designated water-resistant they can be perfectly used on chillier rides. I’m not the biggest fan of all the pieces of plastic on the fingers, but it seems both Fox And Troy Lee Designs have a penchant for these kind of things. And I guess they offer some extra protection, for what it’s worth.

The palm is made from Clarino with a touchscreen compatible area on the tip of the index finger.

There are very few cold-weather gloves with knuckly protection like this one, so if you fall within that particular niche, these gloves are your best bet in providing warmth and protection.

WTACTFUL Shooting Hard Knuckle Gloves

WTACTFUL Shooting Hard Knuckle Gloves
WTACTFUL Shooting Hard Knuckle Gloves

I’m all for uncommon solutions for common problems and couldn’t resist putting the WTACTFUL Hard Knuckle gloves on this list as well.

The reason is simple. This Amazon best-selling tactical glove is made from highly-durable Nylon fabric, indicative of its usage. The knuckle area is reinforced with a single strip of molded rubber.

Each finger furthermore has a small plastic vent. And the palm is further reinforced with an extra grippy microfiber layer. The glove has touchscreen compatibility as well.

It has a wide velcro strap pulled through a metal buckle.

Last but not least they are the most affordable entry on this list. So if you feel you need to conquer the trail by going tactical, this is the glove to make a statement.

Specifications MTB gloves with knuckle protection

NameSexTypeBackPalmPaddingInsulationSeasonBuy at Amazon
100% Cognito Glovesmenfull fingerD30 knuckle protectorClarinononenonesummerlink
100% Geomatic Glovesmenfull fingerTPR knuckle protectorClarinononenonesummerlink
Fox Defend D30 Glovesmenfull fingerCordura w. D30 knuckle protectorCorduranonenonewinterlink
Fox Defend Fire Glovesmenfull fingerCordura w. D30 knuckle protectorAX Suedenonefleecewinterlink
Hestra All Mountain Sr. Glovesunisexfull fingerClarinononenonesummerlink
Leatt 4.0 Lite Glovesmenfull fingerAirflex impact gel knuckle protectorNanoGripnonenonesummerlink
POC Essential DH Glovesunisexfull fingerLycra w. EVA foam knuckle protectornonenonesummerlink
POC Resistance Pro DH Glovesunisexfull fingerCeramic fabric w. VPD knuckle protectorsiliconenonesummerlink
Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather MTB Glovesunisexfull fingerfoam knuckle protectorfoam paddingnonewinterlink
Troy Lee Designs Gambit Glovesmenfull fingersoftshell w. D30 knuckle protectorClarinononefleecesummerlink
WTACTFUL Shooting Hard Knuckle Glovesmenfull fingerNylon w. rubber knuckle protectorNylonnonenonesummerlink