Surfing with numb hands isn’t my idea of fun.
In Western Canada, I wear gloves for most of the year because the water is cold. Although I prefer surfing with bare hands compared to wearing gloves, they are actually really comfortable once you get used to them.
I often get asked, “What is the Best Glove for Surfing?”
To provide a helpful answer, I did some research, summarized my experience with different gloves and provided my top recommendations below.
In order to find the best gloves for surfing, surfers should focus on a combination of warmth and fit. For water temperatures that range from 50ºF – 60ºF choose 1-2mm gloves, from 45ºF – 57ºF choose 3 mm gloves, from 40ºF – 55ºF choose 5 mm gloves and below 45ºF chose 7 mm gloves.
Keep reading to review How to Chose the Best Gloves for Surfing. If you are just looking for my top recommended gloves, scroll down to view the Helpful Buyers Guide.
How To Chose the Best Glove For Surfing
Surfing gloves provide warmth because they are made out of wetsuit material that uses body heat to warm up a thin layer of water that sits against your skin.
The thickness of wetsuit gloves is measured in millimetres (mm) and a wide range of available models come in material thicknesses from 1mm-7mm.
I created the table below as a general guide for the recommended glove thickness for different water temperatures.
Surfing Wetsuit Glove Guide & Water Temperature
|Surfing Glove Thickness||Water Temperature (Fahrenheit)||Water Temperature (Celsius)|
|1mm & 2 mm||50ºF – 60ºF||10ºC – 16ºC|
|3 mm||45ºF – 57ºF||7ºC – 14ºC|
|5 mm||40ºF – 55ºF||4ºC – 13ºC|
|7 mm||45ºF & below||7ºC & below|
*The table above has been created as a reference and provides general temperatures ranges for different surfing glove thicknesses. You may be more comfortable wearing gloves in warmer or colder waters than identified above.
In order to help select the appropriate thickness of surfing glove, you need to know the water temperature that you will be surfing.
Beginner tip: To find out your local water temperature, just Google “(The Name of Your Surfing Location) water temperature“. You will notice that there is variation between winter and summer ocean temperatures so select your gloves based on the season that you will be surfing most often.
The biggest mistake surfers make when choosing gloves is buying them too big. Surfing gloves should feel tight when you are trying them on for the first time, but don’t be concerned because that is how they are supposed to feel.
Make sure to follow the manufacturers sizing recommendations when selecting gloves.
If you are in between sizes, select the smaller size because they will stretch when they are wet and will be more comfortable and flexible once you are in the water.
Add photo of palm and hand length
The three most common styles of wetsuit gloves are: five finger, lobster claws and mittens.
Five Finger Wetsuit Gloves
Five finger gloves are the most popular style for surfing because they provide the most amount of flexibility & dexterity.
Lobster Claw Wetsuit Gloves
Lobster claws have the thumb and index finger separated and provides a good combination of dexterity and warmth.
Mitten Style Wetsuit Gloves
Mitten style wetsuit gloves are designed for the coldest surfing conditions. They are designed for maximum warmth because your fingers will be huddled together keeping each other warm.
Helpful Surf Glove Buyers Guide
To help you quickly scroll to the specific style of glove that you are looking for, I have separated them by style: five finger, lobster claw and mittens.
Best Five Finger Surfing Gloves
Five finger surfing gloves are hands down the most popular style because they are comfortable and provide the most amount of flexibility for your hands.
Most Comfortable: Rip Curl Gloves
My Top Recommended Rip Curl Glove Models
- Rip Curl E-Bomb 2mm Gloves
- Rip Curl Flash Bomb 3mm/2mm Gloves
- Rip Curl Flash Bomb 5mm/3mm Gloves
*Click on links above for the current pricing
Rip Curl gloves are the most comfortable gloves I have ever worn and are currently my glove of choice for all surfing conditions.
Rip Curl gloves have high end technical features, including, a soft neoprene liner, silicon textured palm grip, O ring palm cuff and sealed seams.
Some models come with wrist straps but I usually just end up cutting them off because I find that they just add bulkiness in the wrist area where your wetsuit arm cuff overlaps the top of your glove.
Best All Around: O’Neill Gloves
My Top Recommended O’Neill Glove Models
- O’Neill Psycho Tech 1.5mm Glove
- O’Neill Psycho Tech 3mm Glove
- O’Neill Psycho Tech 5mm Glove
Click on links above for the current pricing
O’Neill is one of the oldest and most successful companies and their gloves are top sellers year after year.
O’Neill gloves have a great balance of durability and comfort, which is important when you want your gear to last. O’Neill gloves are known for great finger dexterity and a long wrist cuff, which extends further up under your overlapping wetsuit cuff to provide a tighter seal.
The technical features include, wind-proof smooth skin, anatomical fit, O- ring wrist seal, fluid seam welds and a tacky grip.
Most Eco Conscious: Patagonia Gloves
My Top Recommended Patagonia Glove Models
- Patagonia R2 2mm Gloves
*Click on link above for current pricing
Patagonia gloves are Fair Trade Certified and made with 85% Yulex/Natural rubber. The natural rubber is FSC certified by Rainforest Alliance and helps reduce the carbon emissions by as much as 80%.
Patagonia Gloves aren’t just good for the planet. They have many high end technical features including, sealed seams, wrist gaskets and textured palms for grip.
Also, Patagonia offers a no hassle return policy including, free replacements, repairs or returns at anytime if you aren’t happy.
Best Lobster Claw Gloves
Lobster claw gloves are a good half way point between five finger and mittens. You will have warmer hands still have thumb and index finger mobility, which is great for gripping your surfboard.
Best Overall: O’Neill Lobster Claw Gloves
My Top Recommended O’Neill Lobster Glove Models
- O’Neill Psycho Tech 5mm Lobster Claw Gloves
*Click on the link below for the current pricing
O’Neill has been making great wetsuits, booties and gloves for decades and their products are known for their comfort and durability.
O’Neill lobster gloves have good finger dexterity and a long wrist cuff, which extends further up under your overlapping wetsuit cuff and provides a tight seal.
The technical features include, wind-proof smooth skin, anatomical fit, O ring wrist seal, fluid seam welds and a tacky grip.
Best Eco Conscious: Patagonia Yulex R4 5mm Lobster Claws
My Top Recommended Patagonia Lobster Claw Glove Models
- Patagonia R4 5mm Yulex Three Finger Mitts (Lobster Claws)
*Click on link above for the current pricing
Patagonia lobster claw gloves are Fair Trade Certified and made with 85% Yulex/Natural rubber. The natural rubber is FSC certified by Rainforest Alliance and helps reduce the carbon emissions by as much as 80%.
The technical features include, sealed seams, wrist gaskets and textured palms for grip. Patagonia offers a no hassle return policy including, free replacements, repairs or returns at anytime if you aren’t happy.
Best Mitten Style Surfing Gloves
Mitten style surfing gloves are the warmest on the market. Although you will be sacrificing finger mobility, you will be gaining warmth which may be necessary for the cold waters you plan on surfing.
Best Overall: O’Neill Mitten Style Gloves
My Top Recommended O’Neill Lobster Glove Models
- O’Neill Psycho Tech 7mm Mittens
*Click on the link above for current pricing
O’Neill is one of the original companies that manufacture wetsuit and their gloves and mittens are top sellers year after year.
O’Neill mittens provide maximum warmth and are the best mittens on the market in my opinion. O’Neill mittens have a long wrist cuff, which extends up under your overlapping wetsuit cuff and provides a great water tight seal.
The technical features include, wind-proof smooth skin, anatomical fit, O-ring wrist seal, fluid seam welds and a tacky grip.
Generally, surfing gloves provide warmth and allow you to be comfortable surfing in cold water.
Although I have limited my recommendations to my favourite brands and models, there are numerous other wetsuit gloves that might work for you.
If you have questions about models of gloves that haven’t been mentioned, please send me a message through the Contact Us page and I will do my best to help you out.
Go surfing, have fun, repeat!