Gloves are a very important part of any rider kit, whether you ride mountain bikes or road bikes, do commuting or touring. Gloves can be made with full fingers or short fingers and serve a variety of purposes. When purchasing gloves, think about the following things:
Will you be riding road or on trail? Most road riders use short fingered gloves with padding. The padding soaks up bumps on the road and also cuts down on vibration while keeping your hands and wrists from getting too tired, and the short fingers keep you nice and cool while giving you full control over the brakes and shifters. Mountain bikers tend to prefer full fingered gloves in the event of a crash as they offer more protection if you come off the bike.
Gloves also come in different thicknesses, especially full fingered gloves. If you are riding in summer wearing full fingered gloves, you will want a nice thin glove that offers protection without making you too hot. If you are riding in cooler temperatures there are wind resistant gloves, water resistant gloves, and nice fluffy gloves for very cold weather riding. Gloves will keep your hands from getting tired and will also prevent blisters. Make sure you get a well-fitting glove that is snug as excess fabric may bunch up and cause sore spots.
Cycling gloves feature additional padding on the palms which helps to reduce discomfort caused by hanging onto the handlebars or shifters for an extended period. Cycling gloves for road cyclists and commuters tend to have cut-off fingers to help keep the hands cool and aid dexterity, with foam of gel padding to reduce pressure on the palm. Full finger cycling gloves will block wind chill and provide insulation, while still offering the grip and dexterity you need to brake, shift and hang on.