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What Are The Best Weight Training Gloves To Use With Kettlebells?

So, you’ve been working out with kettlebells and trying some new moves. Maybe you’ve been to a trainer, and you probably found this site through one of my kettlebell YouTube videos. (⇐Subscribe to my channel)

training gloves

One thing that I bet you’ve noticed is that some of the kettlebell moves can be really rough on the hands.

The trouble is, searching through the internet, you’ve noticed that:

  1. There are a lot of articles out there talking about why you shouldn’t use gloves when working with kettlebells, or;
  2. You were presented with so many choices of workout gloves, kettlebell gloves, etc., that you didn’t know which pair to purchase.

Training Gloves

This article is about my own opinion and how I use gloves when I train with kettlebells. I’ll provide you with some reasons on why some trainers don’t like to use them, and I’ll leave it up to you to make up your own mind on the matter.

Should you wear gloves when you train with kettlebells?

The short answer is… if you want to, yes.

So, if you want to just take my word for it, there you go. No need to read the rest of this article. If you need a little more to go on, let me elaborate.

Let’s look at many of the reasons that I’ve read in other articles about why you shouldn’t wear gloves while training with kettlebells, and I’ll address each of them.

  • Gloves can interfere with the kettlebell as it maneuvers around the hand.
  • Gloves will bunch up and cause the kettlebell to dig into the hand even more.

It is possible that gloves could interfere with the kettlebell as it maneuvers around your hand. That’s why any pair of gloves you purchase should fit correctly. Wear gloves that fit your hand snugly and don’t slide around or stick out anywhere unnecessarily.

That’s why some people suggest using Bionic Men’s Fitness Gloves. My own opinion is that these are great general-use gloves, but not great kettlebell gloves. These were designed by an orthopedic hand surgeon for superior grip, comfort, and durability.

Bionic Fitness Gloves

Indeed, I have personally used these gloves before and can attest to the fact that they fit more comfortably than any other weight lifting glove that I have used. For regular barbell, dumbbell, and pull-ups, I would say that these gloves can’t be beat. Using them for kettlebells, however, was a different story. They have grippy palms, which led to them bunching up and causing the kettlebell to dig into the hand. In fact, because they grip so well, the palms ripped out on them while I was using them for kettlebell work.

  • Gloves can mask the sensory connection from the hand to the brain.

This reason sounds pretty legit. It makes total sense that a covering between your skin and an object will mask some of your sensory input. If your hand-eye coordination is totally crap, then I guess you could be in trouble here. Or, if feeling your calluses get ripped off is important to you, then you might be deprived of that sensation.

  • Gloves can make you look like a wimp!

Dumb guy flexing
Really, unless you’re a total douche bag meat-head, or suffer from some really low self esteem, get over it!

  • Professional kettlebell lifters don’t wear them.

If you’re going to go pro, then I guess this is a viable excuse. However, I’m not competing with anyone other than myself. Most of you probably aren’t either.

  • You will lose touch with the kettlebell.

Huh? Are we talking about Mitt Romney and the middle class here? Whatever…

  • You will sacrifice grip strength.

There is some truth to this one as well, however, unless you like to entertain friends by ripping apart phone books, or hurting people with handshakes (see meathead pic above), I just don’t really feel that a small sacrifice in grip strength is very relevant as opposed to tearing up your hands.

  • If you need gloves, then you are not using correct form.

This last point is the most reasonable. However, even the most proficient kettlebell people will fatigue, get sloppy, or just flat out perform a move incorrectly from time to time. I don’t care how good you are, your form is not going to be 100 percent perfect, 100 percent of the time. Guess what happens then? Yup, a torn callous, blister, etc.

Some of these are valid reasons not to wear gloves while kettlebell training. However, my answer is still the same. But, my answer also applies conversely: if you don’t want to wear them when you train with kettlebells, then don’t.

Still, some people suggest to just use chalk. Chalk is great for allowing the kettlebell to move about in your hand without catching callouses or creating blisters. It’s also good for keeping the hand dry and preventing the kettlebell from slipping out. If you workout outside, then great, use chalk if you want. But really, if you’re in your living room, or basement, or wherever, there’s a good chance that you don’t want chalk all over the place.

Sometimes I don’t wear gloves while working out with kettlebells.

With all of that being said, sometimes I workout without gloves. I don’t always have them with me, and generally, I don’t need them unless I am doing snatches.

My manhood doesn’t depend on the callouses on my hands – I like to protect my hands as much as possible. If I’m planning on doing snatches in my workout, I’ll wear the gloves. That doesn’t mean that I remove them when I’m doing the other moves that I don’t need them for. It’s not worth the bother. I’ll just leave them on.

I guess this brings me back to my point. Wear fitness gloves if you want, don’t if you don’t. It’s a personal choice, and there are reasons to wear them and not. Some of them are valid depending on your perspective, goals, and machoness!

Macho Man Randy Savage

What are the best gloves to wear when working out with kettlebells?

If you’ve decided that you want to try wearing gloves while working out with kettlebells, or if you already do and are looking for a different type, I suggest trying any glove that has a leather palm. The leather does not grip like rubber or synthetic materials, and it will allow the kettlebell to maneuver freely. Additionally, I’ve found that leather washes more easily than the gloves with synthetic or rubber grips, which became really stiff and uncomfortable after washing.

Kettlebell glovesFor the last couple of years, I have used Harbinger 143 Men’s Pro FlexClosure Wash & Dry Gloves. In my opinion, these are the best ones to use with kettlebells. These fit comfortably and snugly, and come up over the middle knuckle as well, so that you don’t get blisters there or on the palms of your hands.

Additionally, if you are new to kettlebells and just learning the snatch, or have bony wrists, you might find times where the kettlebell either bangs against your wrist or forearm, or just feels uncomfortable there in the rack position. I don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with protecting yourself as you get better. You might want to consider using wrist bands.

No matter which side of the fence you fall on, I encourage you to try kettlebells, a phenomenal piece of exercise equipment. I really do think that they are highly versatile and effective, and suitable for all fitness types.

Seek out the proper instruction and resources, but most importantly, work on your health and fitness!

What are your thoughts on this article? Do you use gloves when you work out with kettlebells? Do you have a brand that you suggest? I and many others would love to hear about it in the comments section below!


17 thoughts on “What Are The Best Weight Training Gloves To Use With Kettlebells?”

  1. I think they are of great benefit and wouldn’t dream of working out without them. Your gloves should cover the bottom half of your fingers but not the tips. This allows the glove to ‘breath’ a little and avoids the build up of sweat.

  2. Your response below is a classic example of “uninformed voter,” stick to fitness and leave the political humor at home.
    “You will lose touch with the kettlebell.
    Huh? Are we talking about Mitt Romney and the middle class here? Whatever…”

  3. These are very similar to the old Harbinger gloves for women that I’ve been wearing for about 7 years now for kettlebells. They are finally breaking down and Harbinger no longer makes good gloves like this for women. I just bought a pair of their Flexfit and I don’t like them for kettlebells. The fingers are too stretchy, the whole glove is too stretchy and moves on my hand even though they are the right size. Guess they get demoted to bicycling gloves. Any ideas about good kettlebell gloves for women?

      1. No, but I just ordered them! Be here in 2 days. I couldn’t decide which would be better the Pro 149 or the Flexfit. Got blisters from the Flexfit!

          1. Tried the 149Women’s Pro, and they also are no good for kettlebells. Harbinger has gone cheap on women’s gloves it seems. I seem to have a 2nd pair of bicycling gloves! These are less stretchy than the Flexfit, but they still move on your hand. Also, the extra padding on the fingers is just as narrow as on the Flexfit… too narrow! It moves around on your finger and doesn’t give protection. My old gloves have wide finger protection and don’t slip on your fingers. I think I’m going to try the Men’s 143 Pro Flexclosures. Think I’ll also write to Harbinger about their making quality gloves for women instead of the flimsy ones.

          2. Thanks for filling us in on your discoveries! I’m sorry that you’re having such a difficult time finding a kettlebell glove that works for you!

  4. Hey mate, I found that article really helpful! However, the recommended gloves are only available from the USA and I don’t want to order long-distance inn case they have to be exchanged. Any other recommendations I may be able to find in the UK?

    1. Hey Allan, I’m not familiar with any UK specific brands, but look for ones with a leather palm, not synthetic or rubber. you’ll also want something that fits snugly on your hand. Maybe drop into a local sporting goods store, and weight and training equipment retailer so that you can actually get your hands on a pair before buying.

  5. Dominique Labelle

    I think I’m allergic to the chalk! I have eczema all over my hands and fingers and it’s just awful. I bought a pair of weightlifting gloves but they’re destroyed already. I have tiny, womanly hands and I’m sick of the itching and burning. I hope to find some gloves that fit snug enough for me. Thanks for your information!

      1. Dominique Labelle

        I ordered the Harbinger 149 Women’s Pro gloves you recommended to someone else below. They arrive tomorrow. I know the other person said they were a bust, but they seem to be the only thing available in that category! I’ll let you know how they work for me!

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