Best Wheelchair Gloves Guide

The Best Wheelchair Gloves (2019 Reviews and Analysis)

As anyone who has used a manual wheelchair will tell you, they require more self-propulsion than you would expect, especially on steep or rough terrain. If you don’t have friends or family to help you in that situation, your palms, wrists, and fingers could well develop complications as you operate your wheelchair.

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent the development of blisters, sprains, and calluses when using your wheelchair – or to at least mitigate the risk. One such way is to invest in a pair of reliable wheelchair gloves. A quality pair of gloves will not only reduce any pain from operating the wheelchair but will also protect your hands from damage.

That’s why we’ve created this accessible guide on everything you need to know about manual wheelchair gloves. From their litany of benefits, to important considerations you should make when choosing a pair, to our recommendations on the best wheelchair gloves available. Whatever type of gloves you’re looking for, whether they be casual gloves, sport-style gloves, or padded gloves, we’ve researched them all, compared their attributes, and found the best ones.

Care+Wear Unisex Wheelchair Gloves
Top Pick: Care+Wear Unisex Wheelchair Gloves

Breathable, flexible, unisex, lightweight neoprene mobility gloves with amazing grip.

The 5 Top-Rated Wheelchair Gloves

Editor's PicksWheelchair GlovesRating
1. Best OverallCare+Wear Unisex Wheelchair Gloves3.9/5
2. Runner UpKango Fitness W-10374.1/5
3. Best Cut-Off GlovesRIMSports Gym Gloves4.3/5
4. Best For GripPEARL iZUMi ELITE Gel Glove4.1/5
5. Best Budget PickWH-1 Wheelchair Gloves4.6/5

Why to Use Wheelchair Gloves

To Protect Your Hands

The primary reason for using wheelchair gloves is a simple one: to protect your hands. If you’re using a wheelchair, your hands are likely even more important to you than they are to the non-wheelchair user, they’re what you need to maintain your independence and freedom! A good pair of wheelchair gloves will prevent the formation of calluses and blisters and keep your hands stable when operating your chair.

Additionally, this added stability you will get with your hands will reduce the pressure on the nerves and joints in your arms, allowing you to use less strength for the same amount of movement.

Even if you already suffer from calluses or blisters that are causing you pain, wheelchair gloves can be really helpful. Most gloves available contain padding that will decrease the pain and pressure placed on your hands. On the flip-side, if you suffer from chronic hand pain gloves will provide compression to help alleviate it.

To Make Up for Limited Upper-Body Strength

If you’re a person with limited arm strength, wheelchair gloves will make it a lot easier to get your wheelchair moving. Using a wheelchair requires a significant amount of strength and flexibility, in your hands, in your arms, and even in your core and back. Wheelchair gloves can reduce the amount of effort and force you need to exert to operate your wheelchair in an easy and efficient way.

Why? Partially because of the above mentioned hand stability improvements, but also because of our next point: grip.

To Improve Your Grip (and Turning Radius!)

Even if you’re not susceptible to calluses and blisters, and you don’t have limited arm strength, wheelchair gloves can greatly increase your grip. Wheelchair gloves, like cycling gloves and power-lifting gloves, are specifically designed for grip.

With the increased grip that wheelchair gloves can bring, not only will you be able to move around easier in your wheelchair, but you will also be able to more easily make tight maneuvers and improve your turning radius.

Many of these gloves, like the ones featured above, have grip pads placed in the exact places where your hands should make contact with your wheels. So, whilst you may be thinking any old pair of gloves will do to achieve these outlined benefits, you usually want to look for something a bit more specialized.

Want to know more about the benefits? David from heycrip does a more extensive overview of the benefits of wheelchair gloves in the following video:

What to Consider When Choosing Your Wheelchair Gloves

Here is a list of the features/functions/qualities you should be paying attention to when considering the wheelchair gloves you want to be yours. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but these are the things we recommend you think about before you make any purchase:

1. Comfort

If your gloves aren’t comfortable you’re not going to wear them. You should consider what types of materials you know and like. Personally, we are partial to Lycra because it is lightweight and flexible. That said, we know that many others prefer leather (and leather is definitely more stylish). This somewhat depends on what the weather is like where you live as well – leather gloves are usually waterproof, so if you live in a rainy area they might be the best choice.

2. Support

It is also advisable to pay attention to the amount of support that your gloves give. Your wrists and hands are often under a lot of strain when operating a wheelchair, and gloves with wrist support can help reduce this.

3. Flexibility

To be able to maneuver your wheelchair in the way you desire, you will want to ensure your gloves allow for a full range of motion. If they don’t allow you to do this you will likely end up running into trouble getting your wheelchair moving, or turning, very easily – you won’t have decent grip.

4. Padding

Padding is the other essential aspect to consider when purchasing wheelchair gloves. Most glove padding is thick and protective (a bonus for comfort!), but you can find other types that are not as thick. Padding is usually made of rubber. You can also find others with gel padding.

Padding is vital as it goes along way towards preventing calluses and blistering. But be careful, too much padding might hamper your gloves’ flexibility.

5. Durability

You don’t want your gloves to wear out after a couple of weeks of use. Whilst they’re not super expensive, they’re by no means cheap – they’re meant to last. The most durable gloves are usually made out of leather and you will end up replacing them less if you purchase gloves made from that material. However, we think a more important consideration for durability is probably the brand: Good companies make good gloves, regardless of the material.

6. Breathability/Material

Many wheelchair glove users complain about the breathability of their gloves. If you wear gloves that aren’t breathable, you might end up with sweaty, irritated and sore hands. This is a crucial factor that you need to consider because it will partially determine their level of comfort.

Materials like neoprene are highly breathable. That said, if you live in a cold area, less breathable gloves made out of leather (sturdy, durable, and flexible) or another fabric might actually be a better option.

Lycra is the another glove material that you can consider. The primary advantage of Lycra gloves is their elasticity, although they are not usually as strong and durable as leather ones.

7. Style/Type

The final element you will want to consider is the style and type of the gloves. Do you want full-length or cutoff?

If you want gloves that provide greater dexterity and will have other uses apart from operating your wheelchair, you should purchase the cutoff/fingerless gloves. Cut-off gloves give the upper parts of your fingers more freedom to move without restriction, and they’ll allow you to use the touch screen on your phone!

That said, the payoff is that you will have to sacrifice some protection and the warmth that full hand gloves offer. If you live in a cold, wet place – enclosed, full-hand gloves are likely to be a better option.

Best Wheelchair Gloves (Our Top Picks)

Editor's PicksWheelchair GlovesRating
1. Best OverallCare+Wear Unisex Wheelchair Gloves3.9/5
2. Runner UpKango Fitness W-10374.1/5
3. Best Cut-Off GlovesRIMSports Gym Gloves4.3/5
4. Best For GripPEARL iZUMi ELITE Gel Glove4.1/5
5. Best Budget PickWH-1 Wheelchair Gloves4.6/5

Finally, we would like to share our suggestions for the best wheelchair gloves currently available.

Our Top Pick: Care+Wear Unisex Wheelchair Gloves

Care+Wear Unisex Wheelchair Gloves
Top Pick: Care+Wear Unisex Wheelchair Gloves

Breathable, flexible, unisex, lightweight neoprene mobility gloves with amazing grip.

From our research, the Care+Wear Unisex Wheelchair Gloves stood out as the clear winners. Made from neoprene, these enclosed, full-hand, gloves are lightweight, flexible, well made, and affordable. They provide solid grip and support when in use.

One thing that makes these gloves stand out is that they have a zipper that allows you to easily put them on, secure them, and unzip to take them off. However, it was not just this feature that sold us on these gloves: The quality is incredible. It is easy to tell that they were built from good, reliable material.

Despite the above, its worth noting two thing: These gloves, despite being made from neoprene, are not that breathable – we tested them in the summer but imagine they might get too hot in the winter. Secondly, the sizing seems to run pretty small, so it’s a good idea to choose a size up!

Regardless of those caveats, these are truly great enclosed wheelchair gloves. Our number 1 suggestion – comfortable, practical, and great value.

Care+Wear Unisex Wheelchair Gloves Specifications:

  • Dependable grip
  • Velcro tab and zipper for support
  • Material works with touchscreens!
  • Made from Neoprene poly
  • Machine washable
  • Easy to take on and off

Our Runner-Up Pick: Kango Fitness Leather Wheelchair Gloves W-1037

Kango Fitness Gloves W-1037
Our Runner-Up Pick: Kango Fitness Leather Gloves W-1037

Fingerless, cut-off gloves made with real, soft leather and padded palm.

The Kango Fitness Leather Fingerless Gloves W-1037 are another great pair of manual wheelchair gloves. Affordable, stylish, and with all the features you should be looking for.

Not only do they look good, but they are very breathable with the cream mesh on the back of the glove. On the front however, the real lather provides great protection. In term of comfort? The double-padded palm (whilst also provided protection) really makes these gloves feel great when you’re using them.

Finally, with the high, quality and durable leather, and the velcro support strap, you won’t have any using these over a long period of time. They are dependable, quality, and reliable set of wheelchair gloves – it’s why they’re our second pick! (Please bear in mind their sizing is a little off – go one size down from what you normally would. )

Kango Fitness Leather Gloves W-1037 Specifications:

  • Made with real soft leather (+ mesh for breathability)
  • Features a double padded palm for comfort and protection
  • They look beautiful, we received many compliments whilst wearing these!
  • Fingerless/Cut-off style
  • Velcro straps provide support
  • Amazing price for the quality!

Best Cut-Off Wheelchair Gloves: RIMSports Gym Gloves

RIMSport Gym Gloves
Best Cut-Off Gloves: RIMSports Gym Gloves

Cut-off gloves gym gloves perfect for wheelchair users. Perfect padding and great breathability.

Other than the above mentioned Kango Fitness Gloves, the RIMSports Gym Gloves are the best fingerless, cut-off gloves we reviewed. Whilst these aren’t specifically for wheelchair users, they are still a great option and really something special:

They are lightweight and flexible allowing for easy maneuverability and range of motion. Again, they look great and they come in a ride range of colors so they should work with (almost) any outfit.

The gloves fit snugly without being restrictive, whilst also being easy to take on and off. In terms of breathability, despite expecting to find these gloves less breathable than some of the others we reviewed due the leather material, to our surprise they didn’t end up feeling sweaty or clammy.

Finally, the padding and ensures these gloves are comfortable, safe, and offer great protection. You can expect these to prevent any blisters and calluses from developing on your hands, and at a great price too!

RIMSports Gym Gloves Specifications:

  • Strong and dependable materials
  • Made with leather and spandex
  • Breathable and flexible
  • Come in loads of different colors!

Best For Grip: PEARL iZUMi Men’s ELITE Gel Wheelchair Gloves

PEARL iZUMi Men's ELITE Gel Glove
Best Cut-Off Gloves: PEARL iZUMi Men’s ELITE Gel Glove

Synthetic leather gloves made for cyclists, but perfect for wheelchairs with amazing long-term grip.

Like the RIMSports Gym Gloves, PEARL iZUMi Men’s ELITE Gel Gloves are not specifically wheelchair gloves – they’re cycling gloves! Despite this, in terms of grip, these are probably the best wheelchair gloves currently on the market.

Made with high-quality synthetic leather, these gloves are incredible light-weight, flexible, and durable. They use gel padding as opposed to the standard foam padding, so they are flexible but at the same time they are practically unparalleled in the amount of grip they provide.

Even after extended use they continue to perform great and stay comfortable. Whilst they’re by no means our favorite pair of wheelchairs gloves, if you want something that feels premium, provider great support, and will give you incredible grip on your wheels – these are the ones to go for. Oh, they look great too.

PEARL iZUMi Men’s ELITE Gel Gloves Specifications:

  • Cycling gloves but great for wheechair users
  • Made from lightweight, durable synthetic leather
  • Gel padding makes them great for comfort and grip
  • Cut-off/fingerless style
  • Reduce pressure on hands and arms

Best Budget Pick: WH-1 Wheelchair Gloves

WH-1 Wheelchair Gloves
Best Budget Pick: WH-1 Wheelchair Gloves

For a great, low-cost option consider the REPS WH-1 wheelchair gloves. Great quality at a super low price.

Our final recommendation, the best if you’re on a budget, is the WH-1 Wheelchair Gloves by REPS. Despite their low price, these are a great pair of breathable, lightweight, and comfortable gloves.

They contain protective padding that will prevent the formation of blisters and calluses (like all of our suggested wheelchair gloves), and whilst they might not be the most “feature packed” pair you can buy they still get the job done.

Finally, we note that these wheelchair gloves are durable and of solid quality. They are made from leather, so they naturally last longer than a standard pair made from another type of material. If you don’t want to spend much money, these are the way to go.

REPS WH-1 Wheelchair Gloves Gloves Specifications:

  • Specifically designed for wheelchair users
  • Made out of top-grain leather and breathable mesh
  • Great protection, padding, and support
  • A really affordable price
  • Cut-off/fingerless style

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Margaret Sellars
Margaret Sellars
Occupational Therapist Margaret Sellars contributes to Mobility Deck as an expert on mobility products like wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. Newly retired, Margaret spends her spare time doing freelance writing from the comfort of her home in Maine. Given her extensive knowledge and professional background, Margaret does the vast majority of the writing for Mobility Deck - so if you have non-tech related questions, she's the one to ask!
Margaret Sellars
Margaret Sellars
Occupational Therapist Margaret Sellars contributes to Mobility Deck as an expert on mobility products like wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers. Newly retired, Margaret spends her spare time doing freelance writing from the comfort of her home in Maine. Given her extensive knowledge and professional background, Margaret does the vast majority of the writing for Mobility Deck - so if you have non-tech related questions, she's the one to ask!

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