Have you ever come away from a cragging session with sore palms, or struggled to hold a big leader fall as the rope ripped through your hands? If so, you need some belay gloves! The Adventure Junkies will help you find the best belay gloves for you.

As well as using them to belay at the crag or in the gym, belay gloves are often used for rappelling. The friction generated by the rope on a long rappel can hurt. Using leather gloves means you’re more comfortable and safer on rappel.

Gloves are also used for aid climbing, where you spend longer holding on to the rope and gear than you would free climbing. Aid climbing gloves are great for belaying too.

 

 

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST BELAY GLOVES

PICTURE
GLOVES
BEST USE
FINGER LENGTH
PALM FABRIC
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
GLOVES
BEST USE
FINGER LENGTH
PALM FABRIC
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
Black Diamond Crag
Sport & Gym Belays
Full
Synthetic Leather
70g
$
4.4
Petzl Cordex
Sport & Gym Belays
Full
Double Layer Leather
115g
$$
4.6
Metolius Belay Slave
Sport & Gym Belays
Full
Synthetic Leather
80g
$
4.8
Black Diamond Crag Half Finger
Sport & Gym Belays
Half
Synthetic Leather
50g
$
4.5
Outdoor Research Hand Break
Sport & Gym Belays
Half
Leather and Suede
119g
$$
4.8
Black Diamond Transition
Rappelling
Full
Leather
93g
$$$
3.6
Petzl Cordex Plus
Rappelling
Full
Double Layer Leather
140g
$$$
4.5
Outdoor Research Air Brake
Rappelling
Full
Leather
100g
$$$
4.6
Black Diamond Stone
Aid Climbing
Half
Leather
118g
$$
4.2
Outdoor Research Seamseeker
Aid Climbing
Half
Leather
108g
$$
5

 

 

BELAY GLOVES 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST BELAY GLOVES

 

1. LENGTH OF FINGERS

The length of the fingers of your gloves is the main choice you have to make when buying a pair. Belay gloves are available with full fingers, half fingers and sometimes three-quarter fingers. Some manufacturers make the same glove in both full and half finger versions.

Full finger gloves protect your whole hand. They’re great for belaying and rappelling when you’ll be handling the rope a lot. They’re also perfect for use jumaring and hauling on big walls. The added protection you get on your upper fingers could mean your skin lasts a little bit longer for that hard redpoint.

The disadvantage of full finger gloves is their dexterity. As anyone who ice climbs knows, it’s much harder to handle ropes and tie knots when you’ve got a pair of gloves on. If you go for a full finger pair, try and buy a pair that’s close fitting at the end of the fingers. If the fingers are too long for your hands, the ends of the glove are likely to get trapped in carabiners or knots.

Half finger gloves give you much more dexterity. This is useful when you have to handle a lot of gear, for example if you are setting up anchors whilst on rappel. It’s also essential for leading an aid pitch, where you have to place small gear.

Three-quarter fingers are a good compromise as they protect almost your whole finger, leaving just your finger tips exposed.

 

2. FABRIC

Belay gloves are made out of leather, synthetic leather and synthetic stretch fabrics. Most have the palm made out of either real or synthetic leather.

Which fabric you go for is mainly personal preference. Real leather tends to last longer than synthetic, although there are now some very hardwearing synthetic options. Real leather also tends to mold to your hand better and many people find it more comfortable to wear.

Look out for extra reinforcement on high-wear areas, such as the palm and space between your thumb and index finger. Many gloves have double layered leather here, or a second layer of suede.

The fabric on the back of the hand is more variable. Some gloves are entirely leather. Others use a breathable stretch mesh on the back. The lighter the fabric on the back of your hand, the cooler the glove will be in summer heat. Many people also find a stretch fabric more comfortable than leather.

If you’re using the gloves a lot though, a mesh fabric is unlikely to last as long as a leather or synthetic leather back.

 

3. WRIST CLOSURE

Most belay gloves have an adjustable wrist closure. Often this is a velcro tab that can be closed as tight as you want, or left loose.

It’s important to find a wrist closure that isn’t too tight, as that will cut off circulation to your hands. But it needs to be tight enough that the gloves don’t ride up in use and become baggy on your hands.

 

4. CLIP IN LOOP

When climbing, you’re unlikely to want belay gloves on all the time. Get a pair that have an attachment point for a carabiner so you can hang them from your harness when you’re not using them.

 

5. KNUCKLE PROTECTION

Some gloves have extra knuckle protection on the back of the hand. You won’t need this if you’re mainly belaying at a sport crag or at the gym.

If you’re belaying a lot on cramped trad multipitch anchors, or rappelling complex lines, your knuckles will thank you for having some extra protection. It’s great for aid climbing too.

 

ideal belay gloves for climbing

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/alexbrylov

 

 BELAY GLOVE REVIEWS

 

1. BEST BELAY GLOVES FOR SPORT AND GYM BELAYS

BLACK DIAMOND CRAG

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: All round belay use

FINGER LENGTH: Full

FABRIC: Breathable mesh back, synthetic leather palm

WEIGHT: 71g

PROS: Cool in hot weather, stretchy for close and comfortable fit, knuckle padding, soft nose wipe on thumb

CONS: Not as hard wearing as full leather gloves

 

 

 

PETZL CORDEX

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: General belay use

FINGER LENGTH: Full

FABRIC: Breathable stretch nylon back, double layer goat-leather palms

WEIGHT: 115g

PROS: Stretchy back gives close fit, durable palms, reinforced clip-in points

CONS: Back fabric isn’t very hardwearing

 

 

 

METOLIUS BELAY SLAVE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: General belay use

FINGER LENGTH: Full

FABRIC: Stretch nylon back, synthetic leather palms

WEIGHT: 80g

PROS: Hardwearing, inexpensive

CONS: Wrist is quite tight

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND CRAG HALF-FINGER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Summer belay use

FINGER LENGTH: Half

FABRIC: Breathable mesh back, synthetic leather palm

WEIGHT: 50g

PROS: Cheap, added dexterity, lightweight

CONS: Fit small

 

 

 

OUTDOOR RESEARCH HAND BRAKE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Heavy duty rope work

FINGER LENGTH: Half

FABRIC: Leather with suede reinforcement on palm

WEIGHT: 119g

PROS: Great knuckle protection, very hardwearing

CONS: Hard to remove

 

 

 

 

2. BEST BELAY GLOVES FOR RAPPELLING

BLACK DIAMOND TRANSITION

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Rappelling and belay use

FINGER LENGTH: Full

FABRIC: Goat leather with stretch nylon on low-wear areas

WEIGHT: 93g

PROS: Hardwearing leather

CONS: Some users report stitching failing

 

 

 

PETZL CORDEX PLUS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: All round belay and rappelling

FINGER LENGTH: Full

FABRIC: Leather – double layer on palms

WEIGHT: 140g

PROS: Very hardwearing, stretch knuckle areas

CONS: Inconsistent sizing, heavy

 

 

 

OUTDOOR RESEARCH AIR BRAKE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Rappelling

FINGER LENGTH: Full

FABRIC: Leather palm with stretch polyester back and neoprene wrist cuff

WEIGHT: 100g

PROS: Great fit, stretch cuff, hardwearing, heat absorbing gel pads on palms

CONS: Neoprene wrist can soak up sweat, red dye leaks

 

 

 

 

3. BEST BELAY GLOVES FOR AID CLIMBING

BLACK DIAMOND STONE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST FOR: Aid climbing

FINGER LENGTH: Half

FABRIC: Leather with reinforcements

WEIGHT: 118g

PROS: Good fit, good dexterity

CONS: Some users have reported stitching failure

 

 

 

OUTDOOR RESEARCH SEAMSEEKER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Aid climbing

FINGER LENGTH: Half

FABRIC: Leather with stretch fabric on back

WEIGHT: 108g

PROS: Hardwearing, gel heat absorber pads on palm

CONS: Neoprene wrists can soak up sweat

Top 10 Best Belay Gloves of 2017 – Best Rock Climbing Gear Articles – Climbing Products For Men and Women – Climbing Equipment Lists Posts

About The Author

Climbing Junkie

Originally from England, Maria's spent most of her life avoiding real jobs and exploring mountain ranges from Patagonia to Greenland. She can currently be found living the simple life in her van, somewhere between Canada and California, skiing powder or spending days hanging off the side of a big wall. A self-proclaimed gear geek and qualified climbing instructor, she co-runs a climbing skills website: www.vdiffclimbing.com.

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