Many sports require participants to grip or hold onto a piece of equipment. The equipment might include bicycle handles, horse reins, racket handles, golf clubs, baseball bats or barbells. Fitness gloves were designed to accommodate the gripping or holding motion in order to enhance the actual workout and protect the athlete's hands. There are many types of fitness gloves to fit the actual exercise or workout.
Exercisers might risk fatigue or injuries when they have to hold onto or grip something for long periods of time. Many people have sweaty hands, especially in the middle of a vigorous workout, and fitness gloves prevent slipping and losing the grip of the equipment. Some exercisers develop calluses and hard skin areas on their hands after lifting heavy weights or simply holding equipment in the same position for several hours. Fitness gloves protect the hands from these conditions as well. They also work to protect the hand from vibrations when the equipment comes into contact with a ball or hard surface.
Fitness gloves are available in full-finger and short-finger versions. The full-finger exercise gloves cover the entire hand. They work to create an antimicrobial barrier between the exerciser’s skin and the equipment, and they have padding to prevent blisters and calluses from forming. Short-finger gloves allow the fingers to be exposed, and they usually have padding on the thumb and palm areas to prevent calluses or blisters. People who need protection but want their hands to breathe in hot temperatures use these types of gloves.
Baseball and softball players, golfers, gardeners, tennis players, racquetball players and horseback riders typically wear full-finger fitness gloves. Weightlifters and bodybuilders usually wear short-finger gloves. Motorcyclists and bicycle riders might wear either type of glove, depending on the situation. In warm weather, they usually wear short-finger gloves. In cold weather or when they are biking through rough terrain with branches and thorns, they typically wear full-finger gloves.
Many manufacturers and sports equipment companies make and sell women’s and men’s fitness gloves. Women’s gloves usually are smaller than men’s gloves and are designed for shorter, thinner hands. Inexpensive gloves generally are made from spandex or nylon, and they usually provide only a small protective layer of fabric between the hands and the equipment. Expensive fitness gloves often are waterproof and usually are made of sheepskin leather or neoprene. They also typically contain gels and special padding to improve the grip and provide comfort.