Driving gloves for men have a long and storied history extending back to the dawn of the automotive age.
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While less common today than in decades past, high-quality driving gloves still serve as a stylish accessory for the hands-on driver. Read on to learn more about the evolution, benefits, and features of classic driving gloves for men.
A Brief History of Driving Gloves For Men
Driving gloves for men emerged in the 1900s when motorcars were still a novelty for the extremely wealthy. Early automobile adopters found that the standard men’s gloves of the day were too bulky and clumsy for efficiently gripping and handling steering wheels, gear shifts, and other controls.
Thus, the first “driving gloves” were born out of necessity and function. These new gloves featured thin, close-fitting, unlined leather or suede construction to maximize feel and dexterity. Perforations provided breathability in the summer heat. These design features enhanced drivers’ control and made driving safer before power steering and brakes.
During the early 20th century, driving gloves for men became standard gear for race car drivers, sporting men, and upper-class motorists. Popular culture increased the perception of gloves as stylish accessories for the gentleman driver. However, gloves evolved alongside automotive technology to balance fashion and function over the decades.
Fundamental design changes included:
- Snap closures – Gloves feature snap closures at the wrist rather than button closures to slip on and off between driving easily. This improved safety as well.
- Open knuckles – Angled openings or perforations over knuckles improved flexibility and grip with a natural driving position.
- Wider variety of materials – While leather and suede dominated initially, driving gloves incorporated more materials like cotton, wool blends, and later stretch synthetics.
- More colors – Classic black and brown evolved into colorful patterned and textured options by mid-century.
- Luxury branding – High-end designers now produce driving glove styles bearing logos and signature details.
Today, although not as pervasive as before, high-quality driving gloves for men remain popular with discerning motorists looking for a stylish and functional accessory when behind the wheel.
Critical Benefits of Wearing Driving Gloves For Men
Some modern drivers may wonder why driving gloves are still relevant in an era of power steering, climate control, and advanced safety features. Here are some of the core benefits that a good pair of driving gloves can provide:
Enhanced Grip and Control
The number one purpose of driving gloves for men is to maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel to enhance control. The tactile feel through thin materials gives you a more precise and responsive experience than bare hands or lower-quality gloves. This is especially useful in performance-driving scenarios.
Breathability and Dexterity
Top driving gloves for men maintain a close fit but incorporate open knuckles, perforations, and lightweight materials to maximize airflow. The freedom of movement keeps hands cool and sweat-free. Openings at knuckles and fingers also improve dexterity to ease slipping on and off during driving.
Insulation and Protection
Quality leather and suede gloves act as an insulating barrier against hot and cold temperatures. Lined gloves bring additional warmth for winter driving. Driving gloves also protect from UV radiation through car windows on sunny days.
Style and Self-Expression
For the fashion-minded driver, driving gloves for men remain a stylish accessory that completes the overall aesthetic. Available in various colors and patterns, they allow drivers to express personal style. Designer styles take it a step further with signature branding elements.
Some drivers like the enhanced tactile connection to the vehicle that comes with wearing driving gloves. The thin layer connects you to the machine while keeping your hands comfortable and protected. This also helps limit distractions.
Features to Look For in Driving Gloves
Not all gloves are created equal when it comes to driving demands. Look for these ideal features when choosing the right pair:
- Tight but flexible fit – Gloves should fit snugly to the contours of your hands without compressing or restricting. Stretch fabric blends help achieve a “second skin” feel.
- Minimal lining – Select unlined or lightly lined gloves that prioritize agility and road feel. Thick insulating fabrics reduce contact and control.
- Open knuckles – Angle-cut openings or perforated holes allow maximum flexibility at the knuckles. This matches your natural relaxed hand position.
- Quality leather or suede – Durable materials withstand wear while insulating and protecting hands. Softer leathers enhance grip.
- Strategic padding – Padding along the palms and gripping surfaces increases friction and reduces hand fatigue without adding bulk.
- Long cuffs should extend several inches past the wrist to protect jacket sleeves from getting dirty while driving.
- Easy on/off – Snaps, zippers, and stretch cuffs make it easy to slip gloves on and off as needed when driving and parking.
- Matching pairs – For the complete look, search for perfectly matched pairs without variances between left and right gloves.
Considering these criteria, you can select well-made driving gloves for men tailored to form and function.
Popular Modern Styles
While driving glove styles were relatively homogeneous in the first half of the 1900s, today, you can choose from diverse options to match your taste and driving needs. Here are some of the most popular modern styles:
Classic Full-Fingered Driving Gloves
- Traditional fuller-fingered gloves provide coverage of the entire hand.
- Often made of supple leather or suede. It may have perforated details.
- Pair with a 2-button closure at the wrist.
- Understated elegance is perfect for vintage automobiles.
Half Fingerless Driving Gloves
- Covers only fingers up to first knuckles, leaving fingertips exposed.
- It provides ventilation while still enhancing grip.
- Rakish style evoking vintage sports cars and rallies.
Colored Leather Gloves
- Made of fine leather in punchy colors like red and cobalt.
- Makes bold statements about the driver’s personality and mood.
- Also available in two-tone color-blocked styles.
Rugged and Tactical Gloves
- Geared for off-roading, overlanding, and powerful SUV driving.
- Heavy-duty leather paired with protective patches and armor.
- Great for maintaining control in harsh conditions.
Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves
- Buttery soft leather lined with plush cashmere.
- Provides warmth and insulation for winter driving.
- Luxurious feel while remaining functional.
This range gives drivers options across the style spectrum. However, no matter your preferred look, always prioritize quality, fit, and tactile dexterity.
Caring for Your Driving Gloves
Like fine leather jackets and luxury shoes, quality driving gloves for men require some care and maintenance to uphold their integrity over years of use. Follow these tips:
- Inspect routinely – Check for tears, embedded debris, and stitching issues that could affect grip and safety.
- Clean periodically – Wipe away sweat and dirt buildup with a soft, damp cloth. Clean leather cleaners can revive suede and leather.
- Store properly – Keep gloves in cloth bags when not in use to avoid stretching and creasing. Never wad them up.
- Re-snap often – Replace loose snaps to fasten the glove when taking hands and off the wheel.
- Waterproof protection – Use waterproofing sprays to repel moisture and prevent discoloration, re-apply after cleaning.
- Removal technique – Slip gloves off by the finger pulls and pull at the heel. Don’t yank by the fingers.
With some primary care, a fine pair of driving gloves can last for many years and miles on the open road.
A Timeless Accessory for the Hands-On Driver
While driving gloves for men may seem like a vintage accessory, they still have relevance for today’s motorists who care about function, style, and tactile connection to their vehicle. More than a fashion statement, high-quality gloves enhance grip, control, and driving precision while insulating against elements. They provide a classic way to finish off any automotive ensemble.
For those who love the open road, driving gloves for men help fulfill the promise of the freedom of driving – hands on the wheel, wind in your hair, comfort all around. By blending fashion and function, gloves allow drivers to handle their machines while imparting polished style confidently. Your hands will thank you.
So, next time you gear up for a drive, consider reaching for a pair of gloves to complement your trip. From backroad cruising to cross-country road tripping, driving gloves help keep hands happy on any journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
What style of glove is best for summer driving?
Select a leather or suede glove with open knuckles that are unlined, perforated, and suitable for warm-weather driving. This provides maximum breathability. Fingerless styles also help keep hands cool.
Should I choose leather or suede gloves?
Leather generally provides better grip, while suede offers more breathability. Leather is also easier to clean and maintain over time. Choose based on your priorities.
Why are some gloves lined with cashmere or other fabrics?
The lining adds warmth for driving in cold weather climates. Cashmere offers plush insulation. However, avoid heavily lined gloves if you want maximum dexterity.
Is it necessary to buy specifically driving gloves for men?
Ordinary fashion gloves are often too loose, heavily lined, or restrict movement. Driving gloves for men are designed to maximize grip, control, and feel.
Should driving gloves fit tight or loose?
A snug fit is best, conforming to the contours of your hands without pinching or restricting. The gloves should function like a “second skin” for optimal road feel.
How can I find gloves similar to vintage styles?
Many classic driving gloves for men companies like Peal & Co. or Baruffaldi carry styles reminiscent of vintage gloves worn in the 1920s-1950s.
Do driving gloves need special care or laundering?
The thin leather and suede require gentler hand cleaning. Never submerge them in water. Use leather cleaners and conditioners specifically formulated for driving gloves.
What is the difference between men’s and women’s driving gloves?
Women’s driving gloves have a slimmer, more delicate silhouette. However, quality unisex gloves conform well to most male or female hands. Focus on fit and features.
Are driving gloves for men necessary with modern vehicle features?
While less crucial from a functional standpoint, many drivers still love the stylish look and enhanced tactile connection driving gloves provide.
What glove features should I look for in winter driving gloves?
For colder weather, look for full coverage, cashmere/wool lining, silicone grip pads, and longer insulating cuffs. Water resistance also helps.
I am a professional writer, fashion blogger, and owner of the site https://laoutaris.com. As a salesperson for more than 20 years, I have experience of 10 years in the fashion industry. I consider myself a true fashionista. I am writing daily blog articles about fashion, tools and converters, and everything you need to know about the current fashion trends.
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