Why wear sailing gloves?

Have you ever had rope burns or blisters on your hands from sailing? Then it might be time to look into purchasing some sailing gloves.

Although sailing gloves might initially be thought of as for beginners, even experienced sailors can benefit from them and avoid some painful injuries.

Types of sailing gloves

There are two main kinds of sailing gloves that you can purchase, these are:

  • Fingerless/short-fingered
  • Three-fingered/full-fingered or long-fingered

The most popular choice amongst sailors tends to be fingerless or short-fingered gloves, this is likely because of the added dexterity available when having finger tips exposed. Another bonus of fingerless gloves is that they are easier to find a comfortable size as finger length does not matter so much.

Although less favoured amongst sailors, full-fingered gloves offer the most protection against injury. Fingerless gloves tend to roll back up the fingers with continuous wear, exposing more and more flesh to risk of injury, unlike full-finger gloves which encase the entire hand without risk of retreating back down the fingers.

Features of the best sailing gloves

With a wealth of sailing gloves on the market it is recommended to pick out the most important features to help narrow down your search.

  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable
  • Washable
  • Durable


Sailing gloves need to be lightweight so that your hand and finger movement is not restricted, heavy weight gloves may get in the way and hinder certain tasks affecting your ability to complete them properly.


If you are sailing in locations where the water temperature is usually quite low then waterproof gloves are important as they will protect your hands from the cold. If your hands and fingers become too cold then they risk going numb and dulling your sensation, this puts you at more risk of injury and will also prevent you from carrying out tasks at your full ability.


If you happen to shop from online stores such as unigloves or alike ones, it is important to consider whether they are comfortable and can fit correctly on your hands. If they are too small then they are likely to restrict your movement and be painful to wear, likewise if your sailing gloves are too big then they may roll down at the fingers reducing protection or wrinkle resulting in blisters.


Depending on how often you sail and the conditions that you are exposed to, it is a good idea to have washable and quick drying sailing gloves. This allows you to keep them clean and also reduce the risk of infection to any injuries that you do have on your hands or fingers.


Sailing gloves need to be equipped to handle a multitude of tough tasks, for example pulling and holding ropes. If your gloves are not durable enough you may find them getting damaged and worn down quickly, when they are worn down this will reduce their effectiveness and increase your risk of injury. Similarly, having gloves that you need to replace regularly can get expensive so it is important to purchase gloves made of sturdy materials that will last a long time.

Sailing gloves may help to prevent some injuries to your hands whilst sailing, although you should be aware of other common sailing injuries and how to avoid these.

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