For many snorkelers, hand protection is something that is either not considered at all, or very low on their list of priorities. With snorkeling gloves you can keep your hands warm, have extra grip, and get extra protection against cuts. Snorkeling gloves don’t get talked about enough, and we feel that’s a mistake.
In this article, we will go over the benefits that snorkeling gloves provide as well as the top factors to consider when searching for one. We also provide a review of the best gloves for snorkeling currently on the market to help you save time. Even if you aren’t worried about cold hands, you should still wear gloves for protection. Read on to find out more.
Our Top Picks:
Best Gloves for Snorkeling: Recommendations
Tilos 1.5mm Reef Gloves
- HYPOALLERGENIC — All Tilos products are manufactured from 100 percent pure neoprene made from an exclusive formula called X-Foam, which is made from...
- THERMAL PROTECTION — 1.5mm thickness helps to conserve body heat in cooler waters.
- RELIABLE DURABILITY — Amara palms allows for maximum grip and endurance while protecting your hands from painful blisters, calluses and sunburns....
The Tilos 1.5mm reef gloves are made of a stretchy mesh material reinforced with amara leather, making it ideal for a variety of water sports such as snorkeling, kayaking, jet skiing, rafting, sailing, and scuba diving.
These gloves are considered to be one of the most durable gloves for snorkeling on the market, and that’s thanks to the various materials it is made from. Its main component is a synthetic leather called amara leather which will keep its shape no matter how rough the activity is. The palm side is made of a combination of thick neoprene rubber and amara leather. This offers you maximum palm protection and extra grip should you need to grab onto something.
Next, the backside of the Tilos gloves are constructed from a combination of neoprene mesh and amara leather. This lets some water flow in and out of the gloves and acts as a thermal vent via its micro holes so that it doesn’t get too warm inside the gloves. As for its stitching, the palm and thumb areas have been reinforced with tough stitches since this is where much of the hand activity occurs.
Wearing the Tilos gloves is a breeze thanks to the panel insertion material that is embedded internally inside the gloves that provides maximum comfort and stretchiness. Your hands should just slide in, and these gloves can be further secured using its wristband with adjustable hook and loop fastener. This fastening system helps to create a tight seal on a huge range of wrist sizes and ensures the gloves will stay on your hand.
Thanks to all of these features, the Tilos Reef Gloves can be used for a lot more than just snorkeling. Any water sports that require hand protection such as water skiing, white water rafting, kayaking, sailing, and scuba diving can all benefit from wearing these gloves. Many users have found that these gloves will quickly create a bent-finger effect that reduces overall hand strain and increases comfort.
As for getting the perfect fit, the Tilos gloves are based on men’s sizes. Female users should be aware of this and pick an appropriate size lower. One thing to keep in mind about these gloves is that they are designed primarily with hand protection in mind, and not as much for warmth. As such, these gloves are only intended for tropical and subtropical regions where the water is warm. It will not be very effective in temperate areas where the water is chillier.
Seavenger Abyss 1.5mm Dive Gloves
- THERMAL PROTECTION – 1.5mm thickness helps to conserve body heat in cooler waters.
- DURABLE DESIGN – A reinforced palm and thumb ensure you’re ready for the toughest of challenges.
- EASY GRIP – Amara leather palms allows for maximum grip and endurance.
The Seavenger Abyss dive gloves is designed to have a good balance of protection, mobility, and durability. It is made from a mix of neoprene rubber and a synthetic leather called amara, for an overall thickness of 1.5mm.
Additionally, the palm and thumb section has been reinforced to ensure that it holds up to rough usage while providing grip power and protection. Though the palm is rigid and tough, the topside of the gloves is made of a neoprene mesh that is soft and flexible so as not to restrict your finger movements.
Next, the Seavenger Abyss gloves simply slide over your hands thanks to the lycra panel insertion embedded into the gloves’ internals. Once your fingers make it through the wrist opening, they will slide all the way up to the fingertips in one smooth motion. Once the gloves are donned, you can secure it in place using the adjustable velcro wrist band.
In addition to the dexterity and warmth these gloves provide, the Seavenger Abyss also caters to your fashion style. It comes in 5 design variations and numerous sizes so you can pick the perfect one to suit your style. Pick from a range between XS and XXL.
Keep in mind that the Seavenger Abyss, like many dive gloves, do not keep your hands dry. In the same way that a wetsuit does not keep you dry yet still manages to insulate your body heat, many gloves for snorkeling follow the same design principle.
Furthermore, these gloves have a palm section reinforced by amara leather, and this can provide some protection if you grab onto a sharp edge. You are much less likely to experience cuts or scratches, such as from a rock or a fish hook while wearing these gloves. These gloves are designed to be used in warm waters, and we recommend wearing 3mm or thicker gloves for temperate or cold water use.
Darkfin 0.9mm Webbed Power Gloves
- IMAGINE IMPROVING YOUR PADDLE SPEED - dive gloves are made with 3-D web profile, which compared to your bare hand for propulsion, increases surface...
- HANDLE OBJECTS EASILY - ultra-thin, 0.9 mm or 1/28 inch Second Skin scuba diving gloves give finger dexterity to pick small objects, to press small...
- STAY LONGER IN THE WATER WITH WETSUIT GLOVES - this extra layer on your hands helps to keep them warmer, so you can enjoy catching waves or diving for...
If you are looking for a pair of gloves that offers hand protection and warmth, then the Darkfin Webbed Power Gloves may not be the optimal choice. What these gloves do excel at, however, is in helping you move quickly through the water with its webbed fingers. It is constructed from a lightweight latex material that is non-absorbent and designed to fit the hand’s natural contours.
Specifically, the Darkfin webbed power gloves are molded onto a 3D hand and includes a rear web design that is estimated to increase one’s swimming speed by 70%. It does not have any seams, and therefore does not need to be stitched or glued in any way. Each glove is molded into a single piece, so it doesn’t even need straps. With that said, to provide your fingers with some grip, the Darkfin is embedded with a cotton flock so you can handle slippery objects.
The Darkfin webbed gloves can be used for any water sport that involves swimming, such as snorkeling, freediving, and open water swimming. Keep in mind that the latex material has some inherent flaws that you need to be aware of.
First, the latex rubber easily sticks onto your hands when wet; this is good once they are on, but can be an issue if you are in the process of putting them on. To alleviate this, we recommend having a bottle of lotion or some kind of lubricant in case the gloves get wet before you have a chance to wear them. The lotion will help your hand slide in and displace the water inside.
Second, keep in mind that the latex used in these gloves are plant-based, meaning they are 100% biodegradable. You should therefore keep them out of direct sunlight, otherwise the UV rays may damage the materials and cause it to decompose. What many users do after washing and drying their gloves is place the gloves in a ziplock bag with baby powder or lubricant to provide a protective coating.
Lastly, since these gloves have no closure system and they can be a fit difficult to don, you need to select the right size. There are many size ranges to choose from, including men’s and women’s sizing, and even youth sizing. With the Darkfin Webbed Power Gloves, you can glide through the water with less effort, which helps you conserve energy while increasing your overall coverage.
BPS 3mm Neoprene Five Finger Gloves
- HIGH-QUALITY NEOPRENE WETSUIT GLOVES - Protect your hands and grab a pair of our BPS Wetsuit Gloves now! Made with double-lined neoprene, glued &...
- EXTRA GRIP & LESS FATIGUE - Each pair makes your hands move freely while reducing hand fatigue. Designed with an extra-grip textured palm that will...
- DURABLE, COMFORTABLE & PROTECTIVE - These gloves are reinforced with double-lined neoprene for long-lasting performance. On top of that, they're glued...
The BPS neoprene gloves is one of the few snorkeling gloves designed for extended use even in temperate waters. It is available in two thicknesses: 3mm and 5mm. Regardless of which thickness you select, the BPS gloves have a double-lined neoprene rubber design which provides you with exceptional warmth.
As for protection, the BPS gloves feature a rubberized palm grip with seams that are stitched and glued for exceptional durability. These gloves are easy to don and once they are on, the velcro wrist straps secure tightly around your wrists to create a tight seal no matter your wrist size.
For the most part, your dexterity and freedom of movement should be relatively unhindered. The BPS gloves are designed to minimize heat loss from your extremities while providing total hand protection. For instance, if you look at the palm area of the BPS gloves, you’ll notice a textured grip on its pentagon-shaped rubber protrusion. This extra material reinforces the palm area as well as offers extra grip so that you can hold onto slippery objects.
Besides snorkeling, you can wear the BPS neoprene gloves for all other water sports as well. Many customers have left positive reviews on these gloves, saying that their overall experience was enjoyable. Some have mentioned the adjustable wristband ensures the gloves won’t dislodge or come off even in turbulent conditions.
What impressed customers the most was how effective the BPS gloves were at keeping their hands warm even in temperate and cold water conditions. Even just the 3mm version was capable of preventing any issues related to hand coldness. Some have even used these gloves during the winter and snowy conditions without issue.
As for sizing, the BPS gloves come in 3mm and 5mm thicknesses, with sizes ranging from XS to XXL, so there is sure to be a size for you. In addition to its insulating capabilities, these gloves are also available in various colors and patterns to suit your style. From a standard plain black to a highly fashionable floral pink design, both men and women can find something they like.
Neo Sport 3mm Neoprene Gloves
- Constructed from soft and flexible premium neoprene material.
- Easy-flexing gloves deliver abrasion and thermal protection without sacrificing dexterity.
- Glued and sewn seams ensure water integrity.
The Neo Sport neoprene wetsuit gloves are available in two thicknesses: 3mm and 5mm. Both versions are made of premium neoprene that is soft and highly flexible. Despite how thick it is, it surprisingly does not interfere with your hand’s dexterity and lets you easily manipulate your fingers as if you weren’t wearing gloves.
Furthermore, these gloves are pre-cut to suit most hand sizes and shapes. Each seam is also glued and sewn shut to ensure no leaks and tears will occur from them. The textured palm section of the Neo Sport gloves provide extra protection as well as additional grip to handle slippery objects without issue.
While the Neo Sport gloves have a tight fit and thick materials, these gloves will easily slide into your hands thanks to its streamlined design. Additionally, the wrist opening of these gloves use a gator elastic closure that you can wear under your wetsuit sleeve to provide extra comfort and warmth. This adjustable wrist strap is placed a few inches before the edge.
Outside of snorkeling, the Neo Sport gloves are a highly versatile, all-purpose pair of gloves that can be used for other aquasports or for general maintenance purposes. For instance, you can use it to clear backed-up gutters, to scrub an aquarium or deploy aquarium accessories, to clean your swimming pool, or any activity where your hand can get wet. The extra protection it provides will keep your skin away from chemicals and from getting scratched up.
These gloves even passed a dexterity test where it was used to operate electronic devices with a touchscreen, and the user was able to press each key easily. Some activities where these gloves are NOT suitable are rappelling and rock climbing since these sports require a completely dry grip.
Keep in mind, the Neo Sports wetsuit gloves are not designed to keep your hands dry. They are designed to keep your hands warm and to protect them, and it does so by trapping the heat your body produces and some of the water that enters, creating a thin layer of warm water that will keep your hands warm. This way, you can prevent heat loss from occurring through your extremities so that you can continue exploring the cold water environment for longer.
Snorkeling Gloves Benefits
There are two main reasons why you should wear gloves for snorkeling.
If you spend a long time snorkeling in the water it’s very likely that your hands will start to feel cold after 30 minutes or so. Your fingers will not be as responsive as they could be when they are cold. Furthermore, a significant portion of your body’s heat loss occurs through your fingers. That is why you should wear gloves to keep them warm.
Most gloves for diving and snorkeling are made from neoprene, a comfortable, warm, and corrosion-resistant material. Neoprene is an excellent insulator because of the tiny bubbles trapped inside it. These bubbles not only trap the heat but they are also quite buoyant which helps you stay afloat.
Keep in mind, not all gloves are designed to keep your hands dry. Most gloves allow water to enter the gloves and touch your skin. How it keeps you warm is by trapping the heat produced by your body, warming the thin layer of water inside the gloves, and basically letting you swim with this layer of warm water surrounding you. The gloves should be sufficiently tight enough that the warm water is mostly trapped inside. If that water is constantly flushed out and replaced by cold water, then the gloves aren’t keeping you warm.
With that said, if you are snorkeling in tropical waters and your hands aren’t cold at all, there is still a good reason to wear snorkeling gloves for protection.
Gloves do more than just keep your hands warm. They are also like a second layer of protective skin that can keep your hands from getting scratched up.
As an aside, you should NOT be touching marine life. Many coral die because humans touch it or otherwise disturb the surrounding area, and this is already enough to cause it to seriously harm it. Also, reaching out to a fish, turtle, or other sea creature may cause it to react defensively and this can be dangerous. Whatever you do, keep your hands to yourself and simply observe.
So why do you need gloves then? Even if you keep your hands to yourself, accidents can still happen. Perhaps you get carried away in a large wave, or a rogue current drags you away, or somebody bumps into you. This can unexpectedly cause you to come into contact with rocks or coral. We are not against grabbing onto things if you are being swept away; it may literally save your life.
With a pair of gloves on, in the event that you DO need to grab onto something, it will protect your hands from scratches or cuts. The gloves can also provide better grip so that you can easily hold onto objects while underwater.
When You Shouldn’t Wear Snorkeling Gloves
Some areas specifically prohibit snorkelers/divers from wearing gloves. The reason is because many people become emboldened by the gloves; they feel that because they are protected, they have the freedom to touch or grab everything underwater.
When people touch coral with or without gloves, they can cause damage or kill the coral. This is the reason why there has been such a huge decline in coral reefs over the years. In areas where there is a high number of tourists, the coral there has been all but wiped out.
If you plan on wearing snorkeling gloves, make sure that the destination you will be going to allows it. Furthermore, don’t touch the coral or other sea life just because you are wearing gloves. Be part of the solution to the problem, not the cause!
Snorkeling Gloves Buying Guide
One of the most crucial factors in a pair of gloves is the fit. This not only affects its insulating capabilities, but also how comfortable the gloves are. To ensure a proper fit, following these steps.
The first thing to do is to determine if the gloves fit snugly. When you slide your hands in, you should feel some resistance without struggling to fit it on. Keep in mind that donning and doffing becomes significantly harder when wet, so do it when dry.
Once the gloves are on, try bending your fingers and then making a fist. There should not be any strong pinching or squeezing in your palm and fingers. This indicates that something is too tight and can cause a painful squeeze when snorkeling.
Remember that you want gloves that are tight enough to keep most water out or you’ll lose crucial warmth. However, the closures should not be so tight that it restricts blood flow to your hands or severely impairs your movement. If a glove is too tight on land, it will only get more uncomfortable in the water, particularly if you’re diving.
Diving and snorkeling gloves come in three main styles. Which type is best for you depends on how cold the water is and how much dexterity you want to maintain underwater.
Open fingers gloves only cover your palm and the bottom half of each finger, leaving the tips unprotected. This type offers the least amount of insulation and protection to give you greater freedom and dexterity to move your fingers around. This is ideal if you need to operate a GoPro camera or other equipment underwater.
Full finger gloves completely cover your palm and fingers individually. It provides more protection and insulation than open finger gloves. However, you lose dexterity and will find it harder to manipulate objects underwater. If you want more warmth and protection and don’t need to operate equipment underwater, this is the ideal choice.
The last type of gloves are mittens. You are unlikely to wear mittens for snorkeling since they are designed for cold climates. These gloves cover your fingers together so that they can warm each other up. However, this makes it difficult or impossible to manipulate equipment in general. This is the ultimate choice for hand insulation, but for warm water snorkeling purposes the other glove types are more practical
Gloves are available in a wide range of thicknesses, from 1mm on the thin end to as thick as 7mm or more. Since the focus of this article is on warm to temperate water snorkeling, the glove thickness you will need is around 1-3mm.
The thicker the gloves are, the better they are at insulating but also the less dexterity you will have. In this case, bigger is not better. You need to select the right glove thickness for the water conditions you will be using them in, and in this case thinner gloves are the best choice. This will give you the protection you need without restricting your movements.
Another consideration is how far you can bend your fingers with your gloves. A glove that is 7mm thick is not going to have as much flexibility as a 1mm glove. One way to maintain a high level of dexterity with thicker gloves is for the gloves to have anatomically correct bent fingers to alleviate this issue. This will surely improve your dexterity and grip and prevent painful pinching of your fingers if it has already been pre-bent.
How your gloves close affect how secure the gloves are on your hands and how much insulation the gloves can provide. The most basic design is simply a flexible wrist with no closure that you simply slide on and off your hands.
The next most common type is a zip fastener. Simply pull the zipper to tighten or loosen it on your hands. Another type of closure are velcro straps.
You may find gloves with various other closure types such as forearm gauntlets, semi-dry cuffs and hook and loop systems. As long as you picked the right size gloves, these are all effective ways to insulate your hands and keep the gloves secured on them.
Gloves for snorkeling and diving have seams just like a wetsuit. In general, the fewer seams there are, the fewer possible entry points for water to seep through. If your glove has seams, then it will have been made in the following way.
First, the most basic type of seam is sewn using a flatlock or blind stitch style. Gloves designed for cold water use have their seams stitched and glued shut. The warmest models use a triple sealing method involving blind-stitching, glue, and tape for the most watertight seal.
The vast majority of gloves are made from user-friendly fabrics like neoprene, rubber, and Lycra. These materials on their own provide insulation but not much in the way of protection. To solve this issue, manufacturers supplement their gloves with highly durable materials such as Kevlar or titanium.
They will attach a thin layer of these materials on the palm and beneath the fingers. These materials don’t just make the gloves durable; they also provide extra grip so that you can easily grab onto surfaces or manipulate your camera.
Dive gloves are highly versatile. You can use them for a variety of water sports other than diving and snorkeling such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. If you intend on using it as such, then you need to select a material that is fast-drying and also flexible so you can maintain the dexterity you need to perform these activities.
Gussets are a small layer of flexible material that is used to widen a glove’s wrist. This extra space makes it easier to don and doff the glove. It also provides additional warmth since it folds on itself, forming a thicker piece of layered fabric.
If your gloves have a moisture-wicking liner, it can help your gloves dry faster and reduce bacteria growth in your gloves. Furthermore, this feature can also provide better insulation and prevent the musty smell that wet dive gear can sometimes have. With that said, no matter what your gloves are made from, you should be drying them inside out so that the insides can dry as fast as possible.
Some gloves even have a removable liner to give you more options to use your gloves. These models are layered by using a glove base and allowing you to dive with or without the liner. You can also remove the liner for faster drying.
Last update on 2023-09-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API