Reader Aya posted this question on my Facebook page, expressing how unhappy she was when she walked into a certain motorcycle store and found one of the worst selections of real motorcycle gear for women. More specifically, real gloves for year round riding (think temps between 60F-80F) with actual protection! So I've put together a list for her and every other woman who's shopping for actual gloves, not just ones that are hiding behind the pink.
I only wish these gloves in the photo above still existed. They were hands down, the most protective, amazing women's glove on the market. Then Racer (the Austrian company, NOT the US distributor) decided we weren't important anymore and discontinued them. Very, very sad. But if you ever stumble upon these on eBay or on Craigslist, do NOT pass these up.
In the meantime, here are some suggestions by brand with fit descriptions for each one.
MSRP $189.95, Size XS-XL, 2 colors
I have to give a shoutout to Alpinestars, not only for offering a full size run of XS-XL, but 3 different gauntlet glove options including this one. The other two gloves are less expensive with fewer features, the SP-2 and the SP-8. If you want a lighter glove without the extra reinforcements, then you may like those options instead. The GP Plus gloves have additional protection like DuPont™ KEVLAR® fiber, Schoeller Keprotec and 3rd/4th finger stitched together to prevent separation. These offer the same features as the men's version for race level glove. I like the fit on Alpinestars, not too narrow, not too wide, a little better for shorter fingers.
MSRP $119.95, Sizes XS-LG, 4 colors
The SP-2's are a great street glove, less aggressive fit than the GP Plus and a few less features which bring the cost of the glove down a bit. The gauntlet is a little lighter and you'll notice the lack of accordion panel above the thumb. These also have a lot less carbon fiber, with EVA foam on the fingers instead.
MSRP $89.95, Sizes XS-XL, 3 colors
The SP-8's are an entry level glove, with lighter protection reinforcements and an even more relaxed fit. Instead of a combination of goatskin and cowhide, these are only made of cowhide. They aren't as soft as the SP-2 or GP Plus, and less restrictive.
MSRP $149.99, Size XS-L, 2 colors
The Carbon Covers are a fantastic glove with Distortion Control on the pinky finger (meant to keep your pinky from separating away from your hand) and a really nice fit. The finger lengths are average, the construction consists of a goatskin palm and cowhide chassis, with kevlar stitching and reinforced palm sliders. These have a strong precurve, with a rather aggressive fit.
MSRP $134.99, Sizes S-XL (as of this post, Revzilla still has XL's of the non waterproof versions available)
The Summits are only available in the waterproof version, but you may still find the non waterproof ones on various websites if they have inventory available. The non waterproof versions were discontinued as of last year. I love these because they offer an incredible amount of protection for a street glove. You can read my review of both versions here. These gloves don't have a really strong precurve, so they'd work well on any kind of bike, for any kind of rider.
These also make for great year round gloves since they're not warm, just lined with a waterproof membrane.
MSRP $159.99, Sizes S-XL, 3 colors
The Xena Gloves are REV'IT's answer to the sport / race glove for women. These are the replacements for the previous version, the Raven. They fit the same as the Raven with some minor design changes. Given the lack of protection on top of the fingers, I don't count these as a full race glove if you compare them to something like the SLR or Stellar. However, they make for an excellent, all around street glove. In general, Rev'it gloves are going to run longer in the fingers and narrower in the wrist. Since they're supposed to be a race glove, they will have a very strong precurve fit to them.
MSRP $189, Sizes 6-10 (XS-XL)
You're probably wondering why these are so expensive. Well, aside from being a well made glove by Rukka, these are also completely waterproof and windproof with the Gore-Tex membrane. Also, the membrane is bonded to the leather ("Xtrafit") so it'll never separate. You know what's it's like to try and slip a wet or sweaty hand into a lined glove. These will definitely work better in that regard, but in addition to that they will be the lightest, waterproof glove you'll ever wear. As a result, they aren't good gloves for really cold temperatures (unless you have heated grips) since they don't have any kind of thermal/insulated membrane.
If you're looking for even more protection, and want to explore men's glove options, I would recommend any of the men's race gloves among REV'IT, Dainese and Alpinestars. I would say the most slender, smallest fit among all three brands is REV'IT. I have very small hands (XS, 6) and I can almost fit into a pair of Jerez Pro's. The main fit difference with men's gloves will be wider wrists, palms, bigger thumbs and longer fingers.
I also recommend REV'IT men's gloves for women since they tend to fit fairly narrow as well. But you need to be at least a women's Medium or Large to fit into a Small/Medium on the men's side.