Gloves for all water sports and sailing

Everything you need to know


When taking on the elements during watersports, whether you’re paddleboarding, surfing, kayaking or sailing, hands should be one of the main things to consider before getting out on the water!

Here at Gill, we have an exceptional selection of waterproof gloves, with everything from sailing gloves and boating gloves through to gloves for watersports activities like kayaking and stand up paddleboarding.

In our latest blog, we talk you through our glove collection to help you keep going for longer!

The benefits of wearing gloves for watersports

Wearing gloves in the water will not only give better grip, but you’ll stay protected from cuts, scratches and blisters which can occur from knocking your board, holding a paddle or coming into contact with other objects in the water. If you’re a sailor, we all know the pain of rope burn!

Your extremities are the first to lose heat and for many of us can be the reason we all retire sooner, so wearing quality gloves will help to keep your hands dry, to retain warmth and stay comfortable throughout your adventure on the water.

We always seem to forget that our hands need protection from the sun too, so wearing a pair of gloves means you can get out there without needing to apply that extra layer of sunscreen.

So when should gloves be worn?

When to wear gloves

Ultimately, whether or not you choose to wear gloves when out on the water is a personal choice, and completely dependent on your activity! However, always having that pair in your bag ‘just in case’ is always worth it.

You might choose to wear gloves depending on the weather or seasonal conditions.

For activities where you don’t expect much abrasion, such as wild swimming, surfing or stand up paddleboarding, the water is warm enough in the summer months for your hands not to get too cold.

However, when the water temperature drops, you’ll need that extra layer of warmth to ensure you can stay out for longer.

For some other watersport activities, like dinghy sailing or sailing, many choose to wear gloves all year round since you’re so ‘hands on’! Protection against ropes, abrasive fabrics and allowing for finger dexterity is priceless no matter the temperature!

Choosing the right gloves for your activity

With all this in mind, how do you go about selecting the perfect pair of gloves for you? It’s important to understand your own requirements, and make a choice based on how you are going to be using the gloves and what you ultimately need them to do for you.

This covers three main factors: fabric, finger length and fit.


The vast majority of gloves for watersports are designed to get wet. Therefore when making your decision, understanding the fabrics of the gloves and what you need them to allow you to do is important.


One of the most popular fabrics is neoprene. Neoprene gloves are perfect if you are going to be exposed to a lot of water, and the construction of these gloves are a great way to keep your hands warm.

Neoprene gloves are a strong option for anybody looking to take part in wild swimming, kayaking or paddleboarding. The reason for this is these activities do not require a vast amount of finger dexterity, but you will be exposed to the water for a sustained period.


Nylon fabric gloves are particularly renowned for their versatility. They offer a high level of grip, quick-drying, flexible and can be waterproof so are therefore suited to activities where there is a high level of hand dexterity required. This may include sailing and dinghy sailing.

Nylon gloves can get wet without absorbing or holding water, and can be worn for paddlesports in warmer weather as well. A popular choice within the Gill range are the Championship Gloves.


For colder conditions in the winter months, insulated or offshore gloves, are best to protect against the elements. The Helmsman Style with a thicker insulated lining, help to keep your hands warm even when the glove itself is damp. However, these gloves are not designed to be submerged into the water itself, making them best suited for offshore and yacht sailing in colder conditions.

Finger Length

The two options here are short finger and long finger, and your decision should center around what you need your gloves for.

Will you need the ends of your fingers to tie knots, or require extra dexterity for other tasks? If so, a short finger glove is a good choice.

If you are likely to be doing an activity for which you do not require your fingers quite so much, then long finger gloves offer that extra level of protection.


Fit is a very important element to consider, as an uncomfortable glove will lead to an uncomfortable day and can cause blisters and rubbing to your hands.

The first step here is to select the right sized glove of course, and our size charts can give you a good indication of the size of glove to select. This guide contains info on how best to measure your dominant hand with a tape measure, giving you the information and insight you need to get your size choice right.

The majority of slim fitting gloves can tuck into sleeves and wetsuits to help protect against water ingress and provide wrist protection.

Some gloves will come with a curved finger construction that can support with molding to the shape of the wearer’s hand.

If possible, check the fit of the glove before buying, as this will prevent any unwanted rubbing and problems down the line

Other considerations

Reinforced palms and fingers are common for most watersports gloves and will help longevity, as this is where you’ll expect the most abrasion from holding your paddle or when guiding ropes.

Off-set finger construction helps the wearer with great finger dexterity. The off-set seams means for a more flexible finger, and can help to keep your gloves lasting longer without the seams splitting.

Wraparound palm protection helps for longer lasting protection and abrasion resistance for when you use the side of your hand.

Always look out for the sticky textured palm to help with additional grip, particularly when you’re getting your hands wet and need a confident grasp.

Depending on your activity, low-cut wristbands are great for when you need that extra bit of flexibility, as they’ll allow you great movement in the wrists.

Alongside this, a Rear volume adjustment also means great flexibility and fit, allowing greater movement in the wrists and easy fastening.

As mentioned above, pre-curved fit fingers will help to mold to the natural shape of your hand, meaning a more comfortable fit.

There’s also touchscreen-compatibility for those who need to use phones or GPS devices on board.

Finding your perfect waterproof glove at Gill

With so many elements to factor in, you are probably wondering what the best choices available to you from Gill maybe.

The good news is we have plenty of quality gloves to select from, with our range covering everything from Deck Hand to ProChampionshipHelmsman and Neoprene gloves available to buy from our online store.




Sun Protection