If you’ve ever left the crag at the end of a day of crack climbing with torn up hands, you understand how painful hand jams can be.

While many crack climbers tape their hands to help protect them from the destructive forces of rock against skin, a number of different gear companies have come out with specialised crack climbing gloves to protect you on your adventures.

Choosing the right pair of crack climbing gloves can be difficult, however, which is why we’ve come up with this great list of the five best crack climbing gloves for when you’re sending your next project.

Let’s get to it!


  • Our Rating

Ocun

Ocun Crack Climbing Gloves

  • Provides ample padding for hands
  • Lots of protection
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Durable

Quick Top Five

#1 Ocun - Ocun Crack Gloves

  • Our Rating

#2 Outdoor Research - OR Splitter Gloves

  • Our Rating

#3 Climb X - Climb X Crack Gloves

  • Our Rating

#4 Singing Rock - Singing Rock Jamming Gloves

  • Our Rating

#5 Green Gear - Green Gear Hand Jammies

  • Our Rating

Feature Breakdown

Weight
Materials
Sizes
1
Ocun Crack Gloves
57 g
Microfiber stretch suede, Rubber, Velcro
XS, S, M, L, XL
2
OR Splitter Gloves
26 g
Polyester & Polyurethane
XS, S/M, L/XL
3
Climb X Crack Gloves
158 g
X-Factor Climbing Rubber
S, M, L, XL
4
Singing Rock Jamming Gloves
283 g
Leather, Rubber, Velcro
S, M, L
5
Green Gear Hand Jammies
93 g
Rubber, Nylon, Velcro
Small, Medium, Large
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Detailed Reviews

#1 Ocun Crack Gloves - Best Performance

  • Our Rating
  • Protection
  • Comfort
  • Padding
  • Friction

Ocun - Ocun Crack Climbing Gloves

For climbers who want to keep their hands protected, day in and day out, from coarse rock, the Ocun Crack gloves offer some of the best protection around.

Thick rubber and built-in padding in the Ocun Crack Gloves turns hand jams into a somewhat enjoyable experience, instead of a bloody and painful one.

While Ocun is a gear company that’s relatively unknown outside of continental Europe, they’ve made a huge splash in the climbing world with these top-of-the-line crack climbing gloves.

The Ocun Crack Gloves are ubiquitous in many climbing circles, building up a crowd of dedicated followers who laud the gloves’ ability to protect hands without impeding a climber’s experience and precision.

These gloves feature a super burly layer of an outer rubber, which is some of the thickest on the market.

Unlike other crack climbing gloves, whose rubber tapers out around the knuckles, the Ocun Crack Gloves are thick and protective around the knuckles, and even include a layer of padding on the back of the hands and the knuckles.

Thanks to all of this padding, the Ocun Crack Gloves make hand jams, even in the coarsest of rock, a comfortable, and perhaps even pleasant experience.

Plus, thanks to a new redesign, the Ocun crack gloves are highly durable and meant to survive climb after climb.

However, all of this extra padding does decrease ones’ sensitivity to the rock, which can have adverse effects in tricky cracks where precision is key.

Additionally, the thickness of these gloves means that some people might find it difficult to jam in smaller cracks, especially if they already have large hands. Thus, people with larger hands might opt for a pair of crack climbing gloves that are slightly thinner to help minimise the effects of excess bulk.

Pros
  • Provides ample padding for hands
  • Lots of protection
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Durable
Cons
  • Decreases sensitivity
  • Relatively expensive
#2 OR Splitter Gloves - Best All-Round

  • Our Rating
  • Protection
  • Comfort
  • Padding
  • Friction

Outdoor Research - Outdoor Research Splitter Crack Climbing Gloves

If high-performance crack climbing is your M.O. on the rock, then the Outdoor Research Splitter Gloves just might be the gloves for you.

With a flexible synthetic leather outer, instead of bulky rubber, the OR Splitter Gloves mimic the sensitivity and feel of tape gloves, without the economic and environmental drawbacks.

Built specifically in response to the burliness of the Ocun Crack Gloves, the OR Splitter Gloves try to capture all of the high-end features of the Ocuns, while minimizing the weight and bulk that are problematic for precision crack climbers.

The OR Splitter Gloves feature a synthetic leather outer that is flexible and comfortable to wear.

Thanks to their thin material, the OR Splitter Gloves provide for ample sensitivity to the rock, which is important when placing precision jams. That being said, some climbers might find that this synthetic leather doesn’t quite provide enough padding for sharp rock, especially after a few days of climbing.

Additionally, the OR Splitter Gloves’ thin construction also poses some minor durability concerns, though this is to be expected when purchasing precision crack climbing gloves.

Although these gloves can withstand a beating, their long-term durability has its limits.

However, the minimalist design of these gloves makes them ideal for climbers who can’t sacrifice precision for comfort.

Climbers who prefer the fit and feel of tape gloves might find that the Splitters offer just enough protection without compromising climbing ability.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Feel like tape gloves
Cons
  • Provide minimal padding for the hands
  • Relatively expensive
#3 Climb X Crack Gloves

  • Our Rating
  • Protection
  • Comfort
  • Padding
  • Friction

Climb X - Climb X Super Crack Climbing Gloves

Simple and super sticky, the Climb X Super Crack Gloves are the only crack climbing gloves on the market that are made with climbing shoe rubber.

The Climb X Super Crack Gloves are the ultimate choice for climbers who value friction on difficult rock above all else.

The Climb X Super Crack Gloves revolutionised the world of crack climbing gloves through their utilisation of climbing shoe rubber for protection and friction.

These gloves feature Climb X’s own X-Factor Climbing rubber for extra sticky texture and friction on the most difficult of rock.

With rubber extending all the way past the first knuckle joint, the Climb X Super Crack Gloves offer ample protection during nasty off widths, without sacrificing friction. Plus, the Super Crack’s open palm design allows climbers to feel the rock and climb through precision jams without worry.

However, the Super Crack Gloves are made wholly from rubber, which raises serious concerns about both comfort and breathability.

While they do aid in friction to a point, they feature minimal technology and provide little else than a thin rubber protective layer over the back of the hand.

Thus, the Climb X Super Crack Gloves are best for climbers who want to keep things simple, protect their hands, and minimise their climbing tape use without top-of-the-line technology or extra comfort.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Super sticky rubber
  • Protects up to the first knuckle
Cons
  • Not breathable
  • Not very comfortable
#4 Singing Rock Jamming Gloves

  • Our Rating
  • Protection
  • Comfort
  • Padding
  • Friction

Singing Rock - Singing Rock Chocky Jamming Gloves

Designed specifically with comfort in mind, the Singing Rock Chocky Jamming Gloves are a new take on the original crack climbing glove design.

With ample padding, comfortable straps, and high friction rubber, the Singing Rock Chocky Jamming Gloves can help make jamming in coarse rock feel like a walk in the park.

The Singing Rock Chocky Jamming Glove features a wrap-around fit that protects the back of the hand while leaving the fingers and palm exposed for precision work while you climb. A thick pad of leather and a rubber coating provide ample padding and friction or security in difficult jams.

These crack climbing gloves wrap around the fingers with wide elastic bands that stay securely fastened without compromising circulation. Plus, a long strand of rubber wraps around the palm with a velcro closure to help protect the lower palm from abrasion against the rock.

The Singing Rock Chocky Jamming Gloves are comfortable and full of padding, though their design poses some durability concerns. The elastic bands around the fingers, in particular, are susceptible to rips, tears, and untimely wear after weeks of climbing on highly abrasive rock.

Additionally, these gloves only protect the back of the hand and a small amount of the lower palm, leaving the knuckles and fingers exposed to the rough and tumble world of hand jams. Thus, climbers who are looking for a more protective and durable glove might find themselves wanting when using the Singing Rock Chocky Jamming Gloves.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Protect the lower palm
  • Plenty of padding on the back of the hand
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Bulky
  • Durability concerns around the fingers
#5 Green Gear Hand Jammies

  • Our Rating
  • Protection
  • Comfort
  • Padding
  • Friction

Green Gear - Green Gear Hand Jammies Crack Climbing Gloves

The original crack climbing glove, the Green Gear Hand Jammies are designed to protect your hands from nasty rock while jamming.

However, while other crack climbing gloves have modernised and incorporated newer technology, the current rendition of Hand Jammies are nearly identical to their original counterparts, leaving much to be desired for high-performance climbers.

The Green Gear Hand Jammies are, simply, put, designed to protect the back of your hands from coarse rock. In terms of protection, they do this fairly well, thanks to their thick layer of rubber, but they don’t quite hit the mark in most other categories.

The Hand Jammies have a wide, bulky, velcro closure around the wrist, which offers some protection from the rock, but isn’t the most comfortable.

Additionally, the Hand Jammies’ finger loops are made of a wide elastic, which is fairly comfortable but poses some serious durability concerns, especially after repeated abrasion on rough rock.

Bulky, heavy, and low-tech, the Hand Jammies aren’t the most high-end of crack climbing gloves but might be useful for climbers who value protection over all else.

Pros
  • Provide lots of protection for the back of the hand
  • Original design for crack climbing gloves
Cons
  • Durability concerns
  • Bulky
  • Heavy
  • Not very comfortable

How to choose the best crack climbing gloves

Whether you’re new to crack climbing, or a seasoned crack climbing extraordinaire, chances are good that you’ve considered purchasing a pair of crack climbing gloves at some point during your climbing career.

While many old school crack climbers still swear by the benefits of the old “tape glove,” many climbers have made the switch to manufactured crack climbing gloves that purport to provide a whole host of different benefits to climbers as they squeeze and jam their way up a crack.

But what are crack climbing gloves and do you really need them?

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about crack climbing gloves, which is why we’re here to help you understand how they work and how they might help your climbing.

Let’s start by discussing what crack climbing gloves can do for you:

Do I really need crack climbing gloves?

Anyone who has ever been crack climbing knows what it’s like to leave the crag at the end of the day with hands that are bloodied, bruised, and scarred. In the pursuit of a send, climbers can do some serious damage to their hands, especially after multiple days of cragging.

Thus, many crack climbing enthusiasts use gloves to help protect their hands from injury as they inch their way up a climb.

Traditionally, these gloves were constructed from tape and provided a decent amount of protection from rough rock. However, tape gloves can generally only survive a few climbing sessions before they end up in the landfill, or worse - left behind at the crag.

That’s where proper crack climbing gloves come into play: these professionally manufactured gloves are purpose-built for daily use and abuse by crack climbers. They help eliminate waste produced by a continuous stream of tape gloves and keep your hands protected, all at the same time.

That being said, many climbers still eschew crack climbing gloves, claiming that they’re expensive and not worth the money.

However, while crack climbing gloves involve a larger initial investment, they tend to cost about the same as 10-12 rolls of tape and survive for substantially longer. Therefore, crack climbing gloves are, in the long-term, a more environmentally option that’s easy on your wallet.

Plus, most crack climbing gloves feature a velcro closure system, which is easy to take on and off in just a few seconds. So, you can wave goodbye to walking around the crag all day with dirty, taped hands. What’s not to love?

What to look for in crack climbing gloves

While crack climbing gloves are a solid investment for most crack climbers, it can be difficult to decide on just one pair of gloves.

Although there aren’t too terribly many different models to choose from, it’s often tricky to figure out which pair is right for you. When shopping for crack climbing gloves, be sure to look out for these key features:

Weight

No one wants to wear heavy gloves, so weight is certainly a concern with crack climbing gloves. Modern crack climbing gloves tend to be quite thin, however, so usually weight isn’t too much of a concern.

That being said, however, some crack climbing gloves now feature some built-in padding, which adds weight, lowers breathability, and decreases your sensitivity to the rock.

If you’re looking for breathable and highly sensitive crack climbing gloves, then you might need to sacrifice on padding and opt for a lightweight pair of gloves.

Sizes

Like any regular pair of gloves, you’ll want to make sure you crack climbing gloves fit you well before you head out to the crack.

An ill-fitting pair of crack climbing gloves will either be so tight that your fingers go numb (not ideal while climbing) or be so loose that they slide around and fail to protect you from the rock (also not ideal while climbing).

Thus, proper fit is paramount with crack climbing gloves.

Most companies make a number of different sizes for their climbing gloves, allowing climbers to choose the pair that, well, fits like a glove.

Every company is different, however, so unless you have a chance to try the gloves on in person, you should check out the manufacturer’s website for a sizing chart and select a size accordingly. If you’re between sizes, it’s probably best to size down.

Materials

When it comes to materials, not all crack climbing gloves are created equally. Generally, the higher quality crack climbing gloves will incorporate some rubber, stretchy suede-type fabric, padding, and some velcro to provide a mix of durability, friction, sensitivity, and comfort on the rock.

Cheaper crack climbing gloves are often made exclusively of rubber, which can feel a bit weird on your hands, or thick leather-type materials, which limit your sensitivity to the rock. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which materials you are most comfortable with while climbing.

Protection The main reason to buy crack climbing gloves is to protect your hands through an endless series of handjams in rough rock. The most protective crack climbing gloves will offer full back-of-the-hand protection as well as some protection of the fingers up to the first knuckle.

Others will also offer some protection for the front of the palm.

However, all this protection often comes at the price of comfort and sensitivity. Usually, the most protective gloves feature thick pieces of rubber or leather that can feel big and bulky on your hands.

Other times, all of the protective layers of crack climbing gloves can make it difficult to pull off a precision jam at higher levels of climbing, so it really all comes down to what you value in your crack climbing gloves.

Comfort

The last thing you’d want is to buy a pair of crack climbing gloves that are so uncomfortable you can’t even stand to wear them.

Much of this comes from sizing your gloves correctly, but materials and design play a big role in comfort, too.

Some crack climbing gloves accomplish high levels of comfort by reducing the bulk and stiffness of the protective materials. Unfortunately, this can result in less overall protection for your hands while climbing.

On the other hand, some crack climbing gloves feel more comfortable than others because they use wide elastic bands to wrap around the fingers instead of integrated leather or rubber finger holes.

While these elastic bands may feel more comfortable, however, they are less durable than rubber and leather alternatives.

Padding

For some people, crack climbing is an incredibly painful suffer-fest. Thus, a good pair of crack climbing gloves can help reduce the pain we feel when we dig the back of our hands into the rock.

Most crack climbing gloves achieve high levels of user comfort by padding the back of the hand to protect us from the rock.

Almost always, the more padding in the glove, the more comfortable it will be when your hand is smushed into a small crack. However, increased padding means heavier weight, more bulk, and decreased sensitivity to the rock.

Friction

One of the benefits of a tape glove is that it provides some protection for your hands without sacrificing friction. Especially in slick rock or in wet conditions, friction can be really important for crack climbing.

Many crack climbing gloves are built specifically with friction in mind, using high-quality rubber around the back of the hand or synthetic leather to help you stick to the rock. Rubber-based gloves, however, tend to be less comfortable and breathable than synthetic leathers and fabrics, so it’s a bit of a trade-off between friction, breathability, and comfort.

Durability

No one likes to buy gear, only to have it fall apart after a few uses. In the world of crack climbing gloves, however, not all models are built equal in terms of durability.

The most durable crack climbing gloves tend to be made of mostly rubber and synthetic leather, with minimal elastic or other fabric textiles.

The Verdict

While there are a few different crack climbing gloves out there today, there can be only one winner of our head-to-head gear match-up.

If we were going to choose just one of these five great crack climbing gloves, we’d have to choose the Ocun Crack Gloves for their unparalleled mix of durability, friction, padding, and comfort.

When compared to the other models in our review, the Ocun was built with higher quality materials and designed specifically for the high-end climber that likes to get after it on tricky crack climbs.

Although all of the padding in these gloves might decrease one’s sensitivity to the rock, the quality of the gloves’ construction makes them feel comfortable and useful in the most difficult of terrain.

At the end of the day, however, it’s about finding the right pair of crack climbing gloves for your needs. Whether you are looking for ample hand protection or lots of extra padding for those tricky hand jams, there’s a pair of crack climbing gloves out there for you.

Happy climbing!