There was a time when driving gloves were synonymous with luxury automobiles. Back in the day, you wouldn’t step behind the wheel without a pair, partly because of the perks of added grip but also because steering wheels were usually wooden or metal, which would easily overheat in the sunshine. As a result they were something of a necessity.
In the more modern age however driving gloves have been besmirched by both men in mid-life crisis who’ve purchased flashy cars on ‘impulse’, and the odd wannabe hard-nut looking to imitate a Guy Richie gangster. They’ve become more a sign of unnecessary pretentiousness than the practical accessory they were before.
However, when we think of the best films centred around cars or, indeed, driving, you’ll probably spot the person behind the wheel sporting some slick gloves. Good enough for James Bond? Good enough for Ryan Gosling in Drive? Good enough for Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver? Good enough for us.
What Are Driving Gloves?
Traditionally speaking, there are two types of driving gloves: your classic all-leather designs with cut-outs on the knuckles and knitted versions with leather palms. The latter play on older handmade designs making them as cosy as a jumper made by your grandmother, but the neat leather fronting sets them apart from your regular winter hand-warmers.
These are arguably the more versatile of the two – their closeness to regular gloves allows them to slot into most casual outfits. The traditional leather options, however, evoke a sharper style. The all-leather look is a bit more serious and can easily cruise from car to office in smart looks and suiting. They’re often handcrafted, making them a more luxe option, too.
Unlike regular gloves, there are fewer companies producing quality goods when it comes to driving gloves, so be selective with your investment. Make sure your choice is versatile so that it can exist outside of your four-wheeler, but comfortable enough that they’re worth wearing. To make this choice a little easier, we’ve hunted down the 10 best brands on the market to get your search into first gear.
The Best Driving Gloves Brands For Men
Dents has been proudly hand-making gloves in England since 1777, so it’s fair to say it knows its way around a fine pair of hand warmers. The brand’s manufacturing process has barely changed since, so expect top quality construction and impressive detailing. These leather gloves were used by Daniel Craig in Spectre, which, alone, is cool enough in our eyes. Try pairing them with a tailored suit and overcoat when the mercury drops.
When it comes to the quality/price ratio, Aspinal is hard to beat. All of its gloves are designed in its West Sussex headquarters and then hand-made by talented artisans whose combined experience ensures each pair is made to the highest standard. The brand describes the nappa leather used on this pair as ‘buttery soft’, which is the kind of hyperbole that makes us want to invest right away. The details here – the hand-stitched perforated detailing and button snap at the wrist make their price worthwhile, and that tan leather is guaranteed to age beautifully with time.
John Lewis & Partners
If you’re a driving-glove sceptic, give this pair from John Lewis a spin – they’re basically driving gloves masquerading as regular winter gloves. The British icon of the high street has turned to the knitted style, with the combination of the crocheted back and leather palms giving them a more casual feel than many regular leather gloves. As always you can expect fair pricing at John Lewis, combined with a good level of quality that’ll ensure they last for years to come.
Marks & Spencer
Not everyone wants to look like they’re Stirling Moss on the second leg of the Mille Miglia; if you prefer things to look more pedestrian you’re going to want to strip back on details and colour. M&S never fails to disappoint with its expansive range of winter accessories, and these driving gloves are no exception. They’re a a no-nonsense, no-fuss option that won’t make you conscious of looking like a Top Gear superfan.
For an affordable driving glove alternative, ASOS is a great shout. Whilst the bottom line is a strong advantage here, ASOS ensures its driving gloves are still 100% the real deal when it comes to the leather used. Here, things are kept low-key with the textbook details including knuckle holes and a neat press-stud fastening system. Keep things simple and wear them as part of an all-black outfit. Just remember to smile every now and again so you don’t look like an angry hitman.
Chester Jefferies has been making gloves for over 80 years, so it’s safe to say it knows a thing or two about what makes them fit like, well, a glove. Its half-fingered style adds a sportier touch than some of the other leather options on the market, but they don’t slack on quality to achieve it. Hand-sewn detailing and ‘small diamond-shaped pieces of leather sewn at the base of the fingers’ make these so comfy you won’t want to take them off.
With designer labels like Hugo Boss, you’re guaranteed a good combination of sharp style and quality. And that’s exemplified in these soft, lambskin-leather driving gloves from the German label. Simple on the detailing, Boss has focused on producing a slick pair in dark brown leather – the natural pairing to a sharp navy peacoat. Lovely stuff.
This British heritage label has been making gloves since the mid-1800s and there are styles for Volvo drivers and McLaren drivers alike. Not everyone wants to keep things pared back and, let’s face it, if you’ve made the jump to wearing driving gloves, you may as well show them off, right? If so, go for this bold red pair, which are reminiscent of Ansel Elgort’s in Baby Driver. What’s more, Southcombe reckons they’re cut to fit like a ‘second skin’, so incredible comfort is a certainty here.