Why Do Runners Wear Gloves? 3 Simple Reasons

Are you wondering, “why do runners wear gloves?” Runners wear gloves to warm their hands, protect from falls, and improve grip during an obstacle course.

When you’re just starting to run, it’s common to look up to other runners and emulate what they are doing and wearing. But you might be wondering why do runners wear gloves if it’s not that cold. Runners do wear gloves to stay warm but also to protect from falls and improve grip.

Keeping Your Hands Warm

The most obvious use of gloves is to keep your hands warm. What confuses people is that many runners tend to wear gloves when it isn’t even that cold.  

The reason for this is that when a person runs, their heart pumps faster. This means that blood circulates faster, which does not allow it to absorb as much heat from the body’s center. As the blood travels to the extremities, this means that the blood is “carrying” less heat to the hands and feet, making these parts feel colder than the rest of the body

Why Do Runners Wear Gloves?
Runner wear gloves because hands tend to get colder than the rest of the body

While the temperature difference is very small, it is enough for the body to recognize and send signals to the brain that the hands and feet are cold. The slight temperature difference can be counteracted by wearing gloves. Because a greater overall amount of heat is produced by a body when running, however, it’s rare that runners will feel cold.

You might also be interested in our explainer on can you run in the rain.


Even if the outside temperature isn’t low enough to warrant wearing gloves for warmth, many runners choose to wear them for the protection they provide. If a runner trips and falls, gloves can protect their hands from becoming scraped or cut.

Gloves worn for this purpose tend to be relatively lightweight, but they will have extra padding in the palms and around the fingers. People who like to run on off-road trails or other types of uneven terrain may like to wear these, but they are not particularly popular with city runners.

Grip Improvement

People who are running in an obstacle-course style race (such as a Tough Mudder or similar race) will often wear gloves to improve their grip. These races tend to incorporate obstacles such as rope climbing or monkey bars, which can be challenging if a runner’s hands are already slippery from sweat. You might also be wondering why do runners wear necklaces.

Mud racer with a strong grip on his ally
Tough Mudder racers often wear gloves to improve their grip

Gloves worn to improve grip in these races tend to be lightweight, but they may have extra padding and material that is designed to increase friction. Runners in these races will often need to choose if the advantages of these gloves are worth the extra weight and heat of the glove. 

People who run in hot climates will often see gloves as more of a detriment. If not properly fitted, they can cause chafing, which can become very painful during longer races.

If you liked this post, check out our guide on how runners train in the winter.

FAQs On Why Do Runners Wear Gloves

How Do I Decide What Kind Of Gloves I Need?

Decide if you want your gloves to be for hot or cold weather. This will help to determine the overall thickness. Then take other features into account too, like whether they can protect from falls.

What Should I Look For In Running Gloves? 

Aside from the features, look for gloves that fit you well. Gloves that are too large will chafe or fall off, while gloves that are too small will be uncomfortable. Gloves with an adjustable fit are often a good choice, especially for beginner runners whose hands may swell as they run.