Can You Wear Neoprene Gloves In A Triathlon? Pros, Cons & Foot Wear Option!

When taking part in a triathlon event in a cold environment, the first step is to get the right gear to keep yourself warm, or else, you will not go so far in the race. So, you reach out for a wetsuit, but you can also invest in the boots and gloves.

One of the best options to opt for in cold-weather triathlon is neoprene gloves is for being exceptionally effective at retaining heat, water-resistant, flexible -allowing for a snuggly fit and durability.

Neoprene gloves are made out of synthetic rubber that can withstand environmental conditions such as a cold. They are often well-fitting and comfortable for swimming.

During open water triathlon, if the water temperature is below a certain threshold (Usually around 10 to15 degrees celsius) wearing a wetsuit is compulsory, and it’s advisable to wear a pair of gloves.

But note that these gloves could be inspected to ensure that they donโ€™t help propel you while swimming.

So Can you wear neoprene gloves in a triathlon? It is possible to wear neoprene Gloves or any other type of gloves in the Triathlon if the race organizer allows it and it’s usually allowed in low-temperature races with swim leg water temperature of 15 degrees and below as long as it does not aid in propulsion (no swim resistance gloves, hand paddles, webbed gloves, or web-like construction between the fingers). Also Neoprene gloves can be used in the diciplines of the triathlon (swim, bike, and run), however, they are known to dull the feel and grip, which can lead to hand and arm fatigue on long bike rides and inconvenience while changing gear in the transition.

While This may be true for many triathlon races it cannot be generalized so make sure to check the race manual and with the race organizer. For example, Several Ironman Triathlons like ironman Dubai clearly prohibit the use of any gloves on the swim leg, however, xtriworldtour triathlons like the Celtmant extreme triathlon encourage the use of swim gloves

Can You Wear Gloves in An Ironman Swim?

Ironman Competition Rules booklet clearly prohibits ironman triathletes from using gloves in the swim leg, alongside snorkels, fins paddles, or any kind of floating device. (Source)

Note that while this is true for Ironman races, it does not have to apply to other triathlon races. Also, the prohibition is for gloves to be used in the swim leg, but it is not uncommon for triathletes to wear gloves on the bike and run legs.

Pros and Cons of Using Neoprene Gloves In Triathlon

There are certain benefits of using neoprene gloves, with the obvious being the provision of warmth. As you keep reading, you learn more about these benefits. Asides from these benefits, there are certain disadvantages you should also learn about. 

Pros of Using Neoprene Gloves In Triathlon

Effective thermal insulation

Neoprene gloves are known to provide warmth during the cold seasons, especially during water sports like the triathlons event. For more insulation, neoprene gloves usually have a soft elastic fabric attached to them.  

Water resistance

This is what makes them really good for swimming as it doesnโ€™t let water seep through them. With this, you can swim as often as you want, without getting your hands wet. Asides from being useful in water events, they can be applied in surgical procedures too.  

Protect from Punctures and cuts

While in open water, you might come across certain obstacles but be rest assured that you will be protected from cuts, scratches, and punctures.


Getting a pair of neoprene gloves is a good investment as they have a high textile strength. They remain stable over the years, even when exposed to harsh weather conditions. Lastly, do not be afraid of them being waterlogged.


While a bit restrictive, neoprene gloves still allowed some level of freedom to move your hands however you wish.


Neoprene gloves fit perfectly into your hands without causing any discomfort or leaving spaces between the gloves and hands. 

Being latex-free: 

Neoprene gloves protect from latex allergies such as skin irritation, and breathing difficulty, especially if you are prone to one.  

Cons of Using Neoprene Gloves In Triathlon

Although there are amazing benefits to this gloves type, you can still find some disadvantages which are:


The neoprene gloves are pricey when compared to other glove types although those other gloves may offer similar advantages. 

Could numb your fingers

Neoprene gloves have the capability to obstruct circulation through the fingers especially when thicker than 5 mm, however, the most commonly used in sports is between 2 mm and 3 mm which has a milder effect, however, on the bike it could make the rider lose the feel and grip on the handlebars leading to fatigue of the arm and hand. The numb feeling could also present a challenge when changing gear at the transitions.

If you’re looking for a Neoprene Glove for your next swim, then check out the blueseventy Thermal Swim Glove (Amazon Link) we recommend

Here is a video for some more insight on how triathlon neoprene gloves are designed

Do Neoprene Gloves Let Water In? Are All Neoprene Gloves Waterproof?

Neoprene gloves are water-resistant and are designed not to allow water to get in or out the glove, however, if the glove is loose and does not properly fit the hand, water will circulate in the glove leading to a cold hand.

Thus, making Neoprene Gloves Proper Fitting Crucial

Also, too tight gloves will limit the blood circulation leading to a numb feeling in the hands. No matter how much you wear them, they never stretch. (Source)

Are Neoprene Gloves Warm?

Neoprene gloves are definitely warm and very suitable for cold seasons. They are used in manufacturing wet suits worn in extremely cold weather when swimming in open water.

Neoprene is a good waterproofing and insulating material used to manufacture wet suits, gloves, and boots where insulation is needed. This helps keep water off and the swimmer warm.

What Do You Wear on Your Feet in Cold Water?

One popular option is to use Neoprene socks which are designed to offer protection and warmth and help keep the feet dry. (Source)

Neoprene socks are very versatile. So, asides from wearing one during an open water swim, one can also wear one for kayaking and hiking.

Are Neoprene Socks Water Resistant?

Just like the neoprene gloves, neoprene socks are very waterproof. So, water can’t get into your feet while swimming except if it has a punctured hole which is less likely since they are very durable. (Source)

If you’re looking for a Neoprene Socks for your next swim, then check out the blueseventy Thermal Swim Socks (Amazon Link) we recommend


Wearing neoprene gloves and socks while swimming in open water is a good recommendation to help provide warmth to your fingers and feet while swimming in open water, and if you intend to use them in a race, then make sure to check the race manual and with the race organizer if they allow their use. Asides from that, they offer good water resistance, durability, and protection, given that they are well-fitted.


An extreme triathlete who have competed in dozens of triathlons including IronMans and Extreme triathlons.

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