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What to Wear Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is another incredible activity to get out in nature, recharge, and stay healthy. There are so many options when it comes to mountain biking from standard flat trails to hillier terrain for the more adventurous type. 

Whatever style of mountain biking you’re into, you’re sure to get hooked pretty fast. 

What to wear mountain biking

While there are many similarities, what you wear mountain biking is a little different than what you wear road cycling. While both types of cycling require good gripping gloves and 

Overall mountain biking is suitable for looser clothing and less lycra (aerodynamics really aren’t of the essence here). You’ll still most likely want to wear padded biking shorts but then you can wear looser shorts or trousers over top. 

Moisture-wicking shirts or jerseys are always good to have when mountain biking as they keep you cool, breathe well, and dry fast.

Sealskinz Mountain Biking

What socks to wear mountain biking

You definitely want to invest in a pair of socks that keep you dry, prevent blisters and are also extremely breathable. We like to recommend a pair of waterproof socks to check all of those boxes. 

And no, waterproof socks don’t feel like plastic bags on your feet. The technology is such that these socks actually feel like a real comfy sock. With plenty of stretch, premium materials, and a 3-layer construction for 100% waterproofness, you’ll be happy you have a pair. 


And, they’re not just for encountering water or rain. Waterproof socks also prevent mud, dirt, and sand from getting through your sock. Suitable for all temperatures and breathable, we like to think they’re the superhero of mountain biking socks. 

The best mountain biking gloves

Sealskinz gloves

The best mountain biking gloves provide the rider with grip and control, dexterity, as well as breathability, and protection from the elements or dirt and gravel spray. 

A few things to look for when it comes to the perfect mountain biking gloves:

  1. Pre-curved fingers - Why would this be important? It just aids in providing you with more dexterity. No worrying about wearing your gloves in or them being stiff on your ride. With pre-curved fingers you know you’ll be in control.
  2. No liner pull out or movement - Speaking of control, most of the benefits on this list have to do with control because control equals safety. When you pull off your glove and then it’s impossible to get back on because of liner slippage or pulling out, then it poses a risk of less control. 
  3. Enhanced grip - Back to the control theme, look for a glove with enhanced grip whether it’s the material on the underside of the glove, silicone grip, or something else. Grip control is essential for traveling down unpredictable terrain. 
  4. Reinforced palm - padding on the palm can make all the difference when out on a long mountain bike ride. You’ll be gripping the handlebars for an extended period of time so you’ll want to make sure you are comfortable.
  5. Thumb wiper - For the inevitable sweat, snot, or raindrop, a thumb wiper keeps you on move and doesn’t cause you to stop when unnecessary.
  6. Waterproof - No one realizes they need a waterproof glove until the inevitable happens, rain or a puddle-infested ride. Not only do waterproof gloves protect you from water, but they also help you stay protected from gravel spray (ouch,) mud, sand, and dirt. 
  7. Breathable - Staying dry and comfortable also comes in the form of breathability. A glove that breathes keeps you from being clammy and sweaty and instead, dry and comfortable 

Looking for mountain biking gloves that cover all of these areas? We’ve got you covered. Shameless plug at that SealSkinz, we specialise in gloves that are waterproof, breathable, and with all of the bells and whistles that make them perfect and safe for mountain biking, 

Take our Fusion Control™ gloves, for example, that are have a bonded liner and outer shell to a unique waterproof membrane making them completely waterproof and also reducing any chance for liner pull out or slippage. We won’t bore you with more technology but if you’re interested, you can read more here.

The best winter mountain bike clothing

When it comes to mountain biking in the winter, you’ll want to think about dressing in layers, and having warmer accessories. 

Baselayers that are sweat-wicking are great to have underneath your trousers and shirt. Not only do they provide an extra layer of warmth, but with moisture-wicking properties, they also keep you dry when you inevitably break a sweat. 

As for the layers, warm mountain biking gloves give you that extra boost of warmth that you need to stay confident and aware on a chilly ride. You can even spring for heated mountain biking gloves to give you even more protection in the winter months. 

When it comes to socks and headwear, you can always add a cycling cap under your helmet. It may not be made of down or fleece (way too bulky for a helmet) but it will keep you dry and protect you from wind and rain on your ride. A gaitor is also a good idea as it is an extremely versatile piece of kit. Look for one that is waterproof, fits under your helmet, rolls down if you don’t need it, and is meant for warmth. 

While we still recommend waterproof socks, we would say to choose one that’s constructed with materials known for their thermal properties such as merino wool. This gives you ample warmth without added bulk.

Mountain biking for the win

Once you’ve got the protective kit you need to stay safe out on the gravel or dirt, you’ll be well equipped for an incredible time mountain biking. Looking for more gear to round out your mountain biking kit? We’ve got plenty of mountain biking accessories perfect for you. 

Sealskinz MTB


Allison Capaldi