MC Tested: Touchscreen Glove Solutions

Products to convert your regular riding gloves into conductive, touchscreen-friendly gloves.

Farkle Fingers, Nanotips, and GloveTacts
Between Nanotips, Farkle Fingers, and GloveTacts, there are a few solutions to make your riding gloves touchscreen-friendly.Photo by Julia LaPalme

We’ve all been there: you’re all suited up, helmet on, gloves on, throw a leg over your bike, and suddenly you realize “Dang it! I forgot to text (friend, S.O., parent, boss) that I’m just leaving now…” or “Oh! I still need to look up my route to that new hipster coffee place I’m meeting my riding buddies at!” So you pull your glove(s) off, pull your phone out of your pocket, and take care of touchscreen business. Put your gloves back on, and off you go on your merry way, albeit a little inconvenienced. Many gear manufacturers are making riding gloves with conductive fingertips these days, but what to do if your gloves aren’t up to par for our smartphone-obsessed culture, and you don't want to plunk down the change to buy a new pair? We tested three different options to make your gloves touchscreen compatible.

Farkle Fingers
Farkle Fingers are like a little lycra Silver Surfer suit for your fingers. Conductive? Yes. Stay in place? No.Photo by Julia LaPalme

Farkle Fingers
These little elastic finger tips, made of a stretchy metallic material, are designed to go over your gloves. They come in a set of 4, one for each pointer finger, and each thumb. Good thing, since I decided to try out one pair, and they liberated themselves from my fingertips on my ride home. While the conductive ability of the Farkle Fingers works fine, their "one size fits all" claim is inaccurate, as the stretchy fabric and elastic band did not give a tight enough fit to keep them on my fingers. It doesn't help that the fabric they use is incredibly slippery. A potential fix to keep these in place on your gloves would be a little needle and thread, glue, or adhesive hook and loop fasteners. Otherwise don't count on them staying put without a little help.

Farkle Fingers
Price: $19.99
Contact: www.adaptivtechnologies.com
MC Grade: C-
Verdict: While they were still on my glove, they're conductive ability worked well, allowing me to use my smartphone with my gloves on. But they don't work if they can't stay put!

GloveTacts
GloveTacts are not as adhesive as they claim, or as easy to remove either.Photo by Julia LaPalme
GloveTacts packaging
Sold in pairs, GloveTacts look sleek and sticky-free on their packaging.Photo by Julia LaPalme

GloveTacts
Let's take the idea of Farkle Fingers and add a little adhesive. Ok, that's oversimplifying, but in a nutshell, GloveTacts are conductive fingertip stickers for your gloves. They are cut in a shape that supposedly should contour around a fingertip, and claim to give a "Lifetime Connection." Unfortunately, mine lasted the lifetime of a housefly. The bottom half of the sticker I placed on my glove's pointer finger began rolling up and depositing its adhesive on my clutch lever. GloveTacts also claims they're removable, but now that I've had these on my glove for a couple months, that adhesive that was so eager to get all over my clutch lever, now will not release itself from the leather of my glove. As I peel the GloveTacts off my glove fingers, there's a mess of adhesive left over. Bring on the Goo-Gone!

GloveTacts
Price: $9.99
Contact: www.glovetacts.com
MC Grade: C+
Verdict: Conductive ability is great, but the edges of the stickers started pulling up after a few weeks, like an old floppy bandaid. Add injury to insult that I can't pull them off the rest of the way without cleaning adhesive off my gloves. Sad face!

GloveTacts adhesive residue
GloveTacts left adhesive residue on my clutch lever, as the sticky patch began to peel back.Photo by Julia LaPalme
Nanotips application on gloves
Applying Nanotips is as easy as paint, dry, and ready to go.Photo by Julia LaPalme

Nanotips
This little bottle of magic is the answer to all your non-conductive glove woes. It's designed to be used like nail polish, only for your glove. Paint your gloves' fingertips with the conductive liquid, let it dry for a few hours (or use a hair dryer), and voilá! Wherever you painted Nanotips (on leather, rubber, or Goretex) is now conductive, and works pretty well. Nanotips claims to provide up to 30 applications per bottle, and each application should last a few weeks (though that probably depends on how much extreme weather it endures). I've had mine on for a few weeks now, and it still works just fine. The one small downside is it only comes in black, which shouldn't be an issue for most gloves, but is a bummer for the brown, white, or other colorful glove options out there. They also make a blue option, that supposedly goes on 90% transparent, but is designed for fabric.

Nanotips
Price: $18.99
Contact: Motoloot.com
MC Grade: A
Verdict: The upside is this paints right onto your glove fingertips, and when it dries, you have a slightly shinier black spot of conductivity. The downside is it only comes in black, and supposedly needs reapplication every few weeks.