It’s an almost interminable quest––the search for the perfect riding glove. Not only are every individual’s hands proportioned differently, every manufacturer has their own interpretation of the ideal shape and feature set. A quick search of the internet for motorcycle gloves produces an overwhelming number of options, even within just the summer glove segment. With a summer of riding behind us, we thought it was time to review three of our favorites of the summer.
Held Sambia $120 (ExPo Top Pick)
Slipping your hand into a Held glove, it’s apparent they have a passion for what they do. A family owned business based in Burgberg, Germany, Held has been manufacturing the highest quality gloves since 1946. The Sambia is their lightweight summer glove ideally suited for adventure riding.
There’s a lot going on with the Sambia starting with a supple kangaroo leather palm which gives the glove impressive dexterity and durability. The backside of the glove is constructed of colorfast Spandex with a hard plastic knuckle guard and a small velcro closure. Rubber guards at the outer edges of the wrist provide protection of vulnerable areas without unwanted restriction of movement, and additional pads in the palm of the glove relieve pressure for all day comfort.
On the road: While many gloves have a thoughtful and well executed outer construction, it’s the inside of the Held glove that is so sublime. It is as if there is a complete absence of internal seams, at least none that cause any unpleasant pressure or chaffing. The hard knuckle guard, a feature that can often cause a great deal of discomfort, is well shaped and wraps over the hand as if custom formed. The ventilation through the small slits on the knuckle guard import just enough air to keep the top of the hands cool, and the entire back of the gloves breath well enough to never feel warm. There’s a lot to like with these gloves. www.heldusa.com
More protective features than many gloves in this segment
None to report
REV’IT! Sand Pro $119
If you suffer hot hands, the REV’IT! Sand Pro gloves should be on your short list. Few gloves provide such comprehensive ventilation thanks largely to the Sand Pro’s unique flexible knuckle protectors which allow large volumes of air to pass directly into the glove. Those knuckle guards are also extremely comfortable as they form perfectly to almost any hand. The Pittards WR100X Hairsheep Diamond goatskin construction is paired to air stretch mess for optimal durability, dexterity, and ventilation. The tri-fleece liner wicks moisture and gives the glove a soft feel free of pressure or abrasion points. Foam padding at the outer edge of the wrist is covered in leather and offers maximum movement of the wrist without any restriction or discomfort.
On the road: This is without a doubt, the most tested glove in this trio. In late May the Expedition Portal team headed to Baja and right into the triple digit heat of Mexico’s summer. With temperatures pushing north of 110ºF, I was positively melting save for my hands. No glove is comfortable to wear in extreme temperatures, but my hands were the least of my worries. Unlike other gloves which provide small ports of ventilation, the Sand Pros deliver cooling air across the entire back of the gloves. The palms never felt wet or gummy, and even with a great deal of perspiration, held their shape exceptionally well. www.revitusa.com
Best ventilation of the three
Excellent comfort due to the unique knuckle guards
The palm pad could be a tad softer
Klim Induction Short $139
For those riders who trust leather above all other materials, the Induction Short will hold great appeal. Constructed of premium grade perforated leather with Pittards Armortan ceramic-reinforced leather palms, the Induction has all of the benefits of a full leather glove. After a few hundred miles, it begins to form to the user’s hand optimizing fit. The carbon fiber knuckle guards are nicely shaped to accommodate most hands, and do not cause any unwanted pressure. The large mesh panel on the back of the glove permits good air pass-through and a double-back velcro strap keeps the gloves securely in place.
On the road: Although the Induction is very comfortable once broken in, it isn’t quite as cool or well ventilated as the other two gloves in the test. It does provide excellent dexterity which will score points with many users. While it lacks much in the way of additional protective features outside of the hard knuckle guards and Poron XRD foam pad in the palm, it does have reflective accents and even a shield squeegee on the left index finger. This glove does have one minor issue with regard to the size of the opening. Getting these gloves on takes considerable effort for most users. Once in the glove, the fit is refined although some users felt the fingers were too thin and constrictive. www.klim.com
Almost a full leather glove it is very comfortable
Excellent dexterity and tactile feel
Fewest protective features of the three
Hard to put on
The Verdict: Having tested a variety of gloves, these three proved to be our top picks of the summer. Fit will always drive the final decision, but when evaluating each glove based the protection provided, the cooling capabilities, comfort and other features, the Held Sambia edged out the other two for our top spot.