In many of the best riding areas, “summer” doesn’t always mean dry and sunny all of the time. In California, for example, it’s possible to ride from 90-plus F temperatures in the Central Valley into misty, 65-degree weather on the coast in less than an hour. The Southeast, Midwest and Alps in Europe can also experience very changeable weather in the summertime, with hot humid days, afternoon thundershowers and cool high mountain passes. It can make choosing the right apparel a challenge, especially gloves.
Held of Germany has been making high-end gloves for decades. Its latest innovation are the dual-compartment Air n Dry gauntlets, which are like two gloves in one. Instead of carrying separate pairs, the lower compartment in the Air n Drys serves as your classic summer glove, with a perforated, unlined palm for good feel and ventilation. The soft but highly abrasion-resistant kangaroo leather lets you feel every nuance of your grips and levers.
When the weather cools and the skies start to leak, slip your hands into the upper compartment, which is lightly insulated and waterproof thanks to a Gore-Tex liner. There’s just enough insulation for a cool spring or summer morning or evening, and it also works well in colder temperatures with heated grips and hand guards.
A tough Cordura and leather exterior, dual retention straps with Velcro closures and hard plastic knuckle protectors on the Air n Dry gloves provide serious protection. Extra padding in the palm and reinforced outside edges contribute to safety as well, and there’s a visor wiper on the left forefinger.
I’ve been wearing the Air n Drys non-stop for months now, in all kinds of hot, dry, wet and cool weather, and in temperatures down into the 50s. I love the fit and feel of the lower compartment for most summer riding, since it’s breezy and highly tactile. When it cools off or rains the upper compartment provides convenient, cozy warmth, and has proven absolutely waterproof, both in all-day rain and submerged in the sink. Large pull-tabs and generously sized openings make the gloves easy to snug over jacket sleeves, too.
Of course, the downside of exposing the unlined, perforated compartment of the lower compartment to rain (instead of stashing a separate pair in your saddlebag) is that it gets wet. The assumption here, I imagine, is that when the rain stops, it will warm up and the soaked leather palm will dry out, but that actually takes quite a while. Assuming it’s warm out it’s not at all unpleasant to ride with your hands in the damp, breezy lower compartment, though it can be a bit…pruny.
Overall, the Held Air n Dry gloves are extremely well made, comfortable and confidence inspiring, and offer the versatility of two pairs of gloves with the convenience of one. They come in black or black and gray and retail for $250.
For more information: Call (949) 215-0893 or visit heldusa.com.