Gear: Dainese Druids S-St Gloves

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A highly armored, short cuff glove, the Dainese Druids appear to strike a stylish balance between cost, comfort and protection.

I’ve been riding the with new Dainese Druids S-St leather gloves for the past few weeks. Normally, I’m not a fan of most leather gloves, especially the “race” inspired ones, but that’s probably due to my impatience with letting them break in and the fact that if my hands aren’t too hot and sweating, they’re usually freezing. I managed to get through a few weeks of wearing nothing but these gloves (so I can give you a thorough review), but now that I’m writing this, will I wear them again?

I’m a weirdo. Most of the year, I wear an old pair of Alpinestars Apex Drystar gloves. They fit me really well, are old enough that they aren’t too warm for average temperatures, and I like the feeling of the extra padding in the gloves. If it’s really cold, I’ll wear whatever newer winter gloves we’re reviewing, but most of the time these are my go-to pair. If it’s hot outside, I’ll either wear a pair of Roland Sands Diesel Gloves or these new REV’it Sand Pro Gloves I’m in love with (review coming soon).

I have a pair of leather race gloves but it seems like no matter how much I wear them, they just don’t get comfortable. The seems press into the sides of my fingers, the pieces of carbon fiber and TPU inserts press on my hands weird, and they’re so hot. They offer the best protection out of anything I own, so I still wear them when we go and ride on a track or in the canyons, but I’m always excited for breaks so I can take them off. When I saw these Druids in a recent box from Dainese, my first thought was to pawn them off on Wes, but I thought I’d see if I could hang with them first.

The Gear
The Druid S-ST gloves are the shorter versions of Dainese’s middle of the range Druid St gloves and retail for $180. They have carbon fiber inserts on the knuckles, back, and at the joints of the fingers. They have a polyurethane insert in the palm and include Dianese’s “distortion control” insert in the little finger, which helps keep your finger from bending funny should you crash.

The Druid S-St is constructed primarily with cowhide leather, though the palm is goat skin. They utilize Kevlar fibers for the stitching and suede leather reinforcements between thumb and index on the left hand and “Digital Suede” leather reinforcements between the thumb and index and fingertips of index and middle finger of right hand.

To help improve fit and comfort, the fingers are pre-curved, they use elastic inserts around the base of the glove, and they’ve put micro-injections and soft inserts into the palms. They’ve used some kind of black magic on the seams so that you don’t feel them and perforated the sides of the fingers for ventilation.

The Result
Incredible comfort with excellent protection. The Druid S-St gloves took a day or two to break in, but have been comfortable ever since. They are easy to pull on, easy to secure in place and, while short gloves are never going to offer as much protection as full gauntlet, these are about as close as you’ll get from a short glove. Unlike most short gloves, these have a little extra lip on them at the base which make them easy to pull over the cuff of your shirt or hoodie (I ride with a hoodie under my jacket at anything below 75 for the additional length).

The short length ensures helps keeo the glove from getting too hot, as does the light perforation in between the fingers. When I say light, I mean it; I can only feel any air coming through them when I take my hands off the bars and let them hang in the wind. The leather base of the rest of the glove keeps them fairly cold-air proof otherwise and I would actually rate them similarly to my super old winter gloves in terms of the weather conditions they are appropriate for. Anything in that mid-50s to mid 80s and these things are just about perfect, with more dedicated winter gloves for anything colder and something more along the lines of my REV’it Sand Pro for hotter. These little gloves have surprised me a few times where I’d be somewhere longer than I thought and into a temperature zone I thought I’d prefer something else for, only to find that they kept me comfortable once again.

My only complaint about these gloves is that they didn’t quite give them enough pre-curve and there is still a little too much material in the palm of the glove. I did a few hundred miles with them the other day and they were killing my hands by the end of the ride because the extra leather was rubbing against my skin weird. I will probably try and break them in more before taking them on anything that long, but for my normal day to day riding they’re pretty much perfect.

Verdict
We think Dainese makes some of the highest quality and longest lasting gear out there. While on the expensive side, The Druid S-St gloves will fit better and last longer than other, similar gloves they may compete with. These are definitely a pair that will work their way into my personal rotation as well as make the list of items I recommend to my friends.

  • Campisi

    “Normally, I’m not a fan of most leather gloves…”

    A touch off-topic, but this brings to mind a question I’ve had on my mind for a while now: what’s the best gear for people that, for whatever reason, won’t wear materials sourced from animals? It’d make for an interesting article, at least.

    • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

      I have a buddy who is vegan and has the same problem. He said that aerostitch makes a pair of vegan gloves. You’re right though, there arent many options.

      • Gonfern

        Seems pretty stupid to be a vegan and ride a bike. I don’t condone the killing of living things….except for the 5000 insects I squash on any ride….those don’t count. Only the cute living things. :P

        • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

          Ya. Stupid that they drive cars too. Those kill way more bugs! Why do they even leave their houses?!

          • Gonfern

            exactly! they should just kill themselves. Its been proven that the best thing for animals is to reduce human populations. haha too much?

          • Afonso Mata

            I actually know a vegan guy who drives a car with leather seats.

    • Khali

      Search for gear made with Lorica (artificial leather). There are at least plenty of boots made with that, so there may be some gloves, pants and jackets. Theres also cordura.

      • Davidabl2

        What??? You mean there’s NO animal called a Lorica?? Like a small Kangaroo or some kind of goat???

        • Lee Scuppers

          I et a lorax. A little tough, but flavorful. Well marbled. Tasted more like goat than kangaroo.

          Didn’t save the hide for gloves, though.

          • Davidabl2

            I think that you’re right that Lorax gloves would be a bad idea.. First because they have less fingers than humans (as most cartoon characters do) and secondly if you were to new pulled over by law enforcement while wearing Lorax gloves things might
            go badly for you if the officer was raised on Dr. Seuss…

    • Davidabl2

      I don’t normally eat any land animals, but if the best protection is made from their hides I view it as
      a “them or me” situation. And buy leather.

  • Adrastos34

    I had been looking at the full gauntlet version of these gloves and got a chance to try them on. I liked them but found a glove I liked even better. I normally wouldn’t consider buying from Joe Rocket as they don’t really make much of anything in the style I like but the GPX 2.0 gloves are something else. I am not sure how but they felt like they were gloves I had owned for years from the moment I put a brand new pair on. They also IMO look fantastically aggressive in the black on black without pushing into Icon type gaudiness. After using them for a few months of riding they have just gotten even better feeling. I find myself reaching for them over my other Dainese gloves for spirited riding. They are also priced below what I think they are worth for what you get. You can find them for around 90$.

    • Davidabl2

      I’d like to hear from somebody that has had them for a year..

      • it_weenie

        I have a pair of Joe Rocket Highside gloves that I’ve had for about a year and a half. They’ve been crash tested at low speeds and came out fine. I was rear ended waiting to turn and got popped into the air. My firstgear jacket and joe rocket gloves didn’t even have a mark. My Vega boots were scuffed up badly, but they held together. My only injuries were compression fractures in my spine from being ejected (the car hood went between the back tire and my seat and sent me into the air like an ejection seat) and skinned knees from wearing jeans. I don’t know how the gloves would hold up on a long fast slide, but they’re comfortable enough for me to wear in the summer.

        • Davidabl2

          Thanks.. But I gotta say that “Only” to you sounds like a disaster to me…
          Ouch.

          • it_weenie

            It hurt. There wasn’t anything they could do but send me home and say suck it up. I just took it easy and let it heal. I did a Spartan Sprint 11 months later so I can’t complain too much. I do miss my VFR, though.

  • Ayabe

    I have these gloves and am very happy with them even in the 90+ degree heat, it’s not really bad and I’ll take the extra protection over normal textile gloves.

    The carbon palm pad was causing me some discomfort on my right hand but it’s subsided in the last couple of weeks either through break-in or some subtle adjustment of my grip.