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 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.
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.
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.