It’s Murphy’s Law that as soon as you write, “So far, they’ve never let me down,” in a review about waterproof gloves they’re going to let you down. Such was the case with my Klim Adventure waterproof gloves about a week after I posted my review.
In fairness, the moment of failure came in the sixth hour of a 7.5-hour journey home that had seen me being drenched in nonstop rain from the very start. In addition, I had ridden several hours in rain the day before. Also, I’ve had those gloves for about two years and have put tens of thousands of miles on them. And it may be they didn’t so much fail as get damp on the outside to the point of being uncomfortably cold.
Whatever the case, I was kind of happy when it happened because it meant I could finally test out the Dainese Universe Gore-Tex gloves that had arrived in the mail just before I’d set out for this trip. The Klim gloves – previously my all-the-time everywhere mitts – have seen limited use ever since.
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I’m a fan of minimalism when it comes to most motorcycle gear. I think I still have anxiety from back when I used to ski regularly (back when I used to live in a place where it snows regularly) and I didn’t have the money to wear the latest, most fashionable kit. I often bought stuff secondhand, so it was festooned with colors and designs that had been popular in the previous decade.
Dainese, of course, also makes ski gear. But these waterproof motorcycle gloves have a nice, simple styling: a logo on the wrist cuff, a simple reflective strip across the back of the hand, the Gore-Tex logo on the index finger, and the words “Techno Protector” across the knuckle guard. I have no idea what that means (That you are a self-appointed protector of techno music?). Moto companies love to put goofy phrases on their gear.
Overall, though, the look is robust and high-quality. The gloves are nondescript enough to fit with a number of riding fashions, but work best with the sort of commuting/touring gear I wear most of the time.
Using Dainese’s sizing chart I selected XL gloves to fit my size 9.5 hands. They feel a tad loose in the fingers, but not enough that I would consider going down a size. Indeed, when paired with some thin Klim Liner 1.0 glove liners they felt just a bit snug.
Dainese technically classes these as winter gloves (I disagree, but my hands get very cold very easily), so they have some of the stiffness you would expect from that specification. Within that context, however, maneuverability was good from the get-go, though I’m hoping they’ll become even more flexible with wear. It’s not like I’ll ever be able to type in them, though. As is, I have no difficulty operating any of the switches or buttons or snaps on my bike or my gear. I’ve even been able to open and dig around in panniers while wearing the gloves.
There are Velcro straps galore to ensure good fit: one at the wrist and two crossover straps on the forearm bit of this gauntlet glove. (Anyone know physiology well enough to give me a better term than “forearm” here? I’m referring to straps that secure more or less where you’d wear a watch.)
Most of the glove exterior is made of goatskin leather, with small sections of nylon between the fingers to help them be more flexible. There’s a membrane layer of Gore-Tex you can’t see, then a soft polyester lining. The gloves are comfortable enough for all-day use.
They work; the gloves are waterproof. I think that’s the most important and relevant bit of information here. I don’t give a damn about a product’s other bells and whistles if it can’t accomplish its primary purpose. In this case, that’s keeping my hands dry. I’m delighted to tell you the Dainese Universe gloves do that and they do it well.
The gloves are sturdy and well-made to the extent they are not relying solely on the Gore-Tex for weather protection. Which means my hands have also managed to stay relatively warm and cozy when wearing these, especially when assisted by heated grips. There is a handy visor wiper on the back of the left thumb. I prefer such wipers on the index finger – as is the set up on my Klim Adventure and Aerostich Elkskin Competition Roper gloves – but I may develop a better visor-clearing technique over time.
As far as crash protection is concerned, the gloves offer quite a bit. There is padding in the thumb side of palm, as well as a plastic guard that covers the part of your palm that reflexologists claim affects your colon. So, uh, maybe you won’t poop yourself in a crash. Meanwhile, there’s light padding over the joints of the middle and ring finger, and most of the pinky finger gets additional leather protection. And, of course, there’s the hard Techno Protector over the knuckles.
There is a lighter sort of material just on the tip of the index finger and tip of the thumb that presumably allow you to operate a smart phone while wearing the gloves, but I don’t much see a point in trying since the gloves are pretty bulky for such delicate work. I do know that I’m not able to operate my TomTom Rider with these things on, but I think that has more to do with the TomTom than anything glove related.
I love these gloves. Dainese has a reputation for making really good stuff and these are no exception. Comfortable, warmish ( It’s really hard for me to make concrete statements about the warmth of a glove because I suffer so much from cold hands), and good-looking, they have become my go-to kit when heading out.
In an effort to make my review of the gloves feel a little more “fair,” I just now spent five minutes trying to think of things I don’t like, but didn’t come up with much. That thumb-located visor wiper, perhaps. I wish they were made in Texas rather than Vietnam. I wish they only cost £1. But genuine complaints about the product I’m unable to muster.
I’ll be interested to see how long they last. Based on the fact they still feel new after about 1,500 miles of use, though, I’m guessing they’ll be with me for a while.