We all know that finding biking kit that covers every eventuality is tough – while many products will cover a wide range of conditions, inevitably there will be a compromise somewhere.
A leather jacket that is waterproof may keep a brief shower away but you wouldn’t head out in the depths of winter in a rainstorm in one. Similarly, a top-end textile year-round suit may have removeable linings and vents but it may well still be too heavy and cumbersome for rides at the height of summer.
The Held Air N Dry gloves attempt to satisfy two very distinct riding conditions similar to those outlined above.
They have dual chambers to provide a thin section with perforations for cooling airflow and a great feel for the bike’s controls. Another chamber is waterproof and lined with a Gore-Tex membrane to allow the hands to breathe and remain comfortable and dry in wet weather.
The concept is a valid one – the German company manufactures several styles of two-in-one gloves, including long and short summer/sports style and three-season and winter examples.
The Air N Dry features a ‘Breezy’ chamber and a ‘Dry’ chamber; the breezy side has a thin layer of perforated kangaroo leather on the palm for excellent grip and feels on the bike as well as decent airflow for warmer rides, particularly if the hand is raised off the grip slightly.
The hard knuckle armour and the hard protection on the fingers are also ventilated to help with cooling airflow when the hand is in its natural position holding the grips.
Fit for me in the Breezy side was perfect – it was snug without feeling tight and I could not feel any seams or construction techniques from within.
I have found this with other thin and sporty Held gloves, notably the Spot short sports version. One area that Held excels in is the ability to order regular, short or long finger lengths in many of its gloves and I have found that the short gives a good relationship between the width of my hand and the length of fingers and thumbs. On the Air N Dry, in the Breezy chamber, it felt excellent despite no lining in this chamber.
Switching to the Dry chamber, there is a plush lining that is designed to stay in place and not pull out and it feels cosseting and very comfortable.
Naturally, it is warmer than the Breezy side as there are no perforations in this chamber to ensure your hands stay warm and dry if the weather takes a turn for the worse. However, while they feel lovely when on the hand, I found that the fit in the dry chamber was not as good as that in the Breezy one.
Like the Breezy chamber, the width of the glove across my hand was spot on but the fingers and thumbs were too long which meant that they felt clumsy and ungainly and a couple of times, I found the tips of the fingers catching on the clutch and brake levers.
It also detracted from the feel for the bike’s controls, which is inevitable thanks to the extra weather protection they offer but there was a definite disconnected feeling to them.
When it comes to impact protection, they get a CE rating of 1 KP, indicating a basic pass for abrasion resistance, construction, and retention and the KP indicates hard knuckle protection.
However, in addition to the Cordura and kangaroo leather construction, there is also a Superfabric section across the base of the palm in the landing zone, to add abrasion and impact resistance.
While the Gore-Tex may not breathe as well as the Breezy section, it does keep all water out. I tested them on a wet and miserable ride as well as dunking my hands in a bucket of water and they kept all water out and my hands dry and warm.
The Air N Dry gloves from Held are a brilliant concept, bringing together perhaps the two most useful and common gloves that you would use in spring or summer; a thin vented version and a dry, Gore-Tex one.
They are very well made and offer reassuring protection and on the Breezy, unlined side, fit me perfectly with great feel. However, the Dry side didn’t fit so well, suggesting that it may be trickier to get one pair of gloves to do everything.
I would suggest trying before you buy as lots of people love them, judging by the online reviews but the fit on the two different chambers was not the same for me, making one part useful and the other not.
Two-chamber design for all-round use
Breezy side cool and great feel
Dry side completely dry with Gore-Tex membrane
Two chambers fitted me differently