The Phantom Pro is the most expensive sports glove in Held’s racing range and combines abrasion resistant kangaroo leather with strips of stingray leather and aramid fibres to produce a highly protective understated glove that’s versatile enough for daily road riding and trackday action.
1. Held Phantom Pro
Tested for seven months/1500 miles by Dan Sutherland
- Bulky wrists can be awkward with some jackets
There’s plenty of soft squishy padding for comfort, enough vents to be usable for the warmest eight months of the year, and even a visor wipe of the left index finger – proving that products like this can be practical as well as performance orientated.
Are Held Phantom Pro gloves comfortable?
Once you’ve got through the early breaking in period where they can be a bit stiff, you’re treated to a grown-up understated design that’s produced using a beautifully soft kangaroo skin leather exterior and lined with a thin layer of shock absorbing foam to boost both safety and rider comfort – like a tiny memory foam pillow for your extremities.
There are also decent levels of ventilation for those scorching summertime sessions and, despite being black, you don’t get much dye run off onto your hands when you’re sweating or caught in a hefty downpour.
Adding to the comfort stakes are pre-curved fingers, which sit nicely on my digits off the bike, but can be slightly too long for my pinky when on the go. Fortunately, they fit everywhere else on my hand like a glove (funny that), with two Velcro adjustments allowing them to sit just right around the sleeves of a leather suit.
Do Held Phantom Pro gloves look good?
If you prefer to ride under the radar, then the Phantom Pros will likely be right up your street. However, for a racing glove they do look very sensible and – dare I say it – quite bland. They are available in a choice of black and white or red and white, which isn’t the greatest selection – given they cost almost £325.
By comparison, cheaper alternatives such as the RST Tractech Evo 4 (that also meets 1 KP specification) are available in everything from solid colours to green and purple lightning bolts – giving you that factory racer feel, for a retail price of just £99.99.
Don’t get me wrong, the Held Phantoms are nicely put together and have all the right features in all the right places, but they don’t stand out from the crowd and the overall of the design looks quite dated by comparison to many rivals.
Are Held Phantom Pro gloves good quality?
Having now covered 1500 miles, including a brief stint at Paul Ricard circuit nudging 200mph, they still look absolutely brand new and, as I write this, the only thing that gives the game away that they’ve even been used is a large bug splat on the left knuckle guard. They really do feel like they will stand the test of time.
They’re quite warm too – staying perfectly pleasant on UK roads with heated grips well into October and usable on their own without getting cold mitts once the temperatures hit the mid-teens. The only real issue I sometimes face is the bulkiness of the wrist area, which can make things awkward with kit outside of racing suits.
Practical features like a visor wipe on the left index finger give an added layer of quality too. It’s such an easy feature to include and one that would so often be useful on UK trackdays and yet so many gloves of this ilk go without it.
Do Held Phantom Pro gloves offer good protection?
The Held Phantom Pros score a 1 KP rating and get brushed titanium knuckle protection, and abrasion resistant stingray leather on the palms.
For all the impressive armour, the CE certified kit doesn’t feel bulky on your hands, and you can wear them for hours on end in warm summer conditions without irritation – especially important on track, when all of your focus needs to be on the circuit in front of you.
There’s also hard aramid protection on the two outer fingers and across the rear wrist area – a section so often left without armour – and the two outer fingers are fused to protect against breakages in the event of a tumble.
The soft padding on the palms is comfortable, but I do like to have hard protection here, when possible, for the simple reason that it gives me greater peace of mind and I feel safer with it in place. Fortunately, I haven’t had to test the effectiveness of any of the armour, bit the robust stitching, plush leather and strong protective cover feel like they would stand up to an incident well.
Are Held Phantom Pro gloves good value?
The Phantom Pros might be well made, but they are also undeniably expensive and if you’re not serious about trackdays and racing, there are cheaper alternatives on the market. That said, the Helds do offer a good level of versatility and have provided comfortable, reliable protection on countless commutes to and from the office – meaning you don’t need a second more practical pair in the cupboard.
However, viable alternatives from trusted brands like Alpinestars, Furygan, Dainese, and Spidi can be picked up for well over £100 less and would be more than adequate for sporty road riders indulging in a cheeky track evening or two every year.
Comfortable, well-made, practical, and protective. The Held Phantom Pros tick all four boxes. If you want an understated glove to keep your hands safe when riding on the road and tackling trackdays, they are a great choice.
That being said, they are incredibly expensive and for many riders the other options available for – in some cases – over £200 less will likely be more tempting. They may not come with quite so much versatility, or with handy touches like a visor wipe though.