Trendy among bikers and 1980s power dressers, these gloves are the fashionable apex of black leather accessories.
I have tried many different types of gloves simply because they wear out before all my other clothing from constant use. Think about your hands and every common thing that you do outside with them, and then put gloves on top: opening doors, holding the steering wheel, shaking your neighbor’s hand, talking on your cell phone, mowing the lawn, carrying groceries, shoveling snow, raking leaves, digging in your pockets, spraying the garden hose, opening your water bottle, etc., all with one or two pairs of gloves. The list goes on and gets kind of overwhelming. It should be no wonder then that my gloves are so prone to deterioration.
The biggest challenge I have faced in my search for gloves is the act of balancing 4 important requirements:
- 100% opacity: can these gloves protect from hours of constant exposure?
- Flexibility for every day use: can I easily manipulate small objects, like keys?
- Breathability: do my hands sweat so much that it becomes difficult to don and doff?
- Price and quality: if these gloves wear out soon, how much is it to replace them?
Usually I have had to compromise with one, two, or even three of these things. I have even skimped out on opacity and ultimately paid the price later. It has been a long learning experience.
After purchasing expensive black leather gloves several times many years ago and then quickly destroying them with overuse, I realized that, as a broke, working student, my wallet couldn’t take the pressure. I tried all types of gloves, often anything opaque that I could find at a thrift store. Before long I was back scrounging for a new pair as my old gloves had been reduced to shreds. I have poured more money collectively over the course of my life into sun-protective gloves than any other aspect of my entire wardrobe.
I often settled grudgingly for winter snow gloves, as I could always be sure that they were opaque and cheaply available, but they are far too hot and bulky, and don’t last in the sun. Work gloves were another frequent thrift store bin choice, but I had to be careful because some types of work gloves have netted exhausts on the back of the hand that are difficult to notice; the sun would bleed through these types of gloves and I would have an attack. Cowhide and pigskin leather work gloves are too bulky and stiff for basic use.
I eventually found that if I wore two layers of black cotton work gloves commonly sold in the darkest corners of hypermarket discount chain stores, I could find a good balance between breathability, flexibility, and price. Opacity wasn’t quite at %100, more like 90%, but something had to give and I spent the next several years being paranoid about exposing my hands too much. I did overexpose myself while wearing these gloves a few times.
Eventually, circumstances came together in such a way that I could ignore price for a brief period in order to experiment with multiple pairs of gloves purchased from online retailers to find the best match. I have always been hesitant to purchase sun-protective equipment online because I couldn’t see it in person to judge it as suitably opaque. Regardless of whether or not the vendor accepted the reason for a possible return, which by necessity would be requested after use and experimentation, I would always be stuck with something unusable or with the shipping cost to send it back. This time, however, I did not have to worry about that.
I found a really good set of gloves from Chilhowee Motorcycle Leather and Accessories. They are better than any glove I have tried so far. They are 100% opaque because they are made from deerskin leather. Being made from deerskin, as opposed to cowhide or pigskin, makes them soft and flexible enough for me to almost fit them in my pocket. They are unlined and the most breathable leather I have ever worn, although they still get pretty hot in the summer time. My three pairs have lasted for almost four years now. To top it all, their gauntlet style design prevents my wrist from being exposed when my sleeve rides up, which is a huge improvement over every other glove I have used.
So, despite the fashion stigma surrounding them, I love these black leather biker gloves.
To learn about my other articles of clothing, click on the related links below.