As a fancypants motorcycle journalist, I can have essentially any uber-expensive piece of riding gear I want, for free. But half the time, I end up wearing stuff that's years old and wasn't all that expensive to start with. These Dainese MX gloves are one of those items. They're probably a decade old, they smell like vinegar and, if my girlfriend would let me, I'd never take them off. Believe it or not, they used to be red, white and blue.
Actually, I didn't pay anything for these gloves either. They were a

hand-me-down from David at Death Spray Custom, although I can't remember

if he actually gave them to me or if I stole them. Anyways, I acquired

them about five years ago when I still lived in London, they were

already heavily used. At the time, I'd never owned a pair of short cuff

gloves and didn't think I ever would, put off by the supposed lack of

retention and coverage for the wrist. But, for city riding, this design

isn't just near perfect, it is perfect.

Short gloves like this are so much easier to take on and off if you're

popping in and out of places, they fit better stuffed into a back pocket

or inside a helmet, they don't interfere with whatever kind of jacket

you're wearing and they're just generally more convenient in and around

town. You can even check the time while you're wearing them.

Don't let the "MX" name fool you, these gloves have nothing in common

with the thin little things you wear on a dirt bike. Solidly constructed

from an all-leather palm with double layers in all the important places

and a half perforated leather/half heavy-duty textile upper, Dainese

included knuckle protectors that are half carbon and half foam rubber

padding. There's also foam padding covering the external blade of your

hand, meaning you could karate chop shit without hurting yourself. I

haven't actually tested that.

What I have tested, multiple times, is the knuckles' ability to cushion a

punch. They work well; taxi mirrors snap off without cutting your

hands, car hoods dent without breaking your knuckles, drywall crumbles

beneath them. They're pointy enough that they'll shatter the side window

of a London taxi, don't ask me how I know that. What takes some getting

used to is that the carbon protectors over your two smallest knuckles

protrude further than your big knuckles, meaning your punches connect on

your pinky and the finger next to it. Not a problem since they absorb

the impact, but it can twist your wrist if you're not careful.

In all the year's I've had them, they've never shed a major stitch,

although one holding the velcro wrist patches on did fail, my buddy Sam

sewed it back on for me. Sam's nose can also attest to their ability to deliver a punch, sorry about that man.

The Dainese's ventilate well in even the hottest weather, dry quickly

after getting soaked by rain and are ridiculously comfortable to wear.

They also give your hands an incredibly sense of imperviousness; I keep

having to remind myself that I really shouldn't wear them if I plan on

leaving town.

The synthetic material used on the uppers is similar to that used on

most MX gloves, but here it's probably twice as thick and hasn't frayed

the way most of my dirt gloves have. Compared to the Alpinestars SMX-2

AC gloves, the Dainese's feel much, much sturdier, are constructed of

thicker materials and cover the entire palm in leather.

A couple years ago, during a particularly hot summer, they began to

smell like an old jock strap. To kill the sweat bacteria causing that

smell, I soaked them overnight in diluted white vinegar. But then I

couldn't wear them because they were even more rank, so I soaked them in

diluted peppermint oil. Neither smell has entirely disappeared, but

they sort of cancel each other out now. I have to remember to take them

off before going into meetings, shaking hands with a bunch of frou-frou

lawyers while wearing them is apparently a big no-no.

Overall, they're a mix of time-proven construction, restrained looks (I

wish David had gone for all-black), comfort and practicality. Sadly,

Dainese doesn't make 'em anymore, the nearest equivalent looks to be the

$99 X-ile.

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