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Held Air N Dry Gloves Review

Held Air N Dry Gloves Review
The Held Version of the Dual Chamber Glove
by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
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Summary

The Held Air N Dry gloves have an excellent overall construction.

They also have the "dual chamber" design we've seen before.

But this time, it's a Gore-Tex waterproof chamber on top and a perforated leather chamber on the bottom.

That does seem to us as reversed from ideal and the Gore-Tex chamber labeling is strangely placed opposite of where it should be, but we'll get into that in this review.

Otherwise, these are a versatile pair of motorcycle touring gloves that are guaranteed waterproof in the Gore-Tex side and with some ventilation in the perforated (palm) side.

The dual wrist straps provide excellent security and the gloves feature several protective features, including SuperFabric.

The gauntlets could be much wider however and the gloves also have a lofty list price.

Introduction

The Held "Air N Dry" gloves are new for 2015 and one of the first products transferred to and marketed by the new Held distributor in the U.S.A.: Schuberth NA.

That transition is still ongoing, and details like a new Held products website, customer service and the rest will hopefully soon get sorted.

The Air N Dry gloves are an interesting concept: the dual "chamber" design that webBikeWorlders have seen before.

For other "dual chamber" examples, check out the Rukka R-Star gloves (review); the Olympia Commander gloves (review) and the Olympia Switch gloves (review) among others.

Of that bunch, the Held gloves are probably most similar in design and execution to the Rukka R-Star gloves mentioned above, right down to the Gore-Tex waterproof chamber.

Held Air N Dry Gloves
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Protective Features

One major difference is that the Held Air N Dry gloves have a mostly fabric upper, while the Rukka R-Star gloves are all leather.

The Held gloves also have a profusely perforated leather palm and overall we'd probably give the fit, finish and protection and construction points to the Held gloves.

There's a swath of SuperFabric on the scaphoid and a large TPU main knuckle protector on the Air N Dry gloves, along with tiny patches of SuperFabric over the median and tip knuckles of the outer finger and over the tip knuckle on the third finger.

Those SuperFabric ovals on the outer ("pinky") finger are double-stitched on to a narrow overlay strip of leather that runs back along the outer wrist, where it turns in under the wrist to cover a section of padding.

To light plastic air vent/protectors cover the median knuckles on the second and third fingers.

There are also two sort-of-L-shaped sections on the outside of the wrist on the gauntlet, filled with some type of thick rubbery-feeling pads. More padding is located also under the scaphoid SuperFabric.

All told, the Air N Dry gloves have a pretty good array of protective features, although one might take exception to the use of the fabric on the top of the gloves, which was probably done to help transpire the moisture from the Gore-Tex liner.

Held Air N Dry Gloves Dual Chamber
You'd think this bottom "chamber" is the Gore-Tex side, right? Wrong!
Held Air N Dry Gloves Perforations
The bottom "chamber" is the unlined, ventilated side. Strange...
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Heated Clothing
Heated Grips
About Those Chambers...

When the Editor gave me the gloves to evaluate, we had quite a time figuring out which "chamber" was the Gore-Tex side and which was the ventilated side.

To jump right to the solution, I came up with the idea of shining a Maxxeon WorkStar "pencil" style "Pocket Floodlight" flashlight (review) in each chamber and it then became immediately obvious which was which.

But, the labeling does add some confusion in our opinion.

Held marked the lower chamber of the gloves with the Gore-Tex label, so you open the lower chamber and you'll see a big "Dry" and "Gore-Tex" label right there, along with the Gore-Tex logo repeated along the piping on the lower chamber side only.

So, you'd think the lower chamber is the Gore-Tex side, along with the word "Dry", right? Wrong!

But the lower chamber is also marked with the word "Breezy" (a curious choice). You see this if you hold the gloves gauntlet up with the palm towards you.

"Breezy" is not the word I would use for the palm side of a pair of gloves, even with the perforations in the palm (and the palm is on the hand grips, so there isn't much ventilation through that area anyway).

And the word "Dry" for the top chamber could either mean "Use this chamber when it's dry" or "This chamber keeps you dry". Apparently, it's the latter.

So confusion reigns! (yes, a pun). I'd probably label the bottom chamber "For Dry Weather" and the top "For Wet Weather" if I were the designer.

The Chamber Switch

While we're at it though, wouldn't it have been better to have the lower chamber as the Gore-Tex waterproof chamber and the top as the perforated chamber?

After all, when you're riding in hot weather, you want the air flowing over the top of your hands.

Air doesn't flow over the palm side of motorcycle gloves when you're riding, because that's the side that (hopefully) is on the grips.

But on the other hand (!), if the Gore-Tex chamber was on the bottom, you might lose the excellent heat transfer from heated grips that you get with the perforated leather (I tried it and it works).

But you wouldn't be wearing a perforated glove in winter anyway, right?

Wow, this is complex! Besides changing the confusing labeling, in the end we'd probably also have chosen to reverse the chambers anyway. Wait -- then the labeling wouldn't need changing, right? OK, this is a real brainbuster!

The Seasonal Chamber Paradox

OK, after all of that, once you get the chambers figured out, what you have is a pair of dual-purpose gloves.

The idea is that you don't have to carry two pairs of gloves -- or three if you count dry weather, wet weather and hot weather (perforated).

But, at the 250 bucks they're charging for the Air N Dry gloves, you could probably buy two (or maybe three) halfway decent pairs anyway to do both jobs.

When riding, the lower chamber feels much like a "normal" pair of leather gloves, except you can feel the extra bulk of the Gore-Tex layers on top. And, of course, you don't get any flow-through ventilation over the top of your hands.

Which means these aren't multi-season gloves, in our opinion, despite the claims you may read otherwise.

We think that these are too warm for use in anything other than mild temperatures, because we've been wearing the Air N Dry glove through some pretty warm weather this summer.

But on the other hand (there we go again), the Air N Dry gloves have no insulation.

So wearing them with my hands in the Gore-Tex chamber in the (heavy) rain we finally got recently, the gloves felt immediately cold. I could feel the coolness of the rain over the Gore-Tex liner because the rain comes right through the fabric uppers.

No insulation means don't expect to wear these in winter either.

With my hands in the bottom chamber, any water on the grips immediately flows through the perforations -- there's nothing to stop it.

So in the end, there's again some confusion on how best to employ the Air N Dry gloves. They don't seem designed for cold weather, but they're not really designed for warm weather either.

If you live in a mild climate and get occasional rain, then these are your gloves.

Held Air N Dry Gloves Palm
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Sizing

These Air N Dry gloves are labeled size 9L, which means size 9 or Large. They fit pretty much as expected, but the extra chambers and liner does take up some inner room. So if you're borderline XL, you'll probably want to move up to the next size.

The fingers -- with the exception of the thumb -- feel a bit short, although the gloves are comfortable enough on the inside that it's not too bothersome.

Again, wearing the gloves with the hands in the bottom chamber feels more comfortable in terms of fit than with the hands in the upper Gore-Tex chamber, which feels a bit tight.

The Bucket Test

Regular webBikeWorld readers also know that any time a pair of gloves (or boots) comes through for a review, we give it the ol' Bucket Test.

This is an extreme test, wearing the gloves while the hands are submersed in a bucket of cold water for at least 3 minutes.

Many claimed waterproof gloves fail this test, mostly because of sloppy stitching, where a needle has passed through the waterproof membrane liner. All you need is one tiny hole and it's all over.

As expected for a $250.00 pair of Gore-Tex lined gloves, however, the Air N Dry gloves passed with no problems. Note as I mentioned above however, with no insulating liner and the porous fabric uppers, the cold temperature of the water is immediately felt.

But at least the hands stay dry... If they don't, return your gloves for an exchange, Gore-Tex approves and monitors the manufacturing process because they give the lifetime guarantee on the waterproofing.

Held Air N Dry Gloves Slide Show
  • Held Air N Dry Glove on the Motorcycle
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Fingers
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Fingertips
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Inside Wrist
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Knuckles
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Main Knuckle Protector
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Outside Finger
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Outside Wrist
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Palm Perforations
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Thumb
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Visor Wipe
  • Held Air N Dry Gloves Wrist
  • held-air-n-dry-gloves-perforations
The Gauntlet

The gauntlet of the Air N Dry gloves is nice and long but, in a common complaint of ours with many motorcycle gloves, it could be much wider in diameter.

In fact, this gauntlet is barely wide enough to fit over anything but a light summer motorcycle jacket, so you'll probably be wearing the gloves under, rather than over the gauntlet.

Strap Security

There are two safety retaining straps on the Air N Dry gloves, which is a definite plus and should be mandatory on every pair of motorcycle gloves in our opinion.

The wrist strap starts on the bottom and runs along the top of the wrist. It's easy to adjust and keeps the gloves very secure on your hand.

There's a big swath of hook-and-loop on the bottom side of the gauntlet, which secures the gloves further.

Held Air N Dry Gloves Top View
Held Air N Dry Gloves Inside Wrist
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About SuperFabric

By the way, regular webBikeWorld readers know all about SuperFabric, but just in case, let's go over it again. SuperFabric is an engineered material with a base fabric like nylon, polyester or neoprene that is then overlaid with tiny hard ceramic plates in a specific pattern.

SuperFabric was first used in motorcycle clothing in the Rev'it Cayenne Pro jacket (review) back in 2008 and is now becoming more common as the costs drop.

SuperFabric is "claimed to outperform by a large factor" the abrasion and puncture resistance of other materials including ballistic aramids.

Conclusion

The Held N Dry gloves are something of a paradox. I have a feeling owners will either love them or...not.

Touted as the "do it all" answer, which is the justification for their lofty price, they aren't really.

The absence of insulation means if it's raining and cold, you'll stay dry but you'll feel the lowered temperatures.

But in summer, slip your hands into the lower perforated chamber and the two layers above your hands block the ventilation on top, making the gloves feel too warm for hot weather riding.

If it gets even slightly wet when your hands are in the lower chamber, you'll quickly feel the dampness.

In the end, I'd probably opt for two pairs of dedicated rain and dry gloves from the Held lineup instead. I'm sure Held has a bunch that would do the single-purpose jobs for summer, winter and rain.

We'd sure like to know what other Air N Dry owners think, so send us your comments below.

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wBW Review: Held Air N Dry Gloves
Manufacturer: Held
List Price (2015): $250.00
Made In: China
Colors: Black or Black/Grey
Sizes: 7 to 12
Review Date: October 2015
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From "H.R." (November 2015): "To understand these gloves you have to understand the behaviour of Gore-Tex. This is a membrane that keeps water droplets out at the same time as it allows air and moisture to exit trough the membrane from the hot, moist side to the cooler side.

In real life motorcycling, moisture normally is formed by a heated body, (i.e. sweat),  on the inside of Gore-Tex clothing.

Interestingly if a Gore-Tex fabric gets totally soaked will the water on the outside actually seal the fabric stopping the evaporation of steam trough it! That's why all Gore-Tex is treated to not soak, but to create small droplets on the outside that can fall off.

This treatment is called, "Durable Water Repellent", (DWR ), and can be reinvigorated by tumble drying.

The holes in Gore-Tex are actually 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet.

Then the some interesting facts for the Motorcycling gloves. As stated, moisture is normally generated by a hot hand inside the glove with some cold air on the outside. But, now add some heated grips and a wet gloves!

Now what we have is that we are slowly getting a where hot palm of the gloves and a cooler inside. That hot grip means moisture in the palm of your hand. This moisture is transported, as designed, into the glove through the Gore-Tex, from the moist hot side to the now cooler inside of your glove.

So what you have is perfect glove for Spring/Autumn driving with inside vented pocket for getting the warmth from the heated grips and outside pocket for when these heated grips are turned off, or none existing.

Vented to get the heat from the grips without getting the moisture trough the Gore-Tex into your Gloves. BR / From the Cold and Wet Sweden."


From "P.B." (October 2015): "I saw the recently added Held Air n Dry gloves review. Are these new for 2015? In Europe they have been around for a couple of years and on RevZilla the comments go back to 2012.

Anyway, below are my thoughts on the glove.

I agree with F.V.Z, if the Gore-Tex chamber would be on the bottom, so that the bulk that is now on top would be between your hand and your grips, you would lose too much feel.

I commute almost all year, leaving out the months with salt on the roads. Temps go from 0C to 40C and it tends to be wet over here. These are my go-to gloves.

The fit is great and in the summer chamber you have  a great feel for your grips and even in the Gore-Tex chamber it is still quite good.

I agree that you don't get much airflow on your hands, as I do with my recently received Richa summer gloves (got them free with another purchase) but I feel a lot more protected in the Held gloves.

Also the additional warm air flowing over my hands in the summer gloves does nearly nothing to cool me down. Without sweat for evaporative cooling the wind doesn't do much.

When riding in warm weather with the Held gloves I sometimes open my hands a bit so the air can flow through the holes. This has a nice cooling effect as my hands would be a bit sweaty then. Because there is no bulk I can switch on my heated grips and they have a huge effect.

Switching to the Gore-Tex chamber for heat is something I do when the temps go below 10-15C and I can go down to 5-10C in the Gore-Tex chamber with heated grips.

Moving to my winter gloves I feel a lot less of my heated grips and I only do this below 5C. Also because they add a lot of bulk to my grip.

Before I had track orientated Rev'it gloves but they have been collecting dust just because the feel in these gloves is so great. They are narrow in the beginning but then fit like, well, a glove . . .

When riding in the rain they have always kept my hands dry and I did not have any issues with cold from the rain. Maybe they don't wet through hard enough, but in my Rev'it Defender I'm freezing because of the cold liner in the rain and perfectly fine in the gloves.

I put the gauntlet under my jacket sleeves when commuting in my normal textile, over the sleeves of my leather race jacket and over the sleeves of my mesh jacket all without any problems.

For me these are my do it all gloves. Commuting in summer, rain, fall and part of the winter. Riding more race style (I don't do track days). I just love them."


From "F.V.Z." (October 2015): "A few comments on the Air N Dry gloves. The reasons the Gore-Tex liner is on the top chamber, is that you have way more feel with your grips when there is only leather between your fingers and grips. For me, during sportive rides, a very important aspect.

I do agree these are not winter gloves, but I do think they are summer gloves. They dont have a warmth layer, which is a plus for summer riding.

You get waterproof gloves with still some decent (reduced) feel with your grips (which you dont get with a warmth layer).

Ive ridden with them at temperatures of +30C and didnt get sweaty fingers. I had my doubts with them only being perforated at the bottom, but it works surprisingly fine."

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