Held "Steve" Gloves
Held "Steve" Motorcycle Gloves
| Owner Comments (Below)
the days of communication at the speed of light, news about motorcycle
gear would travel around the world on the heads,
backs and hands of owners returning from Europe.
Schuberth helmets, Hein Gericke
leathers and Belstaff clothing are now ubiquitous brands
that were once rarely seen outside what was then
colloquially termed the "Common Market".
The Held brand is also
included in that list, and Held gloves used to be (and
maybe still are) one of the best-kept secrets in
Travelers to Germany would bring
back pairs of Held gloves, and a
legend was born. People seem to want what they
can't get, and the rarity of Held gloves added to their
But snob appeal only goes so
far to drive demand, and it was the reputation for
quality that sustained Held's growth. German and
European motorcyclists are serious about their craft -- they demand the best and Held delivered.
The Held Glove Company has a history about as long as
any in motorcycling. Founded in Germany by Bruno
Held in 1923
(the year the first BMW, the R32, was released), the company
initially manufactured gloves for
mountaineering and it wasn't until 60 or so years later
that the business was expanded to include gloves for
The company is still run by the Held
family, and although the stitching and some of the
manufacturing is sourced worldwide, the design, raw
material sourcing and final inspection is still done in
the Held factory in Burberg, Germany.
You can buy extraordinarily cheap gloves just about
anywhere in the world today, and if cheap's what you
want, cheap's what you'll get. Protection seems to have a
correlation with cost, and the most inexpensive gloves
offer little of it, so what's the sense?
But Held's claim to fame
is quality, and they'd be foolish to compromise 80-odd
years of brand equity by throwing the Held name on a thin
pair of Water Buffalo mitts made who-knows-where.
But quality doesn't come cheap, and neither do Held
gloves. You want the good stuff, you'll pay for
Some Held gloves can retail for over $200.00, which
puts the brand out of reach of a large segment of the
motorcycling population. To address this issue,
Held recently developed
the "Steve" model as a relatively inexpensive, all-around sport and
Where did the name "Steve"
come from? Held developed this model with the help
of 125cc Grand Prix wunderkind
and the gloves have several features that are common to
motorcycle racing gloves but not often found in sport or
Held gloves have a look and feel that immediately
marks them as different than your average mitt.
quality of the materials and stitching on Held gloves is first-rate,
and it's no exception with the Steve model.
leather on the back of the Steve is the new
Pittards WR-100X high-performance extreme use
leather. This leather is used in outdoor and
military gear, and Pittards claims that it has a "high
level of durability and resilience". WR-100X
refers to the special Pittards tanning process, which
also helps make the leather resistant to water and
sweat, ideal for motorcycle gloves. This is not
your average cow hide, and it doesn't come cheap, thus
the higher price.
light tan colored palms of the Steve gloves are made from Kangaroo
leather. This may be surprising, but Kangaroo
leather is claimed to be "one of the strongest
lightweight leathers available" (Australian
The Australian Kangaroo
Industry website has an interesting brief on Kangaroo
leather, based on a study conducted to compare abrasion
and tear resistance in different types of leather
(Editor's Note: See also the
website; Packers supplies most of the Kangaroo hide
for motorcycle gloves).
The study concluded that when
Kangaroo leather is split, it "retains considerably more
of the original tensile strength of the un-split leather
than does calf.
When split to 20% of original
thickness kangaroo retains between 30 to 60% of the
tensile strength of the unsplit hide. Calf on the other
hand split to 20% of original thickness retains only
1-4% of original strength (Stephens 1987)."
All this is good news for motorcyclists, because
the primary function of motorcycle gloves is to protect
the hands in a fall and
slide, and if Kangaroo leather does a better job than
cow hide, so be it. Kangaroo leather is frequently used
in high-end motorcycle racing gloves, and it's nice to
see it in the relatively inexpensive (for Held) Steve
And Held doesn't just use a tiny
patch of Kangaroo hide just for bragging rights. The entire palm,
from the fingers all
the way up to the end of the gauntlet are made from the stuff.
Kangaroo leather is also supposed to have excellent breathability and sweat resistance, adding to its
desirability for use in motorcycle gloves.
It's interesting to note that Kangaroo leather has a
unique feel. It seems to me to be a bit stretchy
and it feels something like a
cross between silicone, Chamois and leather.
strength means that only a thin layer is needed to equal
the protection offered by much thicker cow hide, and
this is a key benefit. Thinness provides a better
feel of the motorcycle's grips, which translates into
improved control of the bike, especially when racing.
Whenever the sensitivity of feeling can be improved,
the rider will have quicker access to knowledge about what
the bike is doing. That's one of the reasons that motorcycle
racing boots, racing gloves and even seats are thin and hard. It
helps transmit the information exuded by the bike in
the form of "feel" ("the bike speaks to me") that gives the racer that millisecond
gauntlets are nice and long, and the palm side includes
some elastic in the cuff that helps them stretch over
the sleeve of a motorcycle jacket. The cuffs are
also adjustable via a "hook and loop" material on the
inside of the wrist. The outside of the wrist
includes a small patch of "Suprotect" padding covered
with Carbon-Aramid-Kevlar fabric to help protect that
The Steve gloves have several other features that were
pioneered in the world of motorcycle racing.
palms have an extra patch of leather holding 22 riveted slider buttons,
again backed by Suprotect foam padding and
DuPont's Nomex and
Schoeller Kevlar lining.
The sliders are designed to allow the rider's hands to
slide along the ground during a fall, which can help prevent
the glove from catching and twisting a finger or arm. Held
uses a special process to flatten and countersink the
rivets to help withstand the forces applied during a
Nomex backing is used to help prevent
burns created by friction during a slide, and Kevlar is
also used, which provides a
further layer of impact protection. The gloves
also use Schoeller's Keprotec fiber for the stitching;
Keprotec is a derivative of Kevlar and much stronger
than cotton or other fibers.
The palms of the Steve gloves have an extra patch of
Kangaroo leather between the thumb and forefinger, which
provides some extra resistance to the wear.
The backs of the gloves have sections of relatively
heavy padding under the black leather, and the padding
covers most of the top of the hand, including the
An extra section of leather protects the
knuckles -- Held doesn't use carbon fiber or hard armor on this glove, which will be
appreciated by those who don't like the look or feel of
gloves with knuckle armor.
The absence of hard armor also means that the gloves
can be folded up and pack into a relatively small space.
The use of leather and padding,
rather than hard armor, also helps to provide more
flexibility in the Steve glove, with a potentially
higher level of comfort, especially for long-distance
Held uses a "hook and loop" cinch adjuster on the
back of the wrist to secure the glove to the rider's
hand. The cinch can be snugged up nice and tight
to keep the glove in place; after all, even the best
glove won't protect the rider's hands if it falls off in
We've seen many other gloves that have a
cinch strap that doesn't really do its job. If you
can cinch up a glove and then pull it off your hand,
it's either too loose or improperly designed.
Held uses a special stitching method for the fingers
of the Steve glove. The fingers have a box-type
cross section, which provides much more room than other
configurations. This is good news for those with
thick fingers; if you have large diameter digits and
you've had problems finding gloves that fit or that feel
comfortable, the Steve model may solve your problem.
On the flip side, riders with thinner fingers may find
that the box section has too much room and the gloves
may feel loose. Held offers a wide variety of
sizes to ensure the correct fit, including half sizes,
so make sure you measure your hands using Held's
guidelines before you buy a pair.
The box section can be envisioned by imagining that a
finger on the glove was cut perpendicular to its length.
The box section basically looks like a floor (the palm),
a roof (the back of the glove), and two leather walls
(the material on each side of the finger).
method of stitching is more labor intensive (Held claims
30 minutes for this step) because of the four seams, but
it provides much more finger room.
Held also uses a special stitching process to attach
the palm side of the fingers (the "floor") to the sides
of the fingers (the "walls"). Held calls this a
"step" seam, meaning that the leather sections are
overlapped and then stitched flat. Held claims
that this prevents bulging seams and provides a more
sensitive feel for the controls.
And last but not least, Held also added a rubber
wiper on the left-hand index finger, which can be used
to wipe off the motorcycle helmet visor during a ride.
Held designs and manufactures some of the highest
quality motorcycle gloves available. While other
brands may advertise comparable features, there's
definitely a comfort factor in knowing that Held gloves
use some of the best quality materials available, and
the designs are a result of real-world engineering.
The Steve model is somewhat unique, because it brings
motorcycle racing technology to an all-around street
glove. The Steve gloves are comfortable and they
give the rider a high level of sensitivity for the
The design of the fingers
should satisfy riders with thicker hands who haven't
been able to find gloves that fit correctly. The
Steve gloves are slightly on the expensive side, but the
level of quality, the materials and the design are worth
it and they should provide the owner with many miles of
comfort and protection.
"Steve" Motorcycle Gloves
Retail Price: $129.95
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From "J.L." :
"Was browsing my bookmarks dealing with fractured rib pain and
came upon your recent review of Held gloves. If I may, I'd like
to recount the extraordinary quality of this manufacturer along
with two others. If I had not been wearing any of these
components, the damage to my body would have been considerably
The result was from a panic high
side in the dark. I was wearing an Arai Astral, Triumph
Stealth jacket and Held racing gloves. The Arai was ground down
to raw fiberglass in three places. Had it not been a full
face design, my ear and back of my head would have been toast.
The jacket was hard CE95 armored
in the shoulders and elbows. It was pretty raw and had to
be cut off me. I landed on my helmet first then right
shoulder. The armor kept the injury to a minimal clavicle
fracture. The big thing is the gloves. The studs on
the palm were ripped away, but had they not been there, the
leather would not have held.
I'm rebuilding and selling the
sportbike, but am keeping the VTX1800 for my wife and I as a
cruiser. Neither of us will even consider it now without
full face helmets, Held gloves and jackets with "hard" armor.
So many of the jacket mfgs use a "soft" armor, which I guess is
ok, but the harder stuff is just as comfortable.
Anyway, thanks for putting up
with my lengthy story, but had to relate what good equipment can
do to keep the injuries down. Keep up the great work."