The Shift RPM gloves include hard knuckle armor secured with double stitching in a leather panel on the back of the hand. I was very pleased that the rigid knuckle armor does not feel binding at all.
The padding underneath the knuckle armor, combined with the elasticity of the textile on top of the gloves, makes the armor barely noticeable. In fact, when I’m riding, I forget that it’s even there.
I’m a big fan of hard knuckle armor and for a good reason. A friend was wearing a pair of gloves with hard knuckle armor when he hit a deer.
The armor on one glove cracked in half, but his hand was okay; I can’t imagine what might have happened to his hand without that protection in place.
Shift also put padding on the back of the thumb and fingers of the RPM gloves, along with thermoplastic rubber additions on the back of the fingers.
The combination of the knuckle armor and the padding will give extra protection and — hopefully — good abrasion resistance in an impact.
The natural reaction is for hands to automatically go out in front to brace for a fall or impact, so Shift put goatskin palms on the RPM gloves, along with a second layer of leather and padding for extra reinforcement and protection.
The first three fingers includes perforations in the leather for breathability.
The top of the RPM gloves, other than the leather section which holds the rigid knuckle protection, is made of a textile that stretches and conforms to the hand.