The Dakine Step Up gloves are pretty good but unfortunately they aren’t magic – I discovered that after smashing my left hand against a tree in them on a recent night ride. There was no blood thanks to the knuckle padding but my fingers still hurt like crazy – lesson learned.
Dakine’s Step Up gloves are well constructed, with double stitched seams throughout. The light synthetic nylon backing materials wick moisture away from the back of your hand and dry out quickly too, so they’re ready to go for the next ride. I have grown to appreciate the thin Clarino synthetic suede palm material, and somehow it makes me feel like I’m more connected with the handlebar and brake levers. However, the small palm pad is poorly placed for me, so I can’t contact the grips while riding. The terrycloth snot wiping areas on the back of the thumb are a little small and the pile is not as thick as some of my other gloves, but they have some sort of well-placed padding under them that makes them more sponge-like. The extra grippy Dakine logos on the brake lever fingers are surprisingly effective and their bright orange contrast adds style.
Generally, I’m opposed to brown-colored mountain bike gear like the gloves I tested. I ride near areas where deer hunting is very popular, so I always worry that somebody will see something brown moving quickly in the woods and pull the trigger. However, for small accessories like brown and orange gloves–I don’t worry so much. The Step-Up gloves are also offered in White, Black and Khaki.
I have a tough time finding mountain bike gloves that fit me well. I am in between a small and a medium for most brands, but the Dakine Step-Up gloves in mens size large fit me well enough; a little tight though the palm, a little loose in the fingers–just like always. The wrist closure was not a good fit for me since I have skinny wrists and it tended to gape open, hanging up on long sleeve jerseys. It did not make a difference in overall comfort though, and the gloves stayed in place with no problems.
Functionally the Dakine Step-Up gloves are excellent, as they are made with durable materials and the construction is very sturdy. While the fit was not great for me, that should not be held against Dakine. Even with a less than perfect fit they stayed in place comfortably. The Step-Up gloves are perfect for XC riding and a good choice for All Mountain and Marathon rides, but more aggressive riders will probably want more protection through the fingers and palms. The thin materials on the body of the glove keep them from getting too hot, but the large padded knuckle area and extra Durafuse Leather coverage on the fingers may be too confining for the hottest summer days.
Suggested Retail is $35.00. Amazon.com has them sale on now for $29.95.