I recently received the Ventilator gloves from Dakine for testing and have put them through their paces out on the trail.
I’ll admit that when I first pulled the Dakine Ventilator gloves out of the box, I thought they were a little thin and flimsy. I mean, these things are really thin and light! Once I put them on, though, all doubts were erased as these are some well-constructed, snug-fitting gloves.
These gloves feature minimal but well-placed padding on the palms and, as the name implies, a tightly-woven mesh panel around the back.
The fit is tight, but with enough stretch to prevent major constriction. One thing I really appreciate is the finger length. With most other gloves I end up with extra fabric at the end of my pinky but not enough for my middle finger, which gets annoying on long rides. All of the fingers on the Ventilator are perfect… for me anyway. Your mileage may vary. The fit is still nice and snug, even after multiple trips through the wash.
Like all full-finger gloves, these have a tacky rubber coating on the first two fingers for secure brake lever gripping, but Dakine has also added some metal fibers to the material so that you can use your touchscreen smartphone without having to pull off a glove. This feature works ok for GPS or other basic functions, but you won’t win any speed-texting competitions. Still, it’s nice to have clothing vendors incorporate modern features like this.
Out on the Trail
Out on the trail these gloves are simply awesome. Thanks to Dakine’s dark magic, they are not too hot in the summer, but also fairly warm on colder rides. The padding, though thin, is perfectly placed and, to my surprise, some finger numbness I had been experiencing has completely disappeared. I thought that hydration pack straps might be the cause, but for a reality check I switched back to my Giant gloves and the issue returned, so it’s definitely the gloves.
The fit, grip and overall feel of these gloves makes me forget about them while riding, which should be the goal of any cycling product.
Bottom Line: With a moderate list price of $35, these are fantastic gloves that can be used for XC or freeride during three out of the four seasons. They are comfortable, stylish, and have the added feature of smartphone compatibility to seal the deal!
Note: One of my test gloves separated at the seam between thumb and index finger, and Dakine quickly sent me a replacement pair. It’s always nice to see a company stand behind its products!
Thanks to the folks at Dakine for sending over the Tour Jersey and Ventilator Gloves for review!
Follow-up: The replacement pair has suffered the same issue with the seam separating between thumb and finger. Also, on one glove from the first pair, the cuff tore completely off when I was pulling it on. All of my comfort and functionality observations still stand, just don’t expect to get more than one season out of these.