Yes, it's December, so reviewing what Dakine is claiming to be "the world's thinnest, lightest, most comfortable glove" seems a bit out of sync with the days getting shorter and colder. But for those who appreciate a minimalist glove with as much ventilation as possible, the soon-to-be released Dakine Concept is definitely worth noting, regardless of the season.
An impressively thin, moisture-wicking, four-way stretch nylon mesh makes up the Concept's back panel, and ventilates the top of your hand as though it's not even covered. But coverage is uninterrupted, and offered enough sun protection to keep our test pilot's hands from tanning or burning without added sunscreen (Dakine isn't claiming any UV protection rating for the material).
The more impressive aspect, though, is the vented, seamless silicone mesh palm. This thin, airy section fits like a second layer of skin, grips impressively well without bunching up, and allows airflow to parts of the hand that usually get missed with other gloves.
Once your hands begin to sweat, it becomes more apparent how well-ventilated the Concept's palms and fingers are – a near-tingling sensation highlights these areas as the wicking/cooling effect works. In dry, Colorado air, palm and finger sweat never made it through the thin layer onto the grips, either.
Feature-wise, the slip-on Concepts are about as simple as they come. However, they do include lightweight microfleece thumb panels for snot mitigation and touchscreen compatible fingertips so you don't have to remove the gloves to post about how epic your ride is.
So, if they're so thin and light, how durable are they? Good question. We logged approximately 20 hours of proper mountain biking in them, complete with a few panicked tree grabs on techy climbs, and the gloves look as good as they did when they arrived. But having only had time for less than a dozen rides so far, it's tough to predict whether they'll last a full season or survive ground contact at speed.
Overall, the Concept is a fantastic option for riders who appreciate minimalist handwear. It won't be for everyone – there's a reason companies still offer gloves with gelled palms – but for riders who want the tactile feel of going gloveless with the benefit of sweat wicking, a little extra grip, and sun protection, it's absolutely worth a try.
The Dakine Concept should be available from February 2013, with UK pricing to be confirmed.