Polaris Adventure Trail Gloves
Great value, entry level, long-fingered gloves
Tom Hutton has been enthusiastically involved in the UK MTB scene since the inception of the sport. He's an MTB guidebook author, magazine journalist, gear reviewer and guide. Here he reviews a pair of good-looking, entry level trail-riding gloves, best suited to 3-season use.
Our pros and cons...
- Dexterity and sensitivity
- Great value
- Good looking
- Limited crash protection
- No reinforcement in wear areas
Mountain bike gloves
There was a time when all MTB-ers wore fingerless gloves – probably an adaption from road cycling rather than anything that gave an advantage on the trail. But over the years, as dedicated mountain biking gear started to arrive on the scene, long-fingered, motocross-type gloves started to appear. Now you see both types of gloves, and both have pros and cons.
Polaris Adventure Trail Glove © Tom Hutton
The big thing about long fingers is protection: from the trail, should you be unfortunate enough to scrape it with your hands, but also against the weather. While the average pair of trail gloves won’t offer much insulation in winter, they will take the edge off the cold morning air for three seasons at least.
Padding is another aspect which divides opinion. Some riders swear by all kinds of gel pads to insulate the hand from the bars. Others, like me, prefer none and want as much sensitivity as possible to really connect with the bars, levers etc.
Again, things have evolved. In the beginning, with rigid forks, a bit of cushioning made a big difference. Now though, with excellent suspension forks on even entry level bikes, there’s definitely less need.
Based just outside the Peak District, Polaris have been at the hub of UK mountain bike gear since the word go. They initially rose to fame as backers of the Polaris Challenge - the UK's mountain bike orienteering event. Polaris make top quality, practical clothing and equipment that is perfectly suited to the needs of the typical UK trail rider. More recently they have diversified into road and urban cycling. I've been testing out their Adventure Trail Gloves (pictured) this Spring.
Adventure Trail Glove © Tom Hutton
Polaris Adventure Trail Gloves
- Full finger gloves with printed Elastane backs
- Hardwearing Amara palms
- Terry towel wipe on the backs of the thumbs
- Silicon print on the end of the fingers for extra grip
- More info: on the Polaris website
First impressions count for a lot and these gloves looks like a lot of gloves for just £15. The graphics are spot-on and the colours are great.
The back of the hand is made from a printed Elastane that is soft and stretchy enough to feel comfy and allow for easy finger movement. It breathed well - the gloves didn't fel too sweaty on any of their outings - and it’s also reasonably wind resistant, which is perhaps less important on a mountain bike glove than a road glove, but still useful. The thumb features a Terry towel wipe – always handy.
First impressions count for a lot and these gloves looks like a lot of gloves for just £15.
The palm and front side of the fingers are made from 'Amara' – a synthetic leather – which is amazingly soft and comfortable, yet grippy and sensitive when riding. There’s no reinforcement between the thumb and forefinger, the area of maximum wear, and I’d expect to find this an area of weakness but it’s still looking 100% after a few rides. I love the little silicon strips on the two forefingers, they definitely help prevent wet brake levers slipping away.
Comfort & Fit
The Adventure Trails gloves fitted me so well that I actually typed this sentence wearing them. I have shortish fingers for my hand size and this often makes gloves a bit clumsy but these fingers fitted perfectly. Obvious try before you buy if you’ve long fingers.
It’s a short-fitting glove with an elastic cuff and no wrist fastener. I like this, as it feels less clumsy and cooler. Obviously in colder weather, this would be a disadvantage but these aren’t cold weather gloves.
Protection is pretty much inversely proportional to weight and sensitivity, and the Adventure Trail is definitely more about the latter two. It’ll prevent scrapes on the floor, or walls and trees etc, and offers way more defence than a pair of fingerless gloves; but there is no padding or reinforcement anywhere. These are definite trail gloves rather than downhill racing gloves.
I loved the sensitivity of the palm and fingers when riding and was impressed by the comfort level. They weren't too sweaty either. I'd prefer a bit of reinforcement on the thumb/forefinger but maybe not at this price. Superb value for money.
More photos of the Polaris Adventure Trail Gloves