Review: Kitsbow’s Glove Collab with Mechanix is Comfortable, But Flawed

Jan 15, 2019 at 8:46
by Daniel Sapp  


Kitsbow is a brand built on making high-end riding gear and clothing. Browse their collections and you'll see a lot of really nice and truly functional riding gear, along with some that could be slightly better suited for taking the sidewalk to a backyard patio campfire carrying wood bought from a shelf inside a local outdoor gear store. Premium products and premium prices but really nice stuff, nonetheless.

On the other end of the spectrum, there's the brand Mechanix Wear. A lot of riders including myself have found that Mechanix Wear work gloves are a pretty damn good option for an inexpensive riding glove and or work glove. Browse Amazon or the local Wally World and you'll see that Mechanix Wear have a comprehensive line of gloves ranging from minimalist options to those worthy of winter weather or handling coyotes...none priced more than $35.

HiLine Midweight Glove Details
• Goat Leather
• Sizes: XS-XXL
• Reinforced knuckle area
• Palm pad
• Touch screen compatible
• Large velcro wrist strap
• Mesh between fingers
• MSRP: $49 USD
kitsbow.com

What do you get when you put the two brands together? You get the Kitsbow/Mechanix Wear collaboration called the HiLine Midweight Glove that sells for $49 USD. In Kitsbow's words, "We couldn’t help notice the rugged Mechanix Wear gloves in the wild, loved by riders but lacking the features specific to riding. We met the team at Mechanix Wear, because they were Kitsbow customers. The next step was obvious."

I talked to Kitsbow's Storm Glover about the collaboration and he said that some of the main guys at Mechanix Wear are also big mountain bikers. Once they all decided they wanted to work together, they brought a few of the features that Mechanix is known for, namely their cuffs, and then Mechanix's resources in sourcing materials - like the goat hide used in the glove. This was coupled with Kitsbow's mountain bike product experience to make the HiLine glove.

So what makes this glove worthy of a price tag that's almost double what you can find many Mechanix Wear gloves for other than the brand association with Kitsbow?


A far cry from the $25 Mechanix Wear gloves you buy at the hunting store, but there's still notable branding.


Construction

The HiLine Midweight glove is designed to be fairly minimalist but a little more robust than a "nothing there" kind of glove. The palm is 100% leather. The back is a combination of simulated leather, knitted fabric, and a synthetic rubberized fabric. The cuff has a robust velcro strap that ties everything together.

The palm of the glove has a moderate amount of padding on the outside of it that's stitched in. The back of the glove has some mesh but also reinforcements over the knuckles to help abate impacts. There is a lightweight mesh in between the fingers, and the fingers all have small holes for ventilation. The four bigger finger backs are leather and the small finger is simulated leather.

The glove is called "midweight" and while it holds a little more heat than a minimalist glove, it is by no means designed to be a full-on winter weather riding option.


The HiLine mixes Mechanix Wear function with Kitsbow fashion.


Performance

The HiLine gloves felt a little stiff at first, and the fingers on the size medium are a bit long, closer to what I would expect from a size large. The fit of the palm and back, along with the cuff, were exactly what I would expect and true to size.

The stiffer feel of the gloves gave way to a very comfortable fit a couple rides in, and at this point the gloves are some of the more comfortable ones I've ever had. The fingers are still a touch long for what I think a medium should be, but that's a small quibble I can easily look past given the overall comfort. I've been riding in the gloves in cool but not cold weather. The construction cuts the chill, but allows plenty of breathability as the day warms up.

The padding on the palm is something that I wasn't sure I could get behind, but it's pretty minimal and softens up after the first few initial hours on the bike. The reinforcements on the back of the glove have proved invaluable on some of the more adventurous rides I've been on lately. Some that involved as much hiking down through storm-fall and thorns, stuff that only a true "trail-connoisseur" would appreciate, but fortunately I love that kind of a ride, and not having my knuckles torn open and bloody was one of the bigger upgrades to the experience I could ask for.


Issues

The gloves are said to be compatible with touch screen phones and offer "unmatched touch screen compatibility" - I took those words right from their site. The gloves do work with touchscreens, however, with the fingers being a tad long I wouldn't call it "ultimate compatibility." I found myself having to constantly pull one glove off if I really needed that touch screen functionality.

I did have an issue with the dye from the gloves staining my hands. After a rainy ride my hands looked like I'd taken a Sharpie to them. The dye washed off of my hands eventually, but it did take a little bit of scrubbing.

I reached out to Kitsbow's Storm Glover, and he said that I wasn't the only person that had this issue but they "had seen it in less than 10% of gloves." Storm said that they knew there could be some potential issues with the natural goat hide not consistently holding dye due to variations in it. He said that they handled my issue just as they would have for anyone else, by offering to send a replacement pair of those gloves, or I could opt for the Kitchel, a lighter synthetic pair that wouldn't have bleeding issues.

I have noticed that with wear and a few hand washings (avoid the machine - it'll bleed onto other fabrics) I've had less and less dye staining, but still, there are plenty of other options out there that won't make your hands look like you spent the day finger painting.

Even with the seeming miss on this product due to a couple critical nuances, I think it's a rad collaboration and hope to see a lot more of this - not just with these two brands but also in a greater sense. The bike industry has a lot it can learn from stepping outside of its comfort zone, working with other passionate brands, and sharing resources to develop products. Kudos to Mechanix Wear and Kitsbow for taking a risk.



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesKitsbow's HiLine Midweight Glove is intended to be a premium level product. With that, it's disappointing to see the incredible feel of the leather compromised by the potential for the gloves to stain your hands and the fit of the fingers being a little bit off. Has that dissuaded me from wearing them in dry conditions even when I have other gloves around? No, the leather is incredibly comfortable, and they have also held up to an ample amount of abuse, from riding bikes to working in my yard. However, I can't say that I would recommend them over the cheaper synthetic version or something else entirely.Daniel Sapp





102 Comments

  • + 54
 Storm Glover's job is promoting gloves for stormy weather. That's the real story here.
  • + 41
 Brina park is using his insider connections to comment before post are uploaded to gain more upvotes. Thats the real story here, wouldnt rule out possible collusion with Russia on this one either!
  • + 45
 But you will need a glove for riding Stormy Daniels.
  • + 2
 @brianpark joking aside can we get some direct links to our fantasy teams via dashboard or something, and another thing, each rider should have a profile with all of their racing stats for us stat geeks. Yeah, that'd be great.
  • + 13
 @Boardlife69: it does say Mechanix makes gloves for handling coyotes...those would probably work for cougars too.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: there is a direct link on the left side of the home
  • + 0
 @endurogan: Jesus christ I feel stupid, and blind. Thanks, but can we get those stats?
  • + 3
 Perfectly decorated hands for my walking dead costume.
  • + 2
 how do you not become a lax bro with a name like “Storm Glover”. Good for him.
  • + 3
 I can't believe that someone named their kid Storm, he'd have got bullied to death at my school
  • + 14
 @CustardCountry: I know a kid named Storm. He became a pro surfer and got more chicks than you and I put together. After meeting him I was a bit pissed off that my mom only named me Nick.
  • - 6
flag nyhc00 (Feb 22, 2019 at 5:33) (Below Threshold)
 @NickBit: cool story bruh
  • + 3
 @Boardlife69: not if you're trump Smile
  • + 1
 @CustardCountry: I dated a girl named Stormy. But, hot girls are safe from bullying, ha ha
  • + 1
 @GlassGuy: by the guys, it is the other girls that get on their arse! Especially the girls who hang out with the guys a lot have a tough time with other females.
  • + 4
 @Boardlife69: some stats geekery coming up soon. Smile
  • + 1
 @wibblywobbly: Johnny Cash a boy named sue.
  • + 39
 "Mechanix gloves. None over $35.".....Well, not anymore. Thank you mountain bike industry.
  • + 5
 @jason475 right?! This is such an absurd collaboration. It's like if Altra paired up with Champion to make a more expensive Champion running shoe. Why?
  • + 1
 Yea...no thanks. I will stick to the originals like I have for the past 10+ years.
  • + 3
 Thankfully there's another industry that blows us out of the water. Proof that people will buy anything:
stockx.com/supreme-mechanix-wear-gloves-red
  • + 5
 @me2menow: I hate everything.
  • + 1
 @pdxkid: supreme and champion collabs exist you know
  • + 1
 keep in mind the last time Kitsbow made a glove it cost $100 and looks nearly identical to the one above, so the collab slashed the price discrepancy by >75%. Probably due to cheaper materials and the economies of scale leveraged by Mechanix. Most mtn bike gloves are made of tissue paper and cost $30+. I've been curious how a leather glove would hold up (the only reason I know that Kitsbow exists is from searching for leather mountain bike gloves).

I picked up a pair of goat leather palm, stretch knit back, velcro cuffed work gloves from Harbor Freight for $11. Really thin and light palms, pretty much as perfect as I can imagine for a leather bike glove, except not pretty.
  • + 23
 Is anyone actually going to buy these? The whole point of riding Mechanix gloves were theyre cheap not because we loved the brand name
  • + 1
 I kind of like the idea of having gloves to both work on, and ride my bicycle. Too bad the price is so high.
  • - 1
 Over 35 degrees F and I just don’t bother with gloves anymore for trail riding. Down to the low 20’s and Fox whatever they sold at the bike park in Maine is fine. Colder than that and I don’t bother riding. Ends up being cheaper per year than when I was buying Mechanix gloves for $9 every couple months.
  • + 7
 @yzedf: hot weathers the main time gloves benefit you though cause they soak up the sweat between your hands and grips
  • + 1
 Nah as you said this defeats the whole point of Mechanix gloves. I'll stick with my M-Pacts.
  • + 1
 @endurogan: you must ride where there arent blackberries or other pokey brush...
  • + 2
 @Poulsbojohnny: Well yah there are more than one benefit to gloves but i was just making the point its better to wear gloves in hot weather than not... personal preference though
  • + 1
 @endurogan: up to 94 F without issues
  • + 1
 @yzedf: ever try to climb something techy gloveless in the rain?
  • + 1
 @CullenHerring: I live in New England, everything is techy (other than kingdom trails - which suck) rain or shine. I run grips that are more wet weather friendly, mainly because I'm a sweaty bastard (I sweat when it's 25 out and I'm not in a jacket).
  • + 1
 @yzedf: I run sdg slaters which are pretty "aggressively" patterned grips, but trying to climb ledgy singletrack (especially when I'm running SS) in the wet is really hard gloveless. Not nearly as hard as when I ran those horrible specialized enduro grips though.
  • + 1
 @CullenHerring: that's funny, the enduro grips I actually like. I really like that the block edges are rounded versus something like the odi rogue with it's sharper edges.
  • + 1
 I thought the whole point was for the armor on the fingers, which these look to be lacking.
  • + 1
 @yzedf: probably has a lot to do with what grips, but there are definitely many very popular grips for which gloves are necessary if any kind of moisture will be encountered, sweat, rain, or otherwise.
  • + 17
 Who the F buys this stuff.
  • + 12
 TBH, with the Kitsbow tag, kinda surprised they are only $50.
And that they aren’t touting them turning your hands dark as a “feature”.
  • + 12
 50 dollars and all that dye on your hands after a ride? Pass.
  • + 10
 Running dye is pretty unacceptable in a pair of gloves these days.
  • + 6
 I think it’s great that Kitsbow is doing these collaborations with other companies. The dye thing is an issue but that’s because it’s a natural material with varying degrees of porosity. That’s going to react with some people’s sweat. If they were driving gloves no one would notice because you simply don’t sweat while driving the way you do when MTB riding. But honestly I got a Kitsbow shirt for Christmas (my wife is very cool) it’s the one made with Pendleton wool another collaboration. The fit is perfect. One of the most comfortable things I own. Great temp control. Can ride in 20’ Fahrenheit weather with just a base layer and that shirt no problem. Even when you stop for a snack break you don’t get chilled because wool is so good at regulating body temp. They honestly do make very nice stuff. Yes it’s pricy but it’s not pricy just to be brand label pricy. Can’t speak to these gloves as I don’t own them but I’ve got nothing but good things to say about their icon shirt.
  • + 8
 Don't really agree about the porosity/leather/dye angle. I've worn lots of cheap leather garden gloves that I sweat like a whore in church wearing and never stained. I've worn expensive armored leather moto gloves and no staining either. Having said that, the staining isn't the deal-breaker on these, but the $50 price tag sure is. Exactly twice as much as other gloves (like my $25 POC's). Gloves aren't supposed to be expensive, a couple of good crashes and even the best ones are trashed.
  • + 5
 How did someone think this made sense? Mountain Bikers who wear Mechanix are value-oriented. Mountain Bikers who wear Kitsbow like spending far more than average on their clothing.

It's like Gucci and Dickies/Carhartt teaming up to make a pair of jeans.
  • + 1
 Dude i know a bunch of idiots in my city that would empty their wallets for some gucci/carhart jeans
  • + 1
 You probably have never heard of Supreme and Hypebeast have you?
  • + 1
 Value-oriented mountain bikers can do better than Mechanix, but then "value" is subjective. I always felt Mechanix were a bit pricey for what they are. They are the expensive, name brand of work gloves. They are so "high end" that none of the hardware stores in my town even carry them.
  • + 7
 With calluses like that, why do you even need gloves ?
  • + 3
 I had to cut the huge thick pad off the palm of my glove and it made them much better. I also removed the stupid rubber K square on the top that adds no protection and inhibits bending your fingers. The Velcro latch is way overbuilt and bulky too. No where near as good as there old gloves.
  • + 2
 49$ and your hands will look like from walking dead? cmon, cheap Chinese t-shirts have better quality;
So far my top choice ESI grips without gloves or Mavic gloves;
also, bmx gloves are an outstanding value;

unfortunately, the majority of MTB gloves does not have features comparing to the SKI/SNB gloves and far behind in development, as for example mud/water remover from you masks and so on
  • + 3
 Gloves (along with saddles and grips) are one of those products where I rarely take much notice of reviews because the fit is so personal. What works for the reviewer may be utter rubbish for me or visa versa.
  • + 2
 Anybody else use lightweight work gloves from Home Depot or such? (Not the heavy leather ones). I like Mechanix gloves for my dirtbike but don't think they transmit enough "feel" because of too much padding.
The fact that theyreabout $5 a pair for the work gloves doesn't hurt, as I always lose one somewhere.
  • + 2
 I just bought a pretentious long travel hardtail and kitted it out with Enve and CC Ti cranks. Beige leather gloves would go nicely with it... can someone make some for me? They better cost 200$ or more to deter peasants from buying them.
  • - 6
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 22, 2019 at 2:52) (Below Threshold)
 @gcrider: i was thinking more in the ways of something in those ways, maybe with AMG logo on them?:
cdn.bullockandjones.com/prod_images/800/63502301_1.jpg
  • + 1
 I purchased Mechanix utility gloves for 20$. Honest they are the most comfortable durable gloves I have ever owned.
These new gloves look paper thin and I would probably wear holes in them in about two months.
I'm now always going to use Mechanix utility gloves.
  • + 1
 Kitsbow had me on these, right up until those photos of the reviewer’s palms. $50 USD for a great glove with a natural leather palm is fine. That much for a glove that makes your hands a shade of purple is most definitely NOT ok. Typical mountain bike industry quality control of “meh, it’s close enough?”.

Close enough isn’t. Be better than this.
  • + 1
 Seriously?!?! The best part of Mechanix gloves is when I pick up winter ones on clearance for $5-7 in the spring. The only downsides of the Mechanix gloves are the lack of silicone on the tips of braking fingers and a little bit of Seam sealer fixes that or run grip tape on the brake levers. I’m sure they are made in the same factory as half the gloves made for biking but mechanics won’t pay bourgeoisie pricing.
  • + 1
 My mechanix original are still my go to riding gloves. I've tried dozens of others including some of the impact line as well as other brands that were "MTB specific". When they fail, I throw the ol originals in the wash and start another usage cycle...had a thing for a while where i was buying originals if i found them for $15 or less and now have four or five pair.
  • + 1
 So when Pikbike did the first ride on the new nomad and cracked the carbon reserve rim on the first run, they said it was a slight issue, but with these glvoes they put flawed on the title of the article? Theres been several times when products have failed during reviews and I dont recall ever seeing it as the title... Shed some light someone?
  • + 1
 Can we have more articles where the flaw is simply stated in the headlines?
But for hardgoods.
For example.
Fox air shock feels great but will constantly demand expensive rebuild kits if you ride a lot.
Or
Super rad high travel single crown fork will require warranty multiple times per year for creaking CSU if ridden aggressively.
The list goes on obviously. And on.
I’m interested why Daniel Sapp has taken this route? Does kitsbow not spend enough money in advertising at pinkbike?
  • + 1
 I have a pair of their first gloves, got them BF last year for $35 bucks and I had the opposite with fit, found the palm to be tight and the fingers perfect. That being said, they have held up to a year of abusive with no issues at all, although they aren't my go to glove if it might rain. I was extremely interested to try a pair of the new ones with the collaboration from Mechanix, and might just pick up the really thin ones to try out. I love all my Mechanix gloves and hope the same for the thinner ones.
  • + 1
 I always thought kitsbow was one of those companies that charged what they do because everything they make is impeccable.
I have all of the grace in the world for companies that charge high prices for top shelf gear. No issues there. However, high prices for stuff that leaks dye all over you is unforgivable. Hard pass.fiest pair of gloves I ever bought were 100% airmatics, for $20. I've never felt the need to try anything else, and I am a gear tinkerer.
  • + 1
 The lightweight Kitsbow gloves are where it's at, I've got a pair of those and they are great! $30 or something, work well, look good and they don't bleed. These ones though, meh...
  • + 3
 And you get to look like a smurf, whilst drinking after ride pints, priceless
  • + 2
 Stopped reading when I saw how ugly they are. It's like the women's ugly sneaker trend is trying to make it's way to my hands... nope.
  • + 1
 Cheap riding specific gloves are motocross gloves you can find walking in to a Cyclegear. There are MTB specific things I will buy, but I will never buy overpriced 'MTB specific' gloves.
  • + 1
 someone should make extra thumb patches for gloves. usually that area goes 1st and all thats needed is an iron on or sticky thumb patch to go over the previous one.(not all riding gloves start with a thumb patch)
  • + 4
 Two by two... Hands of blue...
  • + 2
 Riding in the suit is the hard part
  • + 4
 Damn, Mechanix gloves are sweet.
  • + 1
 Perfect to Dig and Ride.
  • + 1
 Mechanix Impact gloves have been my "go to" for the last 10 years. They get salty before they wear out. I wash, then swap them to yard work duty about every four years. Unheard of for cycling gloves.
  • + 1
 There's zero reason to make MTB gloves out of goat skin(or any leather for that matter).
Leather is good for sliding on asphalt, not for riding in dirt
  • + 1
 Fingers a tad too long? For me they are always too short. These might be the right size for once but not at this price for sure!
  • + 2
 Their prior gloves were perfect! Kinda pricy sure, but amazing. Wish they'd kept with those.
  • + 3
 Did you get those blisters while wearing these, @danielsapp?
  • + 2
 I don’t see/didn’t have any blisters on my hands - I would have commented on that in the “issues” part of the review. My hands are just callused.
  • + 1
 They look cool buy I only buy gloves on sale for less than $15 on Jensonusa.com So I have a nice collection of TLD and GIRO.
  • + 2
 Why are all their products 2-3 times what everything else costs? I literally only came here to see the price.
  • + 2
 I own a pair. Been wearing them for months with no bleeding issues at all and they feel great.
  • + 2
 I’ll stick with my HandUp gloves for 1/2 the price and their customer service is excellent.
  • + 1
 Just more proof that these reviews are really just paid ads... oh, wait. Never mind.
  • + 2
 I wonder how many white kits these gloves have ruined?
  • + 1
 I don't always wear Kitsbow gloves but when I do, I wear my Armani shorts and Gucci jersey too.
  • + 2
 Wow and I thought paying $20 for gloves sucked.
  • + 1
 So. What is the glove in the Mechanix line that is most similar to this and how does it compare?
  • + 2
 The M-Pact glove... www.mechanix.com/us-en/m-pact-impact-resistant-gloves ....it has way more knuckle/finger and palm protection too. Got mine at an auto parts store for $29 They're a little warm and probably not the best for wet weather since they're thick and hold a bit of water on top of the hand but they've been deflecting all the nasty sh*t Southern AZ throws at my hands
  • + 1
 Gloves that you have to hand wash? Seriously, get real! Mechanix Impacts for the win!
  • + 2
 I'm pretty certain I can smurf myself for cheaper.
  • + 1
 Mine ripped on my first ride and after 5 rides they have started ripping near the Velcro strap.
  • + 2
 Stopped reading when I saw the velcro.
  • + 3
 You blue yourself.
  • + 2
 Kitsbow because mountain bikers needed a Rapha.
  • + 1
 For that price you can get 2 Regular Mechanix Gloves which are still better!
  • + 1
 *Insert Yao Ming meme here*
"You paid how much for your riding gloves?"
  • + 1
 Oh but Jeff weed will absolutely love them..
  • + 1
 Looks like you gave a smurf a handy
  • + 2
 Boo palm stitching

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