Alpinestars Highlands gloves review

Review
Alpinestars Highlands gloves

Overall SBS Rating 74 /100
Reviewed by: James Tewnion
   VERSTOMD
Review Conditions
Mileage
2000
Seasons
Summer-Autumn
Motorcycle
Kawasaki KLX250S

The Alpinestars Highlands lightweight summer gloves are similar in design to a motocross glove, but with a leather palm and more armour. They are the sort of gloves that will appeal for adventure touring and riding on those hot summer days that seem to be few and far between.

For such a short summer glove, there is a lot of armour – hard shells on the knuckles and fingers along with soft armour on the palm. This armour is substantial, and left me reassured it would protect my hands in a spill. It’s also unobtrusive and never caused me any issues while riding.

There’s a balance with these gloves as the leather palm and hard armour is joined by lightweight mesh panels to allow air to flow through and cool hands.

After getting over the stick from my workmates for wearing brown gloves (conformists will be pleased to know they’re also available in black), the first thing I noticed were the seams along each thumb, which were very apparent while riding.

Five miles into my first ride in these gloves, I was ready to take them off. The seams were digging into my skin and causing me discomfort, but I decided to perservere in the name of product reviewing, to see if they would break in.

Thankfully, after my first few rides the construction did soften up and the gloves became perfectly comfortable. These are not at the top of my list of most comfortable gloves, but that’s to be expected when the amount of armour means flexibility is reduced.

The positive aspect of having deeper seams is that they have the potential to be stronger and more resistant to bursting, because the rows of stitching aren’t so close to the end of the leather. It reduces comfort slightly, but gives me more confidence the gloves won’t fall apart in an off.

There were no such comfort concerns around the goatskin palm, which gave the gloves great feel and made it easy to operate the controls on my bike.

The mesh panels on the back of each hand allow a generous amount of airflow through and they kept my hands perfectly cool though a whole summer’s use both on the road and while trail riding on my Kawasaki KLX250S.
It might be obvious, but these gloves are only suitable for dry summer rides. On the few occasions it was cold or raining, my hands very quickly became cold and wet. If there is a chance of the weather turning and you’re off on a trip it’s best to pack a second pair of gloves.

An extra feature I really appreciated on the gloves are the touchscreen-sensitive fingertips. The ability to use a phone or GPS without taking your glove off might sound small, but it makes a big difference. It is especially useful for setting a phone’s sat-nav when touring, without the faff of taking gloves on and off all the time.

After the discomfort of the initial break-in period eased, the Alpinestars Highlands have proven themselves to be a very good pair of gloves, which are incredibly well made.

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74/100
Short summer gloves scores
  1. Fit & Comfort
  2. Protection
  3. Ventilation
  4. Build Quality
  5. Features

Features

    1. Knuckle armour
    2. Wrist restraint
    3. Air intakes
    4. CE approval
    1. Scaphoid sliders
    2. Cuff restraint
    3. Outside hand cover
    4. Cantilevered armour
    5. Finger bridge
    6. Waterproof membrane

Fit & Comfort

12/ 20
I normally wear size large, but had to go up to extra large for these. Even then the opening is very narrow and it’s difficult to get my hands into the gloves. The initial break-in period was uncomfortable and the narrow cuff means won’t suit everyone.

Protection

18/ 20
There’s leather protection at the palm and plenty of impact armour. I would have liked some hard armour on the palm to act as a slider in the event of a spill.

Ventilation

18/ 20
The airflow is very good. Some perforation on the palm would be helpful, but it might affect the safety performance.

Build quality

16/ 20
The construction quality is very good, sometimes at the risk of compromising comfort.

Features

10/ 20
Not a feature-heavy glove but it’s not supposed to be. It has everything you’d want in a lightweight glove.