Product Review

Proven: Lee Parks Design Deerskin Motorcycle Gloves

Posted in: Product Review, This Just In

Union Garage now carries the full line of Lee Parks Design gloves—both the short-cuff DeerTours and the full-gauntlet DeerSports, which use a deerskin palm and elkskin back. These gloves are hand-made in the U.S. from Grade-A deerskin—which is so soft and supple that 90 percent of it is exported to Italy to make women’s handbags. But make no mistake: this stuff is tough. Tougher than cowhide in a slide, and the material won’t shrink or stiffen when wet like cow leather does.

These glove fit snug and tight—just like a motorcycle glove should. Tight enough to stay on your hand in a crash, and they offer enough dexterity to easily fasten a helmet clasp and precisely manipulate handlebar controls while wearing. No more fumbling or whipping gloves off for every little thing. And once they warm up they can even operate a touch-screen smart phone. The lack of a vulnerable seam on the palm where the thumb meets the rest of the glove means one fewer critical failure point. If you’re using easy-on/easy-off hardware store gloves chances are they have a big, fat, begging-to-be-ripped-open-on-asphalt thumb seam.

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The Lee Parks DeerTours, on the other, hand have exactly four seams, and none of them traverse the palm. Each glove is made by hand in Oregon, and before they’re shipped out they’re flipped inside out and each seam is trimmed and ironed to alleviate any pressure points while riding.

Waterproof gloves these are not. They make chamois out of deerskin and these gloves soak up water like a sponge. But they are offered in a cold-weather option: a fully insulated version of either the gauntlet or short-cuff DeerTours model, both of which will keep you toasty, protected and in control from fall through spring and even into summer. Lee Parks claims the PCI Outlast phase change insulation has a comfortable operating range from 35 to 75 degrees. We’ll report back in the dead of swampy August but we tend to believe the guy.

We can say this, though—even the standard, non-insulated DeerTours seen above kept us comfortable and protected through the late summer through the early parts of winter. And while some companies build in features to let you use your smartphone without removing your gloves, once these deerskin gloves are warmed up they’re plenty conductive enough to operate an iPhone.

To prove that they’re not just another pretty glove Lee Parks sent us a photo of a crashed Deersport as a testimonial. Note the slide only penetrated the first layer of the double-thick deerskin palm patch found on every LPD glove.

“Wing World Technical Editor Stu Oltman crashed at 85 mph and slid hands-down for 200 feet and didn’t get a scratch on either hand!”—Lee Parks

Full sizes of both the short and long-cuff revisions of these Made-in-Oregon gloves on the shelves now at Union Garage. And if tan doesn’t float your boat, fear not, they’re available in black too.