Fox’s Defend glove is part of its thicker and more protective Defend lineup. This model doesn’t specifically target winter cold or wet weather riding like some Defend options, and instead can be seen as one of the lineup’s all-rounders for year-round use.
Slightly thicker than many XC gloves, the Defend still offers excellent freedom of movement and also packs extra warmth. It’s so toasty in fact, I found it sufficiently warm for winter days (unless it’s really wet); likely because fit is so snug, the Defend fingers do a good job of insulating and retaining body heat without the need for a thicker or more restrictive material.
Design and Specifications
Using a ripstop and a thread gauge more like canvas than many XC gloves with a finer weave, the Defend’s main material is also four-way stretch. The fabric is reasonably durable and hard-wearing by itself, and also has toughened plastic triangular shapes that point outwards to brush off vegetation and defend against small impacts.
The palm uses single-layer Clarino (faux suede) with perforations for venting on both palm center and fingers, and a reinforcing panel at the heel of the hand. Fingertips are touchscreen compatible so you don’t have to remove gloves to use your phone (and unlike some, I found this actually worked here on an iPhone). There is also a stretchy material with a finer mesh between digits to improve flexibility and airflow.
Fox’s pre-shaped wrist cuff fastens with a single wrapover Velcro tab and, while coverage is decent, it doesn’t sit as high up the arm as some similar DH/enduro gloves.
First off, considering how snug fit is, the Defends are really easy to get on and off. The wrist cuff is wide enough and the gloves never seem to fold or peel themselves inside out while removing like some, even when soaked.
Overall fit is ‘just right’ with appropriate finger and thumb length and internal diameter. The palm is thin enough for plenty of feedback from grips and there are no creases, bunching up or hot spots to interrupt comfort and connection.
This isn’t just my opinion either; I got several riding mates to try the Defends and the fit consensus (for everyone with similarly sized hands) was they are a great shape with no excess fabric in finger webbing or at the tips. As a side note, this kind of agreement is surprisingly common when testing kit, where ‘good’ and ‘bad’ gear seem to be universally liked or disliked. Obviously folk have different body shapes, but in my experience, it’s crazy how many times everything from helmets to gloves to shoes work for everyone if they’re done ‘right’.
Fox has got the right the balance between warmth and ventilation. The Defends obviously aren’t as airy as a pure summer or mesh XC glove, but they never get overly hot and sweaty and, as mentioned earlier, also keep hands toasty on colder days. The key to this is presumably a close fit that never compresses too much yet supports a tiny layer of air able to retain body warmth inside, without so much space around fingers that heat evaporates or too much cold wind enters.
Another aspect of good fit is the Defends not needing continually pulling up at the wrist to sit right or getting too baggy and floppy when wet. The gloves also continue to connect to grips as well as you could expect, even when covered in mud and slime.
When occasionally digging trails in them (which can a bit of a recipe for rapidly killing riding gloves), I’ve also found the Defend build quality to be tough. And as someone who regularly decimates gloves within weeks of regularly riding and trail building, I can’t find much to complain about here.
Fox’s Defend glove is an excellent do-it-all option that’s tough enough for enduro and warm enough for three-season riding. The palm and fingers both have great feel and dexterity and the stitching is more durable than many thinner XC gloves.
Tech specs: Fox Defend Gloves
- Price: $44.95 / £39.99 / €39.99
- Colors: Atomic Punch, Black, Flo Yellow, Sea Foam, Caramel, Red Clay, Stone
- Sizes: S, M, L, Xl, XXL
- Materials: 4-way stretch nylon, Cordura, Clarino palm, Spandex
- Weight: 55g (L tested)
- Rival products: Fasthouse Blitz, 100% Geomatic, Troy Lee Designs SE Pro