Differences between Motorcycle Gloves
Listener Chris R. asked why these gloves have such different price points, given that they look so similar. So here are my multiple cents...
First, it's important to note that just because they look similar, that has absolutely Nothing to do with the materials used, quality of construction and overall protective capabilities of the glove (that goes for all gear, head to toe).
Second, the main difference is that the Rukka Glove has a GORE-TEX membrane, the most breathable waterproof membrane on the market. If you've ever worn anything with Gore, then you know how well it works. That right there adds $75-$100 to the cost of any glove. It's simply a more expensive, costly process to work with them and add this membrane to a garment. They have strict standards on how the material is going to be used and it's not a quick and dirty process. So a lot of time, effort and money has been spent to develop this glove. Although the knuckles look similar to the Cortech, Rukka is using Titanium, whereas Hydro has stainless steel.
Chris also asked about the Held Air n Dry's for summer riding. I would probably choose these out of all three, simply because they have more ventilation since they have more textile construction than they others (even though those are ventilated). It's hard for me to say for sure since I don't have these all in front of me. I'm going based off my memory of the Air n Dry's. They were a top choice for folks who were going to be riding in wet, warm weather. These also feature a Gore membrane (more $$) and other advanced materials like DuPont Cordura and SuperFabric, and Kangaroo Palms (extra grip, but less bulk)! None of these materials are incorporated into the Cortech gloves.
Based on my experience with other premium brands (Held, Racer, Dainese, Alpinestars, etc.) I'm going to also guess that Rukka is using a premium cowhide, and more expensive one at that. It also looks incredibly soft and supple. Although I can't find anywhere on the interwebs as to where these gloves are made, I'm going to make an educated guess that they're a combination of goatskin and cowhide, given how incredibly soft and supple they look.
I'm also going to guess that they manufacture their gloves in different countries. It also depends greatly as to what their process is and do they own the factories. Or maybe one company subcontracts out whereas the other closely controls, scrutinizes and watches every inch of the manufacturing process. That time and effort always results in a higher price point.
The main tangible difference you would notice, if you had them both to try on would simply be Fit and Feel. A premium glove ($100+ price points) always seem to fit better. And for something like gloves, having superior grip and feel while riding is incredibly important.
Here's another way to compare a premium motorcycle apparel brand and an average priced one. If you put a Nissan Versa next to an Audi A4, aren't they both sedans? Why is the Audi so much more expensive? Why are you willing to pay more for an Audi vs. a Nissan? Or a Honda v. a BMW?
I think sometimes it's also hard to think of spending more than $50 on motorcycle apparel. After all, they're just clothes right? Wrong. There's far more design, research, technology and engineering that goes into premium gear that you wouldn't otherwise get in budget price points. (Also think of your favorite outdoor sportswear brands such as NorthFace, REI, Patagonia, etc.)
If you spent hours and hours creating an amazing product, spending a little more money to make it with better materials & technologies, would you then turn around and sell that product for the lowest price possible?