The Best Long Fingered Cycling Glove, Period.

Peaking out from my Rapha LW Softshell Jacket are a pair of Giro LX long-fingered gloves

Refer back to my earlier Point of Contact post for some context on my continuing search for the perfect long fingered glove. Well, I'm here to report I think I've found it. Of course some caveats apply: I've not worn the gloves for a thousand miles yet and they're probably best suited for moderate temperatures in the 50-70F range, but I'm prepared to go on record and declare the Giro LX LF glove is the best, long fingered cycling glove, period.

The back of the LX glove combines leather and wool stretch fabric

The LX is a premium leather glove (Pittards WR100X leather palm and uppers) with sleek styling that convinces me that someone in the Giro design department has an Italian mistress or two. Bellissima. The glove retails for $70 making it considerably more expensive than my go-to favorites like the Oakley Pilot ($20) and Specialized Gel ($40). Back when I was doing the glove summary someone asked me if I'd tried them, and I admitted I hadn't... I reached out to Giro and one thing led to another... culminating in a review series that began with the Prolight helmet last week.

Helmet, gloves and glasses from Giro

All the Right Features

The LX is close enough to a second skin for me to type this sentence wearing them. And before you start worrying about me, I'm not wearing them around the house... much. Giro's trademark 3-panel palm reduces bunching as advertised. Finger seams and stitching are nearly undetectable, and overall finish, inside and out, is what you'd expect of a premium glove at this price point. I wear Medium in most cycling gloves, but a Small in the LX fits me perfectly (the LX is available in S, M, L, XL and XXL)

There's an integrated pull tab at the wrist to help get these beauties on; two strategically placed pads of 3mm Technogel in the heel and outer edge of the palm to cushion those sensitive areas without diminishing the fantastic feel when glove meets handlebar; the back of the glove features wool-blend stretch panels and a velcro closure along with a super-soft microfiber nose wipe on the thumb.

The Red Giro tabs go rather nicely with my Rapha Lightweight Softshell Jacket

I can't find fault with them. They feel as good as they look and there's nothing above or below them on the price scale that's better. And if that wasn't enough, the little red "Giro tabs even match my Rapha red lighweight softshell jacket. If solid black isn't your style, the glove is also available in a Black (palm)/White(back) version. When things warm up a bit more I'll have a review of the equally impressive fingerless LX.

Giro may be best known for helmets, but they've got some spectacular stuff to complement the lids. Sunglasses are up next.

29 Responses to The Best Long Fingered Cycling Glove, Period.

  1. mj says:

    Have you tried the Rapha Pro Team Gloves too? The Giro gloves rate higher? I like the idea of the padding that the Rapha gloves have in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger, but am not sure it works in practice? The Giro Lx gloves do look good, but have padding in far more conventional, tried and true locations. Using wool and leather as their materials wins points in my book too.

    • MJ,

      I do have the Rapha Team Gloves. Beautiful on the outside with perfect padding but the internal seams are just too noticeable for me. I hate to say that knowing how much attention Rapha have given to those details but there it is. The Giro glove feels like a thicker version of a premium golf glove. If you play you know there’s nothing quite like a new golf glove.

  2. Jon Moss says:

    Hey Michael,

    Thanks for the review and great photos. Funnily enough, this is very timely, and having lost one of my Arcteryx inner ski gloves which I’ve been using (lost on top of Mt. Fraiteve in Italy no less!)), I was in the market for a new pair.

    Was.

    Yep, just ordered this morning on your glowing recommendation. Should be here tomorrow.

    Best,

    Jon

    • Jon,

      I’m keen to see if you agree with my praise. Gloves are very tricky and it’s not uncommon for you to find differences between individual pairs. Hoping they fit you as well.

      ::M

      • Jon Moss says:

        Well, they arrived this morning, and I managed to get out for a great 20 mile ride this afternoon on the first ‘nice’ warmish’ day of spring (in the UK).

        Initial thoughts were ‘bother, chose Large instead of Extra Large’ and they were too small, but in fact, they fit perfectly, and the fit is exceptional. As you say, they really do feel like a second skin.

        Thanks for the recommendation and one I can agree with 100%.

        Best,

        Jon :-)

        • Jon,

          I had the same reaction when I first put my pair on, I suppose I’m used to cycling gloves having a looser fit, but after the first couple of rides they slip on easily but still fit perfectly.

          +1 for the LXs it is then.

          ::M

  3. mike says:

    do you really wear full fingered gloves when its 50-70?

    • Hi Mike,

      Actually I wear long fingered gloves virtually all the time, even in the hottest of weather. I have this fear of coming off the bike (which I’ve done a couple of times) and taking the skin off my fingers. I put up with warmer hands for the extra protection and I find them a lot easier to get on and off. Weird I know.

      • mark says:

        I too wear full fingered gloves all the time. It never has bothered me when it is warm (in Seattle).

  4. Jason says:

    Damn,

    This came one day late for me. After hemming and hawing over the LX LF, I went with an on-sale knog glove. I did order a pair for my wife though, so she will be happy.

    I’ve been riding the fingerless for a year and think that they are outstanding.

    Best,

    Jason

  5. BR says:

    What is the recommended cleaning method for a leather cycling glove? What type of maintenance is required for the leather.

    • BR,

      I think I’ve answered this one or two times in the archives but here it is again. Leather gloves should be washed as infrequently as possible, no matter how gentle you are with them, each washing will cause them to lose some feel and elasticity. The thinner the glove, the fewer washes it will take. From vast experience with golf gloves… the thinnest, best feeling glove will stand two maybe three washings before it’s trash. Often after a first wash I relegated it to the practice glove pile.

      Cycling gloves are really no different, they’re just thicker so you may be able to get away with three or four washes in it’s usable life. Depends on how fussy you are. To get down to specifics, this Giro LX glove won’t last more than a season and shouldn’t be expected too. The exceptional feel and second-skin fit (my pair) naturally limits the thickness of the leather. I laughed last night when I reread one of my comments following the Point of Contact Glove post in which I mathematically proved that the cost of a pair of premium leather gloves was $2 per hour of use. By that reckoning I’d be happy to get about 40 hours of riding out of the LXs. Anything more is gravy. Now to the washing instructions.

      Use the mildest hand soap you can find, leather soaps are good too… use very little and try to apply it only to the palm and front of the fingers where the dirt is. Wash gently in cool water with the gloves on your hands. Spend twice or three times as long rinsing the gloves as you did washing them to get as much soap out of them as possible. Don’t wring them or man handle them to achieve this. Just squeeze them while still on your hands until all the soap residue is gone.

      Take them off and lay them on a towel, fold the towel over and blot them a couple of times. Carefully put the gloves back on without stretching them. Gently flex them back into shape.

      At this stage you can massage in a dime size drop of leather conditioner. Gently remove them and leave them somewhere out of direct sun or heat to dry slowly.

      When the gloves are almost dry, again put them back on and smooth them on your hand. Depending on how fast they’ve dried they may shrink considerably in some areas and you’ll have to gently “open up” those areas. If you do get localized shrinkage it’s usually because you didn’t rinse them well enough… any soap residue will exacerbate the problem.

      When the gloves are completely dry they’re ready to use again.

  6. Have you seen the recent sneak peek at CS5? I always loved the Spot Heal tool, but now it’s got what they’re calling ‘content aware fill’… doesn’t sound like much, until you see it in action:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH0aEp1oDOI&feature=player_embedded

    The purist side of me is saddened by this new feature. The commercial side of me rejoices! Talk about torn :>

    K.

    • Funny I did see that this morning… I think I was following a link from Scott Kelby’s blog. Replacing the fellow standing against the wall with more brickwork. Pretty slick, but like you I worry that this power will be abused. Lightroom 3 beta 2 also looks very good. Tethered shooting, photoshop curves etc. Hoping it ships by summer, I don’t expect it any sooner.

  7. willy in pacifica says:

    Hey M,

    I need a new pair of LF gloves. I wear a Rapha Med in the short fingered gloves. What sive Rapha glove do you wear and what size Giro glove fit best for you?

    thanks, willy in pacifica

  8. sophrosune says:

    Hey Velodramatic,

    I just want to say that I wish you blogged more. You take great pictures and you are so enthusiastic and unwaveringly positive in your attitude. It’s refreshing. But then I realized after reading these comments that you must not have much time for blogging when you have to make a living that supports the purchasing of new leather cycling gloves after 40 hours of use. ;-)

    • Hi Dexter,

      I wish I blogged more too ;-) There’s been a lot going on the past few months, most of it work related. With a bit of luck the frequency on VeloDramatic will pick up a little moving forward.
      I love the math that produced that leather glove benchmark… I might be off by as much as 100%, but even still I think we all need to keep in mind that fine leather can’t last very long (at least keeping the great feel we originally value).

      I was lucky with the Giro gloves… they sent me them to test, but I will need to put a few more hours of work into that second job to afford the replacement pair 40-80 hrs of riding down the road.

      ::M

  9. Bin says:

    Hey, Love the site but have never commented. I feel the need to comment on this post. I too have these gloves in the short fingered version as well as 2 other pairs of giro gloves. There is a major weakness I’ve noticed with all three gloves. The material that Giro uses to make the microfiber section of the gloves is very thin and soft. Because of that, after SOME use, not alot, the threads will start tearing that microfiber apart. The gloves won’t fall apart per say but there will be unsightly holes appearing in the seam. If you look at your gloves and look at the seam between the microfiber and leather, I’m sure you will see these tear yourself.

    I’ve tried many times to get Giro to fix the problem but they will simply replace my gloves. I always get Eastern Bell Sports when I call in for customer support, and when I tell them about the problem, they don’t really seem to care.

    • Thanks Bin,

      Good feedback. I’ll watch the gloves closely in that area and pass on your comment to the product manager at Giro. With production timelines being what they are you never know when manufacturers are revisiting designs and production for the future. If it’s an area that needs reinforcement, they need to know.

      ::M

  10. drsmoothdeath says:

    I’ve also had stitching issues in the same spot as Bin (with the short fingered version) and am on my third pair! As long as my lbc keeps letting me exchanging them I’ll be a happy camper. Despite the stitching issue still the best gloves I’ve had.

    • Bin says:

      Yea, Giro keeps replacing mine as well. But its an inherent design flaw. I am a firm believer in Quality in design and manufacturing and a blatant design flaw such as this across their product line leaves me unhappy. I would love to have a pair of quality white leather gloves like the Ralphas without paying the 160 dollar premium. I ordered a pair of black Knogs, we’ll see how they hold up.

      You might say I’m a little OCD. When it comes to my cycling equipment, I want everything to be well made and able to go the distance, not needing to be replaced every couple of months.

  11. Hi, Everyone

    First, thanks to Velodramatic for the kind words, and stunning photos!

    @Bin and Drsmoothdeath: I’ll contact you directly to get more information on your experience. I’m keen to help resolve any issues, and to get more data. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  12. Todd Royal says:

    I’ve been eying these gloves for months but I eventually went with some cheaper (and less fashionable) Pearl Izumi Selects. They function well but just don’t have the allure of the LX gloves…perhaps I’ll have to come up with a good excuse for another pair of new gloves.

    Great review as always.
    Todd

  13. Josh says:

    I believe Giro has had these durability issues with their gloves for a while now. Stemming from their Lusso glove which also had an issue with dye leaking off the glove.

    I’d love to buy a pair of their LX LF glove but I don’t want to be exchanging them every month.

  14. Marshall says:

    I came across these in the LBS on the weekend. I was a bit disappointed. I tried both large, per your recommendation for the smaller size, and XL and was instantly aware of the seems in the fingers. I wear a lot of full finger gloves for MTB and have several pairs that drive me crazy for this reason. My pick for cool weather riding are Defeet DuraGlove Merino Wool. If it gets colder then try windstopper shells.

    I have to wonder why padded gloves required? Improper bike fit? Too much pressure on palms?

  15. jj says:

    Hi Velodramatic,
    i stumbled across your site / blog and must say i love checking in, perusing your pictures, reading your entries and admiring all the items you’ve been buying. I thought i spent a lot but realised i spend hardly anything;). I bought the Giro lx lf gloves on your recommendation and agree that they’re fantastic, stylish and smell just like gloves should. I almost want to wear them driving too. I’m a Brit currently living in NZ and will be moving back next year – i’m torn between possibly buying an Enigma or going for a CYFAC. Did you get fitted at enigma or send your measurements in? Best wishes JJ. :)

    • Hi JJ,

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog and the products I like seem to be working for you too. I worked with Mark at Enigma by email and over the phone… I suppose I had a good starting point with a very comfortable Cervelo to work from and confidence it fit me properly. If you’re heading home next year and can wait it would be great to visit with Mark and Jim and do a fitting directly. Several readers (Jon has two Enigmas) can speak to how nice it is to work with them.

      ::M