Apparently 'Glove is all you need' - but can these hyper friendly chappies turn road rage frustrations on their head?
Roadies get a bad rap. If we don’t ‘think we own the road’, we ‘think we’re in the Tour de France’, or that we’re ‘above the law’.
When the accusations aren’t flying in our face from the direction of drivers (who, in about 85 per cent of cases, we also are), they’re coming from others also on two wheels claiming we’ve all ‘got grumpy’ and left the culture of acknowledging other cyclists behind.
Loffi is a brand that has decided enough is enough. Launched via a Kickstarter campaign in November last year, the hyper-friendly ‘Glove’ reached almost five times its funding target and is now available to buy direct from the website.
Of course, the unique selling point has to be the stitched in smile on the palm, which doubles up as padding to protect the areas most in contact with the handlebar.
On the back of the hand, there’s another smile, this time reflective and positioned to help draw attention to left and right indication after dark.
The creators and marketeers obviously have a bit of a sense of humour. Coupled with the somewhat excessive size of the palm smiley, you’ve also got the catchphrase ‘Glove is all you need’, repeated use of the singular noun (Why wear Glove? – which had our news editor Vern almost leave the building) and Instagram feed depicting everyone from Mr Motivator to the cast of Greece wearing ‘Glove’.
However, all the humour serves a serious goal – to “make waving more meaningful and grow a culture of goodwill on our roads.”
Indeed, it’s really very hard to miss or forget about the large palm smiley. When testing these, the gesture of waving in response to a considerate pass or junction interaction became all the more meaningful. And when I was passed too close, knowing I had a large comedy smiley sewn into my palm really did serve as a reminder that sometimes it’s just not worth letting rage ruin a good ride.
Cheesy as it might sounds, ‘Glove’ both allowed me to express friendliness to nice road users and helped me not to get riled up over inconsiderate ones. I won’t suggest a reflective smily could fix all our problems on the road, but it can’t do any harm either.
My only criticism with the smiley would be that it’s made from a dazzlingly white fabric, and after just one ride this was looking a little grey thanks to contact with my perhaps not so shiny handlebars.
Sentiment and road-rage dampening aside, performance in a glove is important, too. The best gloves keep your hands warm, and ideally dry.
In this case, we’ve got a water resistant and windproof upper, with an AX suede palm and soft fleece inner. Riding early in the morning with the temperature dial at 4ºc, my hands were warm and in no danger of numbness.
Despite spots of rain, they stayed dry from the outside, and water beads off the surface as expected from a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. I did find the inside of the gloves became damp with sweat, but this is the case with many more expensive pairs I’ve tested.
The cuff on a size ‘small’ measured at 6cm in length, and the material funnels inwards to offer a narrower fit and keep cold air out.
I did find the fingers and cuff a little loose, however, Loffi’s guide puts me into the ‘extra small’ bracket so I imagine with the right size I’d be set. I’ve got fairly average sized hands for a female, so as the smallest size this might leave some at a loss.
The gloves are touchscreen compatible, and I found I could operate the maps and camera on my phone without removing them. However, contact wasn’t as exact as it would be naked-handed, and when truly lost in the lanes I resorted to removing them for better control of the Google maps screen.
There’s a micro fleece patch on the thumb, which acts as a sweat or snot wipe, and proved useful in my current and annoyingly permanent state of ‘just getting over a cold’.
At £32.95, ‘Glove’ offers all the performance features and comfort from a pair you’d expect to cost more – with a smile.
A great idea that felt ridiculous at first but grew on me after just one ride. Well executed, too, with quality gloves at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, 'Glove' is not all you need to cycle in comfort, but it's certainly a good addition.