Giro Zero Gloves
Our preference for gloves is no gloves. Most padding seems to get in our way. Most of the padding we experience is a thin strip of foam stitched between two layers of synthetic glove material. It makes our hands feel less secure on the bars. This foam works best when compressed to almost nothing after the course of several rides and washings.
The Giro Zero gloves are so named because they have no padding. Yes, no padding. Pad-less gloves are better than no gloves at all because they still protect your hands in the advent o a crash or when you want to scrub your tire clean of debris
The Zeros are appealing in other ways, too. No strap at the back, just stretchy, textured Lycra. A Pittards-leather palm seems nice on first impression, too. Natural leather should be more durable than many a synthetic palm, meaning they'll skid along pavement without disintegrating as quickly as some of our synthetic gloves have.
We received a pair of medium gloves for review purposes. That's what we've been wearing for the past few years. Turns out our hand is a bit large for the Giro's mediums, recommended hand circumference is 22cm, which is just larger than the recommended hand circumference of 19-21cm. We're in the middle of the large size, 21-23cm, but gloves do stretch and a snug fit at the start used to be the way to break in gloves and shoes. Pulling the gloves on was a bit difficult. They were definitely too tight. After putting them on, we spent several minutes moving our hand around trying to stretch them out, but it seemed to do little. We couldn't put on hands flat on a surface without noticing the glove tugging on our hand.
The first ride stretched them out enough to be comfortable. Before the ride was over, we stopped noticing the tight fit. The gloves weren't as invisible as we had hoped, but in a good way. The palm seemed to get a bit tacky over the course of the ride. Not that you could feel a sticky substance coming out of the gloves, but that the gloves seemed to do a great job of sticking to the bar tape and hoods. The back seems to either breathe or wick better than our other gloves. Maybe more air gets in thanks to the fabric weave, maybe more sweat dries out; either way, our hands don't feel encased in sweat on hot days.
There is also a "nose wipe" on both thumbs. The material isn't a "terry" type cloth and it doesn't seem to be leather; Giro describes it as Microfiber. Never quite sure what that means exactly other than synthetic, possibly of a fine weave. We weren't sure it would wipe well enough. Turns out it wipes better than the terry. The advantage seems to be that the material doesn't get stiff after snot dries on it. We can wipe our nose on top of dried mucous and not feel as if we're rubbing our nose raw.
Some people have told us they have trouble taking off cycling gloves. We've seen people struggle taking off even "normal" cycling gloves, those with the strap at the back. Our general practice is tug from the bottom and turn the gloves inside out on their way off your hands and it's easy. A number of glove manufacturers, Giro among them, have started adding a little extra flap at the bottom of their gloves for doing the yanking. Giro's tab is reinforced with a piece of Clarino synthetic leather over the Pittards extension with a rubber-esque piece on the edge of that second piece. The pulling from the tab is easy. Giro has also put some Clarino tabs on the middle and ring fingers so the user can "loosen" the gloves by getting them off the finger webbing. We never used these; never felt necessary.
What is a great benefit of these gloves is how they don't stink. Our team racing gloves only get worn on the weekends. After two days of racing, they are too ripe for use, and need to be washed before we'll wear them again. So far, in almost two months of riding with the Zeros have we had no aromatic issues. Generally, we've washed them once a week, but we did almost three weeks of daily riding with them before our first washing and they were fine.
We washed them in warm water. Basically, brought them in the shower, put a little soap on them, rinsed them out and put them on a hanger. They dried overnight and felt like they had shrunk a bit back to their older shape. Our one concern with the washing was the ink coming off of the gloves. While the ink is still coming off, the gloves look no less Black than when we got them. When we asked about this, they said it should take a few washings to stop.
These quickly became our favorite gloves, and after two months of riding, they're still leading our glove pack. We have enjoyed having the hand covering without any padding. The thin layer of leather does wonders, though we still aren't sure why. Perhaps it's because we know the glove is gripping the bars without out gripping as hard. Maybe it's because the hand is sliding a bit under the glove, don't know.
We have had one issue with the gloves. The gloves are pulling apart in two places. On the left glove, it's the seam between the thumb and forefinger. On the right,a seam on the thumb. We noticed it after a month, but neither have gotten worse after we first spotted the problem. Naturally, Giro says they haven't noticed a quality control problem, and we haven't heard any feedback indicating as such. Regardless, Giro has a lifetime warranty on gloves, which makes this issue one easy to live with.
While our preference is still for no gloves, the Zeros have become our next option, for the days when we feel we need to wear gloves.