I was weaned on inexpensive crochet-backed gloves. I never went for the more expensive all-leather gloves, though a few local shops carried them. Maybe I was cheap (I was a college student) or maybe I just didn’t appreciate the style of Eddy Merckx. The 1980s weren’t really the high water mark for sideburns or Porsches.
I recoil to think what was hip then: fluorescent colors, Delta brakes and shoulder pads (though not in cycling clothing). My first lycra-backed gloves with a Terry thumb utterly negated the need/relevance of crochet-backed gloves. The change was electric-light instant.
Years went by. One summer, on a tour in France, I noticed the hands of a friend’s wife. That may sound inappropriately sensual, but it was less her hands than the pattern of the tan on the back of her hands. She had a half-moon tan that was so dark as to be unavoidably noticeable. What made her hands even cooler was her complete nonchalance about them.
Most of my body has ridiculous tan lines. I’ve decided to embrace them. As a result, I’ve been waiting for more than 10 years for a stylish glove to come along that would give me some old-school tan lines on my hands. I’ll meet your farmer and raise you a half moon.
Giro’s new Lusso gloves bring back the 1970s in all their idealized glory. These gloves are a suped up Mustang Boss 302 that will pass smog. The palm is cut from Pittards leather while the back uses even softer Cabretta leather; it’s softer than a feather bed.
Properly fitted, a full-leather cycling glove starts out a bit tight. My first ride with these the they were quite snug across the knuckles. After three or four rides, they stretched enough to fit me naturally. After a half dozen rides they were me, only tougher.
The gloves may be old-school in their use of leather, but that’s where the retro ends. A small tab at the base of the wrist makes pulling them on eaiser. Perforations in the palm increase breathability as does a lightweight mesh between each of the fingers. These gloves couldn’t be more breathable if you gave them an asthma inhaler.
The best update of all is how the padding is placed. Technogel pads grace the thumb, the heel and the top of the palm. For anyone looking for a glove that can increase comfort on long rides (or really intense ones) these things are a marvel.
On the top of the thumb where an absorbent material would ordinarily be located, ultrasuede keeps the leather theme going, even if it isn’t actually leather. It’s not especially absorbent, though.
The Lussos are meant to be appropriate for any weather fair enough for short-finger gloves, though I wouldn’t wear them if the temperature rises above 85 degrees, no matter how low the humidity might be.
Giro offers the Lussos in two different color schemes, either in all black or with a black palm and white back. Naturally, the white back is the way to go on these. Protect your $65 dollar investment by hand washing them occasionally so your hands don’t smell like an old shoe.
Once you get over the completely PRO style, you’ll keep wearing them because they are so comfortable.