Giro Lusso Gloves

IMG_0381I 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.

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  1. Ishi

    Dude, Giro’s late to the party with these. Rapha’s Grand Tour Gloves are the best. The Lusso gloves also look like Gore Bike Wear’s Retro Gloves. Giro should start being original instead of copying other companies.

    1. Author

      I’d be interested to see Gore’s gloves; I haven’t run across them. As for Rapha, maybe they could use a touch of competition; the Lussos are $95 cheaper. As it is I think there is some resistance to spending more than $50 for a pair of gloves. That kind of coin needs serious justification and I think the Lusso gloves are good enough to justify their price. God forbid we should be left without choices. If we dinged everyone for what we considered to be a copycat product, the only carbon fiber frame out there might be a Kestrel.

  2. 24keoni

    Lusso is the Best Glove for your $$$ I looked at both the rapha and the lusso, but the rapha has a gnarly seam on the inside that is guaranteed to give you a nice blister. Check out the inside of the lusso, smooth as a baby’s butt…and cheeper. 🙂

    highly recommend!!!!

  3. Robot

    I don’t even wear short-fingered gloves, so read everything that follows knowing that it’s just unbridled snarkery.

    I have a hard time understanding the pricing of a lot of these items. $65 for a pair of gloves seems a lot, but Rapha’s prices strike me as positively Gucci-esque (as opposed to Guccione) in their excess. I’m a solidly middle class cyclist, but by the time I buy the $65 gloves and all the similarly priced “equipment” that I “need,” I’ve spent as much on bike and “outfit” as I have on a small car.

    Are we riding bikes here? Or are weekending on the Riviera?

  4. owonder

    I thought great things about these gloves for the first bunch of rides. Then came time for their first wash. I rinsed them by hand in cool water and dried them flat out of the sun. The leather on the back (Cabretta – the white parts) dried as stiff as cardboard and also aquired a grey stained appearance. I thought they just needed to be worn on the bike to soften them up so I put them on and watched as they barely softened up and instead stretched to the point where they are now useless. In other words: Cabretta leather can not be washed. Seems like a poor choice for a cycling glove. Giro also refused to deal with the issue (I’m in Canada) and instead told me to talk to the distributor who will not reply at all. All in all a horrible waste of $65 bucks.

  5. Larry T.

    Back in the day of crochet-back gloves with leather palms, most of ’em if washed, ended up in the permanent “CLAW” shape,dried and cracked. If NOT washed, they were pretty skanky after a couple of rides. I can still remember bikes coming into the shop for service with these foul-smelling things attached to the handlebars–we’d take ’em off (with pliers rather than touch ’em) and kindly (or not) ask the customer to remember next time to leave the gloves at home! To me one of the 10 best cycling inventions ever was the synthetic, washable glove. Mine go in the laundry after each ride along with jersey, bib-shorts, socks, etc. so I have a fresh, clean pair to wear on every ride. Nowadays I couldn’t imagine sticking my clean hands into a pair of gloves (leather or otherwise) that I’ve sweated in and on, ECCHHH!

    1. Author

      Everyone: Thank you for your comments. One of the greatest aspects of a blog is to give a substantial voice to readers/consumers. I really value how the market has evolved and the consumer now has a real voice.

      I’ve always treated leather gloves the way I treated a real chamois and had good luck, though my real preference is for something synthetic to reduce the amount of time I have to devote to such a small piece of apparel.

      Robot: Your perspective is helpful for manufacturers to hear, especially in a down market.

      Owonder: I’m sorry to hear about your experience. The disconnect between manufacturers and their foreign distributors is legendary; bad stories far outweigh the good ones. That does nothing to excuse the problem you had with the product, though.

  6. Ishi

    My comments about the Lusso’s were a little bit tongue-in-cheek – however I do own the white and black Rapha Grand Tour Gloves – second season with the blacks, first season with the whites. I commute with the black pair, and ride my ‘proper bike’ with the white pair (looks good with my white Casco Attack helmet, and white D2 shoes). Anyway – with people willing to spend big bucks on bicycles and apparel (Assos for example) I don’t see why you have to cheap-out on the gloves – they fit great, are somewhat unique, and they leave that special tan that Padraig is talking about. I feel like a champ when I slip then on.

  7. Giro

    Owonder: I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a bad experience with your Lusso gloves. I’ve had good luck washing mine. I put my hand back in the glove after washing and then let it dry. This seems to preserve the shape … and the leather has stayed soft. Nevertheless … we stand behind our products … and if you aren’t satisfied I’d like to help. I’d be happy to send you another pair of gloves or something else of similar value from our product line. Let me know if you are interested and we can work out the details.

  8. randomactsofcycling

    I love my leather Rapha gloves but have to admit feeling a little dissappointment in the longevity of the finish. My Criterium gloves are still supremely comfortable after two seasons of good use but the colour faded after the very first ‘wash’. I really only rinse them and very lightly squeeze out the excess moisture. My Grand Tour gloves have so far lasted through a season and a half relatively unscathed but are absolutely impossible to keep white…..and what’s with Rapha’s sizing? Both are mediums but are very different in palm width.Leather gloves give a great feel but for an Australian Summer are a little impractical – within half an hour they’re sweat-logged and don’t offer anywhere to wipe your brow.

  9. Ishi

    Randomacts: regarding the finish – my black GT gloves remain shiny with leather cleaner – but the white ones don’t. regarding sizing – and I’m not implying anything here – my black GT gloves were made in India, and the stitching and cut weren’t uniform for each glove. My white GT gloves were made in England, everything’s uniform. So, maybe I got a ‘lemon’ pair with the black gloves, or perhaps there were QC issues with the Indian-made gloves. Where are the crit gloves manufactured? I like it that my white gloves are no longer pure-white: it means that I’ve been riding a lot in them.

  10. Sisyphus

    I bought a pair of the Giro Zero gloves earlier this summer. The fit was perfect and the function was outstanding. A glove without padding is perfect for hand protection and grip without the bulk. However, the black dye used on the palm ran, and ran, and ran. My hands after each ride were stained black and it didn’t completely wash out for days. I tried washing the gloves three times, but alas, they still ran. I was/am very disapointed.

    1. Author

      Giro: It’s nice to see you guys take such a proactive response to Owonder’s issues. Perhaps others in the industry can learn from your example.

      Owonder: We hope you’ll check in with us and give an update on your experience.

      Ishi: There’s something very PRO about an item that is clean but shows a touch of use.

      Sisyphus: The running dye is something I have experienced with many gloves that have a black palm. I don’t like it, but I accept it as a common experience with gloves using Pittards leather. I didn’t experience it with the Lussos, but did (and still do) experience it with the Giordana FormaRed gloves.

  11. Keephart

    Hi there, great blog.

    After owning everything from Nalini pro team style gloves to offensively priced Rapha mitts, I’ve come to appreciate such a simple yet important piece of equipment. Over the years, I’ve tried to ride sans gloves, but after a couple slips on sweaty Ergo hoods that nearly ended in some new teeth, I found it more practical to just add the extra insurance. So, my vote for best glove goes to the Assos Summer glove. It’s simply the best bang for the buck. The Lusso’s stained my hands and my bar tape, and caring for the Rapha’s became tiresome. The white palmed Nalini mitts were lovely and soft, but the velcro snagged my jerseys in the wash so those became out of the question as well. For anyone looking for a slightly less expensive set, Sugoi makes some solid options too, but the palms are prone to color running as well for the first few rides, so a couple washes on hot are key to keeping your bar tape fresh and white. Happy riding all!

  12. Larry T.

    Santini is an “official supplier” and a long-time family friend so folks might not take my suggestions as honest, but after trying a lot of other brands I paid full-retail for Santini gloves on more than one occasion before we began our tour company and started dealing with them directly. The velcro snagging issue is easy to deal with by putting the closure together, just like wearing them, BEFORE you put them in the wash. I put the pair together this way too which reduces the orphan problem when you pull ’em out of the wash. I’m sure Santini would recommend against it but I even toss ’em in the dryer now and then with no problems. Nothing like wiping your brow or nose with the back of a fresh, clean glove each time, then simply tossin’ ’em in the wash with the rest of the stuff. Gentle cycle with environmentally-friendly detergent of course!

  13. owonder

    Just wanted to send an update.

    Eric at Giro addressed all of my concerns and sent me replacement gloves.
    Giro also updated their website to include a section regarding care of the gloves which I think will help others avoid the problems I had.

    All in all this goes a long way toward repairing the brand image in my mind.

    Thanks for your help RKP.

  14. redhed18

    I tried two pairs of Giro Lusso gloves and both had issues with the stitching separating on the palm within my first ride. Fortunately my LBS took them back… I can only imagine the hassle if I had purchased them mail order!

    I noticed that Giro discontinued the “Lusso” and now has the “LX” – I don’t know if these are actually any different, they look exactly the same. Perhaps the Lusso name just had poor reception… the cynic in me said that the rename was to dissociate the gloves from some of the poor reviews given to the Lusso! I’m sure that is not the case, but I’m curious what the real story is.

    I liked the gloves (apart from the length of the pinky and ring finger = too long) and the obvious weakness in the seams… the whole fiasco has put me off leather gloves entirely, especially expensive leather gloves. If this happened on a pair of Rapha gloves, I’d go ballistic…

  15. dmmental

    I am now on my second pair of Lusso gloves. I started off with a size large assuming they would stretch to fit. The stitching came apart at the thumb/ fore finger in the first minutes of riding. I assumed it was my mistake for buying too small of a size so I got an extra large pair. The stitching on this pair has also started to pull apart at the same location, but has not broken in about 6 months of use. It may be that I have an odd hand but i think the stitching and material are just too weak for riding on the hoods. If they could only solve the stitching problem i would consider these gloves as good as it gets. The padding is enough for 100 mile ride but never bulky, the fit is like not even wearing gloves and they do not get a sloppy fit when you are riding in the rain. I use my torn pair for commuting and wash them in the wash with the rest of my bike clothes and have found no problems with the leather, using a natural detergent.

  16. blacksocks

    Hi @ redhead18 – The name change was made because we were asked to, not for any other reason. And @ dmmental, I appreciate your comments, and would be happy to help or speak with you further if you’d like. Padraig can give you my contact information anytime.

    Something to consider with all-leather gloves is that they can offer an exceptional feel and fit, but they do require special care and consideration. In particular, a leather upper does not stretch like a nylon/lycra upper, so proper sizing and care are vital to the life and performance of the glove. That said, we offer a warranty against defects and we do our best to ensure that riders get a product that performs as expected.

    We’re always looking and listening for ways we can improve our products, and we’ll continue to push our materials, construction and technologies to make the very best gloves possible. Your comments and support are really appreciated.

  17. Robot

    I have not tried the Lusso or LX, so I can’t speak to them directly, but I did recently buy a pair of Giro Monaco LFs (long fingered) and have really liked them so far.

    Generally I’m a bare-handed rider. It’s part of my minimalist aesthetic (he typed, laughing audibly).

    BUT…as a result of riding un-gloved over roads that most Flandrians would call “pretty bad,” I now have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in both hands.

    So I had to buy some new, padded gloves. The Monaco bills itself as padded specifically to reduce pressure on the median nerve, and as I am painfully vulnerable to the terse verbiage of most marketing campaigns I resolved to try them.

    I’ve been happy. They fit well. They do actually help my hands retain feeling (on a side note: having feeling in your hands is totally helpful when you’re navigating city traffic), and they’ve worn well.

    I’m extremely hard on my gear. My wife complains that I’m like an eight-year-old in this regard. Shoes, pants, gloves, etc., they don’t last long once I’ve got them in my grasp.

    The Giro Monacos? So far. So good.

  18. toddk

    I know this is an old posting, but had one comment to add with respect to these gloves. Generally love them. BUT….. one thing I notice is that if they get soaked they bleed something fierce and it doesn’t easily come off your skin. I got caught out in some rain a few weeks ago and ever since then have noticed that they increasingly bleed, so much so that they actually bleed through now when my hands sweat….

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