The aptly-named Glove from Loffi was "designed to make journeys happier for everyone", and I think it's a nice idea well executed. Technically it's a decent cycling glove that I was happy to use on training rides and commutes alike, and although it won't exactly change the world (Loffi isn't claiming it will) if it raises a smile or snigger amongst one of your fellow road users during your next ride, then Glove has done its job for the reasonable asking price.
- Pros: Unique, well made, nice and grippy
- Cons: Novelty element may be lost on some, they're not the warmest
Glove has a reflective smiley on the top and one on the palm side – the latter is also functional because it acts as a gripper. The reflective print is quite small and won't be immediately noticeable to others when you're riding, but if you're indicating then the vehicle behind you will spot your cheery outstretched hand. Loffi hopes this could lead to a little bit more harmony on the roads, however small the gesture of wearing a smiley cycling glove may be.
While it may look like a novelty product, Glove isn't just a pretty face; I was impressed with the performance and used them solidly for about a month, on commutes and training rides, and didn't miss my non-smiley ones at all. The lining is really comfortable, the grip provided by the smiley is more than adequate and you can operate a touchscreen phone or GPS easily thanks to the touch-sensitive AX suede fabric.
They're water repellent enough to keep your hands dry during a downpour, and there's a fleecy bit on the thumb to wipe away sweat and nasal detritus.
I noticed that Loffi is quite vague about recommended weather conditions on its website, simply describing them as warm. After enquiring, Loffi told me a temperature range of 5-15°C is ideal, although some customers report that they're fine when it's colder than 5°C. I'd say they definitely aren't warm enough for temperatures plunging anywhere near zero, so you'll need to invest further in a liner or some deep winter gloves to cover all seasons. Perhaps a thicker and warmer Glove is something Loffi could introduce in the future.
With its worryingly happy demeanour in this era of political crisis in the UK, some might suggest that Glove falls into the category of those slightly OTT cycling safety products – think your flashing indicating helmets with remote controls and apps and god knows what else, or massive high-vis vests covered in Christmas tree lights and so on. Or that the smiley faces act as a way of trying to appease other road users who might not otherwise treat you with the respect you deserve as a cyclist.
I don't think that's the case here. Loffi's Glove functions exactly the same as any other decent technical cycling glove, just with an extra feature. If you're unlucky enough to encounter a seriously dangerous and/or careless driver then wearing Glove probably won't do anything to counter their behaviour towards you or anyone else, but it might make fellow considerate road users smile.
I particularly recall riding back through Bristol one evening having just taken the new Cervelo S5 out for a test ride, and after stopping at a box junction, the cyclist next to me scowling as I pulled up on my all-the-gear-no-idea rocket ship bike and full Lycra; then as he spotted my smiley emoji cycling gloves, the scowl turned into a bemused chuckle. I'd like to think that on first impressions this gentleman thought I was a moron who took myself way too seriously, and rode off thinking I was just a moron... and that's good enough for me.
While Glove is unique as far as we know, compared with what other non-smiley gloves are out there for mid-range temperatures they're neither overly cheap nor overly expensive. Sportful's NoRain gloves are a bit more at £40, and you'll save a considerable amount of cash compared to the £55 Hirzl Grippp Tour FF 2.0. But you can go cheaper: Lusso's Windtex Terrain Red Gloves are £30.
Overall, I'm happy to wear the Loffi Gloves for all occasions – they're a good conversation starter on a group ride, and while "making journeys happier for everyone" may be stretching it, they're not going to make you appear any less agreeable to other road users.
Comfortable, well made and with a cheery bonus feature
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Loffi Glove
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
"A new, high quality cycling glove with a mission. Designed to make journeys happier for everyone", so says Loffi.
"Cycling is booming but so are incidents of road rage. Glove's smile emoji makes waving more meaningful - an excuse to do it more often.
"We want to grow this culture of goodwill to build a movement, beginning with the only glove that says 'thanks'."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Smiley cushioning on the palm
Highly durable, double layer AX Suede on the palm
Water repellent, windproof and breathable
Fleece wipe thumb for sweat and nose
Really robust build, nice stretchy cuff and easy to feed your fingers into the glove.
Not the warmest, but in every other aspect they performed very well.
Proved highly durable so far, the print hasn't faded at all after washing and the seams are well stitched.
A size large fitted me as I'd expect it would.
Soft and fleecy inner lining, and fingers don't feel restricted as they're quite stretchy.
Not too expensive, not too cheap.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very well, everything is intact after numerous machine washes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Loffi alludes to the gloves being 'warm'; I found they're not ideal in temps creeping towards 0°C, but for 5°C and anything into the mid teens they're fine - ideal for autumn, milder winter days and spring.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The smiley faces get folk talking, and practically they're also really hard-wearing and comfortable. They're good gloves with something a bit different, though I can appreciate they won't be for everyone.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not the warmest.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
About average for a mid-range glove – Sportful's NoRain gloves are a bit more at £40 and you can go cheaper with Lusso's Windtex Terrain Red Gloves at £30 (although there are no bonus smiley faces).
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Most of them.
Use this box to explain your overall score
As long as you accept that you won't be smiling too much if you go out in these on a sub-zero ride, they're very good – for milder days.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike (currently Specialized Tarmac) My best bike is: Ridley Chronus TT bike
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, triathlon races
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.