Loffi gloves: Cycling with a smile
It’s been a few months since the last driver vs cyclist flare-up and for the moment, tension on the road is bearable, but Loffi is hoping to put a smile on every face and hands.
Words and photography: Colin Levitch
With a big white smile on the palm and a beaming reflective grin on the top of the hand, Loffi’s Glove is the result of a Kickstarter that raised nearly seven times its goal.
Beyond its smiley character, the Loffi Glove isn’t a novelty product like the Rubber Duckie headlight or Safety Pizza. The bulk of the glove is made from DryTex DWR treated windproof fabric and is designed to keep nippy air at bay and shrug off light rain. To be clear, they aren’t waterproof, so don’t expect dry hands if worn during a downpour.
The happy chappy on the back of the hand is reflective, so when you signal on an early morning ride, the rider or driver behind you will see a bright smile.
Loffie doesn’t offer a definite temp range for the Glove, but they kept my hands comfortably warm down to about seven degrees Celsius. They breathe pretty well at this temperature and didn’t get sweaty. I’m yet to wear them in super cold conditions.
With an AX suede palm, the gloves interface reasonably well with touchscreens but in my experience even fabrics with silver or conductive woven thread don’t work every time. Instead, try licking the finger tip before using your phone. It works.
Even with a lot of seams on the palm, there are no pinch points and the dazzling white smile doubles as padding. The grin roughly mimicks the palm padding found on a lot of road gloves. While there is some research saying the padding in the middle of the palm makes for better ergonomics, Glove didn’t cause any hot spots or frowny faces out riding.
Like white bar tape, the smile does get a bit of plaque build up between brushings but a dab of dish soap and some elbow grease returns Glove’s pearly whites to a brilliant shade.
My size large riding samples were comfortably snug and the cut and articulated fingers don’t inhibit dexterity or movement. I was actually able to tie the laces on the Rapha Classic shoes recently tested with no issues but Loffi do mention they run a little snug compared to other brands.
Overall, Loffi’s Glove is a technical mitt that suits winter riding around quite a bit of Australia and are price competitive at about $60 – depending on the exchange rate. Importantly, they have a feature no other glove on the market currently offers. Beyond just relations with drivers and pedestrians, cycling can sometimes get a bit too serious. Between intervals, racing and social group rides (that are anything but social), a bit of cheer never hurt anybody.
I’ve always made it a habit of waving to people when I’m on the bike. Fellow riders, pedestrians, drivers, horses, dogs and whoever else I pass along the way, some wave back, some don’t even bother to look. When I waved at someone with the Loffi Gloves, without fail, they’d crack a smile, and more people than usual waved back. Who would have thought!
People tend to remember outliers both good and bad, and these impressions are likely to influence their future interactions. Will Loffi’s Glove end road rage and close passes? Probably not, but they do elicit a positive reaction from those who see them, and a positive outlook towards cyclists is a good thing in my book.