I’ve been wearing the Giant Trail full fingered mountain biking gloves for a while now and I wanted to share my review. First, let me say that these gloves have survived one whole season and some occasional winter riding, and unlike mtbgreg’s Giro Xen gloves, they are in great shape and ready for the 2012 season.
The Giant website now shows these as somewhat redesigned for 2012, but the local Giant Store still has the reviewed model on the shelves.
When I was ready for some new gloves, I actually went to the LBS to get the Giro Xen gloves. I tried them on but they didn’t fit my hands quite right. Next I tried on the Giant Trail X model. These fit great, but are pretty beefy and better suited to freeride or even downhill use. In true Goldilocks fashion, I finally tried on the Trail gloves and they were just right!
I’ve always worn fingerless gloves with pretty substantial padding, so I was curious to see how full-fingered gloves with essentially no padding would work out. I tend to sweat a LOT and the fabric and venting on these gloves have handled it just fine. As for padding, they have leather palms over the base layer, but no padding per se. To my surprise, they are incredibly comfortable and I have had no issues with numbness like I did with my previous gel-padded gloves.
The first two fingers on both gloves have a grippy rubber coating for positive contact while braking. (and it’s shaped like the Giant logo, how clever!) The velcro closure strap, which is on the inside of the wrist, fastens securely and doesn’t cause any interference with long sleeves or wristwatches. Rounding out the features are foam padding across the knuckles and some plastic guards on the fingers that work well and that have not come off like I’ve heard about on some other brands.
After the first ride or two, a small hole appeared in one of the leather palms, near the seam, but since then it has gotten no worse and no other parts of the gloves have shown any significant wear. This could have been from a crash or something.
There have been only a couple of downsides. I have pretty long middle fingers and on a long ride the middle finger will occasionally ride up a little and get crammed into the end of the glove, necessitating pulling the glove finger out slightly. Conversely my pinky is a little shorter than the glove. This may be genetic, as my daughter has the exact same issue with her Giant Trail gloves. My only other gripe is that they don’t have as much of a snot/sweat wiping area as other gloves I’ve had. This is a minor complaint though, and including such a patch would detract from the design of the gloves, so I can see why they omitted it.
Overall these have been comfortable, durable and good looking gloves. They have survived the occasional crash, lots of sweat, a headfirst dive into a mud pit, and repeated machine washes. After a complete season of use they look “broken in” but not worn out, and the blue and white Giant team colors perfectly match my bike. The $30 price tag puts them in the middle of the pack costwise, and for the amount of use I’ve gotten, I feel like I am definitely getting my money’s worth.
If you are an XC or all mountain rider, these are definitely worth a look. If freeride or downhill is your thing, check out the $35 Trail X glove.