A couple of months ago I received a cache of Giro gear in the mail for my reviewing pleasure. Among the goods were a pair of Xen gloves.
Photo by Sydnah Swails.
The Xen is a heavily ventilated glove that is designed to breathe well and ride comfortabl,y even in the hottest temperatures. Along with ample ventilation, the back of the hand features knuckle protection in key locations in case something goes awry. The “Super Fit” palm has minimal padding, and is made of “Clarino” that is “tailored to minimize excess material, so you get maximum control and comfort,” according to Giro.
I have used the Xen gloves in a variety of riding conditions from cross country to all mountain to downhill. In all cases, I can honestly say that I have been very satisfied with these gloves!
Giro’s description rings absolutely true. The palms have very minimal material, and despite the minimalistic approach, these may be one of the most comfortable pairs of gloves I’ve used this year. The comfort provided by the Zen vastly outdistances the most recent pair of full-fingered gloves I reviewed here on the blog.
The index and middle fingers have extra grip for the brake levers. Photo by Sydnah Swails.
As for comfort in high temps, I haven’t had the chance to test these during the extremely hot months but I have worn them into the 70’s and down into the 40’s with no problems. These gloves are definitely designed for the summer months, though, so going any lower than the upper to mid 40’s will probably be uncomfortable.
Ventilation and Knuckle Protection. Photo by Sydnah Swails.
It is important to note that while these are aggressive full-fingered gloves, they aren’t specifically designed with downhilling in mind. While there is a little bit of knuckle protection, if you are looking for a full-on DH glove you might want to try something with a little more padding. If you are an aggressive all-mountain rider, though, these gloves split the difference between XC and DH perfectly!
The only question I have when it comes to the Xen gloves is, “How durable are they?”
I’ve had a small issue with some stitching coming out on one of the fingers. I’m not sure if I snagged it on something and tore a stitch out, allowing it widen into this hole, or what exactly happened.
I also have a much smaller hole forming on the knuckle of the thumb of the same hand. It is highly unlikely that I caused this one to happen in any way:
This is a great glove that offers incredible comfort and great ventilation, and while it can work great for almost any style of mountain biking, it seems to be intended for all-mountain riders. While the durability of these gloves may be questionable, at an MSRP of $39.99 they are worth a look.
Many thanks to Giro for sending out the Xen gloves for review.
First, great pics Sydnah!
As far as durability goes, I sorta go into every glove purchase assuming they’ll last less than a year. Between scrapes on the trail and frequent washing, most of mine start to fall apart after a few months. When I find a pair that’s comfortable, I should probably buy two more pairs so I’m set for a while!
Back in the spring I bought a pair of Giant Trail gloves. They fit me a little better than the Giro Xens, which I had gone to the LBS specifically to buy. After a complete season of riding, sweating, crashing and machine washing, they still look great and ready for next season.
Heck, I should do a ‘Reviews of Stuff I’ve Bought’ on them!
Yeah, Sydnah’s got some mad skills! Her shots should be featured in a few more posts in the future.
trek7k, good points on the durability, thanks for adding that.
Maddslacker, I’d like to read that review!
Solid review Greg.
@mtbgreg1- What length of time are we talking about before they sprung a leak?
I’ll be in the market for a new pair of gloves this coming season, the more reviews the better maddslacker!
@slipfinger, just a couple of weeks, so like I said, it could have been a thorn or something of that nature.
@madd & slipfinger – I need to write up a review as well. I’ve got a pair of six six one gloves I like so much I bought a 2nd pair!