How long should gloves last?

Got out for a nice 15-mile ride today — first time I’ve been on the bike in a week.  Felt great.  In fact, I think the ride was just what I needed to chase the last vestiges of my cold away.

Man, you can sure tell when you’ve been off the bike for several days.  I didn’t really feel like my old self until I had put down about eight miles.  But then, the legs seemed to loosen up and everything was all right.  I even chased down a rider some distance ahead of me, caught him and smoked him!  Nice to be the smoker for a change.  (Once again, he had no idea we were in a race.  But he was wearing a cycling jersey and shorts, and rode a pretty nice Specialized Roubaix.)

Today I wore the gloves that have been relegated to back-up status for the past few weeks.  They’d been showing signs of wear, so I got new gloves to wear on the century.  In fact, the new gloves were the ones I was wearing when I fell, and they did a great job of protecting my hands from the pavement.

Today’s ride reminded me why the previous pair is just used for back-up.  They’ve really deteriorated.  I bought them when I bought the bike, back in February — so that means I’ve had them for eight months.  And they’re shot.

The left one is in about the same condition.

Now, these are Pearl Izumi gloves.  I think PI makes good quality stuff, and I own a number of different items of theirs.  But eight months?  I’d a thunk these would last longer.  As I said, they’re still  good enoughfor back-up, or for short rides like today’s, but probably won’t be for much longer. Their replacements are also by Pearl Izumi, but a higher-priced model, with thicker padding, especially around the heel of the hand.

I wash my gloves about every two weeks, maybe more often in the summer when my hands get so sweaty they soak right through the synthetic leather palm .  I wonder if the washings contribute to their shorter life span?

What’s your experience with glove wear?


  1. says

    I’ve had good luck with the Canari Paceline crochet-back gloves ($3.63 per pair last time I bought from Nashbar). No fancy gel padding, but they’re certainly decent, and they’ve lasted longer than the Cannondale gloves I had previously.

  2. rainycamp says

    Dana, I’ve only used Road Bike Review to check out bikes. Should have used it for the gloves, too. If I had seen it earlier, I probably wouldn’t have bought them. Yes, they are the Gel Lites.

  3. says

    You addressed the one point I was going to make with your last paragraph – about washing. I had a great pair of leather-palmed gloves that were almost bullet-proof, until I rode the Seagull Century in MD, with the first 2 hours in thick fog. The gloves never recovered from the soaking they got. As funky as it may be, I stick to hitting my gloves with a good deordorizer every couple of weeks rather than washing them.

  4. says

    I don’t really expect gloves to last long but I don’t think I’ve ever “chewed” threw a pair of them. I have 2 pair of Performance branded gloves that I paid less than $8 for per pair. They work well and have a full terry cloth back. They’re not fancy at all..not really much padding but riding without them feels funny since the bar feels slippery without them!

    • Tim says

      I have some Specialized gloves too. Bought them in a Hong Kong night market so I am not sure if they are the real deal but they work really well. I like the mini straps between the fingers so that I can take them off without pullling them inside out.

  5. rainycamp says

    The PI Gel Lites even have washing instructions: gentle cycle, cold, air dry. The “leather” palms are synthetic, so washing should be OK.
    Paragon, I may try the warranty thing — I just assumed gloves would wear out too.

  6. says

    I have the same — or at least similar — gloves, and they’ve held up well for me. But I don’t wash them as frequently as you do, and when I do I always hang them to dry.

  7. KK says

    I also have these gloves. Every two weeks or so I hand wash them and hang dry. They’re stayed in great shape. I second the suggestion to ask PI for a replacement pair.

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