[Words by Rhian Atherton]
Simple, great value for money and super comfortable, the Laguna Glove by Kali Protectives offers light to medium level protection. With the lack of padding, the glove makes up for its impressive built-in phone technology for those map checking moments or mid-ride selfies. Equally at home, riding short trail laps, downhill/enduro racing, or getting your manuals dialled at the pump track.
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Kali Protectives has aimed the glove at riders who are looking for lightweight, medium duty trail protection with great articulation. Constructed using a 4-way flexible upper spandex fabric, this offers excellent freedom of movement for braking, changing gear, pushing the dropper switch and holding onto the bars for dear life. The upper is so light in weight you don't notice you even have them on.
An absorbent microfibre features on the thumbs for when things get sweaty, and silicone print detail is featured on the index and middle fingers for that extra tacky traction when pulling on the brakes. Impressively for such an unfussy budget glove, it has touchscreen technology built within specific digits to use a phone, watch, GPS or whatever digital device you need to touch while gloved up.
This will be my go-to 4x race glove where the riding is over within minutes. They are thin, light and provide an almost gloveless feel with close grip contact. It offers great flexibility and comfort in shorter rides and races but doesn't have enough padding for protection if things go longer than expected.
The glove features a small rubber/velcro wrist hook and loop closure. This is handy with putting them on and taking them off. Allowing more room to slot your hands inside. Also, a simple solution to keeping them on securely while riding. The rubber is soft and grippy, so it is easy to grip with the other glove on and Kali's logo features on the small strap, adding a touch of style.
The only niggle for me is the velcro flap doesn't line up great with the opposite lineal fabric strip. Getting it to line up correctly takes more effort than expected, involving some manoeuvring to attach fully. Once on and the strap is in place, the glove stays in position throughout the ride. The only downside to velcro is that eventually, it will become less sticky over time, and long-sleeved jerseys can interfere with it.
Regarding the sizing, I tested a Medium, and I would say they are true to size, if not a tiny bit on the big side. I usually wear small to medium-sized gloves depending on the brand and whether they are unisex. Altura, Troy Lee Designs and Fox, I would go for Small, but 100% I wear a Medium. Bear in mind that I have smaller hands, so ideally, I would wear a women's specific fit to get the best out of the glove. Overall, the fit is very comfortable with a minuscule amount of spare finger room, strangely mainly the pinky finger. Again, this will be due to them being made to accommodate larger male digits.
In comparison, the Endura Hummvee Lite Icon Gloves retail at £20 and with this you get very similar make up in terms of quality and design but minus the touchscreen capability. Although they do just slip on without the velcro and they have a Danny Macaskill signature which could make them faster.
Another glove is the Fox Racing Ranger Gloves, they are a few more pounds at £27 for an equivalent with no padding. The upper looks more rugged and will no doubt offer more protection.
If you want a budget glove for under £25 that delivers grip performance, comfort, and nifty touchscreen technology; you cannot go wrong with these. Downside is the lack of padding for those who favour squidgy support and like to ride for hours, and the velcro fastening may be annoying if you take them on and off lots. The funky designs may well just lure you in.