It’s a common misconception to view riding gloves as solely a “cold weather” item. While yes, employing a pair of insulated riding gloves will help stimulate circulation, guard against chilled winds and help retain some body temperature, that’s not entirely their purpose. We find ourselves often wearing gloves when aggressive riding is on the schedule or traversing long or rough waters primarily for their added grip in addition to protecting skin that otherwise would be waterlogged or rubbed raw (or sometimes both). Gloves are tools like any other, and when properly made and used right, can be as useful as the ski you’re riding.
Over the years, we’ve cycled through several makes and brands of riding gloves and have found positives and negatives in all. The biggest points for judgement are three: fitment, grip and attachment. Beginning with the former, a major pet-peeve of ours is poor attachment straps. Either the brand or type of Velcro is insufficient to maintain a tight, secure strap around the wrist, or the strap itself is too thin and thereby lacks the necessary surface to adhere to. We’ve lost gloves (or simply thrown them in the trash) because of this one thing and we know we’re not alone.
Grip, of course, is mandatory is a glove is going to be of any use. Many opt to silkscreen the equivalent of “puffy paint” to the palms and fingers, which as most of us know, lasts less than a month or two (if that) before peeling off. Rather, we find gloves with extraordinary grip integrate a variety of materials into the palms and fingers, that not only drain or wick water, but offer the needed surface tension to remain locked in place. Finally, fitment is the great equalizer, as no glove regardless of its traction or Velcro will be used longer than once or twice if it isn’t comfortable to wear.
We’ve teased before that due to Jobe’s international fitment chart, Americans might have to adjust their ordering carefully. Thankfully, an XL pair of Jobe’s 2015 Ruthless Suction Gloves is the same whether here in the States or abroad. The gloves are stitched together from a handful of pieces of differing thickness of neoprene as well as nonslip amara fabric panels in the palms for increased grip. While the knuckles and pads of your palm aren’t as padded, thick panels atop and inside the hand are wrapped in thick padding.
The ring and little fingers feature unique segmentation for increased movement, while the middle and index fingers are made with thinner material with the aforementioned silk screened printing, presumably for some added grip. The texturing is noticeable when squeezing or releasing the throttle, but over several months of use, the printing is beginning to peel at certain spots.
The Suction gloves are cut short at the wrist, just below the palm with a wide Velcro strap securing the glove. We found the strap adequate in width and adhesion but wished it was cut a little longer to allow a little more range in adjustment. We did find the glove feeling slightly “old school” in its thickness, reminiscent of a thick neoprene diving glove used during the late 1980s. There are no drain holes and due to its thickness, requires more time than others to drain and dry.
Over this year, we’ve racked up some serious miles with the Suction gloves and they’ve held up rather well (besides the aforementioned peeling). The while panels have not discolored as we had falsely presumed, and the straps still tighten down securely. With that, we definitely can recommend Jobe’s Ruthless line to you, but because finding a dealer in the US is a little difficult, the best price we could find for the 2015 Jobe Ruthless Suction Gloves online for $68. Of course, smaller sizes decrease the cost respectively, but a near $70 pair of gloves is still a hefty tab for some.