Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Rapha x Paul Smith Grand Tour gloves

Rapha's grand tour gloves are the kind of cycling accessory that you don't really need right now. For a start they're fingerless. On top of that they're made of leather as thin as paper. Then they've got holes punched all over them.

They're about as good for winter riding as a sleeveless vest. Which is no doubt why Rapha has released a collaboration Grand Tour glove with Paul Smith. Warm they are not, but they look amazing with their Paul Smith multi-coloured piping. Perhaps the winter release is a clue to the fact that you really wouldn't want to mess up a pair of gloves like this by actually wearing them while riding - far better to leave them in their box and gaze at them longingly.

As you wonder at their suppleness you will spare a thought for the African hair sheep which lived on the arid savannah in Eastern Africa, its skin thin to cope with the heat while remaining extremely tough. You will consider the craftsmen who skinned that sheep and ‘table cut’ the leather, working it by hand lengthways and crossways to give it texture and suppleness.

Then, when summer comes, you can wear them for walking to the pub or something equally non-sweat inducing. Or put them on Ebay, where they will fetch a fair premium on the £175 price tag.

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