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Loaded recently released the Loaded Advance Freeride Glove, the latest in a long line of slide gloves dating back to when our choices were pretty much home-built, Timeship or Loaded for gloved protection. With the Advance Freeride, Loaded's marketing team tell us they wanted to produce a glove that fit the mid range between the high-end, gauntlet race gloves on the market and the more price-point driven, fingerless gloves that are available. They set out to design a glove that could deliver everything it needed to while maintaining the light touch a free ride glove should be expected to have.
They delivered a slide glove to fulfill the needs of a rider refined. A rider no longer satisfied with the the road-worn work glove and hot-welded puck, a rider looking for something that can give more performance, yet without becoming a full-fledged race glove. Loaded's idea was to design a glove that could deliver protection and control, while maintaining the light touch a free ride glove should be expected to have. Silverfish Longboarding's all season shredders tried out these gloves so that the Longboard Consortium can let you know what we think about these new mitts from Loaded.
The Advance Freeride is form fitting, full fingered, and is constructed with goat leather. The leather in hand is smooth. Construction feels solid; most of the standard abrasion areas are double-lined with leather reinforcements and those reinforcements are stitched and glued into place. The palm has a number of segmented, industrial adhesive, velcro sections that provide space to position the puck as needed.
The knuckles are covered by a layer of foam covered in another section of leather. On the back of each glove is a section of COOLMAX mesh to help the gloves breathe while still maintaining the durability of the glove in other impact prone areas. Advance Freeride gloves are trimmed by a reflective lining and have a wrist strap that is tight enough to wrap up or allow room for the cuff of your jacket.
Aside from that, Loaded's choice of color is muted rust and tan, with red stitching and grey highlights. It is without a doubt the best, even classiest, looking slide glove our team has seen. It’s not violent neon-stained leather, nor is it yet another "black on black". It’s built with a perfect organic pallette.
"Comfortable". Our reviewers likened the feel of the Advance Freerides to a driving glove. Smooth, refined, and elegant: a fit that is honestly hard to match, we tried two sizes and they were true to the sizing. This is the style of glove you would expect for a high-end jewelry thief, or a getaway driver that wants something he can smack pucks on after pulling his Tan Tien out of the truck of the rolled Audi to continue the escape. It’s almost surgical glove-like and conforms perfectly to the hand. The Advance Freeride doesn’t feel heavy or binding in any way.
The slide puck is standard injection molded UHMW, the de facto standard of slide pucks. These will perform exactly as the material is expected for medium speed, minimal friction sliding. Its durability is far better than the majority of other material used for home-built and even many commercial gloves at this price level. The gloves' fit and form here really shine when your hand is on the pavement: the glove is not folding or overlapping and there is no empty space at the end of the fingers or extra wiggle room on the base of the thumbs. The glvoes don't move around on your hands and the beveled pucks slide nicely.
These are a great glove, best looking we have seen in a while, and a great deal of thought has gone into their design. However, we do have a few nits to pick. First, if you spend a lot of time dragging fingers or hopelessly clawing at the street as you slide towards the edge of unknown oblivion, then stick with your homemade cowhide gloves: these are for a rider who knows how to treat her gear as it’s intended to be, hands down, fingers up. Smoothness. Refined-nicity. If you're a finger-dragger, be advised that soft, supple, attractive and somewhat durable goat leather is no match for asphalt or even parking garage concrete.
We're also critical of the pucks. In an age where excellent puck material and after-market pucks abound, Loaded gives us plain old, standard UHMW. It works, and a lot better than those Corian samples or the cutting board you snagged at IKEA for two bucks, but it doesn't work up to the standards of a glove made as nicely as the Advance Freeride. C'mon, Loaded, give the people some oil-injected UHMW for these, at the very least! That, friends, would truly be "refined".
Finally, it bears note that these gloves are made from damn goats. Goat leather is durable yet supple and that sounds all well and good, but what we are more concerned with is the impact all this goat harvesting could have on the chupacabra population. It’s unfortunate that Loaded has done nothing to assure us that these gloves are either chupacabra-friendly or a source for a new series of Loaded Birria de Chivo events throughout the Southland. We expected more from a company like Loaded.
Ask yourself – are you refined? Are you classy? Do you push the limits while maintaining your appearance of confidence on the hills? If you answered yes, then the Advance Freeride may be your next set of gloves. They're certainly the best-looking glove we have seen in a long time, they fit well and they feel savagely elegant. If you're looking for a super-durable glove you can thrash with abandon, or to lay flat in the small of your back in a speedboard tuck, you'll probably want to move past these and get with a gauntlet glove and high-end pucks.
Loaded wanted a middle ground - something that was more fitting and simple than a race gauntlet but above the standard mechanic's glove and we think they have done that, very well. If your sliding skills allow you to be confident in your sliding game on any hill, then you just might find the Loaded Advanced Freeride Glove perfect. Check a set out and let us know what you think!