So sweet you want to kiss them
By John Hocking September 8, 2011
Over the last couple of years I've bought about a dozen different models of gloves - some I've returned, some I've kept for my own use, and others I have given, or will give as gifts. My favorite brands are Outdoor Research, Hestra, and Black Diamond. These three companies appear to have mastered the art and science of glove design and manufacture. Their gloves have two important things in common. First, they strike a near perfect balance between dexterity and warmth. Every glove loses dexterity as insulation is added, but these company's gloves minimize the loss. Put another way, they make warm gloves that also allow precise hand and finger movement.
Second, gloves from the three companies provide excellent value. The bromide, "you get what you pay for," appears to be absoutely true for the gloves from these companies. For example, the Black Diamond Mad Max is a monster, bomber glove. There may be warmer gloves, but if so, there can't be many. You would expect nothing less for $189.95, recently raised to $199.95.
Here's the test of a glove at Dept of Goods for me. Would you buy it for full price? The answer for me, for most glove models, is, "no." They may be a good value when discounted, but are overpriced at MSRP. The exception is many of the gloves made by Outdoor Research, Hestra, and Black Diamond. Most of the gloves made by these companies appear to be worth full retail.
Which brings me (finally) to the Outdoor Research Outrange glove. They are made entirely of leather, very supple, confortable leather. As can be seen in the enlarged photo, there is a second layer of leather reinforcement across the palms, wrapping around the index finger and thumb. There is additional padding on the back of the hand and more still wrapping from the edge of the palm to the pack of the hand below the little finger. The insulation is 227 g of EndoraLoft on the back of the hand, and 170 g everywhere else. The glove has what Outdoor Research calls, "FlexAction," which means the gloves fit the natural flex of your hand, when skiing, or engaged in almost any activity. There is also a soft nose wipe on the outside of the thumb of each hand.
You feel the comfort of the insulation when you put the glove on. It feels like soft fleece, yet it seems to have no effect on restricting ease of movement. I just picked a key off of a hardwood floor. It's hard to test for warmth in early September, but I put one of these gloves on, and then put my hand into a bowl of ice cubes for a full hour while watching TV. My hand remained comfortable and warm the entire time. As the ice melted none of the moisture penetrated the glove. I'm going to add an additional measure of water proofing by treating them with one of the water proofing products.
The downside of the Outrange glove, if there is one, is that the glove has less breathability than gloves with Goretex lining.
The suggested retail price is $89 and I would pay that without hesitation. I have purchased seven pair at the discounted price, two for myself and five to give as Christmas gifts. The Outdoor Research Outrange gloves are *really* nice. They ooze quality, and are as comfortable as any glove my hands have ever experienced.
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