Gear trends: 2015/16 Gloves

From the deep backcountry to winter runs and polar vortexes, gloves get tailored to the fingertips for specific tasks. See what's ahead for 2015/16.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2015 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Jan. 20 – 24. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

Go big or go home— but don’t do either with cold hands.

Glove manufacturers are launching new styles ready to keep customers covered in the most ambitious of undertakings, whether that ambition aims to take them deep into the backcountry and/or to see their heart rates soaring.

The backcountry boom has carried itself all the way to the fingertips with gloves and mittens that provide all-day warmth without compromising the grip and dexterity that let users keep their gloves on and fingers warm. Options include the Leki Mountain Expedition X GTX Glove (MSRP $160), TheNorth Face’s short-gauntlet Powder Guide glove (MSRP $140) and three-finger design Powder Guide mitt (MSRP $140), and the Tech Glove from La Sportiva. The latter launches into gloves with movement-mapped fabrics for increased dexterity, targeting both mountaineers and climbers.

Arc’teryx debuts 25 new gloves with a construction that individually maps each finger to maximize ease of movement. Leading their line is the Lithic Glove (MSRP $249), which uses motorcycle-grade Gore-Tex for a durable and hydrophobic exterior that’s still pliant, and up to three kinds of PrimaLoft insulation strategically placed to allow for increased flexing.

GT_Gloves_Arc'teryx_LithicGloveCrimsonFlare

“One of the things that we’ve taken a look at is how to produce something — particularly in this case for the snowsports market — that is still durable, still has a lot of dexterity, but is primarily hydrophobic,” said Jonathan Wong, Arc’teryx product line manager for gloves and accessories. Dry hands are warm hands.

Columbia approaches waterproof/breathable protection on the exterior (instead of an inner membrane) with OutDry technology, which is a better match for gloves, helping reduce mildew and stink on the inside. Its latest Winter Catalyst Gloves (MSRP $145) are also lined with Omni-Heat Reflective and feature Pittard’s goat leather on the palms and around the fingers to provide full knuckle-to-tip coverage. The leather is perforated to add flex and breathability.

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High-intensity activities like winter running and Nordic and rando skiing are seeing their needs met by a number of styles this year that match water resistance with breathable warmth — and, often, touch-screen sensitivity — for high-exertion undertakings. Check out La Sportiva’s Syborg glove (MSRP $50), Ibex’s Kilometer Glove (MSRP $80), Salomon’s Race Nordic Warm Glove (MSRP $70) and Marmot’s Connect Trail Glove (MSRP $60). Need a bonus feature? Salomon’s S-Lab Running Glove (MSRP $45) uses Zargun technology to reflect warmth, and Gordini’s Stash Lite Liner stows into a built-in pocket in the cuff. Those looking for a lower profile waterproof glove should check SealSkinz’s new Helvellyn.

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Of course, warmth is still key and many retailers noted brisk glove sales thanks to strong cold fronts that pushed through much of the United States last winter.

“There’s a significant cross section of the public that wants to go outside to recreate in the winter — it doesn’t matter what the conditions are,” said Joe Edwards, Seirus cofounder. Improved technology for warmth from head to toe is what makes that possible, he said, adding “I don’t think there’s much reason for us to be afraid of polar vortexes anymore.”

GT_Gloves_SeirusHeatTouchTorche

Seirus releases 10 new models in its HeatWave Plus gloves and mitts (MSRPs $45-$100), which combine a kinetic process and thermal reflective layer to generate and retain heat. The Seirus HeatTouch Torche presents versatility of three gloves in one — a hyperlite inner, rechargeable heated glove that’s fully removable and an expedition over glove that uses Seirus’s heatwave reflective lining to keep heat on hands.

Women get new designs that range from street- to peak-ready this year. “I feel like if he has it, she has to have it,” said Kate Crocker, a designer with Ibex.

Its Granite Mountain Glove (MSRP $120) and Peak Mitten (MSRP $120) offer wool insulation with leather reinforcements for breathable warmth on cold days. Marmot’s standout is the Women’s Big Mountain Glove (MSRP $135), a large, full glove with a gauntlet with Primaloft insulation and GoreTex for waterproofing for skiing and ice climbing. “We have the opening price points taken care of, so my sights are set on the mid- to higher-price range offering for new/updated styles,” said Marmot Designer Brian Loveless.

--Elizabeth Miller

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