Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Jan. 23-26. 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.
If there’s anything retail glove buyers should be focused on for next season, it’s these four trends: touchscreen compatibility (yes, still), thinner-but-warmer insulation, quality materials (pigskin ain’t gonna cut it) and pre-curve for a more relaxed fit. Plus, a handful of brands are entering the category this year along with some questionable — or genius — technologies.
“Soon touchscreen compatibility will be expected — like waterproof in a jacket,” said Manzella’s Mike Fowler. The brand expands the feature into more of its $20-$60 offerings, including in the mid-weight, fleece Chinook Windstopper Touch Tip (MSRP $40). Gordini techs out its insulated line with conductive polyurethane material. Columbia hops on board with seven styles including the running-centric Trail Summit (MSRP $40). And Kombi tries a different tactic with its Finger Fly technology — a “fly opening” in the fabric that lets you poke your finger through to use your gadgets.
The goal with glove insulation is less bulk, more warmth. Seirus introduces HeatWave technology, which adds warmth to the glove as it wicks moisture. The company also is launching eight electronically heated gloves in thinner models, like the runner’s weight HeatTouch Xtreme All Weather (MSRP $275). Gordini introduces InSilk, a 100 percent natural silk insulation that provides warmth and breathability, and is hypoallergenic. Salomon expands its athlete-designed S-Lab collection into gloves, helmed by the ceramic S-Lab runner (MSRP $40). And Ibex expands its Wool Aire insulation into gloves, like the alpine ski-specific Side Mountain (MSRP $145).
Out with the pigs, in with the … kangaroos? That’s right. Hestra adds kangaroo leather — more rugged than goatskin — to its line for abrasion resistance. Another high-end glove tweak comes from Pittards, which cannonballs into multiple brands on the show floor this year, including Columbia and Outdoor Research. Outdoor Research will be using Pittards’s Oil Tack leather (originally designed for NFL wide receivers) in the ice-climbing-specific Contact glove (MSRP $89). Gordini is infusing Poron into the palm of its Tech-Lite (MSRP $55) to help with shock absorption.
Gloves are starting to look like they have ski pole-gripping hands in them straight out of the box. Helly Hansen introduces “pre-curve box construction” in a couple of ski gloves, including the Down Ski Mitten (MSRP $120). We’ll see similar technologies in Scott Sports’ Max Weather (MSRP $170), in all 20 of Columbia’s waterproof-breathable 2013 line and in Hestra’s best-selling Heli Ergo Grip (MSRP $175).
Newcomers to the category include headwear-maker Chaos, which is crossing over with technical, element-fending gloves like the Headwall Versatile (MSRP $38) liner with waterproof overmitt. Rab introduces its first ski-inspired glove, a multi-day touring product called the Alliance (MSRP $165). Zanier, sold in Europe since 1969, is starting to make waves in the United States with its Boa-equipped handwear. A recessed, quarter-sized dial on the glove’s cuff cranks down the pinky and index sides of the glove for a better fit, as seen in the backcountry-driven Revolution (MSRP $140). Marmot (#34037) introduces the Over-Under cuff, which allows users to choose the marriage between their jacket sleeve and glove cuff, as in the 3-60 (MSRP $75).
-- Ali Carr Troxell