For people who tend to be warm, it's difficult to find the perfect glove for high-energy activities like running or hiking in cold weather, because gloves tend to feel too toasty once a hot-blooded person has been moving a while. Yet these human heaters sometimes want or need to protect their hands from cold temperatures, wind or moisture. So, the SNEWS® crew was stoked to test Manzella's Power Stretch Glove, which the company has deemed appropriate "for outdoor activities of people who are warm blooded," according to the hangtag and the company's website.
A member of the SNEWS crew who considers himself a "furnace" on the warm-blooded scale ran with these gloves in 30-degree temperatures and also wore them on heart-pounding, chilly winter hikes in the Smoky Mountains. All in all, he reported that the gloves lived up to their billing.
Manzella has created three categories for its gloves -- warm, warmer and warmest -- and we like this marketing concept because it's simple and helps a customer quickly choose the right family of products. If you know you tend to be cold during certain activities, you can move first to products within the "warmest" collection without having to decipher a lot of technical lingo. The Power Stretch glove we tested falls within the warm category, and our tests confirmed that it has been categorized appropriately.
The glove is constructed of Polartec Power Stretch material, which has several good properties. First, it allows the glove to insulate the hands to just the right degree, providing warmth while also breathing well to prevent a build-up of excessive heat. When running and hiking in temperatures ranging from about 31 to 37 degrees, our tester said that his hands felt warm after moving for a few minutes, but they did not get hot or feel uncomfortable.
He wore the gloves for about 30 minutes while hiking in misting rain, and though the gloves didn't get extremely wet, he determined that a person should add a waterproof shell glove for prolonged exposure to moisture in cold conditions. Fortunately, the warmth, breathability and dexterity of the Power Stretch glove make it a nice complement to a shell.
The Power Stretch material also blocked wind, so users won't feel any cold breezes blowing across the top of their hands. Of course, a prime consideration is whether a glove simply fits well. Fortunately, the Power Stretch fabric has four-way stretch, so the glove fits snug, without constricting the hands, and provides a good level of dexterity in the fingers. Also, the seams and stitching on the glove are tight, and there is no excess bulky fabric, so fingers remain pretty nimble. Our tester was able to operate a cell phone and GPS while wearing the gloves.
The palm of the glove is covered with small raised dots that, according to our tester, did a nice job in helping him grip trekking poles. Another nice touch is the brushed fleece collar at the wrists, which not only feels great, but also insulates an area where users can lose a lot of heat.
The only bummer about the glove is that the material and raised dots prevented our tester from operating his iPod while running. We'd say Manzella should replace the raised dots at the tips of the thumb with a material that is more electronics-friendly.
Aside for this one suggestion, we think this glove hits the target, and we would highly recommend it to anyone whose thermostat runs hot.
SNEWS® Rating: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $25