Running Gloves (and Mittens) Reviewed

Non Gear Girl Allison PattilloAs I watch it snow from my office window (yeah it rocks!), I thought it high time to share my thoughts on some new gloves and liners I have sitting at the ready. I’ve tested them on cool cloudy fall runs, bluebird Colorado snow days and while climbing a glaciated peak in Iceland, but there is no way in hell I’m running in this weather. For those of you that relish sideways, face-pelting, blowing snow, pick a pair and get outside! I’m going to put another log on the fire.

Below, I review SmartWool Glove Liners, Brooks Pulse Lite Gloves, Loki Liner Gloves, Burton Polartec Power Stretch Gloves and 180s Ultralite CRG.

SmartWool Glove LinersSmartWool Glove Liners ($18)
SmartWool Glove Liners are great, go-to, quality, no-frills, wool liners for wearing on their own or layering under wind-proof gloves on really bitter days. Breathable SmartWool fibers regulate temperature, plus give you all the benefits of wool—my favorite being they keep you warm even when they’re sweaty and they smell much fresher than many of my other gloves.

Brooks Pulse Lite Glove ($18 for updated version with retractable MP3 thumb pad, $10 for basic version)
Brooks Pulse Lite GlovesThe Brooks Pulse Lite Gloves are lightweight waffle-weave gloves that feature a retractable thumb pad to answer your phone or change your tunes while on the go, and grip pads on the thumb and forefinger to operate your watch without removing your gloves. Articulated fingers and good breathability with quick drying capabilities keep you comfortable on cool mornings in warmer climates and mild winter days elsewhere. They have a substantial ribbed wrist cuff to provide a snug fit. But for those of us with skinny wrists, it’s a bit of a bother—yes, I speak from personal experience. Granted, this is an issue of personal preference, and with a $10 price tag for the basic version, they are definitely worth it for a lightweight running glove.

Loki Liner Gloves ($19)
Loki Liner GlovesLoki Liner Gloves are good basic, yet sleek liners for those who prefer polyester to wool. They are super soft, have a bit of grip on the palm, making them comfy with poles and fit well. (I could have said like a glove, but chose to spare you.) My only complaint is the location of the decorative white ribbed strip on the forefinger—it just isn’t pleasant for wiping my nose. And yes, I farmer blow, but I finish with a quick forefinger wipe. However, I like the liners enough that I switch to a thumb wipe when I wear them. They’re also a great weight for high intensity activities in cold climates–they were all I needed skinning up the mountain on a recent sunny 20 degree day.

Burton Polartec Power Stretch Glove ($20)
Burton Polartec Power Stretch GlovesBurton’s Polartec Power Stretch Gloves fall under the two-for-one category. No Burton snowboards has not started making running clothes, but these spring-boarding gloves do make for rather sweet winter running gloves. They are definitely made for cold running days and kept my hands warm, even in heavy wet snow. They have sticky rubber palms, so they don’t get holes when you do knuckle dragging snowboard tricks in the park, but the grip also ensures running poles won’t slip and allows you to operate your watch while staying warm. (Plus, you can pretend you are Spiderman—add some Spidey Underoos and you’re set!) While they may not be the most traditional choice, if you are a boarder and a runner definitely grab a pair—they run snug, so size up or try on for size. Go, Spidey, go!

180s Ultralite CRG ($25, aka convertible running glove/mitten)
180s Ultralite CRG180s Ultralite CRG’s offer truly amazing warmth and comfort for being, well, so ultralite. There is no bulk, even with the wind and waterproof mitten hood tucked away in the cuff when not in use—handy feature! The index finger and thumb have Tec Touch 2.0 fabric pads capable of operating most requisite MP3 players or phones so you don’t have to expose even a finger tip to the cold. The thumb and hand back have soft terry fabric for full-on nose wiping and the palms are mesh for nice heat and moisture management. A patch on the mitten hood features no-slip grip material so you won’t drop your running or skiing poles, and there’s reflective detailing for those of you striding it out in the cold and the dark. I first tested these on a fairly chilly day and was certain they wouldn’t offer enough warmth, but I was wrong. As soon as my blood got pumping, my hands warmed up and were comfortable without being too hot or sweaty.

Call for Comments
What are your favorite winter running gloves? Do you go with $3 gloves from the garden center or convenience store or do you go with something made specifically for the task at hand? Anyone living in a cold enough climate for two hand layers? If so, tell us about your set up!

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[Disclosure: The items reviewed above were provided by their respective companies for testing. Also, links above to Amazon.com and Backcountry.com are part of an affiliate program that helps support iRunFar.com.]

There are 14 comments

  1. ChrisG

    I have a form of Raynaud's Syndrome (cold hands) so I own a lot of gloves. My favorites: the 180s Convertable Glove/Mitten and el-cheapo ($1 / pair) acrylic gloves. If the acrylic glove get wet but I can always wear them inside-out. At $1/pair, there are no worries if I lose a glove.

  2. solarweasel

    I am a huge fan of the Smartwool Liners. Here in Seattle I wear them almost every day on a run or bike-commuting when the temp is below 60.

    There are a few days however when we get some nasty cold rain/wind and glove liners are not meant to be impervious to water, so they quickly get damp and the wind chills my hands. Anyone know of a windbreaking glove 'shell' that is nothing more than that? (i.e. minimal bulk/insulation, just keeps wind out).

    Thanks

  3. Bill

    The stretchy 3-pair for $2.99 from Wal-Mart gloves, which work for me on runs into the low teens (fahrenheit). Even then, I peel them off a few miles into a run. And if they fall out of my waistband or fuel-belt, it just doesn't matter.

    For cycling into those temps, neoprene Louis Garneau gloves are great down to about 20F, then a thin windbreaking shell over them for temps below that.

  4. Shane Jones

    I have some thin Sugoi wind mitts that work great over a liner glove. I also got some Backpacking Light FeatherLite Vapor Mitts this winter. I used them in some single digit to below freezing runs recently and they are awesome.

  5. Steve

    I also have Raynauds so I'm always looking for nice gloves. My current favorites are the el cheapo acrylic for warmer days, $3 army surplus wool liners or Pearl Izumi gloves with a retractable mitt for cooler days, Manzella Hi Viz hatchback (like the PI but heavier fleece) for cold days, and OR Mazama mitts for the coldest days. I'll often use the chemical handwarmers for longer runs because my hands just can't stay warm for that long.

  6. JC

    I've been using the Manzella windstopper gloves this winter which I really like (not too tight, not too loose). Comfy on their own down to @ 25 degrees, then just wear the el-cheapo stretchy gloves/liners underneath for colder. They also have a hot pack pocket sewn into the glove if you want to add a warmer.

  7. Kim Neill

    Great gloves for Raynaud's hands and temps below 40: Outdoor Research Flurry (wool outer, fleece inner) or heavy duty ragg wool w/thinsulate. Also use polartec powerstretch (Manzella, Sporthill, OR) for temps 40+.

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