You’ve got to hand it to Mountain Hardwear’s new, stretchy, form fitting GoreTex gloves. They set a whole new bar for dexterity.
With most lightweight gloves, you usually have two options: Some are water- and wind-resistant and generally ill-fitting, and the rest are form-fitting but not all that helpful on wet days and in cold winds.
That’s what immediately stood out about Mountain Hardwear’s new WindLab GoreTex Infinium Stretch Glove. It’s windproof, water resistant, and breathable, but it fits like a latex glove. That gives it a dexterity I have never seen in a lightweight glove like this.
You can tie your shoelaces, or pick up a quarter off the sidewalk. Or rummage around for your key in a backpack. You can live your daily life without constantly taking your gloves off. You could just about do surgery in these.
The other upside of a really close fitting glove is the lack of air gaps, which improves breathability. It’s true these gloves never feel clammy or humid.
The key technology is GoreTex’s new Infinium Stretch laminate. Unlike most laminates, which are adhered to fabric and then cut and stitched into the shape of a garment, Infinium Stretch is pre-shaped on a 3-D form through a thermo-molding process. Gore-Tex says that process reduces the amount of seams required by 30-percent, with 35-percent less material used (i.e., less weight, less waste).
I think there may be one downside of the close fitting nature of these gloves. I noticed my hands were often significantly colder while wearing them that I would have expected. I was puzzled by this until I realized that the closer fit means there is a lot less dead air trapped inside the glove, and trapped dead air keeps you warmer. I also wondered if the close connection with the fabric increased the conduction, putting the skin directly in contact with a larger surface area of cold fabric.
Don’t get me wrong, I love these gloves. They’ve become my go-to gloves this spring for uphill ski touring, trail runs, and cool-weather rides. I started using them as my liner glove inside ski gloves because they were so easy to slip into the outer glove and because they still breathe really well.
I’m not sold on the “touchscreen compatible Stimulus” technology for interfacing with smartphones. It sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t, and never works for thinks like TouchID. I find myself taking off my gloves every time I need to answer a text, which is a bummer.
Mountain Hardwear isn’t the only company rolling out GoreTex Infinium Stretch gloves this year. You’ll also see it in products from about 20 brands, including Hot Shot, Kombi, Merrell, using different design approaches–lightweight softshell, fleece gloves, etc.
Definitely give these a try. Companies like to call every product a game changer, but these gloves are working on a much higher level than your average lightweight glove.
If you decide to buy these gloves, please consider doing so from one of our affiliate partners, like REI, Moosejaw, or Backcountry. A small portion of your purchase will go to support our work.