Saturday, March 07, 2020

La Sportiva Winter Running Gloves Review: Loaded for Winter!

Article by Ryan Eiler, Jeff Valliere, and Sam Winebaum

La Sportiva Winter Running Gloves ($65)
  • Index finger touch screen sensitive
  • Stuffable 4 finger overmitt
  • Key pocket
  • Cuff openings for watch visibility 

Sam: The La Sportiva Winter Running Glove is the most “loaded” run glove as I have ever used with light insulation, a silvery four finger over mitt, key pocket, index finger phone sensitivity, a split cuff so a watch can be worn and seen on either wrist, as well as silicone dots on the palm and fingers. How does it all work? Is it practical and worth a fairly steep price for a run glove?

First Impressions and Fit
Sam: A very flashy looking glove in Sportiva yellow/black and that is before you pull out the silvery reflective overmitt! The feel is soft and light. I was worried they might not be warm enough in glove mode below 30 F or so but they actually were down into the low 20’s and windy without the use of the overmitt.

Jeff V:  We first laid eyes on these at Outdoor retailer and both Sam and I immediately gravitated toward them.  I was initially attracted to the overmitt, yet once I received a pair, noticed the ports for GPS watch, as well as key pocket on each wrist.  I was initially distracted however by the very pronounced seams on the inside of the glove.
Sam:  I have small hands just below a medium size in most gloves and here the medium fit was generous and just about right for me. I could have easily put a thin liner under them. The split cuff made them easier than most cuffed gloves to pull on with the added bonus of easily enough pulling them over those big GPS sports smart watches.

Jeff V:  I also have small hands and while a small may work, I prefer medium in general as to have enough finger length and just a little bit of room for insulative air inside.
Ryan:  The sharp looks of the glove definitely caught my eye, and as soon as I saw the silvery wind hood come out of the pocket, they became a “must have” for my always-cold fingers.  For as much function as they provide, they manage to stay slim enough to still look like running gloves.  I’d describe most of the glove material as a thin, stretchy, soft almost neoprene, with a slightly brushed/velvety feel inside.  Based on the various materials, seams, and design features used, they didn’t take any shortcuts on this glove. Case in point: reflective strips on the outer edges of the index and pinkie fingers, a split-collar through which your watch can protrude, grippy dots across the palm and fingers, a key pocket, and a smartphone-compatible index finger material.
I agree with Jeff’s comment about the noticeable seams on the inside of the glove.  At first, they seemed like they may be an issue, but it turns out (spoiler alert) that they aren’t.  In terms of size, I’m the poster child for size medium (or ‘perfectly average’, if you’d like), and these mediums were perfectly sized for my hands.

Sam: I have run and nordic skied with the Winter Running . They are comfortable, warm, soft and light. In the photo below I skied for 3 plusl hours in 22 F / -6 C weather with pretty stout 12 mph / 20 km/hr “breezes”. My hands never got cold at the start as I fiddled with gear, I stayed warm skiing with the glove staying quite dry. While the fingers and palms are not as robust as a nordic glove for occasional use they should be fine. While the glove is a bit on the large size for me I had great grip on the pole with enough room to move my digits.
I have been equally impressed on the run in similar temperatures and except for momentarily at the start of a few runs have never had to use the overmitt but for sure am glad it is available if need be!

Jeff V:  The bulk of my running is in temperatures ranging from 20-35 degrees F and the Winter Running Gloves were about ideal for that range, though not too warm for temps up to 50 degrees F.  In the low 20’s, I am fine in them if running and have a decent output to produce heat, but if just hiking, would prefer something warmer. The overmitt does help a little bit, though mostly to keep the wind and snow out and actual heat containment is marginal.
The watch port is an excellent idea, though it takes a little bit of manipulating to work it through, so best if you plan to keep the gloves on and not ideal if taking gloves off with any regularity.  The key pocket is a neat idea, but I can barely fit my car key in there and I am not sure I would trust it without a clip.

The internal seams within the glove are especially pronounced and I was quite focused on them at first, though I adapted to them over time and became less aware.
Touch reactivity on my iPhone is good, at least for maybe a quick left swipe and photo, but anything beyond that, I find just about any glove to be a bit slower and more clumsy, so prefer to just remove gloves or wait.

While not waterproof, I have had no issues with them getting wet dabbing my hands in the snow on steep climbs (or falling in the snow periodically).

Ryan:  I’ll start by saying that I’m the type whose hands are almost always cold.  I live and train in Boston, where the winters are not only cold, but very windy.  My solution for blocking the wind prior to these was to pull my arm warmers down over my hands, at the expense of having no use of my fingers.
The wind hood on these is a game changer for me.  On a day with 10mph+ winds, I found that they make a meaningful difference – and they aren’t as sweaty as you’d think, given that the palm side of your hand can still breathe.  
My arm warmers are now exclusively arm warmers, and on a serious winter day in Boston, I’ll stash some Hot Hands into the silver hoods, and then pull them over my fingers, ensuring a few hours of wind-proof warmth.  The wind hoods even have a little pull tab, to make it easy to take them on and off. Stashing them into the pocket on top of your hand is a cinch, whenever you don’t need them. I think most folks would be fine down to around 20F with these gloves, but personally, given the lack of insulation I’d only use them down to 30 degrees before I’d need something to supplement them.
I wouldn’t go drafting an email with these gloves, but the touch sensitivity of the index finger was definitely adequate for checking a text message or tracking the impeding rain storm.  The key pockets underneath the wrist are a thoughtful touch, and a nice place to carry a single key. I agree with Jeff though, that it’d be tough to fit a chunky (i.e., car) key, and there isn’t a securement clip for full peace of mind.  As for the internal seams, yes, they’re initially noticeable, but they’re soft enough that after a few minutes, they fade into the background. Having an opening on the upper portion of the collar for your watch makes it easy to view splits without having to fumble around with your sleeve or glove.

Conclusions and Score

Jeff:  Overall I really like the Winter Running Gloves, as they are well featured, reasonably warm and high quality.  The overmitt adds a bit of warmth and protection and the port for the GPS watch is a nice touch. A great option for winter running, nordic skiing or just about any higher output activity in the 20-50 degree range.

Ryan:  I won’t wear anything else for running in 30-50 degrees.  And even then, a little Hot Hands pack in the wind hood would probably keep you warm into the teens, if you’re moving around.  These were well thought-out gloves, which fit and function as well as any I’ve ever worn for running. They aren’t heavily insulated, but on breezy days, the wind hood makes a huge difference and helps trap heat.
Ryan’s Score:  9.5/10. Only deduction is for inner seam feel.
Sam: Just what I have been seeking. A warm enough glove that breathes well and can be augmented with the overmitt. The touch screen sensitivity, watch ports, and reflectivity are all nice bonuses. I like the 4 finger mitt as it allows gripping poles while in a pinch you can get all five fingers in under cover. Stuffing the overmitt up instead of down allows for it to also insulate wind protect the back of the hand and is a logical place for it.
Sam’s Score 9.4/10. My deduction is for price and multi sport use/durability. For about the same money you can get a near top of the line nordic ski glove with more rugged leather palm and somewhat more back of the hand insulation but no over mitt, cuff, key pocket, etc..
Ryan:  I have a pair of Manzella running gloves which are similar in thickness and temperature rating, but which I won’t be using very much, now that I have these.  There’s not much of a case to be made for a less functional glove versus these La Sportivas.

I’ll only pull out the thin, minimalist cotton gloves once the spring temperatures are back near 50.

Sam: I have a very similar Craft glove with overmitt. It lacks the watch ports on the cuffs and the key pocket. It is harder to pull on and its mitten is five finger coverage so difficult to grip objects. The mitten stuffs down towards the wrist instead of up as with the Sportiva denying the back of the hand some extra insulation and wind protection.

The only light run/winter endurance glove that I might find superior (although lacking a mitten and considerably more expensive) are the latest Swix (and others;) nordic gloves. They are very warm without bulk and have a full very thin, soft, and durable leather palm making them more useful for winter multi sport.
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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Glovesguru said...

I really likes these leather gloves they really helpful in winter and also in coronavirus. They are really helpful while playing tennis.

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TennisGuru said...

I really love these gloves. Winter is coming and I would like to use it during my tennis game. Where can I order a pair of these gloves?

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