Found this post on Tetongravity. Explains a lot. I wish the Vertical Cuts had the same dexterity as the Ski Cross because it's made of a better leather. So the debate for me less dexterity and better leather or more dexterity and less durable leather. Hate compromises!
"Please, please, please understand that the Hestra Leather Balm's main purpose is to condition the leather which keeps it supple and prolongs the life of the leather. It may also add a bit more *repellancy*, but it does not EVER make them waterproof. If you need a waterproof glove, make sure you buy gloves that have a waterproof CZone or GoreTex insert. If your Hestra's have neither of these then please do not be mistaken: the leather balm's main function is to keep them supple. As long as the leather is not allowed to dry out or be exposed to heat sources, it should last much longer than your average leather glove, normal wear and tear like ski and snowboard edges excluded. Leather balm does not prevent ski edges from scratching the leather nor does it make your gloves indestructible. But it will darken them.
Please do not expose the leather to any type of heat. This is what degrades the leather in the first place. I've been learning a lot about the types of leather and where we source the leathers from and I still don't have all of the answers (been at Hestra just over 3 months now), but I hope to learn more after meeting the Magnusson family this November. They've been sourcing leathers from many of the same people for 4 generations now. I have a list of questions to ask regarding the leather but communication is slow right now as we are preparing for the new season worldwide; product is shipping soon. In any case, climate (where the animal was raised) is a major key to some of the more durable leathers that we use, like the Army Goat leather.
The army goat leather is pretreated (impregnated) from the get-go. This is the same leather that is used by the Swedish Army. While NONE of our leathers are waterproof, the army goat is proven to be the most effective at repellancy. The leather balm that comes with your gloves is to be used at the first signs of dryness. Do not wait until the leather gets stiff or starts to crack. Leather balm will need to be used more frequently in models that are made of cowhide, as this leather is less resistant to dryness and heat. The Vertical Cut Freeride, for example, comes in army goat as well as cowhide. Unfortunately communication in the past has not made this clear to many people. This season the Vertical Cut Freeride in black as well as grey colors are army goat leather. They will feel stiffer at first, which is why so many people end up buying the cowhide- that, and the cowhide takes dyes much better so the cool colors are all cow. Cow= not as durable as goat. I'm hoiping to incorporate more colors in the Army Leather moving forward, but that's another story...
I did receive an email back from the designer in Sweden, and she said exposing external sources of heat to your Hestra's is not recommended, even for short periods of time. Again, this goes back to the type of climate that the animal was raised in.
As an aside, I have found out the leather balm is sourced here in the US by a farmer, so that explains why sometimes it looks different than others. I feel confident saying to use Nikwax when necessary, but again, please do not put your Hestra's anywhere near heat sources when treating your gloves. Despite my own beliefs prior to working at Hestra, that warming them up allows the pores to open more, letting more treatment into the leather, etc...rubbing them back and forth with the balm applied causes a little friction, and that is all the leather needs for proper absorption of the balm. Keep it simple. And please keep your Hestra's away from heat.