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Review : Hestra Softshell Glove on sale at backcountry.com right now...the perfect winter glove

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Check out these gloves at :

www.backcountry.com/store/HES0071/Hestra-Soft-Shell-Ski-Glove.html

 

OK...anyone who is looking for a gauntlet style glove for winter conditions should check these sweet gloves ASAP.  They are on sale for about 65$ right now and regularly run for 150$. 

 

I've never owned a pair of Hestras before but I can now see what all the hype is about.  These are the best gloves I've ever had.  Thing is, BC.com has actually listed this item inaccurately...from the description you would think that these were straight-up softshell gloves with leather palms and fingers, and some thin insulation.  In fact, what they left out is that this glove is a full-on Gore-Tex XCR model, which in my book makes it much more useful.

 

So these gloves, in effect, are very similar to the Hestra  Army Leather XCR  glove, except with a softshell fabric in the areas that are not leather.  This is actually a great combo.  The XCR makes this glove totally windproof and waterproof and the softshell exterior allows this glove to breathe better than most insulated gore-tex insert gloves, which tend to have more standard hardshell fabrics.  Anyway, point is, you are getting a full-featured XCR-protected gauntlet glove, with insulation, leather palms/fingers, really nice cinches, straps, wrist-leashes, and mini-carabiner to clip them together when not in use.

 

I just used these gloves for 3 days at Mammoth during the season's biggest winter storm.  Temps were as low as 5 degrees or so, winds up to 25 mph.  I used them while skiing in heavy precipitation and also on the last day, full-on sunshine and upper 30's base temps.  Not once did I find my hands at an uncomfortable temperature...in the freezing cold and wind, my fingers stayed completely warm, and waiting in a liftline after lunch at the base in 38-40 degrees, the gloves breathed enough that I did not ever have to take the gloves off once.  In the warm temps, standing around at the base, my hands just barely started to perspire, but by the tme I made my way to the top of the mountain, it had breathed itself away.  Impressive with a glove with full-on Goretex XCR protection as well as insulation.

 

The great thing abut these gloves is that while they are insulated with a relatively streamlined layer of Thermolite insulation, they are very form-fitting and the leather, easy to break in and moldable.  As a result, you have great dexterity for a full-on insulated winter glove, allowing me to do just about anything short of cell-phone/ipod manipulaton while keeping the gloves on.  I did not treat the leather with the included leather balm, and the leather did get moist after wiping down my skis at the base lodge, but the water was unable to penetrate the insert.  I imagine after treating the leather, it will reject water much better.  As for the fabric, the Hestra-branded softshell did a great job of beading up any precipitation and didn't seem to soak up melted snow at any point, which was my only concern with the use of a softshell back-fabric.  This was impressive in light of the fact that I found myself surfing (at least attempting to ) through, literally, chest to neck deep powder at times during and just after the storm.  The gauntlet and its excellent cinch cords kept all snow out of the glove.

 

In conclusion, I am highly recommending these gloves to anyone who needs an insulated cold-weather long glove and needs water and wind-proofing.  If you are using these for lift-served skiing, I think you will find the complement of features to be ideal for just about any conditions besides maybe warm Spring skiing temps.  In terms of sizing, the Hestra sizing here is dead on compared to their chart.  Actually, my hand length put me a hair longer than the Hestra size 8, but the leather stretched a mm. or 2 as they broke in, so while they felt a hair short or snug, they molded perfectlyto my hand after a few days. User reviews do seem to recommend upsizing for other Hestra models if you are between sizes.  But in this case I would only do this if you intend on wearing thin liners under the gloves.

 

I normally wouldn't go through the effort of reviewing a pair of gloves, but this is too good a deal for fellow bears here to pass up, and the only reason there are any left is probably b/c they failed to mention that they are Gore-tex protected.  Oh...I forgot..the one caveat here is that the picture on the bc.com page is slightly off. In the pic, the glove has a strap on the palm-side of the wrist.  The model I received had the strap on the back-side of the wrist..maybe this is an older version?  Anyway, a fairly insignificant variation in the grand scheme of things.  Anyone who pulls the trigger on these...lemme know how they work out for you!

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 17

Thank you for the review. I just ordered one based on what you said. Hope you found the lost ski,

post #3 of 17

Hmm, sounds interesting.  I just ordered a pair, will compare with the Heli and probably return one of them.  Thanks for the tip, I was not aware that they had an XCR insert, that makes all the difference.   Hestra gloves rock.

 

 

 

 

post #4 of 17

Must resist!  I already purchased 2 pairs of Hestra gloves this season, but neither has Gore-Tex....

 

CJ

post #5 of 17

Is the liner removable?

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

no removable liner.  If you wanna wear one (I never felt I needed them), I might size up if you are between sizes..  Like I said, the Hestra sizing for this glove is dead on.  If no liner, size down if you are between sizes.

post #7 of 17

Hestra's removable liner glove is Heli Army Leather; I am still waiting to compare it with the soft shell, but Heli seems to be one of the perennial forum favorites.  It fits very well (I can attest to that), and presumably the removable liner and waterproof shell are very quick to dry.  I have not tried a field test, but so far I like what I see.  I am still waiting for a pair of soft shells to arrive for comparison test, will try to pot the observations,

 

 

 

post #8 of 17

All right, the soft shell Hestras have arrived.  This is a tough choice between it and a Heli: both gloves fit, well, like a glove, both are essentially the same last, just different materials.  The main difference is that the soft shells have a buckle strap and Helis have a velcro (velcro is probably quicker).  Both seem to be about the same warmth, both are very easy to put on and off (at home at least, when they get moist on the slope the story may be different).  My gut says that Heli is a more practical choice as its removable liner all but guarantees that the glove will be dry the next day, whereas for the soft shell it may take a while to get moisture out.  If you are one of those people who never takes the gloves off on the slope, you should be perfectly happy with the soft shells, but if you are like me, you will get snow inside just from those times when the glove is off and dangling off the leash... Field testing may show more differences, but so far both gloves are as close to being a perfect gauntlet glove as I have seen.  

 

post #9 of 17

I ordered a pair


Edited by Finndog - 2/26/2009 at 03:06 pm
post #10 of 17

Heli or Soft Shells?  Just curious...

post #11 of 17

softies. I have the 3 finger already. It's a fantastic glove. extremely breatheable and good for a suprising temperature range. I wanted a h20 proof sring glove. If I look at the description of the glove above, it's the european model and not the US model; this is a killer glove. I hope I get the same model.

post #12 of 17

Do you get water in the 3-finger gloves if you ski on a deep snow day or rain day?  It is supposed to have the same material as the Heli.  My gloves are always wet from inside by the end of the day just from snow and perspiration; hence the ideas of a removable liner is appealing.  The fit and finish of softies is fantastic though, so I am still on the fence.  May just bite the bullet and leave both .   

post #13 of 17

I get some wetness from the inside out but not much, The 3 finger is the same as the heli just with the lobster claw setup. i can't say enough good about them. I actually have a an extra set of liners and switch out at 1/2 day on cold days to keep warmer. I find on normal 20 degree days, I just take the liners out at lunch and within a 1/2 hour they are pretty dry. No issue with h20 proof in powder though. I love their wrist strap setup so you can just drop the gloves when you need your fingers free. I also prefer the mitten-like over individual fingers. There's no benefit to having your fingers free as long as you can use your index and thumb as you can with these.

post #14 of 17

Just curious but, the wetness from the inside a few have mentioned, could it be moisture from the hand?  The hand perspires very, very quickly and a lot of moisture evaporates out of the hand.  If the glove is too heavy or doesn't breathe well then there can be significant moisture buildup from the inside

post #15 of 17

that's exactly what it is. it's also a function of condensation. I don't get much. it's only around the area where the pole makes contact with your hand. I get it in any glove I wear.

post #16 of 17

OK, this is probably too much typing for such  low tech piece of gear, but...  

 

I tested the Hestra SoftShell and Heli gloves over the last couple of days.  The weather was warm, sunny and bone dry, with a fair bit of windpacked powder on day 1 and remnants on day two; in other words, perfect weather for testing waterproof warm gauntlet-style gloves.  Nevertheless, here is a quick summary:

 

1.  Fit:  both fit extremely well, better than any other similar glove on the market.  The SoftShell has a bit of the stretch built into the material, so it naturally fits a little bit tighter.   I was particularly amazed by the Heli liner being practically unnoticeable in the glove (other removable liners tend to bunch, especially if there is moisture inside; not for this one).  Leather is very soft and looks very high quality, as always been the case with Hestra.  If anithing the softies are made a little bit nicer, the Heli feel like a no-nonsense performance glove. 

 

2. Waterproofness: No idea, but both look quite waterproof.  Soft shell should be completely waterproof due to GoreTex, Helis are 5,000-rated but subjectively that rating seems to be conservative.  

 

3. Warmth, moisture,perspiration:  This is the key difference between the two.  The softies are quite warm, I was finding that my hands were drenched in sweat in the end of the run.  By the time I rode up on a chairlift, the wetness would usually dissipate, but that was definitely noticeable.  The day I tested the Helis was even warmer, but somehow hand perspiration happened less, or was more tolerable.  Heli certainly has a better temperature range for Tahoe.     

 

The other key difference was the removable liner on the Helis; I was able to just take it out, and it was dry in half an hour.  Softies took a lot longer to dry from the inside. 

 

4. Durability:

Both feel virtually indestructible. Quality materials, fit and finish throughout.  The Heli liner looks a little cheap when it is taken out, but it that does not detract from its performance a single bit.  

 

Bottom line-  If you like relaxed cruising of groomed runs, or have very cold hands, never take your gloves off or ski in a cold climate, get the soft shells- it is a remarkably well-made glove, that is soft, supple, form-fitting, downright luxurious and, supposedly, totally waterproof.  In all other cases, the Helis get my nod- they have comfort range that is much more suitable for an aggressive skier, and removable liner all but assures that you will have dry gloves the next day (and you can carry spare liners).      It is the most practical choice in the Hestra line. Hestra Vertical Cut still is the best fitting glove on the market if you don;t need the gauntlet.   

 

post #17 of 17

OK, this is probably too much typing for such  low tech piece of gear, but...  

 

I tested the Hestra SoftShell and Heli gloves over the last couple of days.  The weather was warm, sunny and bone dry, with a fair bit of windpacked powder on day 1 and remnants on day two; in other words, perfect weather for testing waterproof warm gauntlet-style gloves.  Nevertheless, here is a quick summary:

 

1.  Fit:  both fit extremely well, better than any other similar glove on the market.  The SoftShell has a bit of the stretch built into the material, so it naturally fits a little bit tighter.   I was particularly amazed by the Heli liner being practically unnoticeable in the glove (other removable liners tend to bunch, especially if there is moisture inside; not for this one).  Leather is very soft and looks very high quality, as always been the case with Hestra.  If anithing the softies are made a little bit nicer, the Heli feel like a no-nonsense performance glove. 

 

2. Waterproofness: No idea, but both look quite waterproof.  Soft shell should be completely waterproof due to GoreTex, Helis are 5,000-rated but subjectively that rating seems to be conservative.  

 

3. Warmth, moisture,perspiration:  This is the key difference between the two.  The softies are quite warm, I was finding that my hands were drenched in sweat in the end of the run.  By the time I rode up on a chairlift, the wetness would usually dissipate, but that was definitely noticeable.  The day I tested the Helis was even warmer, but somehow hand perspiration happened less, or was more tolerable.  Heli certainly has a better temperature range for Tahoe.     

 

The other key difference was the removable liner on the Helis; I was able to just take it out, and it was dry in half an hour.  Softies took a lot longer to dry from the inside. 

 

4. Durability:

Both feel virtually indestructible. Quality materials, fit and finish throughout.  The Heli liner looks a little cheap when it is taken out, but it that does not detract from its performance a single bit.  

 

Bottom line-  If you like relaxed cruising of groomed runs, or have very cold hands, never take your gloves off or ski in a cold climate, get the soft shells- it is a remarkably well-made glove, that is soft, supple, form-fitting, downright luxurious and, supposedly, totally waterproof.  In all other cases, the Helis get my nod- they have comfort range that is much more suitable for an aggressive skier, and removable liner all but assures that you will have dry gloves the next day (and you can carry spare liners).      It is the most practical choice in the Hestra line. Hestra Vertical Cut still is the best fitting glove on the market if you don;t need the gauntlet.   

 

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Review : Hestra Softshell Glove on sale at backcountry.com right now...the perfect winter glove