On Gloves; design and review

30 Sep 2015

I’ve had a fluctuating obsession with gloves for most of my life, with it waning as capacitive screens came to dominance. I have a passing interest in the contents of the pockets of others; ‘every day carry’. Amongst the pocket detritus of the modern man with access to Amazon Prime, gloves feature heavily, primarily those made by Mechanix. The following questions presented themselves:

  • What does the average man use these hardy gloves for?
  • Do they feature in so many posts, because they’re so good, or because so many other people feature then in their personal ‘look books’?

On Gloves

To answer the first question, what do I use these gloves for?

  1. Cycling.
  2. Via ferrata, or gripping a thick steel cable.

The second question has a longer answer: I’ve selected four pairs to illustrate it, including the popular Mechanix.

TL;WR?

GloveOakley SI TacticalOutdoor Research IronsightArc’teryx Assault Glove FRMechanix Original Fit?OKOdd; very tight fingertipsPerfectLoose Pull/hang loop?NoYes; excellentYes; goodNo Grip?Yes; leather palmYes; initially then noYes; leather palmOK Hard wearing?YesNoYesYes; except VelcroScore /5?3251

Oakley SI Tactical

Fire resistant, goat-skin palm, and rigid knuckle reinforcement. The sizing is a little large, but more on the hand than the fingertips and fingers.

Lamentably for an expensive glove, someone forgot to add a pull/hanging loop, and the Velcro is woefully thin (even though it doesn’t come undone).

Outdoor Research Ironsight

When new, the OR gloves have excellent grip, thanks to rubberised detailing on the palms and fingers. They have the best pull/hanging loop, are very breathable, and have good Velcro.

Sadly the good grip doesn’t last long: the rubberised stripes fall off quickly, presenting a much less viscous surface. The finger boxes are bizarrely right compared to the fingers: I suspect they were sized for someone with fat fingers and comparatively small tips.

Arc’teryx Assault Glove FR

I struggle to find a negative point to these gloves, but if there is one it would be cost. Countering that, they fit perfectly, are fire resistant, work with touch screens, have a pull/hanging loop and an excellent large Velcro tab on the top of the wrist.

Mechanix Original

The two advantages of these gloves is that they’re easy to get hold of, and cheap. Added to that, they’re hard wearing, and breathable, but that’s where the advantage ends.

They lack a pull/hanging loop, meaning that once off, there’s no sensible way to attach them to anything. Compared to the other gloves, they have a much roomier cut. Their biggest failing is that the Velcro fastener is thin, and comes undone easily. This is compounded by the fastener being on the back, so that when the hands are raised the closing brushes against the body, causing the gloves to come undone regularly.

In short, they lack manual dexterity, are easy to lose, and prone to coming undone of their own volition. I suspect these gloves are reserved for those who rarely use them.

Conclusion

After looking at these four pairs of gloves, it has firmed my belief that people who include Mechanix gloves do not use the same selection criteria that I do: they do not need to be able to securely store their gloves and retrieve them quickly, and they are not concerned about cuffs that come open during wear.

The ideal glove will be much like the Arc’teryx model, and include the following:

  • Hang/pull loop, for easy donning and secure storage
  • Velcro on the back of the hand, not the palm, and a good-sized swatch of velcro, for a secure and snug cuff
  • A precise fit, with precise fitting instructions

Why did I buy the Mechanix? Poor selection criteria.

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