With most things, value is relative, and gloves are no exception. A practical glove for a hundred-day-a-year skier in Alta is a monumental waste of cash for the day-tripper from Hackensack. With this in mind, we tested dozens of gloves last season in a quest to find good values at different price levels. What follows are our favorites.
GRANDOE HORIZON - $33
Sure, it might be the aesthetic equivalent of your grandmother's Dodge Dart, but this glove does a damn fine job of keeping your hands warm¿especially when you consider the price. The Horizon's real value lies in its insulation. Most gloves at this price use a generic polyester; Grandoe instead uses Hollofil II, which has more loft and thus greater warmth than average glove stuffing. The result is an inexpensive glove that's significantly warmer than most others you'll find in this price range. And they're durable, too: You could roof a house in a pair and still get a couple of ski seasons out of them.
MANZELLA GLP-50 IN - $55
This glove strikes a seemingly impossible balance between warmth and low bulk. Svelte as a pair of Isotoners, they seem sufficient handwear for a long weekend in a meat locker. For Manzella the equation is simple: Thermolite insulation combined with Gore Windstopper fleece. The handkerchief-thin Thermolite is effective on even the most frostbite-inducing days, and the Windstopper turns back the stiffest breezes. Since the gloves are unshelled fleece, they aren't ideal for wet-snow regions, but where the weather is cold and the snow is dry¿most of the Rockies¿they're all you need.
DA KINE RANGER - $60
Think snowboarders are just snot-nosed punks? Well, you can thank their snotty noses for one of the best features of the Da Kine Ranger. Officially a "snowboard glove," the Ranger sports a "Mucus Storage Device," a soft panel on the left thumb for, yes, periodically addressing cold-induced rhinorrhea. A mini squeegee on the right thumb lets you make like afull-service gas-station attendant on your goggle lens (or wipe spilled beer off a bar stool). But beyond its utilitarian bells and whistles, the Ranger is a superb glove. There's a full gauntlet with a one-handed cinch at the cuff, and a removable fleece liner, which gives the waterproof Ranger both warm- and cold-day suitability. And it even works for skiers.