Outdoor Research bestsellers, The Arete Gloves are among the most versatile alpine gloves available, offering grip, dexterity and waterproof protection for extended backcountry adventures. Light 100-weight fleece insulation keeps hands warm in intense conditions, and a silicone grip palm on the liners allows them to be worn independently from the shells on warmer days. Applicable to a range of sports, these gloves have proven themselves year after year as a favorite among OR athletes.
- Waterproof/breathable GORE-TEX insert with X-TRAFIT technology
- Soft shell stretch fabric on back of hand
- Oxford nylon shell
- Smooth tricot palm
- 100-weight fleece on back of hand
- Wrap-around AlpenGrip palm
- Pre-curve construction
- Updated thumb crotch construction for enhanced articulation
- SuperCinch gauntlet closure
- Removable Idiot Cord
- 100-weight fleece Liner
- Silicone grip palm on Liner
- Heat pack pocket on back of hand of Liner
- Weight of size Medium – 228 g (8 oz) for the pair
- Retail – $89
I have had lots of experience with Outdoor Research over the years. Both of us being from Seattle, I have always given them the benefit of the doubt when purchasing my outdoor gear. Outdoor Research really made a name for themselves as a gaiter and handwear company but now has branched out to cover you from head to toe. I have done a review of their pants previously and have been using them since. After talking with OR in the fall, I was able to set up a review of the Arete Gloves. OR’s best-selling alpine glove.
I used these gloves for nearly everything throughout the winter and spring. I used them on my AT skiing, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking, and mountain climbing. My wife even has a pair, and I will add here perspective as well since they make a men’s and women’s model in these gloves.
The Outdoor research Arete Gloves are a 2 for 1 glove. They are the workhorse of the Alpine line of gloves for Outdoor Research. The gloves are an outer shell with removable fleece inner gloves. The gloves can be worn separately or together. The outer shell has a mix of two different colors to give the gloves an original appearance. I tested the black and gray version and thought they looked really good. Not that the appearance of your gloves should matter much, but it does a little.
The outer shell is made of a durable nylon with a smooth tricot palm. On the inside there is a lightweight fleece in the palm and thicker 100 weight fleece at the back of the hand. Sandwiched between these layers is a Gore-Tex insert with X-Trafit technology. The X-Trafit technology is a way of inserting the Gore-Tex liner to create a less bulky glove and therefore, having better mobility. In the wrist cuff is a nylon material for easier on and off with two Velcro tabs for attaching the inner glove. The outer shell has a little elastic piece in the wrist to keep it snug and mobile. There is also a small clip to keep your gloves hooked together when not in use. On the cuff, there is a removable idiot cord. This is for wrapping around your wrist so the gloves don’t disappear when you take them off. Outdoor Research uses their SuperCinch Gauntlet closure. This closure uses an elastic cord to pull it tight and another pull to easily loosen it. For easier on and off there are two grab loops; one on the middle finger for pulling the gloves off and a loop at the wrist cuff for pulling them on.
The inner liner is a little more basic. It is made of a 100 weight fleece with a gripper palm and finger tips. At the wrists, there are Velcro patches to hook into the corresponding ones in the outer shell. One of the cool things about the inner liner is the pocket on the back of the hand. It is there to put a chemical handwarmer in if you need a bit more warmth.
Looking at the materials used in these gloves, I was not able to find any information on these being sustainable or green in any way. Even browsing through the OR website, I was not able to find any green initiatives. For this reason, I gave these a zero in sustainability. I will add that Outdoor Research is very involved with events and sponsorships and should be commended for that.
Comfort Next to Skin (20%)
Ease of Movement (25%)
Hand Sizing (30%)
Outdoor Research is well known for their handwear. They make some handwear for the US military and have been used the world over on all the highest summits. I have had several pairs of their gloves in the past and was more than happy to test this new model. I tested a medium as that is normally what fits me, and it did once again. Since it is a 2 in 1 glove, there will be some room if you wear the shell by itself. It still does not feel loose, but you can tell there is some space in there. The shell by itself has excellent mobility. The inner liner by itself also has great mobility as it is a snug fitting lightweight fleece. Now when you pair the gloves together they still fit well but are a bit more bulky. There will always be a little more dexterity in one-piece gloves as compared to similar ones with two pieces like these but the Arete Gloves are not bad. They are perfect for grasping hiking and skiing poles. They are even good for everything but the most dexterous tasks. Melissa has also really liked the fit of her gloves. She also has worn a medium and says they are here favorite gloves she has used thus far.
Both the shell by itself and the inner liner has been comfortable against the skin. They are both made of a fleece material so how could they go wrong? The gloves offer a bit of size adjustability in the gauntlet closure but not much else. This is fairly typical for gloves so it is not surprising. The one thing I was not a fan of is the Velcro attachments on the inside. The shell has the softer side of the Velcro and is comfortable and causes no issues when worn. When the inner liner is in the shell, the Velcro also works as designed and causes no issues. My problems were when the liner was by itself. I had issues with the Velcro catching the trim on the liner and causing abrasion. The Velcro also had a tendency to snag other items I was wearing, which became annoying. I have been trying to think of another way to do this and the only thing I could come up with is magnets, and I am not sure if that is a good idea or not. Anyone else have any ideas?
Weather Resistance (30%)
The Arete Gloves do really perform well. I can see why they are the workhorse in the OR lineup as they are good for a variety of activities. I used them skiing, climbing, snowshoeing, and hiking, and they did not feel out of place during any activity. It is great to be able to use different sections of the gloves depending on the situation. This makes these very versatile. The gloves proved to be waterproof during all my activities in the snow. It is not super wet here in Central Oregon, so I could not truly soak them as I did when I lived in Seattle, but I am sure the Gore-Tex lining can handle just about anything. Since they are waterproof there will be a decrease in breathability. If you are really working hard you may build up some heat in there. I know I did and Melissa commented on this as well. In these cases, I would just pull off the shell and use the inner liner by itself, and all was good. We both found this the most common way we used these when Cross-Country Skiing. Melissa and I agree taht the gloves are comfortable at a low aerobic level to 20 degrees. If you are sitting around and doing nothing then this number will go up and if you are working hard then they can go colder.
The gloves have a good sticky grip both on the shell and the liners. I never had any issues with either being able to grab and hold onto anything. Melissa and I both really liked the SuperCinch Gauntlet closure system. It was easy to use and comfortable. When you needed to loosen up the cinch, all you had to do is pull the OR tab, and it will loosen, pretty cool. I appreciated how easy these were to get on and off. The two loops definitely help with the process and are unnoticeable otherwise, which is good. One of the biggest things missing from these gloves is a nose wipe on the back of the thumb. Both Melissa and I thought it was something we missed having and were surprised they did not put one in. Other than this noticeable omission; the gloves were warm and comfortable and still allowed for dexterity.
Overall, I can see why the Arete gloves are one of the best-selling gloves for Outdoor Research. The fit is good, and they have excellent versatility with the 2 in 1 system. The Gore-Tex liner keeps the weather out, and the fleece insulation keeps the warmth in. While I did not entirely like the Velcro on the inner liner, it does its job. The one noticeable omission is the lack of a nose wipe on the back of the thumb. Other than this the gloves have been my workhorse this winter and spring. If you are in the market for some gloves and want some that will work for a variety of activities, you can do much worse than these. I would say they are comfortable down to 20 degrees but this will depend out your output level. Outdoor Research also backs them with their Infinite Guarantee, which will guarantee them from manufacturing defects and failures related to poor craftsmanship for their lifetime. The Arete Gloves retail for $89, which is fair for what you get. As always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Comfortable in all three modes
- Good grip in the palm of the shell and liner
- Easy to get on and off with added loops
- Warm and able to be made warmer with Heat Pack pocket
- 100% wind and waterproof
- SuperCinch not only works well but is easy to use
- Liner Velcro grabs things when separated from the shell
- No nose wipe on back of the thumb
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