Outdoor Research Arete Gloves Review

The Arete Gloves from Outdoor Research are lightweight clothing items that give you excellent flexibility and comfort at the expense of insulation and warmth.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: Amazon, Outdoor Research
  • Best for: Excursions into the backcountry. Skiers who need flexibility over warmth or insulation.
  • Pros: These gloves are extremely flexible and offer excellent movement. They come with a double-glove design and have plenty of features. The light weight makes them both easy to wear and extremely packable.
  • Cons: These gloves are definitely not warm. They lack insulation and don’t have a lot in the way of extra padding. The fit is also a bit tight and restricting. 
  • Alternatives: Arc’teryx Fission SVDakine Titan, Sabre

Why Trust Me

I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching these Outdoor Research Arete gloves, talked to skiers who used them, and tested their performance and traits in many different conditions.

Detailed Review

The Arete is a flexible glove with double construction that excels in alpine terrain. Even though the warmth is quite limited and the fit isn’t the best, it still gives you a lot of dexterity alongside quite a few handy features that increase its general functionality. This glove is sturdy in a way that will hold up over time. That further enhances how well it operates during hard pushes and ensures you’re making a worthwhile purchase.

A Lack of Warmth

When getting the Arete gloves, it’s important to know their focus is on dexterity and movement much more than insulation. These gloves just aren’t made to provide warmth. Not only do they come with an extremely thin removable liner, but the lightweight polypro material doesn’t hold up well when temperatures dip extremely low. 

That’s a bit of a disappointment, but it shouldn’t be that big of a deal for people trekking in the backcountry. The lighter construction especially helps on warmer days when you know you’re going to sweat. In addition, you can also get an extra liner or use extra hand warmers if you ever get too chilly (even if it does up the price). Just know the Arete won’t stand up on its own.

So-So Durability

I noticed that the Arete Gloves use a Gore-Tex insert with a nylon shell rather than full Gore-Tex construction. As you would imagine, that’s not quite as reliable as some other options. Even so, the water and weather protection are both quite impressive here. This glove has what it takes to tackle just about any winter condition, and it can easily stand up to the elements without absorbing any moisture. 

However, it’s not all great with this category. The palm is one weak point. While the rest of the glove can handle intensive use, the nylon material does not have the same longevity. It starts to wear down much faster than the rest of the gloves. The grip is quite reliable, but it will wear out much quicker than many skiers will like.

Dexterity and Flexibility

The flexibility is one particularly impressive area of the Arete Glove. This is where the lighter material and lack of true insulation pays off. The item enables you to easily use your fingers for just about any basic activity. This is one area where many gloves, especially warmer models, fall off. Being able to put on or take off clothing, pull out items, operate zippers, or use your keys, is extremely nice.

That flexibility holds up even when you have both the shell and liner on. When you take the liner out or just wear it on its own, you get some of the best glove flexibility you’ll ever experience. That greatly ups the glove’s versatility as well. Note that getting the liner back into the glove is not always the easiest process, but that’s a small complaint in what is otherwise a reliable package.

Additional Features

The Arete Glove has a wide range of different features that round out the functional, if a bit niche, design. As mentioned, the gloves are a bit cold. Outdoor Research combats that with the inclusion of a back pocket where you can slot in a warmer. That definitely helps. The removable “idiot cord” is another nice option for people worried about losing their gloves on the lift. 

The only weak part here is the gloves are not touchscreen compatible. I found that to be a bit of bummer, as I always appreciate being able to operate a phone without exposing my skin to the air. Even so, the above additions more than make up for it.

Price and Value

Despite the issues I have with the Arete’s warmth, I still think it offers more than enough value for its price. The glove may not be the toughest, but it’s well made and has a strong construction considering its lighter weight. It also has a lot of versatility and can be used in just about any difficult activity out on the mountain, from cross-country skiing to uphill treks. That alone ensures you’re going to get a lot from the model.

What I Like

The versatility is by far my favorite thing about these gloves. The Arete provides you with a lot of choices, and a big part of that comes from the flexible two-part construction. You can wear them with both pieces, without the liner, or just with the liner when temperatures allow. In addition, the lightweight construction offers an incredible amount of dexterity. I’m always going to be happy when a glove enables you to easily use your hands.

The various extra features packed into this glove is something I appreciate as well. When analyzing ski clothing I always look for ways it goes above and beyond. The hand warmer pocket is nice, as is the idiot cord. You also get strong weather resistance, which I like, and a packable design.

What I Dislike

The biggest strike against these gloves is their lack of warmth. While they aren’t geared towards insulation, they still could have done more. You will feel the chill, even in environments that aren’t well below freezing. You can offset that by adding in hand warmers, but I’ve never been a huge fan of when a company expects you to shell out more money to improve their product.

I’m also not a big fan of the general durability. You’re going to get a well-made item that has the construction needed to not get beat up too badly when things get rough. Even so, the palm material is going to show a lot of wear after one season, and you’ll see some wear in the fingers as well. That’s a strike for me.

The Alternatives

The Arete Gloves do a nice job for what they are, but some people might want backcountry or flexible gloves with different traits. Each of these gives you that and more:

  • Arc’teryx Fission SV – Another solid lightweight option, the Fission SV Gloves come from one of the most reliable brands out there. These look sharp, are quite warm, and give you enough dexterity to do what you need as you ride. They are on the expensive side, but you’re getting a lot for that elevated price.
  • Arc’teryx Sabre – Another option from Arc’teryx, the Sabre Gloves are a light, well-rounded option that can be used in many different conditions. You aren’t going to get a lot of features in these, but the no-nonsense design is fine because they do exactly what they set out. The shell protects your skin, keeps you warm, and provides you with a strong investment. 
  • Dakine Titan – This Titan is a heftier glove built with skiers on a budget in mind. This affordable option won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but still provides some of the best durability on the market. While it’s a bit stiffer than the Arete, the removable liner is easy to operate and feels great. I’m also a big fan of the included pocket.

FAQs

Are the liners touchscreen compatible?

Unfortunately, the liners do not work with touchscreens. You will need to take them off when using your phone.

Are these gloves well insulated?

The Arete Gloves are much more geared towards flexibility than warmth. However, they are weatherproof and break the wind.

Can I easily use my fingers with these on?

Yes. The Arete Gloves are flexible and give you good use of your fingers when they’re on.

Final Verdict

The Arete Gloves are a solid option for backcountry skiers who want a well-made device that will allow them to maintain flexibility on the slopes. The pair is versatile, breathable, and enables you to freely switch between a liner and shell as you need.

While resort skiers can definitely get away with something warmer, if you don’t mind losing a bit of insulation, these are great for people who push hard.

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