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Black Diamond Soloist Gloves

photo: Black Diamond Soloist Gloves insulated glove/mitten

A warm glove for winter that’s very comfortable. Removable liner, leather palm, and a proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane in the shell highlight the features that help make this a good cold weather companion. Surprising warmth for the price point, balanced by somewhat limited use of your fingers. A step down from the well-reviewed Black Diamond Guide Glove in anticipated durability.

Pros

  • Warm
  • Comfortable
  • Waterproof/breathable
  • Removable liner
  • Gauntlet

Cons

  • No leashes
  • Big fingers limit dexterity
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Palm view
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Back of hand view

BACKGROUND

I purchased the Black Diamond Soloist glove to serve as my everyday winter glove. Unlike most gear, I did zero research. I happened to be in a REI store helping our son find a ski parka and pants, and the gloves I have worn the last several years started to have parts of the shell material get brittle and flake off. I tried these on, they seemed to work, and they have become the glove I wear around town and on day hikes in cold weather. However, they could easily be a solid choice for winter trips in all but the most frigid weather.

They’re unisex and sold in sizes XS-XL. These are XL. In terms of fit, size XL works well for reasonably large hands. As a point of comparison, the heavier-duty Black Diamond Guide Glove feels tighter and more firm by comparison. The Soloist runs a bit larger.

FEATURES

Solid for the price. The glove consists of an outer shell and a removable liner that secures via a strip of hook/loop around the wrist area. Removable liner is a plus on trips so you can dry out the liners. They have a waterproof-breathable membrane that the company calls BD.dry and use Primaloft synthetic insulation.

The palm and finger fronts and tips are leather; the rest of the shell is synthetic fabric with a DWR finish that claims to be environmentally friendly. The gauntlet has elastic built in at the wrist and an adjustable elastic you can tighten at the end of the gauntlet.  

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With liner removed
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There is a small extra/double layer of leather on the inside of the thumb and pointer finger. More robust gloves usually have double fabric across the entire palm. 
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Note you can clip them together when not in use. Black Diamond printed the type of insulation they use on the gauntlet. 

Some might find the gauntlet is a little short for winter mountaineering and will miss "idiot" leashes to keep them from flying away in a hard wind. The liner supposedly uses different kinds of insulation in the palm and back of the hand, though I’m not sure what difference that makes.

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Different and more durable material on the palm of the liner, a likely wear point. Nice attention to detail.

WARMTH/MOBILITY/WATER RESISTANCE

Gloves have two basic functions, in my experience—keeping your hands warm and dry, and giving you some ability to use your fingers that you don’t get with mittens. You inevitably sacrifice a little warmth to get free fingers; the warmest mitts are almost always warmer than gloves. I haven’t worn these in anything other than a light mist on a few day hikes, so I haven’t really had situations capable of fully testing the waterproofness. I don’t usually worry too much about that, because these are gloves I really only wear in sub-freezing weather. 

I haven’t been able to test these to the lowest temperatures—15 degrees Fahrenheit is the lowest I have gone, though I have had opportunities to wear them in that weather while standing still. I tend to get colder when I’m out and not moving, and these were really good on days when my toes started to get tingly w/heavy wool socks and leather hiking boots after being out for a while. My fingers have been uniformly toasty in them. In fact, I really like that the fingers are puffy and roomy. My spouse likens them to Mickey Mouse hands. I look forward to wearing them in colder weather.

The big fingers do limit your ability to use them a little, though that’s usually the case with warmer gloves. The gloves these replaced offered better use of my fingers, but they were definitely not as warm. 

ANTICIPATED DURABILITY

I like that these gloves have a leather palm and some reinforcements. The leather is not as robust as the sturdiest and most expensive guide gloves. That means they don’t need any break-in to soften the leather palms, but it may also mean they are more susceptible to wear and tear. The pair I have seems very well-finished. 

HOW I HAVE USED THEM

This is a first impression interview after about six weeks of use for daily walks, day hikes, and standing outside on fields with our dog. I plan to update after I get more experience with them in colder, windier, and possibly wetter weather. I could see using them for downhill skiing as well as cold weather hiking, snowshoeing, ice fishing. 

Experience

Worn this winter the past six weeks.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $129

About the Author

Andrew Friedman is a New Hampshire native who loves the Presidentials and spent his college summers guiding trips in the Adirondack High Peaks. He loved introducing his children to hiking and the outdoors. In addition to New England and the Adirondacks, he has hiked the shores of the Great Lakes, the Tetons, a number of California's state and national parks, the Albanian Alps, and trails in India, Asia, and the Middle East. Andrew logged his first review on Trailspace in 2007 and joined the Trailspace Review Corps in 2011. Andrew lives and works in the DC metro area.

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Specs

Price MSRP: $129.95
Current Retail: $94.99-$129.95
Historic Range: $44.98-$129.95
Reviewers Paid: $129.00
Size Range XS-XL
Temp Range -29/-9 °C / -20/15 °F
Weight Per Pair 261.4 g / 9.22 oz
Product Details from Black Diamond »

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