Superior Glove Calfskin Leather Extreme Cold Weather Gloves Mitt

Reviews

3

The company guarantees these mitts to be the warmest…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $35.83

Summary

The company guarantees these mitts to be the warmest you've ever owned. For me, they are.

Pros

  • -40°F rating
  • Warm!
  • Low Price

Cons

  • Big
  • Gauntlet cuff too tight

For several years now I’ve been using the Outdoor Research Alti Mitt. I’ve had success with these in temps down to around -20°F. They are advertised as expedition mitts and I must say that I’ve been thoroughly impressed with them for the most part. (note: my Alti mitts are an older model. The current model may have better insulation)

Lately, I’ve been subjecting myself to colder outings (-20 to -30°F) with wind chills down to -50°F.

The first time I noticed that my Alti Mitts were not stopping the cold was when the temperature was -27°F with a windchill of -35°F. Since then, I started to research some other cold weather options. There are many mitts out there that are advertised as cold weather mitts but many reviewers swore that the Alti was the best cold weather mitt on the market. The military even contracted with OR to make a variant of them called the “Firebrand” (still waiting to try these).

Online, I came across a Canadian company called Superior. They have an entire catalog of extreme weather handwear—superiorworkgloves.com (look at it sometime; it’s fascinating).

The SnowForce Deluxe Calfskin Extreme Cold Weather Mitt was one of their options. It was advertised as the warmest mitten you’ve ever owned guaranteed. Oil field workers, Canadian snowmobilers, and hunters all conclude that these mitts get the job done no matter what. This really piqued my curiosity.

Then I saw the price: $35.83! I thought, what the heck!? Immediately, I tried to order some. No dice! You have to have a business account and be able to buy bulk commodity. They are not open to the public for single purchases. Not to be deterred, I scoured the internet to try to find a way to get these somehow. I succeeded…. Well, kind of.

Amazon has a version that is almost the same as the one in the Superior catalog—Superior Calfskin Leather Extreme Cold Weather Gloves Mitt.

20180121_120402.jpg                                      Top view of the mitt
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                                      View of the underside of the mitt

Same company, but the design is slightly different along with the name of the mitt.

At first, I ordered a pair, thinking that they were the same model. They weren’t, but they were close. After looking at all of the reviews of the mitts I ordered, I think that they were the previous model before updates were made to the current version. For instance, most reviewers said that the gauntlet cuff was too tight for a sleeve to fit into. This was due to an elastic zig-zag strip that was sewn into the cuff. The current model eliminated the elastic strip.

The liner is made from 400g thinsulate/m2. Considering most conventional mitts use 100g and cold-weather mitts tout 200g, 400g is pretty serious.
20180121_120447.jpg                            Underside of liner
20180121_120500.jpg

                            Topside of liner with view of the inside

When they came in the mail, my immediate impressions were that the quality of workman/womanship was pretty average. The sewing wasn’t perfect. The straps were of average quality materials, etc. The leather was on the thin side; which does help with dexterity. (As a note, the mitts themselves are made in China).

I ordered the large and they fit me perfectly. I think that my hands are more like a med/large so I infer these mitts run a bit on the small side.
20180122_055908.jpg

                           17.5 inch length

The liners were easily removed. There are two small strips of velcro that hold them in place.

For me, removable liners in my handwear and footwear are a must. I need to be able to dry them quickly and store them in the footbox of my sleeping bag at night. 

20180121_120517.jpg

                              View of velcro strap on the liner that adheres to the shell

I didn’t see any type of waterproof membrane incorporated into the shell (the treated leather is somewhat water resistant). I'm not yet sure how the mitts will handle prolonged use in slush and wet snow.

The liners are soft and comfortable. I didn’t think that they seemed like they were made out of anything special; they appeared rather plain to me. Regardless of their lackluster appearance, they perform exceptionally well. The website explains why: "The two layers in the middle are cut from a Thinsulate fabric that is 400 grams of Thinsulate per square meter. These are then sandwiched by a foam-to-fleece laminate..."

After trying the mitts on for the first time, I understood what the reviewers meant when they remarked that the mitts are difficult to pull on over your jacket sleeves.  My sleeves bunched up a bit as I put them on. I found myself having to try to pinch down on my sleeves with my fingers, slip the mitt on, and then shimmy my digits into place within the mitt afterwards.  

For my first outing, I wore them on an evening walk in 5°F (-15°C) weather and my hands were so warm they began to sweat. I took the mitts off halfway through my walk. The tight gauntlet cuff seemed to lock in not only heat but moisture. Even though you can feel the moisture in the mitt, the synthetic materials do a good job at wicking. I would compare it to wet fleece.

To address the complaints of reviewers about the gauntlet cuff being too tight, I flipped the mitts inside out, and used a stitch puller to remove the elastic strip that tightens the wrist area.
20180121_120424.jpg

                Remnant of where the removed elastic band used to be before I removed it. 

This made a significant difference. It made for easier on/off and it allowed my sleeve to slip more deeper into the mitt cuff without bunching. It also allowed more of the moisture build up to escape. I wondered if removing the elastic strip would cause the mitt to slip off of my hand. It didn't. 

It looks as though the newer version of these mitts has removed the elastic as well. My OR Alti mitts don’t have the elastic either. Maybe current research and user feedback induced the change?

There were reviewer complaints about the large faux wool pad on the topside. I personally don't mind it at all. I wipe my shnoz on it all the time. In very cold weather (-20°F), my nose always leaks so I count it as a blessing that there's something supple to slide against it. 
20180121_120549.jpg

                           Removeable faux wool wipe pad/cheek warmer

On my second outing with the mitts,  I brought them on a Northern MN outing to test them in colder weather. I was in the backcountry, 3 miles west of Lake Superior. I was very pleased at their performance. In the picture, my hands were perfectly warm at -17°F (-29°C)  with a -29°F (-34°C) wind chill. 

20180113_073315.jpg

The night before,  it was about 10 degrees colder than that reading. It was so cold and windy that  I could only keep my hands out of the mitts for about 30 seconds at a time before the stinging pain set in. The instant I put my hands back into the mitts, I was warm. Not once did the mitts remit to the cold. 

After blazing through near knee deep snow for 2.3 miles on the trail, my hands became sweaty. The liners became a bit moist with perspiration, but it did not affect the ability for the mitt to keep my hands warm.
20180113_082245.jpg

                            Mitts in action atop knee deep crust

At my campsite, I had to dig out a pit of snow to make an area for the fire. I cinched the straps on the 17" sleeves and went to work. 

20180121_120529.jpg

                            Gritty cinch straps are not that easy to pull tight

It was great digging down to the elbows to push snow and not have any snow get in. I will say that the strap is a bit gritty in texture so it's not as easy to pull the cinch strap as I would have hoped. The mitts also doubled as oven mitts to take my metal pot out of the fire during dinner time.

At night, I pulled out the liners and kept them in the foot box of my sleeping bag. The next morning the dampness was gone and they were toasty warm.

There is not much dexterity in these mitts. Even with the supple and thin calfskin shell, the liners are so thick that they just perform a basic grab (good for a walking stick, ski poles, snowmobile grips, etc.) Ask me if I care when my fingers feel fantastic in -30°F weather. Now I just bring an extra pair of thin gloves to wear while cooking or setting up my tent.

After collecting and breaking firewood, the mitts suffered some scuffs and abrasions but it didn’t puncture the leather.
20180121_120630.jpg

                            Scuffs on the thin calfskin

I think snowmobilers, ice anglers, and really cold weather enthusiasts will appreciate these mitts. If you’ve been trying to find a mitt that will end all of your worries in extreme cold weather, for the price, these mitts are the best I’ve found to date. Considering the closest alternative that I’ve found, Outdoor Research Alti Mitts-at a cost north of $200, the $35 price tag on a mitt that outperforms them seems like a no-brainer.  I don’t see myself needing to look elsewhere any longer.

I can only try to explain how nice it is knowing that your hands are accounted for on a cold weather trip. It takes a huge burden off of a winter outing in sub -20°F weather. Bravo to Superior Work Gloves. I hope they bring their other designs to the public soon so I can try more of them out.

Phil Smith

Those look a lot like the Ganka Expedition mittens I bought for ice fishing (we didn’t use a shanty) almost 20 years ago. These also have insulated liners, but I use either a pair of GI wool glove inserts or trigger finger mitten inserts with them. They’re very warm! I don’t know if they’re -35F warm, though.


7 months ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Nice review, Jesse!


7 months ago
Go Time! (Jesse Maloney) BRAND REP

Phil, I've tried some old Czech military cold weather mitts with wool inserts and trigger finger (sounds similar to what you're saying). They did pretty well in cold weather but it always seemed like -20 was the threshold that couldn't be broken for the mitts I've used until now.


7 months ago
G00SE

Nice review, but you are crazy to be camping out in that. :P


7 months ago
300winmag

Thanks for this info Jesse. I have used mitten shells with leather palms and nylon back at -40 F. with Dachstein boiled wool mittens and US Army wool gloves. Had to remove the gloves as they were too hot!! Dachstein boiled wool mittens seem to be the key for the warmest mitten liners.


7 months ago
Go Time! (Jesse Maloney) BRAND REP

300, Does boiling the wool tighten the fibers to increase the insulation?


7 months ago
1lonewolf

Great Review, Well Done, but I can't see a $35 mitt working as well as a $200 Mitt and just for the record OR Alti Mitts do not have 200g of insulation, They have 170g in the Shell and 340g in the Liner, I have 6 or 7 pairs of Military Mitts and many other banded Mitts and Gloves and so far nothing matches the current OR A-M series, The trouble with all Mitts/Gloves is that there is no standard testing platform as with Sleeping bags because no two people feel the cold the same way or at the same level, And in answer to your question about boiling wool, Yes it does shrink down the fibres making them a lot tighter and it also adds a bit of stiffness to their feel, The Mrs destroyed a favourite sweater of mine using a hot wash, So now it fits her perfectly, LOL.


7 months ago
300winmag

Yes, the Austrian-made Dachstein mittens and gloves are boiled on a mitten or glove shaped form and they are THICK! I did the boiled an Extra Large size pair of Norwegian Knut & Knut heavy wool gloves and got the same effect. Very dense and VERY warm inside glove shells.


7 months ago
Go Time! (Jesse Maloney) BRAND REP

1 lonewolf, thanks for the update on the alti mitts. I should have been more careful. I will agree that the construction of the OR mitt is superior (mine are still going strong after many years). When I give them 5 stars, I'm giving based on a price to performance ratio. I'ts like the Morakniv knife; not the best on the market but for $15, the best deal I know of. I own an old pair from like 10+ years ago. They are much different from the newest model. Mine are the same ones that "North 1" reviewed on TS. They don't have a leather palm and the insulation appears to be less than the current model. As far as the $35 price tag goes, I'm as shocked as you. It blew my socks off. I stand by the company when I tell you that after 43 years of MN winters, this is by far the warmest mitt I've owned.


7 months ago
Go Time! (Jesse Maloney) BRAND REP

I've modified the review to make note that my Alti mitts are an older version. Thank you. And thanks for the info on the science behind the boiled wool!


7 months ago
1lonewolf

I totally agree (Jesse) Once you find a Glove/Mitt like the Superior Glove/Mitts it might pay to grab a couple of pairs just in case because it is hard to find a replacement further down the track, don't worry about what you said because these companies change specs all the time and keeping up with what they do is a nightmare and you are correct, I was lucky because I bought the latest versions of the OR A/M's, Price wise I was not sure but because of how warm they are seems to justify my worries, I have tried a few options like good mitts with Military over mitts etc and although it worked movement etc was lost due to the tightness of the outer, So if you ever need to "UP" the temp of your Mitts even more grab a size bigger of the insulated Military outer Mitts, you can buy them for about 5-$10 off ebay,


7 months ago

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Superior Glove Calfskin Leather Extreme Cold Weather Gloves Mitt

reviewers paid:
$35.41

The Superior Glove Calfskin Leather Extreme Cold Weather Gloves Mitt is not available from the stores we monitor.

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