Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $0-20
Pros: Cheap, easy to find, fun to make
Cons: Slippery at edge of fingers, hard to get on and off, less durable, have to make yourself
Best Uses: Big wall climbing and aid climbing.
Manufacturer: Wells Lamont
This is the cheapest way to get a fingerless leather glove for big wall climbing. Any type of leather glove will work but some are better than others. This Wells Lamont shown in the photos is one of my favorites because it is relatively durable, has a tight fit, is inexpensive, and is widely available. As with all gloves, the most important thing is fit. The great thing about this and any leather glove is that your local hardware store will have something that works.
It is hard to beat these for the money, especially considering you can sometimes make them for nothing if you already have a pair of gloves lying around. They work and will get you up walls. That said, a pair of gloves specifically made for wall climbing will generally offer better grip, dexterity, and durability. If you have the money, get a pair of our highest rated fingerless gloves. If you are on a budget or just want the fun of making your own gear, making your own fingerless gloves is one of the easiest ways to shrink your big wall budget.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The best thing about homemade fingerless leather gloves is you often don't need to buy them. There is usually a pair of gardening gloves or work gloves lying around the garage (my parents know all too well about this). If you do have to buy a pair, they are usually cheap and available at your local hardware store. I have found that as long as you get a tight fit, they have good dexterity. The leather on these Wells Lamont gloves is soft yet the padded palm holds up well.
The other great thing about these is you are making your own gear. No, it's not like being John Salathé and pounding out your own pitons in your shop. But in a minor way you are taking part in that age-old tradition of making your own vertical gear. It used to be that you had to make your own big wall gloves. Now that there are so many fingerless gloves available, it is more of a choice than a necessity (or a necessity brought on by low funds).
The main problem with homemade fingerless gloves is the area around the fingers. If you don't use duct tape, the seams will start to unravel after one pitch. If you do use duct tape, there is a slick surface at the edges. The gloves are also hard to get on and off. This is not a big deal, but it is one of the drawbacks to saving money by making your own. In addition, there is room for user error when cutting your gloves. Even in the pair I made for the photos you can see that not all the fingers are cut at the same length. There is the real chance you might botch a pair, especially if it is your first time making them. In that case, your cost savings start to evaporate.
Keep in mind when selecting gloves that there are a lot of models that are just too loose, especially around the wrist. It is possible to find leather gloves with a Velcro closure, but at that point you are probably spending so much money you should go buy some climbing specific ones. If you are just belaying, a poor fit is not a big deal. But if you are handling biners, fit is crucial. Most leather gloves do not come with a carabiner clip-in loop but this is easily solved by cutting a small slit near the wrist.
If you size them perfectly and cut off the fingers just right, these gloves will last you 5 to 10 big walls. They are ideal for anyone who is on a budget, is doing only a few walls, or just wants the joy of making their own gear. For generally rappelling or belaying, it is better to have a full-fingered glove. With this gloves, your fingers will turn black after extended biner and rope handling.
If you just walk into a hardware store, these can be either pretty expensive or a good deal; it's hit or miss. If you shop online, you can almost always find a great deal on these.
How to make fingerless gloves
Fingerless leather gloves often start to make themselves. The first part to wear out on a pair of gloves is the finger tips. That is a good time to turn them into fingerless gloves by cutting off the tips. See the photos above to see how it is done. Remember that all gloves stretch. I usually wear a medium or large ski glove but will always buy small leather gloves. I like them tight at first so they will stretch out just right and give great dexterity. It is almost impossible to buy fingerless gloves that are too small because they eventually stretch out.
— Chris McNamara
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Most recent review: March 3, 2012
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