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Homemade Fingerless Climbing Glove Review

   
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  • Currently 3.3/5
Overall avg rating 3.3 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: March 3, 2012
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.
User Rating:     
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 (3.7 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (3/3) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Wells Lamont
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ March 18, 2010  
Overview
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.

See how this compares to other products in our complete Climbing and Belay Glove Review

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  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
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).

Dislikes
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.

Best Application
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.

Value
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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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: March 3, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.7)

100% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 25%  (1)
4 star: 25%  (1)
3 star: 25%  (1)
2 star: 25%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 3 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Feb 4, 2010 - 03:09pm
Russ Walling · Climber · Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
The gloves shown in the review have the problems listed plus the duct tape will put sticky crap all over your gear.

Instead of duct tape, use some speedy stitcher thread or dental floss and quickly sew the edge of the cut with 3 or 4 whips. Then apply some SeamGrip for a permanent cure for future unraveling.

Cut them longer than you think. That first finger joint takes some abuse up there on the wall, and after some use the gloves fingers will get shorter.

Hot tip of the day: Do NOT cut off the pinkie finger of the glove. Leaving this on will save your pinkie from the dreaded Jumar Knuckle Filet™™™ when pushing up your jugs.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Mar 3, 2012 - 01:11pm
kife · Backpacker · honolulu, hawaii
these work really well, but i suggest a few more modifications. i use them for scree running. duct tape will be sticky as mentioned, but thread was hard to sew through the leather, and the threads will break if the stitching is too wide, or cut through the leather if stitching is too small. what i found works really well is using shoe goo to glue the edges inward. you don't need a lot because eventually it will keep the crease.

also, the wrist area is wide so the glove can slip off easily unless you got a really small size. instead, you can use a couple pieces of velcro to wrap the wrist area on itself and keep the glove from slipping off.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 7, 2010 - 09:34pm
bluNgoldhornet6 · Climber · Tampa, Fl
Bomber!!! These home made gloves of awesomness are cheap durable and can do multiple jobs. Since im a right hander i tend to only use one glove on my brake hand for a rappel. The other one joins me on my journey but just as a shoe cleaner. It comes in very handy when starting a pitch and you need to get the dirt of the bottom of your climbing shoe. I think i paid all together about 10 bucks for the gloves and the tape and it gave me something to do while i was supposed to be working.
Be careful when taping not to make to tight around knuckles to allow easy on and off as well movement other than that it is all good.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Click to enlarge
Finished homemade fingerless gloves
Credit: Chris McNamara
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