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Outdoor Research Arete - Women's Review

A breathable double-glove built to take on the alpine
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $98 List | $68.59 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Good dexterity, double-glove design, lots of features, light and packable
Cons:  Lacks warmth, tight fit
Manufacturer:   Outdoor Research
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 18, 2019
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Warmth - 25% 2
  • Water Resistance - 25% 6
  • Dexterity - 25% 9
  • Durability - 15% 5
  • Features - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Not really a resort ski glove, but best for alpine terrain is the Outdoor Research Arete. It features a double-gloved construction that has next to no insulation and is built for dexterity. It has many features, including a carabiner holder on the finger, nose wipe, and handwarmer pocket built into the liner. We think this glove is too cold for use at the resort but found it exceptionally useful for more aerobic endeavors requiring a glove that both breathes well and protects from the elements. We have used this glove for over three years, and it remains our Top Pick for Backcountry Adventures for this reason. Use it for warm days at the resort or while backcountry skiing in the alpine. Just be sure to size up, as it has a small fit.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Our Top Pick for Backcountry Skiing, the Arete by Outdoor Research boasts a versatile double-construction with a fantastic water-resistant shell combined with a super breathable construct. It's a great option for the hot skins uphill and milder days at the resort. Choose a different glove or add hand warmers when the temperatures dip down just below freezing.

Performance Comparison


Enjoy the backcountry with the OR Arete. Here we skin up to a popular area on Red Mountain Pass midseason. This thinner glove offers good warmth on this warmer day  and breathability while we hike uphill.
Enjoy the backcountry with the OR Arete. Here we skin up to a popular area on Red Mountain Pass midseason. This thinner glove offers good warmth on this warmer day, and breathability while we hike uphill.

Warmth


Warmth is not the Arete's strong suit, and we would not recommend taking these babies out on cold resort days. But, if you choose to, make sure to add a warmer liner or additional hand warmers. So why isn't this glove as warm as others?


First, the removable liner is incredibly thin. It is made from lightweight polypro material, so it performs well in temperatures only above 20F. In temperatures that creep below 20F, it will not insulate enough unless you use hand warmers as a secondary option. Even then, the gloves won't be warm for long. That said, this liner wicks quite well. Second, the outer is incredibly breathable (and water-resistant). If you plan on hiking in the backcountry, this is a great option.

Nordic skiing just outside of Quebec City in -20F (w/ windchill). Here we test the Arete (the older color but the same construction).
Nordic skiing just outside of Quebec City in -20F (w/ windchill). Here we test the Arete (the older color but the same construction).

As a result, this is one of the coldest gloves tested. If you want to make it warmer, you can always buy a thicker liner and size up with the glove to accommodate the extra bulk. Otherwise, leave this glove only for mild days at the ski resort, or for hiking in the backcountry.

A look at the thin construction and liners. This glove is not warm and is specifically designed for alpine-like missions.
A look at the thin construction and liners. This glove is not warm and is specifically designed for alpine-like missions.

Water Resistance


This glove uses a nylon outer shell with a GORE-TEX insert. As a result, it is not as waterproof as a full GORE-TEX glove. During our field tests on both wet and dry days, this glove held up to the elements and stayed dry. During our dunk tests, we were surprised to see that it absorbed very little water, providing evidence that it is very water-resistant.


Though not designed to be waterproof, note that the liner material can act like a sponge if you either sweat too much, or find yourself using your liner while having contact with the snow. One tester used the liner exclusively while ski-touring, and she cleaned the snow from her skins and removed her tail-clips in the liners. After only a few changeovers, the liners became too wet to keep her warm any longer. If you're hiking in the backcountry, make sure to hike with just the gloves, and put the liners in your pockets to avoid saturation. Or, choose to use this glove on warm days or in dry climates.

A look at the performance during our water tests. This glove started at 3.2 oz  absorbing very little water.
A look at the performance during our water tests. This glove started at 3.2 oz, absorbing very little water.

Dexterity


If you need a glove that will allow you to pick-up, put-down, zip-up, or clip-on, the Arete is the glove for you. Scoring the highest points for dexterity, know that you will be able to perform a plethora of tasks like clipping ski leashes, removing climbing skins, and putting a splitboard back together.


The removable inner liner is what provides the glove with amazing dexterity and versatility. If it gets too hot, simply slip the liner out and use the shell on its own. Or, just use the liner if the shell is too hot. The beauty of the liner is the silicone gripping material on both the palm and fingertips. This allows you to easily use hands and fingers without needing to take the liners off. While out ski touring, testers were able to easily transition between the shell and then the liner to get the best use and comfort out of the glove.

The thinner construction allows you to grip ice tools and do almost anything requiring more dexterity.
The thinner construction allows you to grip ice tools and do almost anything requiring more dexterity.

When combining the liner and shell together, the Arete still proves to be one of the most dexterous gloves we tested. The one issue with the removable liner and shell combo is that it sometimes took extra effort to slide the liner back into the shell of the glove. Sometimes it would bunch up and cause frustration that testers did not experience with higher-end products.

Features


Outdoor Research designers did not skimp on the extra features for the Arete Glove. It includes an incredibly soft nose wipe, big loops at the cuff to help pull the glove on, and an amazing removable liner that can be worn on its own.


We love the removable leashes  and the large thumb loop makes pulling it on quite easy.
We love the removable leashes, and the large thumb loop makes pulling it on quite easy.

Not only that, but if you tend to lose your gloves on the chairlift, it has a removable leash. It also features a carabiner loop, providing an attachment point to your harness. Oh — and if it's cold outside, slide a pair of hand warmers into the pocket on the liner for additional warmth. All in all, we loved the features of this glove! We just wished it had touchscreen compatibility.

The carabiner loop is convenient when you need to wear a harness and don't want to wear the full glove.
The carabiner loop is convenient when you need to wear a harness and don't want to wear the full glove.

Durability & Construction


Outfitted with a nylon palm (instead of leather), this glove is not as durable as other contenders in this review. It showed quite a bit of wear and tear after several days of intensive use. In addition, the liners seemed to pack out and wear in the fingers. After many years of use, we have seen this palm material degrade and wear out.


Despite the poor score in this category, this glove is backed by a lifetime warranty. We have used Outdoor Research's warranty before for other gloves they make, and it's a painless process. Kudos to OR for offering this!

The nylon palm is reinforced but less durable than leather construction.
The nylon palm is reinforced but less durable than leather construction.

Value


This glove offers a great value for those seeking a glove that'll perform for all sorts of aerobic activities. Take it with you while summiting mountains, cross-country skiing, or on early morning winter runs. It has versatility in its applications, offering great overall performance for a good price.

We enjoy this glove on a super cold running day. We didn't have to take them off once! A great option for both backcountry skiing or aerobic winter sports.
We enjoy this glove on a super cold running day. We didn't have to take them off once! A great option for both backcountry skiing or aerobic winter sports.

Conclusion


The Outdoor Research Arete wins our Top Pick for Backcountry Adventures due to its fantastic breathability and versatile double-glove construction. Take it with you on all your backcountry adventures — just avoid wearing it on the really cold days when temperatures drop below freezing.

Amber King