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Arc'teryx Fission SV Review

With top-tier performance across the board, this is easily our Editors' Choice.
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $199 List | $149.19 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Warm, water resistant, durable, dexterous, lightweight and packable
Cons:  Expensive, lacks some features
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 3, 2020
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 20
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Dexterity - 25% 8
  • Water Resistance - 25% 10
  • Durability - 15% 9
  • Features - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Fission SV is an impressive glove for the discerning skier, edging out the competition to take our Editors' Choice Award. Across the board, these gloves excelled in every testing category. They are warmer than most other products in our review, except for the battery-powered heated options. They are also the most water-resistant gloves in our review, thanks to a great design and Gore-Tex membrane. They are amazingly dexterous for the warmth, and no other glove provides as much dexterity with the same amount of insulation. That makes the Fission SV a versatile glove for a variety of conditions and activities, from skiing to sledding, shoveling, urban use, and more. These gloves also stand out for their durability, which we found to be among the best on the market. If you are looking for a warm, protective glove for cold resort skiing, or any other activity for that matter, the Fission SV is the best you can find.

The Fission SV runs large, so consider choosing one size smaller than you normally would. Also, it's a unisex glove, and our lady shredders chose this glove as their favorite overall, too.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

This glove is an all-around masterpiece. We loved its warmth, weather resistance, and durability. It is also lightweight and stylish.

Performance Comparison


Shredding cold  shady chutes in the Fission SV during the cold Wyoming winter.
Shredding cold, shady chutes in the Fission SV during the cold Wyoming winter.

Warmth


The Fission SV is a warm glove that is best used during cold days at the ski area, below about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is warmer than that, or you are skiing bumps or hiking for turns, this glove might be too warm. Its warmth is especially impressive given that the insulation doesn't deter from the dexterity of the product. This glove is not as warm as the electronically heated options, but it isn't too far behind, either.


We reached for the Fission SV when the forecast called for the coldest temperatures of the winter. It is filled with synthetic insulation that somehow feels more puffy than the insulation in any other glove. Putting it on feels like putting a puffy jacket over your hand. Somehow, this doesn't get in the way of breathability, and this glove is also one of the more breathable gloves that we tested. Breathability and warmth are often mutually exclusive, but that wasn't the case here.

Soft  puffy synthetic insulation makes these gloves one of the warmest in the review  as well as one of the most comfortable.
Soft, puffy synthetic insulation makes these gloves one of the warmest in the review, as well as one of the most comfortable.

Dexterity


The Fission SV proved to be one of the most dexterous contenders in our review. We were blown away by how much we could use our fingers without needing to take our gloves off. The fingers are fully insulated and stayed warm on the coldest days, and yet also provided more dexterity than most others that we tested. It features a snug fit from the fingers through the wrist, excellent tailoring, and soft leather.


Right out of the box, the leather palm and fingers feel supple and broken-in. The stretchy softshell exterior fabric allows for a tight fit that also stretches when you bend your fingers, adding to the dexterous feel. Fingertip seams are somehow very low profile and don't get in the way of fine motor tasks. Furthermore, the leather reinforcement patches on the palm are also low profile and are barely noticeable from a dexterity standpoint. There is no wrist cinch mechanism, but the elastic wrist gasket does a great job at keeping the glove locked in place and preventing the fingers from sliding around. The thumb is also well-tailored, which we found to be an attribute that most other gloves lacked. On top of all of that, these gloves feel less thick than other gloves in our review, even if the Fission SV packs more insulation.

The Fission SV features excellent finger tailoring and a tight but stretchy exterior softshell fabric. They excelled in the dexterity metric.
The Fission SV features excellent finger tailoring and a tight but stretchy exterior softshell fabric. They excelled in the dexterity metric.

Water Resistance


The Fission SV is the most water-resistant glove we have ever tested. A Gore-Tex membrane ensures that no water penetrates into the interior of the glove, and the softshell exterior fabric is also tremendously water-resistant, meaning that the fabric outside of the waterproof membrane doesn't absorb much water either. All of the seams on the leather palms and fingers are watertight, and the gauntlet cuff is well-tailored and effective, worn inside the jacket or out.


Over the course of our testing, we wore gloves in all kinds of ski conditions, including some of the wettest that we have ever encountered. One tester wore these gloves while skiing during a rainy stretch in Washington, where rainfall measured over three inches in two days. Other gloves soaked through relatively quickly, but these gloves repelled water efficiently and didn't soak up very much water. Furthermore, they were very quick to dry at night, whereas other gloves might not have dried in time to be used the next day. In our two-minute bucket submersion test, these gloves came out as dry as they entered.

Tough leather and waterproof softshell exterior fabric kept all water out of the Fission SV's interior chamber. These are the most water resistant glove we have tested.
Tough leather and waterproof softshell exterior fabric kept all water out of the Fission SV's interior chamber. These are the most water resistant glove we have tested.

Durability


Most gloves in our review feature a leather palm, including the Fission SV, but this model stood out for its durability. The leather is soft and supple straight out of the box, it's also very durable, resisting wear and tear over the course of our testing. The stitching is tight, the construction is solid, and the other materials are strong as well.


Arc'teryx includes leather reinforcement patches on high-use areas of the palm, fingers, and knuckles, but even after using these gloves for technical ski tours including plenty of rope-work like rappelling and lowering, the leather palm showed no signs of wear. The glove has fewer seams than other models, meaning the glove has fewer weak points where the materials could be pulled apart, creating holes over time. We were also impressed by the durability of the softshell exterior fabric, which is very supple and breathable. We expected it to rip or get snagged eventually, but even after extensive testing, we haven't found any reason to doubt its strength. The glove's weather resistance has not been affected by use, either.

Strong materials and tight seams contribute to the Fission SV's excellent durability.
Strong materials and tight seams contribute to the Fission SV's excellent durability.

Features


The Fission SV has a decent amount of features that are useful for both resort skiing and backcountry skiing, although not as many as other gloves on the market. Overall, we found that this model has exactly what we needed. It features an elastic wrist gasket, a storm gauntlet with an elastic pull cord, and a clip to keep the gloves together when traveling or to hang when drying. It also features a small loop on the ring finger for hanging the gloves cuff-side down, and low-profile elastic wrist leases that work well.


This glove lacks the bells and whistles of other ski gloves, but our testers thought the Fission SV did not lack anything that was a deal-breaker. In fact, most testers liked the low-profile and svelte design, which keeps packed size and weight at a minimum. These will disappear into a pack when not in use. We like that.

Hang loops on the ring fingers of each glove are useful for hanging and quickly drying the glove  whether at home at the end of the day or on a harness during a day of ice climbing or ski mountaineering.
Hang loops on the ring fingers of each glove are useful for hanging and quickly drying the glove, whether at home at the end of the day or on a harness during a day of ice climbing or ski mountaineering.

Value


Arc'teryx is known for its quality products and high prices. In this instance, the price isn't actually that high compared to other gloves on the market, and it is significantly cheaper than the heated models. Overall, this glove outperforms all other ski gloves that we tested without outpricing the other options by very much. For the occasional resort skier, these gloves are probably not worth the price. But for the avid skier who needs a glove to provide warmth and water resistance in any conditions, these gloves are the best money can buy. Furthermore, their durability and the great Arc'teryx warranty program make these gloves a safe investment.

A close-up of the Fission SV's gauntlet closure on the left  and tucked into a jacket cuff  of the right.
A close-up of the Fission SV's gauntlet closure on the left, and tucked into a jacket cuff, of the right.

Conclusion


The Arc'teryx Fission SV performed well in all testing categories, retaining our Editors' Choice Award for ski gloves and mittens. When the forecast called for cold and stormy weather, our testers always threw these in the pack as a safe bet when other gloves could falter. Furthermore, these gloves have excellent dexterity and will last a long time. We couldn't ask for more in a ski glove. For hardcore skiers who need a glove that will perform reliably every day of the season, look no further.

The Fission SV in action. This is our favorite ski and snowboard glove on the market and our Editors' Choice Award winner.
The Fission SV in action. This is our favorite ski and snowboard glove on the market and our Editors' Choice Award winner.


Jeff Dobronyi