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Arc'teryx Lithic Review

These gloves features an innovative design that offers the best freedom of movement in the review.
Arc'teryx Lithic Glove
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Price:  $250 List
Pros:  Most water resistant glove in our review, innovative design that is dexterous and offers excellent freedom of movement, extremely warm
Cons:  Expensive, too warm for some
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 1, 2017
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The Skinny

Product Discontinued
The popular Lithic Gloves are discontinued. But don't worry, we have other great ski glove recommendations from arc'Teryx and others.

Arc'teryx constructed the Lithic Glove using an innovative design that utilizes some of the most technical fabrics available; it certainly incorporates the most unique construction methods for a ski glove. The Lithic truly maximizes the potential dexterity of a ski glove while remaining one of the warmest and most water resistant contenders in our review. While these gloves offer above average warmth, it is worth remembering that they are not the warmest gloves out there nor are they even the warmest in our review. The reasons to buy these gloves are not because they're the absolute warmest, but because they offer a very high level of warmth while maintaining exceptional feel, dexterity, and water resistance, all things other gloves lose as they get warmer and their bulk increases.

The Lithic's only real downside is their price; at $250, they are easily the most expensive glove in our review, costing you around $60 more than any of the the other models we tested, or $180 in the case of The North Face Montana Mitt. Besides offering top notch dexterity and weather resistance, another advantage that we didn't expect (but discovered once we started field testing) is that the Lithic is easily the most packable glove for the warmth it provides, something worth noting for climbing, backcountry skiing, or any other winter activity where a solid balance of warmth, weather protection, and packability are appreciated.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Fission was easily one of the highest performing gloves we have ever used. The Fission's several advantages include warmth  weather resistance  and packability.
The Fission was easily one of the highest performing gloves we have ever used. The Fission's several advantages include warmth, weather resistance, and packability.

Warmth


The Lithic features two layers of PrimaLoft Silver insulation; one 133 gram layer and one 100 gram layer. The inside offers a layer of extremely soft brushed fleece that helps your hands to feel warm as soon as you put them on, adding to the overall insulation of the glove. The two types of PrimaLoft appear on the outside of the hands where grip isn't an issue; it is there that Arc'teryx used the thicker PrimaLoft Silver. The inside of the palm was constructed using PrimaLoft Gold insulation; this insulation is denser, allowing it to last longer while giving it the ability to provide a more secure grip.

While they were not as warm as the Black Diamond Guide or the Hestra Army Leather 3-Finger Mitt, we did find that they were warmer than many of the gloves in our review, including our high-scoring Hestra Leather Fall Line. They are comparable in warmth to the Outdoor Research Mute Sensor Glove and Black Diamond Legend. As far as breathability goes, the Lithic's construction gives it the title of being the most breathable glove in our review; as a result, they are also the quickest to dry.

The Lithic was easily among the most dexterous glove in our review  though it's worth noting that it was noticeable warmer than all other gloves that offered comparable dexterity. The Lithic is conducted in a completely unique fashion to get such solid dexterity. It is built more like a hard-shell rain jacket with its' insulation laminated to the inside rather than most other gloves in this review which feature an oversized waterproof insert sandwiched between out and inner layers of material. Our testers also appreciated the Grip reinforcements on fingertips and palm shown here in the photo.
The Lithic was easily among the most dexterous glove in our review, though it's worth noting that it was noticeable warmer than all other gloves that offered comparable dexterity. The Lithic is conducted in a completely unique fashion to get such solid dexterity. It is built more like a hard-shell rain jacket with its' insulation laminated to the inside rather than most other gloves in this review which feature an oversized waterproof insert sandwiched between out and inner layers of material. Our testers also appreciated the Grip reinforcements on fingertips and palm shown here in the photo.

Dexterity


The Lithic offers one of the best fits of any contender in our fleet. They use a unique construction, which allows them to be highly dexterous without sacrificing warmth. Instead of a fabric cut-out sewn into the shape of a hand, with box shaped cuttings for fingers like nearly all other gloves are made, the Lithic uses a three-lobe finger pattern that mirrors the thumb and each finger separately, according to their most natural position and movement patterns.

All of our testers could easily feel the super ergonomic design and several commented on the exceptional dexterity (and lack of resistance), especially when compared to other gloves. The seams tend to be in places that minimize their interference with grip, with less stitching in the construction process overall. All in all, the Lithic performed fantastically in our side-by-side dexterity tests and was one of the most dexterous glove in our review, with the Hestra Vertical Cut Freeride and the Hestra Leather Fall Line scoring similarly.

This ergonomic design finished at the top of our review in terms of dexterity. Pictured here is the glove's excellent dexterity  coupled with its lack of resistance.
This ergonomic design finished at the top of our review in terms of dexterity. Pictured here is the glove's excellent dexterity, coupled with its lack of resistance.

Water Resistance


The Lithic was by far the most water resistant in our review, proving that it was up to the challenge of keeping our hands dry for the longest period of time (when compared to its competitors). The Lithic proved itself as being highly water resistant in both our real-world testing and in our two-minute water bucket comparison.
The Fission is by far the most weather resistant glove we tested in both real-world uses and in our bucket-of-water tests. Photo: Jussi Tahtinen staying warm and dry on a powder day.
The Fission is by far the most weather resistant glove we tested in both real-world uses and in our bucket-of-water tests. Photo: Jussi Tahtinen staying warm and dry on a powder day.

Unlike most gloves that use Gore-Tex or a waterproof insert, sandwiched loosely in between the inner liner of the glove and an outer layer of fabric, the Lithic is constructed more like a traditional three-layer Gore-Tex jacket. This works extremely well, as the Lithic isn't as reliant on the outer layer of fabric in order to stay dry for a longer period of time, resulting in drier (and warmer) hands.

Durability


The Lithic is designed to function more like a typical three-layer Gore-Tex shell; in order for this design to work effectively, Arc'teryx had to limit the the number of stitches in the glove that reduce feel and affect dexterity and water resistance. Instead of using leather, like many other higher end gloves, the Lithic uses very low-profile and water resistant TPU reinforcements that have been laminated to the palm and fingertips. While these reinforcements are not quite as burly as leather, they do add some toughness in higher wear areas. Overall, we were impressed with these gloves and found them to be on the more durable side of the spectrum when compared to competitors. Gloves that offered a higher level of durability include the Hestra Vertical Cut Freeride, Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex, and Outdoor Research Olympus Sensor.

Features


A big part of the Lithic's ease of use derives from its functional construction; the gloves remain warm and water resistant, yet very dexterous. Other than exceptional construction, they have a fairly normal set of features, with nothing out of the ordinary. Their one-handed gauntlet closure system was slick and very easy to use, while the stretchy wrist cinch was comfortable, but locked the glove onto our hand. One unique and impressive feature of the Lithic, considering that they are on the warmer side of the spectrum, is that they are easily the most packable glove in our review.

A Note on Size
They run about half a size smaller than many of the other gloves. If you find that you fall in between sizes, we recommend that you consider sizing up.

The Lithic was our Top Pick for Freedom of Movement and scored at the very top of the pack  taking home an overall score of 90 out of 100  and a 10 out of 10 for dexterity. If freedom of movement is what you're after in your quest for finding a ski glove  the Lithic will provide  as we were easily able to perform a whole slew of tasks.
The Lithic was our Top Pick for Freedom of Movement and scored at the very top of the pack, taking home an overall score of 90 out of 100, and a 10 out of 10 for dexterity. If freedom of movement is what you're after in your quest for finding a ski glove, the Lithic will provide, as we were easily able to perform a whole slew of tasks.

Best Applications


There are very few applications that the Lithic Gloves don't excel in. They are warm enough for most resort-bound skiers and riders, keeping your hands toasty when temperatures dip to around 0F or possibly even colder, depending on how warm your body runs. We found that they were fantastic in stormy or wet conditions, with everyone appreciating their above average dexterity.

The Fission is an extremely versatile glove. It is highly weather resistant and warm enough for most resort skiing or snowboarding; what sets it apart is how dexterous it is and how warm and compact it is for its warmth. Tester Ian Nicholson has climbed WI5 in these gloves and all of our review staff loved them for backcountry skiing where their packability and superb dexterity were an asset. They are also an incredible resort model.
The Fission is an extremely versatile glove. It is highly weather resistant and warm enough for most resort skiing or snowboarding; what sets it apart is how dexterous it is and how warm and compact it is for its warmth. Tester Ian Nicholson has climbed WI5 in these gloves and all of our review staff loved them for backcountry skiing where their packability and superb dexterity were an asset. They are also an incredible resort model.

Value and the Bottom Line


You don't buy the Lithic Glove because they're cheap; at $250, they are easily the most expensive glove in our review. When compared to other pricey options, they are substantially more expensive, with the Hestra Vertical Cut Freeride costing $180 and the Outdoor Research Olympus Sensor selling for $175. However, included in the $250 price tag is the totally unique sewing construction that offers fantastic dexterity and freedom of movement for your fingers, with a fairly warm and incredible waterproof design.
You don't buy the Lithic because they're inexpensive as they are substantially more expensive than pretty much any other glove out there. However we do feel you get what you pay for and the Lithic offers a totally unique design and sewing construction that offers fantastic dexterity  is warmer than most  and is exceptionally waterproof.
You don't buy the Lithic because they're inexpensive as they are substantially more expensive than pretty much any other glove out there. However we do feel you get what you pay for and the Lithic offers a totally unique design and sewing construction that offers fantastic dexterity, is warmer than most, and is exceptionally waterproof.


Ian Nicholson