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Black Diamond Legend Review

A decent performer providing a dexterous and lightweight alternative to double gloves.
The 2018 Black Diamond Legend
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Price:  $150 List | $127.46 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Dexterous, lightweight, already broken in feel out of the box, packable
Cons:  Not very durable, exposed stitching on palms, leather soaks up water, large thumb
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Ian Nicholson and Jeff Rogers  ⋅  Dec 12, 2018
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 18
  • Warmth - 25% 5
  • Dexterity - 25% 8
  • Water Resistance - 25% 5
  • Durability - 15% 4
  • Features - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Legend is an all-around performer. It's lightweight and provides a lot of dexterity. You can tie knots in these gloves, while also being strong enough to handle ropes without falling apart, although we have considerable doubts concerning the non-reinforced palm and its water resistance following results from the testing period. It wets out pretty quickly, and takes a long time to dry out. We also found the floppy thumb to diminish its otherwise exceptional dexterity. Black Diamond tends to make high-quality products in our experience with this manufacturer, but we think there are better glove options on the market for a similar design and price range. We enjoyed previous versions of this glove more than its current iteration.


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Pros Dexterous, lightweight, already broken in feel out of the box, packableVersatility, durable palm, lightweight and packable, dexterous, ergonomic shape, freedom of movementSuper warm, extremely tough, great weather resistance, removable liners help them dry quicker, our go-to expedition gloveDexterous for its warmth, inside feels soft and cozy, durable, above average weather resistanceWell designed features, tough as nails, dexterous
Cons Not very durable, exposed stitching on palms, leather soaks up water, large thumbLong gauntlet tricky to get under jacket, gauntlet can slowly open, expensiveNot very dexterous, take time to break in, if in between sizes you should consider sizing upExpensive, leather needs to be retreated slightly more than other modelsNot as warm as other high-end ski gloves, expensive
Bottom Line A decent performer providing a dexterous and lightweight alternative to double gloves.Easily the most versatile model for conditions, climates, and activities with top-tier performance across the board make this glove our favorite overall.For really cold activities, where giving up some dexterity for some serious warmth is a must, these gloves are hard to beat.A fantastic all-around winter glove; it's expensive but built to last, offering extra features to present a good overall value.This is an excellent day in day out resort glove for skiing in milder climates.
Rating Categories Black Diamond Legend Arc'teryx Fission SV Black Diamond Guide Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex Marmot Ultimate
Warmth (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
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5
Dexterity (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
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4
10
0
6
10
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7
Water Resistance (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
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9
Durability (15%)
10
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4
10
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8
10
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9
10
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9
10
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9
Features (10%)
10
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6
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs Black Diamond Legend Arc'teryx Fission SV Black Diamond Guide Hestra Army... Marmot Ultimate
Double or Single Glove Single Single Double Single Single
Gaunlet or Cuff? Cuff Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet
Palm Material Goat leather with neoprene cuff Leather Goat leather Army Leather (goat leather) Cow-hide leather
Waterproof Material Gore-Tex insert Gore-Tex Gore-Tex insert HESTRA Triton three-layer polyamide fabric, leather Gore-Tex insert
Insulation Type PrimaLoft Gold Primaloft Gold Insulation Eco and primaloft silver eco PrimaLoft Gold and boiled wool Soft Fiberfill PrimaLoft Gold
Nose Wipe? Yes (thumb) Yes Yes No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The most legendary aspect of this glove is its dexterity.
The most legendary aspect of this glove is its dexterity.

Warmth


This glove is among the warmer under-the-cuff style gloves (note that this is generally the least-warm glove design). Our testers were comfortable wearing this glove in 10F - as long as it wasn't excessively storming. Compared to the over-the-cuff/gauntlet style gloves we tested, these gloves aren't that warm.

Dexterity


The Legend features some of the better dexterity among models we tested. These gloves use a sheepskin leather on the palm, which is incredibly soft and broken in straight out of the box. Unfortunately, the thumb on the Legend is huge and floppy. It was frequently caught in buckles and carabiners but still proved extremely dexterous for everyday resort skiing use.

During both real-world use and in our side-by-side motor skill comparisons, we compared each model's ability in allowing the wearer to write their name and manually unlock a car door. Comparable in performance to some of the highest performers, the Legend remains among the most nimble gloves.

The Legend handles technical tasks requiring finger mobility well.
The Legend handles technical tasks requiring finger mobility well.

Water Resistance


The Legend glove lacks in water resistance. Multiple times during our test period, the glove soaked up water into the palm, and the stitches would have a line of frost on them. The gloves were treated with the supplied leather treatment and seemed to also absorb that rapidly without increasing water resistance. The saving grace is their Gore-Tex liner which allowed them to do well in the bucket of water test and when the leather was fully soaked. We believe this glove needs some redesign as it would not be suitable for multiple days of use during a ski tour. The Legend performs toward the bottom in this category.

Wetting out in the Legend gloves after relatively few days of employment.
Wetting out in the Legend gloves after relatively few days of employment.

Durability


The BD Legend was redesigned (Winter 2018/'19) with a significantly softer and already broken in style of leather. This has also brought durability concerns with it. The glove's stitching being exposed in the high wear area of the palm is also a big concern for us. We often grab ski edges and reinforcement in the palm is standard for a glove in this price range. The Legend performed poorly in our durability testing and showed noticeable wear and tear after eight days of skiing.

Features


The neoprene cuff is one of our favorites, especially among the under the jacket cuff models we tested. It seals tightly around the wearer's wrist, with a Velcro closure keeping snow out and reducing volume. This makes it easy to pull your jacket sleeve over the top of the cuff of the glove. The nose wipe worked for our nostrils, too! Otherwise, there aren't many other features to speak of, which is welcome news to those who prefer to now have dangling straps and drawcords.

The Legend has many of the features most people look for the most in a ski or snowboard glove  but the cuff is our favorite of them. Jussi Tahtinen appreciating this glove while making his way to the top of a steep boot pack.
The Legend has many of the features most people look for the most in a ski or snowboard glove, but the cuff is our favorite of them. Jussi Tahtinen appreciating this glove while making his way to the top of a steep boot pack.

Value


If our concerns about durability are not found to be true, the glove would be an excellent value. However, our test model did not hold up well during our trial period.

Especially in fair weather  the Legend is equally at home ripping groomers  cursing in the backcountry  or attempting technical descents. Photo: Brian Muller skiing RFS in these gloves near Thompson Pass  AK.
Especially in fair weather, the Legend is equally at home ripping groomers, cursing in the backcountry, or attempting technical descents. Photo: Brian Muller skiing RFS in these gloves near Thompson Pass, AK.

Conclusion


Despite loving past iterations of this model, our testers felt that the current Black Diamond Legend slightly misses the target. It is a good glove, but for a few dollars more, there are some gloves that perform better. We look forward to future versions of this historied glove.


Ian Nicholson and Jeff Rogers