The 2018 Legend vs. the Previous Legend
Black Diamond redesigns the Legend for the 2018 winter season. Boasting a new construction, articulated fit, and materials, it's a major update. Check out the comparison photos below, with the latest version on the left, followed by a summary of the updates.
- Updated Fit — Black Diamond claims their updated 3D articulated patterning in the fingers improves the fit and feel of this glove.
- New Materials — The 2017 version was completely goatskin leather. In 2018, the fingers and palm areas are covered in sheep leather. The back of the glove is now a synthetic Pertex shell. We expect this to improve dexterity, as we found the previous model to be a bit stiff.
- No More EVA Foam Backing — The 2018 model drops the EVA foam padding from the back of the glove. We thought this feature made the previous version great for technical, rough riding.
- Price Hike — The new Legend gloves cost $15 more than last season's model.
As we have yet to test out the new model, all analyses below represent the previous version.
Hands-On Review of the 2017 Legend Gloves
The Black Diamond Legend only just barely missed out on one of our awards and it remains one of our review teams favorite all-around gloves for its durability, dexterity, and warmth.
This glove was among the warmer under-the-cuff style gloves. Our testers were comfortable wearing this glove in 5-10F - as long as it wasn't excessively storming. Compared to over-the-cuff/gauntlet style gloves, these gloves were similar to the Outdoor Research Revolution or the Gordini GTX Strom Trooper II. They were noticeably less warm than the Hestra Army Leather Gore Tex or Black Diamond Guide.
The Black Diamond Legend was one of the warmer under-the-cuff style gloves we tested using sewn-in 170 g PrimaLoft Gold insulation on back of hand and 133 g PrimaLoft Gold Insulation on the palm. Overall we found it to be pretty comparable to our Editors Choice the Hestra Vertical Cut Freeride and the OR Sensor Mute and most of our testers felt they could use the Legend down to around 10F as long as it wasn't too stormy.
The Legend features some of the better dexterity among models we tested, earning a 9 out of 10. While these gloves feel stiff when you first pull them on, our team agreed that they softened up quickly (a couple days at most). After a few weeks of use, we determined that they had softened up as much as the Hestra Leather Fall Line.
The Legend had some of the best dexterity among models we tested and there were few tasks that the Legend couldn't handle. This glove is so dexterous we have even ice climbed a handful of days in it. It is worth noting that the Legend has ever-so-slightly longer fingers than most models we tested which could be a good thing for certain users or if you have shorter-than-average fingers you could have some extra material to contend with that might decrease the sensitivity and feel of this glove.
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. The Legend was certainly above average overall and was equal to several other more expensive models. The Legend offered a higher level of dexterity than the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper or Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex, but were slightly stiffer and not quite as dexterous as the Hestra Fall Line. Comparable in performance to some of the highest performers, the Legend remains among the most nimble gloves.
The Legend preformed as well as you could expect any ski glove to when it came to weather resistance. Both in our bucket-of-water tests and real-world comparisons the Legend was easily one of the most weather resistant gloves out there and it even out preformed several other models that won awards like our Editors' Choice.
While the Legend was barely behind the Hestra Fall Line in this metric, the Legend easily outpaced them in the water resistance metric. They needed less maintenance overall (and over time) to help maintain said water resistance. The Legend was a top scorer in both our side-by-side bucket of water comparison and in real-world testing; in fact, we used these gloves while skiing in extremely wet storms.
The Legends use a Gore-Tex insert and an extremely well treated DWR (Durable Water Repellency) finished leather. We did find that after two dozen days of use, some of the stitching (especially on the palm) would begin to absorb a tiny bit of water. This problem was easily solved by re-treating the leather and the seams. That said, we think the Legend has some of the best water resistance in our fleet. It performed similarly to the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II and the Black Diamond Guide.
The Legend is one of the straight-up most durable glove we tested. It is covered in leather and uses a durable reinforced goat leather palm patch with Kevlar stitching meaning it will stand-up well to even the most abusive user. We found the primaloft insulation wore well and packed-out at more-or-less an equal rate to all the other gloves that used a similar style insluation (which is pretty much all of them).
The BD Legend was easily one of the most durable contenders in our review, making it an excellent choice for skiers and snowboarders who are hard on their gear. It is covered in beefy goatskin leather, with reinforcement leather over the high wear areas and compression molded EVA foam on the back of the palm. The leather outer is so beefy that the Legend takes longer than most products to break in. But, after 2-4 days of skiing in them, whether in the backcountry or in the resort, these gloves softened up nicely. While there were several others that scored well in the toughness category, we think that the Legend is among the most durable, taking home a 9 out of 10.
The large Velcro flap did a great job at securing this glove as well as effectively keeping snow out; all while staying low profile enough to easily fit under a jackets cuff. We certainly liked the larger surface area of the Legends cuff better than the OR Mute Sensor but all of our review staff felt the neoprene cuff of the Hestra Vertical Cut Freeride was a little more coozy feeling overall.
The Legend's neoprene cuff was one of our favorites, especially among the under the jacket cuff models we tested. The neoprene cuff 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. Scoring an 8 out of 10 for features, there were a few models that scored higher, including the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt, The North Face Montana Mitt, and the Outdoor Research Revolution.
The Legend has all the features most people look for the most in a ski or snowboard glove. Reinforced palm, nose (or google) wipe, and clips to attache the gloves together in an attempt to keep them from getting lost. While it doesn't have a lot of "extra" features like touch-screen sensitive fingers; we felt that the Legends top-notch dexterity, durability, and weather resistance are features worth keeping in mind. Jussi Tahtinen appreciating the dexterity and durability while making his way to the top of a steep boot pack in a pair of BD Legend Gloves.
The EVA foam on the back of the hand, as well as this contender's durable nature, make the Legend a good option for skiers and snowboarders who are hard on their gear or like to ride in the trees. We found we reached for these gloves for more technical ski descents where we brought a rope to potentially use while navigating more difficult sections. We liked these gloves because they were dexterous enough to easily tie knots and manage carabiners, but also durable enough that pulling the rope after a rappel wouldn't trash them like we did to the Burton Gore-Tex.
The Legend is an excellent all-around ski and snowboard glove that is extremely versatile. The Legend is equally at home ripping groomers, cursing in the backcountry, or attempting technical descents. We also felt the Legend regulated tempature fairly well and makes for a descent spring glove as well as a mid-winter glove as long as its' not Mega cold. Photo: Brian Muller skiing RFS (You can guess that that stands for) in a pair of Black Diamond Legend Gloves near Thompson Pass AK.
The Black Diamond Legend is best used by skiers and snowboarders who want a lower profile under-the-cuff option that's still pretty warm, has very good weather resistance and is super burly. It was a pretty strong contender for our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick and our Editors' Choice award and was only barely edged out.
Compared to its closest competitions, it's actually slightly more weather resistant than the Hestra Fall Line and warmer than the Fall Line. What pushed the Vertical Cut over the top was slightly better dexterity and overall feel while being comparably warm. If you're willing to give up a tiny amount of dexterity, the Legend is as burly and will keep you drier longer on those nearly freezing storm days.
The Legend is a top-notch all-around ski and snowboard glove that call pull double duty for some mountaineering or stand-up to the task when your ski objectives get a little more technical.