The Black Diamond Legend is a warm, comfortable, and dexterous glove that our testers liked. However, key parts of the glove's construction don't stand up well to abuse. We wished that this glove lasted longer, and if it did, it might be a contender for an award. It kept our hands warm in temperatures down to the low teens, and dry on the deepest powder days of the year. It's probably the most dexterous glove for the warmth that it provides. But even after thoroughly treating the leather with both the included and after-market snow seal treatments, the palm of the glove soaks up water on the wettest days and wears through faster than other gloves in our test.
Black Diamond Legend Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Dexterous, lightweight, supple, packable
Cons: Not very durable, marginal water resistance
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Legend is a decently warm glove, especially considering it's lightweight and lacks of a large storm gauntlet. Our testers were comfortable wearing this glove down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Compared to the over-the-cuff/gauntlet style gloves we tested, these aren't as warm, but they are way more dexterous. Synthetic insulation in the palm, back of hand, and fingers keeps your body heat in, and a soft fleece lining adds comfort and warmth. Overall, this glove is surprisingly warm and will be adequate for most days at the ski hill, unless you live and ski in very cold environments like the northern Rockies or Alaska.
The Legend features some of the best 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. Common skiing tasks like bucking boots and opening zippers are a breeze while wearing this glove. Writing, using car keys, and taking a phone out of a pocket are also easily accomplished. These gloves were designed for snow professionals like ski patrollers and guides, and their dexterity reflects this purpose. We felt that the thumb is tailored a bit large and could be more snug, but this didn't affect overall dexterity that much.
The Legend lacks somewhat in water resistance. It uses a Gore-Tex insert to keep water outside the hand chamber, and a Pertex softshell material on the back of the hand and cuff, which also repels water from the outside of the glove. However, most of the glove's exterior is made from a very supple and soft fabric that seemed to absorb water more easily than other leathers we have seen in glove construction, both from Black Diamond and also from other manufacturers.
All leather gloves should be treated with a snow sealant before use and regularly throughout the winter. We treated these gloves with the best snow sealant on the market, and still, the leather seemed to get soaked in the afternoons of the wettest days, and after about two weeks of testing, the gloves needed another snow seal treatment. Water never reached the interior of the glove, but when the leather soaks through, the glove feels wet and is also less durable.
The Legend's palm leather is significantly softer than any other ski glove we have seen. While this material provides excellent comfort and dexterity, it also brings major durability concerns. After about two weeks of heavy use, the leather palm showed significant signs of wear, including minor rips and thin spots. A common practice in leather glove construction is the placement of additional leather patches in areas of high use, and these gloves don't do that. Furthermore, the soft leather can more easily tear away from the stitching used to keep the glove together, because the stitches are sewn through a very soft material to begin with. All of these concerns are exacerbated when the leather gets damp.
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 is very comfortable as well. Otherwise, there aren't many other features to speak of, which is welcome news to those who prefer to avoid dangling straps and drawcords.
The Legend is a relatively expensive ski glove, and despite all of its strengths, the poor durability performance makes us doubt the value of this product. It wears out faster than a hardware store leather winter glove, and for the price, this short lifespan is unacceptable. The good news is that Black Diamond has an exceptional warranty program, and they will most likely replace the glove when it wears out.
Durability aside, the Black Diamond Legend is a great ski glove, providing warmth for most temperatures, protection in most weather, and excellent dexterity. It broke our hearts that they wore out so fast. If you don't subject your ski gloves to heavy-duty use, this is a great choice, but if durability is at all a factor in your decision, we would recommend other models.
— Jeff Dobronyi