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Black Diamond Legend Review

A decent performer providing a dexterous and lightweight alternative to double gloves
Black Diamond Legend
Photo: Black Diamond
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Price:  $150 List | $149.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Dexterous, lightweight, supple, packable
Cons:  Not very durable, marginal water resistance
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 3, 2020
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 19
  • Warmth - 25% 6
  • Dexterity - 25% 9
  • Water Resistance - 25% 7
  • Durability - 15% 4
  • Features - 10% 4

Our Verdict

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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Black Diamond Legend
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award  
Price $149.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$199 List
Check Price at REI
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$120 List
Check Price at REI
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Dexterous, lightweight, supple, packableWarm, water resistant, durable, dexterous, lightweight and packableWarm enough, weatherproof, inexpensiveWarmest mitt in our review, bomber shell, nice extra features, nice loop to facilitate drying, good thumb ergonomicsExtremely water resistant, nice fit, dexterous, extra features, killer price for what you get
Cons Not very durable, marginal water resistanceExpensive, lacks some featuresPoor dexterity, slightly tight fit around the knucklesPoor dexterity, liner packs out a little quicker than other optionsNot as warm as other mittens we tested
Bottom Line A decent performer providing a dexterous and lightweight alternative to double glovesWith top-tier performance across the board, this glove is what we recommend to those seeking the best pairA warm and fully featured ski glove for a great priceThis contender offers the highest level of warmth yet still allows you to perform basic tasks required of resort skiingA lightweight, waterproof mitt at a great value
Rating Categories Black Diamond Legend Arc'teryx Fission SV Gordini GTX Storm T... Black Diamond Mercu... The North Face Mont...
Warmth (25%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
Dexterity (25%)
9.0
8.0
4.0
2.0
3.0
Water Resistance (25%)
7.0
10.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Durability (15%)
4.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Features (10%)
4.0
7.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
Specs Black Diamond Legend Arc'teryx Fission SV Gordini GTX Storm T... Black Diamond Mercu... The North Face Mont...
Double or Single Glove Single Single Single Double Single
Gaunlet or Cuff? Cuff Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet
Palm Material Sheep leather Leather Polyurethane Goatskin Leather Synthetic (polyurethane) leather
Waterproof Material Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Shell: Pertex Shield, Liner: BDry Gore-Tex insert
Insulation Type 170g PrimaLoft Gold 133g Primaloft Gold Eco and 200g Primaloft Silver Eco Megaloft 340g Primaloft Gold and high-loft fleece lining Back of hand: 250g Heatseeker Eco
Palm: 100g Heatseeker Eco
Nose Wipe? Yes Yes Yes Yes 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.
Photo: Jeff Rogers

Warmth


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.

A soft fleece liner adds to the warmth provided by a moderate amount...
A soft fleece liner adds to the warmth provided by a moderate amount of synthetic insulation.

Dexterity


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 easily handled tasks requiring fine motor skills like...
The Legend easily handled tasks requiring fine motor skills like tying shoes or winter boots. These gloves are dexterous enough for outdoor professionals like ski patrollers and guides.

Water Resistance


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.

The softshell fabric on the back of the glove, treated leather...
The softshell fabric on the back of the glove, treated leather exterior, and Gore-Tex membrane produce a formidably water-resistant glove. After heavy, wet use, the soft leather absorbed water and soaked through.

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.

Durability


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.

After relatively gentle use, the Legend already showed signs of wear...
After relatively gentle use, the Legend already showed signs of wear on the palm during our test period, including holes in the leather and thin spots.

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 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 features a svelte velcro cuff, a nose wipe, and a clip to...
The Legend features a svelte velcro cuff, a nose wipe, and a clip to kep to gloves together.

Value


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.

Especially in fair weather, the Legend is equally at home ripping...
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.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Conclusion


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

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