The Outdoor Research Riot gloves are one of the better performing gloves in its price range. While you can buy models that are warmer at a similar price, it's hard to find an under-the-cuff model that is warmer or will keep your hands dry for more extended periods, or are as dexterous - for under $60. This model uses Outdoor Research's proprietary Ventia waterproof insert which was one of the best performing and most weather resistant models among similarly priced gloves. The Riot also has surprisingly good dexterity and just enough user-friendly features to help it edge out the competition. The only thing we don't love about it is its durability; it's more robust than most options in its price range with only a few exceptions; most notably, the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II, which was significantly more robust and only $5 more expensive.
Outdoor Research Riot Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Excellent price, incredibly dexterous, weather resistant, soft feeling liner, large grab loops to make pulling them on easier
Cons: So-so durability, not as warm as others, palm material isn't super durable, the fit of the glove is less pre-curved than other models and somewhat flat feeling
Manufacturer: Outdoor Research
Our Analysis and Test Results
The OR Riot is one of the best priced all-around ski and snowboard gloves for more moderate climates. Its only average in warmth, working well for most users down to around 10-15F but is above average in its weather resistance and dexterity when compared to similarly priced models. We also liked several small design features, like its oversized grab loops that made them easier to pull on, and soft feeling interior fabric.
This model uses Outdoor Research's proprietary Ventia waterproof insert and a respectable weather resistant 100% nylon exterior.
Both in real-world testing and our side-by-side two-minute water bucket tests, the Riot performed above average among similarly priced models. It scored scoring similarly to the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II and the Outdoor Research Revolution but noticeably out-performed the Columbia Tumalo and the Dakine Titan.
While we wouldn't consider the Riot to be the best glove for super wet conditions, and it was out-lasted but much more expensive models like the Arc'teryx Fission, our Editors' Choice, it remained a pretty darn good option for stormy days riding days.
The Riot features 9.3 ounces of OR's proprietary EnduraLoft Insulation on the back of hand. This insulation offers a very cozy feeling polyester fleece lining on the inside of its palm.
This is a pretty average amount of insulation among gloves in our review; as a result, the Riot offered an average amount of warmth, particularly when directly compared to many under-the-cuff style models. Our review team found these gloves warm enough for most users when worn down to around 10-15F, but our hands felt a little on the cold side when worn in temperatures below that. Overall, this model provided similar warmth to the Hestra Fall Line. It was close but not as warm as the Outdoor Research Illuminator, Dakine Titan, or the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II.
The Riot scored above average for dexterity and is one of most dexterous glove under $60.
While conducting our side-by-side dexterity tests, our testing team found that the Riot performed as well as many of the more expensive gloves but at a fraction of the cost. Testers could easily open a car door with a key, zip their jacket, buckle a ski boot, or even sign their name. Unlike many of the other gloves in our review, particularly one in the Riot's price range, our reviewers felt like they rarely had to remove it during the day, even when faced with tasks that required fine motor skills.
While they aren't quite as warm as the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II or the Dakine Titan, they are noticeably more dexterous. While the Riot has ample dexterity, it's easy to notice this model's less articulated fit when compared with pricier models. There is less pre-cut curve in its digits, the palm is flatter, and the fingers have a boxer feeling. It isn't a significant drawback, but it doesn't form to your hand when around a ski pole.
These gloves fared respectably well over our testing period and are on the durable end of the spectrum for models in this price range. They aren't nearly as tough as some, which use beefier fabrics on their exterior (but also cost more). Their palm is made of synthetic material which OR calls AlpenGrip LT. This palm material was decent, but not great and pretty average for non-leather palms in its price range (which isn't that good, considering all the models in our review).
We have ripped similar materials several times when handling ski edges; needless to say, this grip material doesn't exactly impress us. If you don't mind an over-the-cuff gauntlet style glove, that's one of the main reasons to go with the Outdoor Research Revolution or Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II. For only $10-$15 more, you get a noticeably more durable albeit less dexterous glove.
All of our review staff loved the Riot's oversize grab loops, which made this model easier to pull on even when our hands were wet.
We liked the low-profile glove connector to make finding both of them in your gear closet much more likely. This model's Velcro cuff and flap are pleasantly low-profile, making it easier to pull under jacket cuffs to more efficiently seal out the elements.
The Riot is best for skiers who frequent more moderate climates like the Pacific Northwest, the Sierra, and Tahoe areas, or British Columbia's Southern Coast. What's nice is this model will continue to do relatively well in these climates, even on those closer-to-freeze (or even slightly above freezing) storm days. Because they aren't the warmest on the block, they aren't an ideal day-in-day-out option for East Coast or Rocky Mountain West skiers and snowboarders but can complement another warmer glove in these areas for less chilly days. The Riot is light and dexterous enough they will perform well for cold weather snowshoeing, or even walking the dog on close to zero degree days.
At $55, this glove is an incredibly good value. While you can certainly buy nicer gloves, it's hard to buy a nicer pair for less than $55. Along with the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II the Riot's are the most weather resistant models for under $75, and they are the straight-up most dexterous model in that price range. If you're on a budget, don't go skiing or snowboarding frequently enough to justify a more expensive pair, or don't commonly find yourself out in temperatures colder than 10-15F, then these gloves are truly tough to beat. The only thing we feel takes away slightly from their overall value is they only offer so-so durability; however, when directly compared to other gloves in the $55 and under price range, the Riot doesn't give up much for longevity. For $20 more, you could consider models like the Outdoor Research Revolution or Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II which are marginally warmer and more durable but aren't quite as dexterous.
At $55 the Riot has a firm hold on the value category. As we've mentioned, they are easily one of the best overall performing gloves for their price. When compared to similarly priced options, the Riot was one of the most water resistant and dexterous model that held its own for warmth, though it may not be the best option for colder resort days. If you want a glove that won't break the bank but will be a little warmer on frigid days, check out the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II (it's only $5 more and much warmer).
— Ian Nicholson