The North Face IL Solo Pro Futurelight Glove Review
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The North Face IL Solo Pro Futurelight Glove
Check Price at Backcountry
$169.95 at Amazon
$69.99 at Amazon
$119.95 at REI
$64.95 at Amazon
|Pros||Dexterous, well-made, water resistant||Waterproof, super durable, heavily featured||Warm enough, weatherproof, reasonable price||Incredible warmth, weather resistant, durable, reasonable price||Warm, great features, comfortable, inexpensive|
|Cons||Not that warm, tight fit, no wrist gauntlet||Lacks some dexterity, could be warmer||Poor dexterity, slightly tight fit around the knuckles||Poor dexterity, could have better features||Not dexterous, bulky and cumbersome|
|Bottom Line||These dexterous and durable gloves have the best touchscreen-compatible features for using your phone in cold weather||These are excellent gloves for the worst winter conditions, and only come up short for dexterity||A warm and fully featured ski glove for a great price||These mitts provide extreme warmth and weather resistance at a good price, nailing the two most important aspects of ski mittens||A quality mitten that is super warm, comfortable, and relatively inexpensive|
|Rating Categories||The North Face IL S...||Rab Khroma Freeride...||Gordini GTX Storm T...||Black Diamond Mercu...||The North Face Mont...|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||The North Face IL S...||Rab Khroma Freeride...||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||Goat leather||Pittards Armor-Tan® Goat leather||Polyurethane||Goat leather||Synthetic leather|
|Waterproof Material||FUTURELIGHT insert||Gore Tex Plus Warm||Gore-Tex||BD.dry||DryVent|
|Insulation Type||Heatseeker™ Eco||Mapped Primaloft Gold 100g, Back of hand: Primaloft Gold 133g, Palm: Primaloft Gold grip control 133g,||Megaloft||340 g PrimaLoft Gold, high-loft fleece||Back of hand: 250g Heatseeker Eco
Palm: 160g Heatseeker Eco
Our Analysis and Test Results
The standout features on this product are the touchscreen-compatible fingertips and excellent dexterity in the fingers. In these gloves, users retain their ability to perform tasks that require fine motor skills, like zipping zippers and tying shoes.
The IL Solo Pro has enough warmth for most days on the ski hill. It has a layer of synthetic insulation and a cozy fleece lining. In general, we find that less insulation leads to better dexterity but less warmth, and this glove strikes a great balance between the two for most users. These are excellent daily drivers, but they are a bit cool on the most frigid days. For backcountry skiers, who generate a lot of heat while skinning uphill, these gloves provide just the right amount of warmth.
For users with chronically cold hands, or for those who ride chairlifts every day in cold, dry, windy climates, these might not provide enough insulation. But for the majority of users, and especially those who know how to keep their hands warm through the proper layering of the upper body, these are warm enough most of the time.
This is where the IL Solo Pro really shines. The fingers are tailored with an articulated curve, meaning they allow your fingers to rest in a bent position, and don't have as much fabric on the insides of the fingers to get bunched up when you bend them sharply. The fit of the fingers is also relatively snug. The net result is a glove that has remarkable dexterity, excelling at tasks that require the use of the fingers. We had no problem tying the laces of our winter boots, clipping boot buckles, and unzipping zippers to grab our phones or pull out our ski passes.
Another standout feature here is the use of touchscreen-compatible leather on the tips of the thumbs and forefingers. In the past, we have been dubious of gloves that claim to allow the user to operate their touchscreen devices with their gloved fingers and generally find that licking our gloved fingertips before texting produces the best results. With the IL Solo Pro, we never had the leather fail to work with a touchscreen, and the gloves are dexterous enough that we were able to press the correct letters on our phone screens every time. These are the best gloves for operating a touchscreen that we have tested, by far.
With tightly sewn seams, treated leather, and a waterproof membrane insert, these gloves keep out most water, and they have plenty of weather resistance for most users and weather conditions. The gloves also use synthetic insulation, which keeps its insulating properties when wet. Still, a wet glove won't feel that warm, but the waterproof membrane does a good job of keeping out water.
The main downside to this glove's weather resistance is the lack of a wrist gauntlet. The stretchy wrist cuff is comfortable against this skin, but it can't wrap over the outside of a jacket cuff, meaning snow and water can get into the user's jacket sleeves. Many users prefer the feel of an elastic, under-cuff wrist, but compared to other gloves on the market with huge wrist gauntlets, these gloves aren't as weather-resistant. Also, as the leather palm breaks in over time, the waterproof treatment wears off, and the treatment must be re-applied. For most users, this will only be needed once a season at most.
These gloves are well-built and sturdy enough to stand up to abuse. The stitching is tight and high-quality, and strategically-placed leather reinforcements in the space between the thumb and forefinger aim to add lifespan in high-wear areas. The leather takes a few days to break in, which is normal, and over time, it will need a new waterproof treatment, which is also normal for leather gloves.
In our experience with elastic wrist gaiters, the stretchy fibers are easily cut and also wear out over time, becoming less stretchy. This usually occurs over 100-150 days of use. The touchscreen-compatible fingertips are soft and prone to wearing out, but not any sooner than the tips of other leather gloves. With normal care, these gloves don't pose a durability concern.
The North Face IL Solo Pro gloves have an average array of features. The main differentiating features here are the soft, touchscreen-ready tips of the thumb and forefingers, which effectively push buttons on phones, even on cold days. Otherwise, these gloves have a soft nose-wipe pad on each thumb, and minimalist wrist leashes to avoid dropping them off a chairlift. They also have a small button snap to keep them together as a pair in storage.
For advanced features like handwarmer pockets, wrist gauntlets, and drawstring closures, you'll have to look elsewhere. But for the average skier, the set of features on these gloves is more than adequate. The touchscreen fingertips, in particular, make this glove stand out from the rest of the pack. The soft leather tips of the thumb and index finger work as well as bare fingertips on touchscreen smartphones, even in cold weather, meaning that we could scroll through social media feeds, text our friends on the chairlifts, and take photos with ease throughout the ski day.
Should You Buy The North Face IL Solo Pro FUTURELIGHT?
These gloves have excellent dexterity, decent warmth and weather resistance, and useful features, all for an attractive price. They are also well-built, which adds to their appeal. If you are looking for a dexterous glove for everyday use, and you don't have chronically cold hands, these are a great option. They are also a good choice for snow professionals like instructors, patrollers, and guides, because they allow you to perform any task without taking your gloves off, and because they can take a beating.
What Other Ski Gloves Should You Consider?
If you need a warmer glove, but still want some dexterity, the Arc'teryx Fission SV is our favorite overall glove and will keep you warm and dry in any weather. If you are shopping on a budget and want the best inexpensive glove, the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II is a good choice, but it doesn't offer the same dexterity. And if your backcountry missions last multiple days through bad weather, the Black Diamond Guide is a burly backcountry and expedition workhorse.
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