Test: Black Diamond Guide Gloves

By meteomorris on 15 March 2018 · 3

I am riding a lot and I hate cold and certainly wet hands. A glove must therefore be durable, warm and breathable. After my third pair of Hestra's, I wanted to try something else. My favorite glove was the Army Leather Heli Ski 3 finger glove from Hestra. A great glove, but the third pair was done. The fingertips were worn through and my fingers became increasingly cold on cold days.

My loyal Hestra Gloves
My loyal Hestra Gloves

Worn finger tips
Worn finger tips

So I was looking for new gloves. New Hestra's? Yes, that was my first thought, but I could not find a GTX (Gore-Tex) version in Europe. That's why I explored some other options. My requirements:

  1. Durable (my fingertips wear out quickly because I like to put my hand in the snow while carving on my snowboard. In addition, steel edges also leave their mark when I carry my board).
  2. Warm (My fingers get cold fast, especially when the temperature drops below -15 degrees Celsius and I therefore prefere mittens)
  3. Breathable and waterproof (no moisture coming into the glove, but please give my sweat the possibility to get out)
  4. Long (I like to wear my gloves over my sleeves, so a longer gloves are nice to keep the snow out)
  5. Wearable (a container for stuff like fit etcetc)

The price is also not unimportant as well. But what is a good price? I especially want a glove that scores well on the above points and is cheaper than its competitors. In addition, I also have a preference for leather. In all those years, leather turned out to be the most sustainable.

The search for a good freeride glove had begun. Sometimes I thought I'd found something, but then I could not find anything online about it again. And gloves that I could find a lot of information about were mainly dominated by (semi) sponsored reviews. Even on wePowder I could not find much about other brands. Hestra is pretty much the standard. Same with my friends and powder buddies: also mostly Hestra. I figured out I just had to buy them in Canada. Until that moment Arjen was kind enough to give me his Black Diamond gloves for a few days. I was skeptic, because it was a 5 finger glove and they always felt so stiff in the store. The three days that I was on riding, I started to appreciate them. After returning home I found the Black Diamond Guide Gloves on the web for a good price. It took me some research, but they can be found for competitive prices. I decided to give it a go, but I started to doubt again when the gloves came in. They felt stiff and weren't the gloves just too warm? But it's mid March right now and I can share my feedback with you.

My feedback and findings

  1. Durable?: I now ride with the Guide Gloves the complete winter and the leather is still as new. But I think that would be the case as well with the Hestra's. Anyway, no wear on my fingertips and no wear due to my steel edges. I also have the idea that the leather is slightly thicker than my Hestra's. The only thing I noticed that looked a bit used are the chamois fabrics on the thumbs. Those parts are super handy to clean your lens during intense snowfall or after countless face shots. And that happend a lot this winter!

Wipers on your thumbs
Wipers on your thumbs

  1. Warm?: they are warm! The guide glove consists of two parts. The outer glove is made of leather and nylon and the inner liner consists of a layer of Gore-Tex and primaloft and an extra lining on the palms. At first I was worried that finger gloves would be too cold, but that is certainly not the case. Whether it is -18 in the Alps or -25 in Canada, my fingers were still warm. On such days cold days I used to wear an extra merino wool glove as an extra liner in my Hestra's. The seller adviced my to for a bigger size, to give your fingers some more room (to keep the warm air in). I'm glad I did that. But even on the milder days I have no complaints that they were too warm. The real test has yet to come when spring really makes its entrance. But at least I did not have cold fingers in mid-winter.

A liner with primaloft and teddy filling
A liner with primaloft and teddy filling

  1. Breathable and waterproof?: I have treated the leather so that no water comes in from outside. I also used to do that with my Hestra's and it worked out great as well with the BD gloves. Great, no complaints. The Gore Tex layer also ensures that moisture in the inner liner is gone in no time. I never had wet hands once.

Gore Tex layer in the liner
Gore Tex layer in the liner

  1. Long?: yes. The cuffs are long enough and the elastic at the ends to close the glove is perfect. No problem.

Long cuffs
Long cuffs

  1. Wearable?: yes. I was skeptic, but after a day of riding, the gloves felt great and that only got better. The leather is softer and the glove fits like a glove (no pun intended).

Any improvements?

I am positively surprised and now understand why Arjen has been riding with Black Diamond gloves all those years. Still, there are three things that can be improved. First of all, I really miss the wrist loops that are standard with Hestra. I was so used to taking off my gloves without being afraid to lose them (when you're riding a chair for example). In the end I transferred the wrist loops of my Hestra's, but with a glove with a suggested retail price of 160 euros, something like that should be standard. There's some kind of padding on the palm. That's great during the better treeruns if you have to push a branch away. So please, make sure to put in on the fingertips as well! It's ideal for carving when I put my hand in the snow. It muffles a bit and it prolongs the lifespan of the glove. I bought a bigger size on the advice of the seller. There is so much insulation in the inner glove that you get cold hands if you stick to the measurements. The glove is then too tight and there is simply too little space (air) to store the heat and as a result the cold air still penetrates from the outside. A bigger size is the way to go, but it would be better if Black Diamond would adjust the dimensions themselves.

Preliminary conclusion: price/quality

The recommended retail price of the BD Guide gloves is 10 euros cheaper than the Hestra's. But with 160 and 170 euros both gloves are not really a bargain. Right now, I prefer the BD gloves. Now that I think about price/quality, I also realize that my colleague and powder buddy Arjen rode with the same Black Diamond gloves all the time, while I was using three pairs of Hestra's.

Now I can argue that I ride faster, ride more often etc (LOL), but the main difference between Arjen and myself is that Arjen is a skier and I'm a boarder. My finger tips hit the snow much more, especially when I'm carving. And that's exactly where my Hestra's are failing.

Nevertheless, the leather of the Guide Gloves feels stronger and more durable. Time will tell, but if I had to choose again, I would opt for the Black Diamonds. If I knew earlier, I would have opt for the 3 finger glove.

Did any of you guys test the Black Diamond Guide Gloves or the Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski glove? I'd love to hear your feedback!


  • Chester_Tartsnatcher
    Chester_Tartsnatcher op 29 March 2018 · 04:01
    Those Hestras used to come with a little tag. Remember what it said?
  • Vinnie
    Vinnie op 27 October 2018 · 22:50
    only suitable for skiing 😉
    Sharing Secrets, Sharing freedom!
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 28 October 2018 · 19:23
    Those Hestras used to come with a little tag. Remember what it said?Chester_Tartsnatcher op 29 Mar 2018 04:01

    May the powder be with you.


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