Expert Review: Hestra Freeride Czone 3 Finger Gloves
This review is my honest opinion of the gloves, which I purchased with my own money twice - once in November of 2017 and once in November of 2021.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the gloves, which I purchased with my own money twice - once in November of 2017 and once in November of 2021.
The Hestra Freeride Czone 3 are a higher-end pair of gloves designed for riders who demand peak performance no matter how rigorous the conditions get.
About the gloves I own
- Model: Hestra Fall Line 3-Finger Mitten (2017) & Hestra Vertical Cut CZone - 3 finger (2021)
- Size: 11
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 200lbs
- Hand size: US XXL (Hestra 11)
- Experience: 20 years of skiing
- When I bought them: November 2017 & November 2021
- Days used: 100+, 30 days
- Weather conditions used in: Everything from 60 degree spring days to -10 degree stormy days including full on rainy days and 12”+ of powder days
- Where I’ve used them: Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood, OR | Schweitzer, ID | Jackson Hole, WY | Heavenly, CA | Park City, UT | Crystal, WA
- Terrain: Resort and backcountry
How they perform
What I was looking for
I wanted a pair of really high-quality leather gloves that were going to last for years to come, keep my hands warm, and perform in any condition that got thrown my way. Price was not a concern.
Why I chose this gear
Warmth and comfort were at the center of why I chose these gloves. But I realized these were the gloves for me the moment I put them on. I felt just how high of quality they are. It was an easy decision from there. I did consider other options, and none of them compared. If one has heard the saying, “you pay for what you get,” it couldn’t be more true in this situation. I paid for something high end and I firmly believe I got the best of the best.
What I love about them
- Fit: I use Hestra sizing grid, and it’s spot on. XXL is an 11 in Hestra’s sizing.
- Comfort: They are the most comfortable gloves I’ve ever worn.
- Ease of movement: I love the fact that the index finger is free. That’s all I’ve ever needed when grabbing something with my gloves.
- Warmth: I find myself taking them off on the chair ride up on warmer days, but they never feel too hot while riding. They have always kept my hands warm on the coldest of days when it’s sub-0 degrees.
- Waterproofing: I’ve had a mixed result here.** **I ride in the PNW and it gets wet, like raining wet at times. These gloves don’t do the best keeping water out, but in their defense on a rainy day, I’m not sure what gloves would. Never had an issue on any snowy day whatsoever. When they do get wet, my hands still DO NOT get cold.
- Breathability: Great while riding. If my hands get too hot, I just take them off while I ride up the chair lift. It’s never something I’ve complained about.
- Weight: They have a light to normal weight.
- Conditions: Any day it snows they really excel.
- Features: Wrist cords are really nice, but not a must in my opinion. Hestra sells these if they don’t come with gloves. One pair did, one pair didn’t. They don’t come with a goggle scraper, but since they are leather, they have never damaged my goggles when I’m using them to scrape ice or water off of them. They are super effective at removing ice and water too. The wrist strap is minimal, great at keeping snow out and has been really easy to tuck inside of my jacket sleeve. When strapped under my jacket’s cuff I’ve never had an issue with snow ever getting in.
- Quality: They are top-notch quality. When I take care of the leather, it performs better than anything else on the market.
- Durability: The pair I’ve taken extra care of has been so much more durable than my first pair. My first pair I did not take great care of them and they diminished fairly quickly. Overall, though, the leather is super durable. I’ve grabbed/swapped tree branches, dug them deep into the snow, and really tested them every way imaginable, and the leather stays intact and does not rip. However, I learned that using the leather balm to improve waterproofing and leather durability is a must. And at all cost avoid direct heat when drying the gloves. When I put them by the fireplace, they dried out, became hard, and I ended up ruining the leather and as a result the waterproofing. Also, Hestra stitches their gloves from the outside, so snow and water doesn’t seep through and the seam is less likely to break open. But what this does is expose the stitching, so if I grab my board, I could cut the stitch and create a hole. This is what happened to me with one of my pairs. I took it to a leather seamstress to get it fixed, but it only lasted another five times before it broke open again.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Touchscreen compatibility: These gloves do not work with a smartphone.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with these gloves was the first time I experienced sub-zero temperatures. I was up at Schweitzer for Demo day and it was negative five degrees outside. I walked up to the Arbor booth, told them what board and bindings I was looking to ride, and they started “trying” to put the bindings on the board. Their hands froze up after 20 seconds of exposure to the cold and the wind before they started to struggle. I jumped in to help them out, and without taking my gloves off I assembled the board with no issues. Throughout the morning, my hands were in and out of my gloves, using my phone, getting into my pockets, etc., and everytime I put my hands back in they warmed up within seconds. It was my first real test of cold weather with these gloves. They not only stood up to the test, but they excelled. This solidified my trust in the brand and the product.
Value for the money vs. other options
I haven’t given much thought when comparing the gloves to other brands. Hestra gloves to me are worth every penny. Not comparing them to brands per say, but other Hestra models have a removable liner. I put dryer sheets in my gloves at the end of each day so they always smell fresh, but being able to remove a liner and wash it is a plus. I just prefer my glove to be able to go inside of my jacket instead of the outside, and I don’t believe Hestra has a removable liner in the type of gloves that do that. At least both of my pairs do not have a removable liner.
Overall, if there is a reason I bought two pairs even after I cut the seam of my first pair. They are warm, comfortable, functional and are, in my opinion, hands down the best gloves money can buy.