Expert Review: Flylow Ridge Gloves
This review is my honest opinion of the gloves which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
About this review: This review is my honest opinion of the gloves which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
The Flylow Ridge is a no-nonsense, no-frills glove delivering adequate protection and warmth from the elements. It’s far from the fanciest option on the market, but for seasoned resort and backcountry skiers, they provide a reliable pair of gloves at an unbeatable price.
About this gear
- Model: 2022 Flylow Ridge Glove
- Size: XL
- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 200 lbs
- Experience: 25+ years
- When I bought them: December 2021
- Days used: 80
- Weather conditions used in: Sunny days, frigid days, blizzard days, windy days—any possible winter weather condition, I’ve worn them.
- Where I’ve used them: Park City, UT and Jackson Hole, WY
- Terrain: Resort and Backcountry
How they perform
What I was looking for
I was on the hunt first and foremost for a leather glove; I ski in the backcountry a lot, and often end up scrambling over rock ridges or bear-crawling up steep couloirs. As such, my gloves take a beating, and I’ve found that leather tends to hold up longer. Lastly, I wanted a glove that looked good and had a small cuff as opposed to a large one.
Why I chose this gear
I chose the Flylow Ridge for a few reasons. 1) It's made from leather, exactly what I was looking for, 2) it has a small cuff, which makes it easy to get on and off quickly in the backcountry, and 3) it costs way less than other leather gloves. For comparison, the Black Diamond Guide Gloves and the Rab Guide Gloves are both designed with leather, but are much more expensive than the Flylow Ridge.
What I love about it
- Fit: The Flylow Ridge Gloves fit exactly to size. I have bearpaw size hands and the XL size adheres very well to my hand shape.
- Comfort: The Ridge gloves are surprisingly comfortable. Flylow markets the Ridge as an all-around workstyle glove, meaning they aim for it to do everything, from skiing on the mountain to working outside on the farm in the cold. Because of this, Flylow built these gloves to be comfortable no matter what I am doing. I am also a huge fan of the shorter cuff, which allows me to quickly and easily tuck my jacket sleeves over my gloves, and the tight but flexible design of the cuff effectively keeps snow out of my gloves.
- Ease of movement: I love how dexterous and supple my Ridge gloves have proven to be. Upon purchase, they were initially stiff, but I was able to quickly work in the pigskin leather after a few days of use. Unlike many other gloves I’ve had in the past, I can do a myriad of things on the mountain with my Ridge gloves that would have required me to take off my past gloves. I can easily search through my backpack or adjust my boots or clothing, and never have to take off my Ridge’s to do so.
- Warmth: Even though the Flylow Ridge is marketed as a workstyle glove, Flylow didn’t skimp on building it with some fine materials. The inside is lined with Space Loft Synthetic Down Insulation, which keeps my hands comfortably warm in the backcountry during average winter days. However, on very cold days, the Ridge can struggle to keep my hands warm. If you tend to get cold hands easily, there are some warmer options, such as the Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski Gloves.
- Weight: Many leather gloves with larger cuffs tend to be big and bulky. My Flylow Ridge is very much the opposite of that and was a big factor in my decision to purchase a pair. They feel very light on my hands, and they are very packable into a backpack, if need be. I do feel that the Ridge skimps a bit on total insulation than other, more warmer gloves, but I still appreciate the overall lower weight of the Ridge.
- Conditions: I’ve been very happy with how my Ridge gloves perform in most conditions; they keep my hands comfortable during average winter days, but also during stormy powder days and even on warm-ish spring days. As stated above, they only show vulnerability on the very coldest days when the thermometer dips below zero. On those days, I often opt for a bigger, bulkier glove to keep my hands warm.
- Quality: Again, while the Ridge is far from the fanciest glove out there, it still sports some quality materials. The Pigskin leather is rugged and durable, the Space-Loft Synthetic Insulation keeps my hands warm during 80% of conditions, and the Sno-Seal Waterproofing, while lacking in longevity, does mean the Ridge gloves are ready to go straight out of the box. Other gloves do offer more material, such as waterproofing membranes, but they are also much more expensive.
- Durability: I ski nearly 100 days a season, both in the resort and in the backcountry. I am very hard on my gear, and my Flylow Ridge gloves certainly show the abuse I’ve put them through. However, my opinion is that they’ve held up very well considering how poorly I’ve treated them; all the leather is intact, there are no holes or signs of seams splitting, and with regular wax treatments they still hold up to moisture. Many of my past gloves have cracked under such abuse, with the biggest problem often being finger seams falling apart, but my Flylow Ridge gloves just keep on trucking.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Waterproofing: While Flylow does coat the Ridge with Sno-Seal Beeswax Waterproofing, the Ridge lacks an actual waterproof membrane. Furthermore, I've found that after just a few days of heavy use in cold snow my Ridge gloves tend to lose their wax membrane, resulting in my hands getting quite wet and ultimately cold. I’ve had to apply Nikwax leather numerous times throughout the winter season to keep my Ridge gloves somewhat waterproof. I tend to spend much more time with my gloves in the snow than the average skier because I’m often in the backcountry, so for most users, this shouldn’t be a huge issue, but for skiers looking for a fully waterproof glove, the Black Diamond Guide Gloves are a great option.
- Breathability: Unfortunately, good breathability in a glove usually comes at the cost of waterproofing capability; the more waterproof a glove is, the less breathability it tends to have. So the breathability of my Ridge tends to depend on how much the wax waterproofing is standing up at any given day. But despite this, the Ridge tends to be middle of the road in terms of breathability. They can prove to be a bit too hot on warm spring days, but they do also keep my hands comfortable on your average winter day.
- Touchscreen compatibility: Although I find my Ridge gloves to be highly dexterous, these gloves are nowhere near compatible with any screens, so not really an option.
- Features: As stated above, the Flylow Ridge is supposed to be a no-frills glove. As such, it’s pretty lacking in terms of extra features. While more expensive gloves tout leashes, hand warmer pouches, and even removable liners, the Ridge offers none of these. This is ultimately why the Ridge is so much more affordable, but if extra features like these are important to you, this is not the best glove.
Favorite moment with this gear
By far my most favorite moment with my Flylow Ridge gloves was climbing and skiing from the summit of the Grand Teton. The Grand is a beast of a mountain, often requiring a 1 am start, hours upon hours of skinning, and even some ice climbing. Despite it turning into a 16 hour epic, my Flylow Ridge gloves kept my hands warm and dry throughout it all.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Flylow Ridge is easily one of the most affordable leather ski gloves on the market. Most retailers list it at $50, while other leather gloves can cost as much as 3x that amount. While the Ridge lacks many of the features of more expensive gloves, such as the Outdoor Research Point N Chute Sensor Gloves or the Hestra Narvik Ecocuir Glove, it is a phenomenal option for skiers looking for a dependable glove on a budget.
While the Flylow Ridge will never be a high end ski glove with all the appropriate bells and whistles, it does exactly what it sets out to do: offer a durable, warm, and comfortable ski glove that functions in almost all ski conditions. For skiers looking for a dependable pair of gloves at a great price, the Flylow Ridge hits a home run.