Outdoor Research is well known for its outdoor clothing, but its gloves don’t get a lot of mainstream attention. Frankly, gloves in general don’t get a lot of consumer love. Let’s face it: jackets, pants, baselayers and gear are just sexier. But for those of us with Raynaud’s syndrome, gloves and socks are some of our top concerns because our hands and feet get colder, and colder faster, than most folks’. My latest pursuit of warm hands brought me to the Outdoor Research Mute Sensor gloves.
Though designed for skiing and snowboarding, the Mute Sensor gloves offer enough general cold-weather features that they seemed useful for less-active pursuits as well. I was right.
The Outdoor Research Mute Sensor gloves at first glance seem a bit chunky. In reality, they’re incredibly soft inside, are impressively insulated, and are the most comfortable glove I’ve worn in five years. They do have some extra bulk on the back of the hand, but it acts as protection and adds to the gloves’ windproofing.
Windproofing may seem like a false feature, but the material used in the Outdoor Research Mute Sensor gloves stops breezes in their tracks. Even on days with 30mph gusts, not once did I feel a trickle of wind between my fingers. I experienced this in the Crosspoint hardshell gloves I reviewed, but those didn’t offer the same insulation as the Mute Sensor gloves, so over time my fingers got cold. With the Mute Sensor gloves, my hands really didn’t. Gotta love that EnduraLoft insulation.
The waterproofing of the Outdoor Research Mute Sensor gloves is also a welcome feature. Moisture tends to kill heat within minutes, and even less if you have Raynaud’s. The gloves’ goat-leather exterior is just water-resistant, but the gloves’ polyester tricot lining has a fully waterproof Ventia insert. The term “insert” is a bit of a misnomer, as it doesn’t seem particularly removable. But whatever you care to call it, it kept my hands and fingers completely dry both during waterlogged hikes and on snowy mountain adventures punctuated by snowball fights with my kids.
And yes, my fingers stayed completely warm through it all. For a guy whose fingers turn variegated shades of purple, red and white while taking out the trash in 40-degree weather, I was blown away.
Insulation and waterproofing aside, one of more impressive features of the Outdoor Research Mute Sensor gloves is their touchscreen sensitivity. Having warms gloves is nice, but if you have to remove them to use your phone or a tablet, you’ll essentially undo all that heat-retaining goodness and will end up with cold fingers anyway. I’ve used touchscreen-sensitive gloves before, but none that are this insulated and have so many different layers. Not only that, but the Outdoor Research Mute Sensor gloves are even less prone to “fat thumbing” than thinner gloves, making this inclusion all the more impressive.
Though they look a bit cumbersome, the Outdoor Research Mute Sensor gloves weigh just 8.6oz and offer pretty good dexterity. The only bulk for non-skiers and non-snowboarders is the molded EVA foam panels on the back. Fortunately, you can counteract the padding’s weight by removing the wrist strap leashes on the inside of the gloves. I didn’t find either element to be a nuisance, though since the Mute Sensor gloves don’t need to be removed to use a touchscreen, I do question the leashes’ necessity.
Maybe the leashes are just a sign of Outdoor Research being thorough. Lord knows they’ve done everything else with the Mute Sensor gloves. Touchscreen compatibility, a loop on the gauntlet to make pulling on the second glove a breeze, a waterproof insert, a leather exterior, windproofing. All those features, plus a temperature rating between 25 and -5 degrees Fahrenheit, make the Outdoor Research Mute Sensor gloves my go-to glove so far for winter 2015.
The Outdoor Research Mute Sensor gloves were provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links
Outdoor Research Mute Sensor Gloves
Touchscreen Capability10.0 /10
- Incredibly warm even in snow
- Waterproof insert keeps hands dry
- Gloves this thick don't normally support touchscreens -- these do
- Pull loop on the back ensures a
- Surprising dexterity considering their thickness
- Finger padding is a bit thick for non-boarding activities
- Considering the gauntlets, the leashes seem extraneous