Smartwool PhD Alpine Glove ReviewMay 30, 2014
- Well constructed with excellent materials
- Very dexterous
- Merino wool lining was very comfortable and handled moisture well
- Touch-screen compatible for easy Smartphone use
- Cold fingertips in frigid weather
- Not suitable for clicking smaller items on touch screens
- Promotes excessive texting/smartphone use
If you absolutely have to make calls or access the virtual world on your touch screen device while skiing without taking your gloves off, the SmartWoold PhD Alpine glove with TouchTec will serve your needs. Expect cold fingertips when the temperature drops into the lower teens.
The Smartwool PhD Alpine TouchTec Glove and its shorter-cuffed sibling, the Patrol Glove, feature waterproof leather and nylon outer shells with Merino wool insulation. TouchTec leather on the fingertips allow use with touch screen electronic devices. The Alpine glove has a gaunlet-style cuff, while the Patrol has a shorter wrist-length cuff and costs $100 versus $140 for the Alpine. Choose between the two models based on your preferred cuff style.
The Alpine and Patrol gloves by Smartwool are very well made with supple leather that’s reinforced in critical wear spots, soft and comfortable Merino wool lining, stretch panel backs, and a waterproof insert. The wool lining is heavier on the backs and lighter on the front, and very light on the fingertips. The Alpine’s gauntlet cuff has a wrist strap and a draw cord, and also includes leashes in case you decide that you do have to take your gloves off. Both models have the ever-handy nose wipe patch feature on the back of the thumb.
Performance and Dexterity
These gloves kind of surprised me by actually working pretty well with my iPhone. The supple leather and Merino lining allowed for excellent dexterity on all sorts of regular non-touch screen tasks, and dialing phone numbers with the gloves on was pretty easy. Things got a little trickier when texting, and a bit clumsy when working the web browser, but with practice and patience even that was possible.
I didn’t have any premature wear or durability issues during the test, the materials and seams held up very well. The Merino lining didn’t compress noticeably.
Warmth and Comfort
I’m a fan of Merino wool lining in gloves because it’s warm, comfortable, handles moisture well, and is durable. But for these gloves to work well with touch screens, the lining has to be very thin over the fingertips and that began to be a problem when the temperatures dropped toward the low teens. While the rest of my hands stayed warm and cozy, the tips of my fingers got cold. When the temperatures were more moderate, I didn’t have any problems and the gloves were a real pleasure to wear. Just be prepared to suffer a bit for your information dependence when the mercury drops low.