Now if you’re reading this, you are probably thinking, “James, thermal gloves in April?”
And you would be correct….
But hear me out.
I received the Extreme Thermo Mitt from inov-8 early on the winter season and though I was up for keeping my digits warm, I did wonder if I would get to use them in anger. After all, when do we get winters in the UK?
Careful what you wish for….My reason for leaving this review so late, is simple – I’ve been using the Extreme Thermo Mitts. From the desolate, baron landscapes of Milton Keynes to the abundant metropolis of the Cairngorms (maybe the cold’s messed with my mind), I was thankful to have the Mitts on test. At times, when the Beast from the East hit, they genuinely made a difference.
Outside of trying the mitts on when they arrived against my bare hands, I always wore them with the All Terrain Gloves, doubling up the layers to keep the bitter wind at bay. I wore a medium glove with a medium Mitt. It does fit, however, you may want to try a size up if you want to make getting them on over the top that bit easier and to increase the air pocket to heat up.
The make up is simple; a thermal backing, silicon covered palm and secure wrist closing.
The wrist cuff is the same as found on the All Terrain Glove. Deep, secure and stays in place. It easily keeps the warmth in and doesn’t catch on waterproof/windproof/thermal layers when adjusting. It was one of my favourite features of the gloves and it’s the same story for the mitt. Smaller isn’t always better.
Insulation.inov-8 has incorporated Polartec’s Alpha insulation into the back of the hand. Alpha is a breathable insulation, which allows excess heat to leave, while keeping you warm. Think of it as a best of both worlds, reducing the chances of overheating when active, yet warm enough when you have to stop. This was the element of the mitt I honestly thought could be an issue using to it’s full potential. Cooler morning runs (4.30am) allowed me to use them a couple of times, but, it was when the Beast from the East showed it’s full might, that I was really impressed.
Even in the sunny climes of Milton Keynes, temperatures dropped to -13°C, with windchill included, and I used them commuting to work, through the fresh powder.
Heading north to the Cairngorms, with another round of Siberian winds hammering the island, it was on the mountainsides where I would next put the Extreme Thermo Mitt to the test. Starting out in gloves, it was when the wind picked up and I repeatedly fell to my waist in powder, the Mitts rapidly warmed my fingers up, before they went completely numb.The insulation works a treat. The palm is covered in a layer of silicon grippers, which make gripping rocks and poles that much easier. Add to this the contact patches on the thumbs, which work on touch screens, in an emergency, you can call the emergency services without cooling one hand down.The large branding on the back is reflective, which makes standing out on night runs easier, along with signalling.
One feature I haven’t shot is the elastic loops on each wrist closure. Yes, think back to when you were a child and you had mittens with a string connecting them, hidden inside your sleeves. Well, don’t despair. inov-8 have updated this winter time tradition, with small elastic loops on either hand. They allow you to remove the mitt and not having to worry about dropping them when using your hands. Now, I will hang my head….. I failed to read about this and it took a fellow runner to point this out on the trail when we were talking about them (he also had a pair).
The moral of this story, read all the features of a product.
At 25 grams they are super light and compact, their warmth to weight is very good.
Overall, I was sceptical about running a proper test of inov-8’s Extreme Thermal Mitts. In the end, we experienced the worst winter in the UK for 5 years and it provided the best testing environment. So much so, it delayed the release of the review, as opportunities continued to present themselves.
If you need a thermal glove for racing or are taking on the Spine, Tour De Helvellyn or other winter races/recces/runs, the Extreme Thermal Mitt is a winner.
Product supplied by inov-8