Of the thousands of pieces of gear I’ve tested as Outside’s Gear Guy, many of them are for hyperspecific purposes: midlayers for aerobic runs in temperate climates, skis for six inches-plus of blower powder, and kayaks for low-volume creeks. While I love having the right product for the right situation, there’s a lot to be said for a piece of gear that can do it all. For me, no other piece of gear in my ski kit sees more use than the Hestra Fall Line gloves ($160).
They have been my ski glove of choice since the winter of 2014. I tested my first pair for this article, and they remain my most utilized pair seven years later, though I’ve tested dozens of gloves over that time. Their combination of warmth, dexterity, durability, and comfort make them my favorite for both in-bounds and backcountry skiing all season long.
I’m not alone in my preference for this glove. The Fall Line has been a bestseller for Hestra since they were first released in 2013: the brand sold seven times the amount in 2020 as it did then, said Drew Eakins, marketing manager at Hestra. “That says a lot about a glove,” he says. While other gloves have been added or dropped from the company’s roundup, the Fall Line just keeps performing better.
I’ve been extremely hard on that pair and am still finding them as useful and hearty as when I first put them on. I credit the premium goat leather, simple build, and burly stitched seams for this longevity. Two years ago, I was riding a lift with a man who struck up a conversation about the fact that we were both wearing leather Hestra gloves. He’d been given his as a gift for refereeing his grandkids’ ski races in the early aughts. He spent the entire ride explaining how he was tough on the gloves while he skied but rewaterproofed them as often as once a week during the season. He thought I could easily get 25 years out of mine if I treated them right. Seven seasons in, I believe him.
Their tough leather, light synthetic insulation, and thick neoprene cuffs make the Fall Line perfect for protecting my hands from the elements without being too warm for athletic movement. I usually won’t switch to a lightweight or liner glove until temps are well into the 40s and I’m traveling uphill. On the other end of the spectrum, the neoprene cuffs keep powder from freezing my digits during yard sales, and I rarely find them lacking warmth at the resort except on the coldest of days—then I just add a hand warmer.
While durability and warmth are critical attributes, I appreciate the Fall Line’s dexterity the most. Each finger is lightly articulated, with a curvature that resembles my fingers in their relaxed state. This form is the product of Hestra’s glove-cutting mastery. There are fewer than 100 master-certified glove cutters in the world—a title that was formalized in 17th-century France and earned only after years of mentorship—and two of them work at Hestra. As a result, I can fiddle with my boots and bindings and completely sort out my three-year-old daughter’s ski kit without removing them.
After all these years, the reason I love them is simple: they’re the right tool for keeping my hands warm while skiing—and tinkering with my gear—all season long.