Zensah offers their Reflect Running Gloves and Smart Running Gloves for smartphone users. These are not just for running though. They’re designed for all outdoor activities where a lightweight glove is appropriate. With temps varying from chilly to outright cold right now, we figured this would be a timely review. While neither glove is gender-specific, Zensah sent me the Reflect Running Gloves, and the Smart Running Gloves for Mrs. Outsider. Since they are so similar, we’ll cover the common features as well as the differences in a single review.
Up first are the Smart Running Gloves. Made from an 85% Polyamide/15% Elastane blend, with a 100% polyester thumb, they are light and stretchy. On the thumb and first two fingers are the conductive panels for your phone. Across the palm are silicon strips that help you keep a good grip on your device as well. Other nice touches include a micro suede nose wipe on the thumbs, and reflective stripes across the backs of the fingers. Sizes are S, M, and L. On the Zensah site, you’ll find a helpful sizing guide. If you like black, you’re in luck, because that’s the only color option.
Since Zensah knows a thing or two about compression, it’s no surprise that these gloves fit well. Just the right amount of stretch and “give”. And because they’re so thin, you don’t give up much in the way of dexterity. But that’s also their downfall when the temps drop. When it’s 40-50 degrees out, they do okay. Below that, they don’t provide enough protection. Your own results may vary, but if you run on snowy days, these probably won’t do. While they do allow you to tap, pinch, and swipe to your heart’s content, we found one small issue. That silicon grip across the palm keeps you from dropping your device, but the lack of it on the fingers should be addressed. On her first time out with them, my wife had to remove one to get back in the house. They’re too slick for regular round doorknobs.
My neon orange Reflect Running Gloves have the same blend for the body and thumb. It’s the reflective panel that is different, with an 82% polyester/18% Elastene mix. Across the palm is the same silicon grip, with only the thumb and forefingers getting the conductive pads. They have the same sizing options, but colors include neon orange, pink, or yellow. Although not mentioned above, both also have a handy buckle to keep them together when not in use.
Going with the extra reflective material just made more sense, since I am usually outdoors early in the morning, or later in the day. I have four other pairs of black gloves, so a pop of color is nice too. If anything, this review serves to remind me how different people can have much different tolerances for cold. Personally, I hate having cold hands, but will still operate my camera with bare hands at temps in the 20s. But not for very long. That said, these are not the gloves I would choose for those days. For about 40 degrees and up, they are fine for me. Also, I usually wear an XXL or bigger, yet the XL stretched to fit my hands. This allowed me a greater degree of movement than my usual thick gloves.
Overall, we’ve been happy with both gloves, as long as it wasn’t too cold out. Even then, being able to operate a phone with gloves on is a big plus. Not being able to open our front door with them on was an issue, but at least we were on our way into the house. Adding a bit more grip across the fingers, and maybe one size larger would make them better. If Zensah is able to make them a bit thicker, or give them a warmer lining and extended cuff, they would be suitable for even colder temps. Since they are a running company, that may not be the approach they want to take. But we like them enough that we’d want to see that option. Check out the full Zensah line at Zensah.com.
Brian (and Mrs. Outsider)
A special thanks to Zensah for sending out the his and hers gloves for this review.