Review: Vallerret Photography Gloves
In short, these are the best photography-specific gloves I’ve used and so handy they’ve become my go-to glove for any non-technical cold weather activity. Check them out at https://photographygloves.com/
What makes a good glove? In my opinion the most important things are warmth, dexterity, weatherproofing, and construction/durability. And when it comes to photography I’d add two more things: ease of operating a camera, and ease of operating a smart phone. Most gloves I’ve owned are great in one or two areas but lack in the rest. For example, I have a pair of leather and goose down mittens that are beautifully constructed, completely waterproof, and my hands have never once felt cold while wearing them (even while out in temps as low as -5°F for hours at a time). However, they are so big and bulky that trying to photograph while wearing them is like picking up marbles with milk jugs taped to your hands. Or conversely, for ages my photography glove of choice was a fingerless glove with a convertible mitten top. They were very maneuverable gloves, but flipping the mitten part back exposed all of my fingers down to their bases. Which meant actually using them to photograph quickly led to cold hands.
Vallerret has tackled these issues by creating a line of gloves that target good performance in each of those six categories. At present they have three styles: the simple Merino Liner, the Trigger Mitt, and the Markhof Pro Model (as seen in the photo above). Ignoring the liner for the time being the main design feature of the gloves is the FlipTech Finger Caps, which allow you to flip back the glove on your index finger and thumb, but only at the tips. This helps to keep the rest of your hands covered and warm. The Finger Caps are held in place with magnets, giving you unencumbered access to your camera and/or phone. That alone is an amazing feature if you are used to using any other kind of glove for photography. So these earn very high marks for dexterity and ease of using your devices. One exception to that is the merino wool liner. Although it does work with smart phones it’s not optimized for their use. Meaning that sometimes tapping on the phone’s screen was inaccurate or the phone didn’t respond.
In terms of construction the gloves are made from excellent quality materials including leather and twill outers, with merino wool inners. The merino allows for warmth without bulk, which means the gloves have a more comfortable and svelte fit, leading to good dexterity even with the Finger Caps in place. All the materials are either waterproof or water resistant as well, making these a great all weather glove. The weatherproofing works well though I did notice that after prolonged contact with snow (like if I was shoveling snow for a few hours, or if I spent the day snowboarding in wet snow) both kinds of gloves would eventually soak through. Granted, both of those uses are outside the scope of the design. These are photography gloves, not heavy-duty winter or snowboard gloves. However, it should be noted that because the Finger Caps are designed to allow your finger and thumb to be quickly exposed to operate your camera, that opening allows for snow to get into the glove. Because of that I’d say that these gloves are best suited to cold, but dry-ish conditions, including about 95% of all conditions you’re likely to encounter with photography. If you are going to be doing anything technical or doing something where your hands will be exposed to water for a few hours at a time you might need a more weatherproof glove.
As far as warmth goes I personally have a problem with cold fingers if I’m not moving. Therefore I found the gloves to be colder than their specified ratings, especially if I was simply standing around shooting. If I was active (hiking, skiing, shoveling, etc.) then the gloves kept my hands warm. I found the merino liner to be a bit colder than expected, and I think partly that’s because it’s incredibly lightweight (although well-constructed and comfy). Because of that, along with the touchscreen inaccuracies mentioned above, I swapped out Vallerret’s merino liner with a thicker, windproof, touchscreen-compatible polartec liner from Black Diamond. I found the combination of the Black Diamond liner with the Vallerret Trigger Mitt to be an outstanding combo that was warm in conditions down to around 5°F (if I was staying at least somewhat active), and maybe 15°F if I was standing still.
The gloves have a low-bulk fit, which is nice for feel as well as dexterity and comfort. The wrist cuff is snug and low-profile, and I found it to fit smoothly inside of my waterproof jacket’s sleeve, unlike many other gloves I’ve used where a bulky cuff makes it difficult to fit inside the jacket sleeve. A quick note on sizing: although my hand measurements put me squarely in the middle of the Medium category I found the gloves to be a tiny bit too large, with the fingers in particular being a little too long. That extra space is actually good with the thicker liner, but note that if you wear the Vallerret gloves on their own and you’re on the fence between sizes, I would go with the smaller one.
With that quick overview of the gloves, let’s take a look at what Vallerret says about each:
100 % Merino Wool inner: Nature’s best weapon against the cold ensures a warm glove for photography.
100 % Merino Wool Insulation: Using our proven natural fabric we’ve added a wadding layer for extra warmth.
FlipTech finger caps: You’re ready to shoot in seconds. Just flip the finger cap and enjoy full access to your dials.
Magnets: Keep the FlipTech open and out of the way, increasing your access to your camera.
Ergonomic fit: Our mitt has a fitted design to ensure a great camera feel
Goats Leather and Twill: Premium Goat leather and waterproof twill for optimum protection against winter. Water resistant suede and YKK zips included.
Non-slip grip: Our sticky grip keeps your camera safe.
Photography specs: SD-Card Pocket
Jersey Cuff: keeping your wrist toasty warm, slip on and slip off with ease.
TEMPERATURE RATING: -15 degrees Celsius / 5 degrees Fahrenheit
Markhof Pro Model
100 % Merino Wool inner
FlipTech finger caps
Softshell & Suede
Non-slip grip: Featuring Mt Cook of New Zealand
SD-Card or hand warmer Pocket
TEMPERATURE RATING: between -5 and -10 degrees Celsius / 14 degrees Fahrenheit
100 % Merino Wool Liner
Ergonomic fit: Fitted glove to ensure a great camera feel
TEMPERATURE RATING: 2 degrees Celsius / 35 degrees Fahrenheit
|Feature||Merino Liner||Trigger Mitt||Markhof Pro Model|
|Inner Material||100% Merino Wool||100% Merino Wool||100% Merino Wool|
|Outer Material||—||Premium Goat leather, waterproof twill and water resistant suede.||Windproof softshell and water resistant suede|
|Insulation||—||100% Merino Wool||—|
|FlipTech Finger Caps with Magnets?||—||Yes||Yes|
|Non Slip Palm?||—||Yes||Yes|
|SD Card / Hand Warmer Pocket?||—||Yes||Yes|
|Temperature Rating||2 C / 35 F||-15 C / 5 F||-5 C / 14 F|
My Performance Ratings
|Category||Merino Liner||Trigger Mitt||Markhof Pro Model|
|Warmth (with / without liner)*||5||9 / 5||8 / 5|
|Dexterity (with / without finger caps removed)||9||9 / 7||9 / 8|
|Weatherproofing||2 (will stay warm when wet but has no actual weatherproofing)||8||7|
|Construction / Durability||7||10||10|
|Ease of Photography||9||8||9|
|Ease of Phone Use||5||9||9|
|Overall Features and Design||6||9||9|
*Warmth – I found each glove hit its targeted temperature rating if I was active and wearing a liner with the glove.
As mentioned in the beginning of this review these are the best all-around photography gloves I’ve used. I like them so much that they’ve become the glove I reach for for everything except technical winter activities or prolonged exposure to wet conditions. I wouldn’t mind if they were a little warmer or a little more weatherproof, but those are easy compromises to live with for such a feature-packed, well-designed, comfortable, and dexterous glove. And with a thicker liner underneath there’s very little to quibble about at all.
I’d recommend getting either the Trigger Mitt or the Markhof Pro along with a warmer, touchscreen liner from a 3rd party like Black Diamond. In choosing between the Trigger Mitt and the Markhof Pro, the compromise is a little extra warmth traded for slightly less dexterity in the Trigger Mitt. More dexterity but less warmth and weather proofing in the Markhof Pro.
If you’re looking for a new glove for your photography these Vallerret gloves are highly recommended and you can check them out on Vallerret’s Website, www.photographygloves.com.
Vallerret sent me these gloves for free to try. However there was no financial compensation for this review. I do NOT earn any commissions from Vallerret on sales. Furthermore, honesty and credibility are fundamental to any gear review so I have endeavored to make this review as objective as possible.