Gear Closet: North Face Runners Glove And Beanie

A few weeks back I received an excellent care package from my friends at The North Face. Inside the box was a sampling of the company’s great products for a variety of activities. Over the course of this week, I will be sharing some thoughts and reviews on each of these products, starting today with the TNF Runners Gloves and Passing Through Beanie, two products that runners and other outdoor athletes are sure to love.

Runners Gloves ($40)
Cold weather can be hard on the workout routine. After all, it is hard to stay motivated to get out for a run when you know that icy temperatures are waiting for you. Speaking for myself, I always know that the first mile or two is going to be rough while I get warmed up and find my rhythm, but once I get going, I’ll be plenty warm.

The North Face is here to help us cold weather runners get through those first few miles, providing some excellent gear for running in all manner of weather conditions. Their Runners Gloves are a great example of their all-weather gear, as they are designed for use in three seasons.

The back of the glove is designed to block the wind and cold, so when running in those conditions you simply clinch your hands in a fist for maximum performance. But the palm of the glove features a more breathable material, so in warmer conditions you can open your hands to allow them to cool.

Having tested the Runners Gloves in both cool and cold weather conditions, I can tell you that they work exactly as advertised. Clinched fists will keep your hands toasty in all but the worst winter conditions, while opening them up allows your hands to breathe freely. They also nicely wick moisture away from your skin, helping you stay comfortable and dry even as the temperature plummets.

For a simple pair of gloves, these have a lot of unique elements incorporated into their design. For instance, the thumb and forefingers feature capacitive fabrics that allow runners to use their smartphones or touchscreen iPods without having to take the gloves off. They also have reflective stripes and lettering that help keep us more visible in lowlight conditions.

Throw in a watch-notch designed for larger GPS timepieces and a key pocket built into the palm, and you have just about everything you could ask for out of a lightweight glove for cool and cold weather outdoor pursuits.

If you’re a runner who hits the road rain or shine, no matter what the thermometer reads, you’ll definitely want to add the TNF Runners Glove to your own gear closet. They are comfortable, versatile and surprisingly durable for such thin fabrics. The $40 price tag seems like a bargain for how well these gloves perform. These are a must have for any outdoor athlete.

Pass Through Beanie ($32)
I’m the kind of person who never sets out for a run without something on my head. In the heat of summer it is a lightweight Buff and as the temperature drops I transition to an athletic cap and finally a beanie for when it really gets cold. But I’ve never used a beanie like the TNF Pass Through Beanie, another product that incorporates a number of clever design choices in a simple product.

The Pass Through is made of thin, breathable fabrics that keep your head warm and dry on those cold weather runs. This snug fitting, yet very comfortable, headwear offers 360º reflectivity to aid in visibility in the early morning or evening light.

Designed for use by both men and women, the back of the beanie has a hidden ponytail port and the front includes a windproof panel to keep your forehead warm when running into the wind. Something that seems to occur all too often in the winter.

For the past few years I’ve been using a heavier beanie in colder weather, but found I preferred this thinner, lighter model in all but the coldest conditions. It is even comfortable enough to wear under a snowboarding or climbing helmet when you’re pursuing your other favorite winter outdoor activities.

The Pass Through Beanie is quick drying, comfortable to wear on extended runs and provides plenty of protection from the elements. In short, everything you need for those winter workouts.

Kraig Becker