In the beginning of the year, I unwrapped the Isobaa Merino liner gloves which the company had sent me for testing in return for an unbiased review. The timing for testing the gloves was perfect because the temperatures in January and February were often below zero. Therefore, I was wearing the Isobaa gloves under a pair of warmer Gore-Tex gloves – as liner gloves are worn most of the time. Nevertheless, in March the temperatures increased, and I then got to wear the Isobaa Merino gloves as standalone gloves. I wore the gloves for hiking, walks and other activities. I also wore them on the demanding Velika Planina hike which I did in the second half of February. Below is what I learned about the Isobaa Merino Liner gloves.
The Isobaa Merino Liner Gloves are suitable for:
- Everyday use
The Isobaa Merino Liner Gloves are made of 100% Merino wool fabric with a density of 180 g/m2. When I unwrapped them, I was pleasantly surprised over the smoothness and softness of the fabric. Liner gloves are typically made of rougher fabrics, but the fabric of the Isobaa gloves is as smooth as the fabric of any high-quality Merino t-shirt. Isobaa states that the gloves are made of 18.5-micron Merino wool which is the second highest grade of Merino wool, labelled as Superfine Merino wool.
The primary function of liner gloves is to pull moisture from the skin and transport it out towards the next layer, so that your hands stay dry and comfortable throughout the trip. So, when you are buying liner gloves, you typically want something moisture-wicking, breathable and quick-drying. It’s also good if liner gloves are odor-resistant and antimicrobial because they are worn directly against the skin. These are the qualities I focused on while testing the Isobaa liner gloves.
When I put them on for the first time, I was impressed over the fabric. The fabric feels really nice against the skin and is certainly not itchy. As the fabric is super smooth, I also haven’t encountered any chafing throughout the testing period – neither when worn alone or under other gloves. I wore the gloves on several hikes, and I was very satisfied with the moisture-wicking performance. The gloves always nicely pulled the moisture from my skin and transported it to the second pair of gloves. As the gloves are very thin, they also dry very fast. I wore the gloves on the challenging Velika Planina hike where they got soaked with sweat, but by the time I returned back to the car, they were already completely dry. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that I wore these liner gloves as standalone gloves on that hike. They will obviously take longer to dry if you wear them under a pair of thicker gloves. So, in terms of moisture management, breathability and drying time I have no complaints.
One thing that did bother me, however, is the stitching at the end of the fingers. There is quite a lot of excess fabric left from the stitching which significantly decreases the dexterity. Therefore, it’s hard to work with precision and control when you are wearing the gloves as standalone gloves. The other seams (at cuffs, sides) have a lot of excess fabric as well, but it’s not as tangible as on the fingers.
Now, when it comes odor-control, I never had bad experience with garments made of Merino wool and the Isobaa Merino liner gloves are no exception. Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial, and it simply doesn’t become smelly before it has been used extensively (depending on the body part you wear it on, of course) without washing. I wore the gloves for more than a month before washing them and, as expected, I didn’t detect any sign of odor.
Sizing, Fit and Comfort
The Isobaa Merino liner gloves are available in three sizes: S, M and L. According to their size guide, size S fits palm circumferences from 17-19 centimeters, size M palm circumferences from 20-22 centimeters and people with palm circumferences of 23 centimeters or more should go for size L. The palm circumference should be measured at the widest part of your hand. Now, I followed this guide and adhering to it, I asked for gloves in size L (palm width 23 cm) while my girlfriend asked for size M (palm width 20 cm). But we both got gloves that were slightly too big and thus I started wearing my girlfriend’s pair of gloves in size M. Therefore, I do recommend going for a smaller size than recommended by the size scheme. Liner gloves should fit tightly and since the fabric is quite stretchy, it’s better to buy slightly too small gloves than slightly too large.
The gloves in size M fit me great and I find them very comfortable to wear. The cuffs are made of double-layer fabric and they fit snugly around the wrist. The Isobaa liner gloves also have two nice details; the right glove has an embroidered sheep on the top of the wrist while the left glove has the Isobaa logo there. That way you also quickly figure out which glove goes on the right hand and which on the left. You can otherwise fumble a bit around with gloves made of soft fabrics as it is less obvious which is for which hand.
Washing and Drying
The Isobaa liner gloves can be machine washed at 30° C (steering clear of fabric softener and bleach) and shouldn’t be tumble-dried. Nevertheless, the gloves dry really fast because they are made of a relatively thin fabric. Note however, that the gloves don’t have to be washed very often due to the anti-microbial properties of the Merino fabric. That way, you also limit the environmental footprint of the gloves.
I’m especially impressed over the fabric of these gloves. It is incredibly soft and smooth. I also really like that the fabric is quite thin because it makes these glove liners quick-drying and very breathable. As they are made of Merino wool, they are also odor-resistant and provide good moisture-wicking performance. I was less impressed with the stitching as there is a lot of excess fabric at the seams. This decreases precision and control to some extent. Nevertheless, I find the gloves a really great addition to my hiking gear. They can be used as liner gloves in very cold weather or as standalone gloves in warmer dry conditions.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.