POC Nail Color gloves. The name is weird; the stitching looks weird; it’s unusual for a ski glove to have a simple knit cuff. And that’s all good.
My quest for the best “thin” ski glove has seemingly taken me from from the earth’s core to the stratosphere, with a modicum of success. But most gloves I’ve found had one glaring deficiency: Instead of a simple knit cuff, they have sticky cursed velcro that has an unholy magnetic attraction to everything from my ski pole straps to the front of my shirt — and even when secured most of the velcro cuff designs don’t seal out the snow — but rather act like an ice hose around my tender wrists.
With above in mind, POC was suggested.
First, let’s just call these gloves “Nail.” That inspires a lot more verve than “Nail Color.” Or at least it does in my case. My friend Virginia might beg to differ. She does her nails quite often.
One of main wants with thinner gloves is that they still have a waterproof/breathable membrane. I test this with use, as well as under the kitchen faucet. While not being a better known name brand, the POC “WBM” breathable membrane is still going strong after about 40 days of use. That’s exceptional. Downside? I find the Nails don’t breathe quite as well as I’d like during warm days, resulting in hands a bit more sweaty then the ideal. But I’m willing to make that trade for a glove the truly keeps my hands dry while handling sloppy climbing skins and fiddling with snow caked bindings.
I’d place warmth of Nail as above average for their thickness. That’s probably a result of Thinsulate combined with the WBM membrane as well as soft-shell backing. But don’t buy these gloves expecting to keep your hands warm in the midst of deep-freeze conditions. They’re obviously designed for moderate winter temperatures, or for use while cardio exercising (though they may be a bit too much insulation if you’re at super high output).
Durability is exceptional due to the goat leather palms being reverse seamed on the fingers (what they call “external seams”). The photo explains this better, but basically the fingers look like a conventional glove turned inside out. This results in ridges of leather that protect the stitching as well as helping with grip.
Now, my favorite feature. Yes Virginia, I like knit cuff gloves unless they’re huge “guide gloves” or mitts designed to easily cone over my jacket sleeve cuffs. Say what you will. Yet know that a knit cuff on your glove forms an instant snow seal. No fuss, not fiddling with velcro, no attempting to work a cone cuff up over your forearm. Instead, if you want a complete seal just pull your jacket cuff down over your wrist. Done. (Basic elastic jacket cuffs work better for this in my experience, again avoiding velcro.)Back to the name. Yep, Nail Color gloves come in different colors. Have at it, but know that black-on-black is the only thing that’s going to look civilized after 40 days of everything from via-ferrata to prosciutto.
POC Nail Color gloves — six WildSnow thumbs up! Availability appears to be limited, but other POC gloves are similar. If you can’t find Nail at your favorite etailer and must have a pair, you can get them directly from POC.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.