Affordable Leather Glove
Kinco 1927KW Gloves

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The humble Kinco Work Glove is one of the ski industry’s worst-kept secrets. This simple and supremely affordable piece of workwear has found a vacation home on ski slopes all over North America.

It proves that you don’t need to have the most expensive gear to be the best-looking skier on the hill. But how well do they actually perform compared to the very expensive and expedition-ready gloves we’ve tried out?

Kinco makes a whole fleet of ski-applicable gloves, we review the 1927KW because that’s the model I happened to find a couple of springs ago while hiking under a lift line in search of goodies.

Below we’ll dig into the details of this glove and see whether it truly is a good fit for the slopes or is better left at home on the ranch.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.2

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Unbeatable price considering the materials used and the build quality
  • check-mark
    Competes with premium glove models for resort use and low elevation touring
  • check-mark
    Outcompetes premium models when it comes to durability and longevity

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThe canvas backing for this model is cotton, and therefore isn't waterproof
  • check-markRequire semi-regular upkeep to ensure they stay supple and water-resistant
  • check-markThere's a little bit of a break-in period before you can feel the full comfort benefits

Where to buy:

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Kinco 1927KW

Warmth

Warmth is a relative quality that depends on many factors not limited to your body, the weather, relative moisture, how hard you’re skiing, and the condition of your gloves.

Based on my experience with my pair of Kinco gloves, I’ve never had issues staying warm in a wide range of conditions. I have to mention that my use of them is selective- for example, I’ve never relied on them as my only pair of gloves for overnight expeditions. I usually opt to bring something with a waterproof shell in heavy rain.

I’ve mainly used my pair of Kincos for hard days of resort skiing and single-day backcountry missions. In both these respects, they’re great. The shell has a reassuring feel heightened by the HeatKeep insulation used by many Kinco gloves (see our feature breakdown below for a little more on how Heatkeep works). This equated to a pleasant radiant heat that kept my hands comfortable on the hill.

The final aspect that impacts heat is breathability. For the 1927KW, this is a mixed bag. Typically cotton is a hard pass material for outdoor applications. In this case, I think the backing added a bit of breathability that helped with temperature regulation and staying comfortable in the long run, unless conditions were wet.

We’ll cover this more below, but the cotton canvas back did me no favors when the weather got wet.

Specs & Features

  • Cotton Canvas Backing
  • Premium Grade Pigskin Shell
  • Polyester Knit Wrist
  • Pigskin Reinforcement around critical points of the build
  • Angled Wing Thumb for more flexibility and dexterity
  • Heatkeep Thermal Insulation with TR2 Lining
See the complete list of the best Ski Gloves here!
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Dexterity

Like other leather body gloves we’ve reviewed (see the Black Diamond Guide Glove), you must suffer a little bit of a break-in period before you can enjoy the full range of motion Kinco gloves have when seasoned. Preconditioning your gloves with some leather treatment like Nikwax can help ease the break-in process and give you a little more upfront resistance.

On that note, pigskin leather is supple and flexible by nature- but it has the performance edge over other types of leathers by retaining these qualities when it gets wet. This means you don’t have to worry about fumbling around with zippers and buckled in stiff, soggy gloves if the weather takes an unexpected turn.

In my experience, my Kinco gloves have been some of the best I’ve ever used for accomplishing all sorts of delicate motor tasks. Whether that be grasping behind me for a loose tail clip on my skins halfway up a skin track or fishing around in my ski instructor coat for a tissue that a toddler could blow his nose into- I could pinch, fiddle, and fasten with abandon.

The snowboarders among us can also attest to the utility of constant buckling up and out of bindings with Kincos

Compared to other gloves I’ve tried, the only times I’ve had more success is with thin, spring, or specifically uphill oriented builds that don’t offer nearly the same degree of warmth or protection as a pair of Kinco gloves. They also didn’t feature the tacky Nikwaxed leather fingers that I felt added a little treefrog grip to whatever I needed to hold on.

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Related Reviews

Weather Resistance

Weather resistance is the only circumstance where my pair of Kincos significantly fall behind the pack. This is primarily due to the previously mentioned canvas backing and shouldn’t be an issue with full leather models like the 901.

This cotton blend cover doesn’t do the trick when subjected to rain or prevailing winds. Water soaks right in and can lead to clammy hands, while wind cuts right through in ways that a GoreTex model would prevent.

The leather is a different story. It’s hard to compete with a well-cared-for leather glove when it comes to keeping your hands safe and dry in winter conditions. It also goes a long way towards durability, which we’ll cover below. The palm and fingers of Kinco gloves hold up, no matter how many snow pits I’ve dug, snowballs I’ve made, or I’ve scraped out of the toe piece of my binding.

The only caveat is that keeping a pair of leather gloves waterproof requires a bit of proactivity on your end. You need to keep up with your treatment regimen; otherwise, you’ll end with a much soggier experience.

Durability and Materials

This model of Kinco is truly a tale of two textiles. Pigskin and canvas are an unlikely pairing for a ski glove, but then again, this model was probably never intended to be seen on a mountain. While this might be the root of some performance issues, Kinco gloves outcompete many industry leaders when it comes to toughness and longevity.

Much of this has to do with pig leather’s durable and pliable qualities. When it comes to pure attrition under stress, synthetic and cow leather shells can’t keep up. Apart from critical seam failures, the longer you wear it down, the more comfortable the glove becomes.

In the real world, this translates to industry professionals tallying seasons on their Kincos like days scratched into a cell wall. I actually found mine hiking under a lift line postseason, sitting in a pile of rotten slush. With the break-in period handled, a few coats of Nikwax and they were actually better than new. This brings me to the treatment process.

Break-In and Upkeep

Your new, stiff work gloves have a considerable break-in period, nothing as extreme as we’ve from expedition grade models that we’ve tested. Fortunately, you can hasten the process with a little bit of effort upfront in the form of a liberal application of wax sealants like Nikwax or Sno-Seal.

Treating a new pair of gloves helps with some initial stiffness and goes a long way towards making a better first impression weather-resistance-wise. It’s essential to keep up with this process any time you notice your gloves starting to dry out. You should do it at least a couple of times every season for the best results.

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Features

Polyester Knit Wrist

The 1927KW’s knit wrist looks a lot like other elastic-lined under cuffs that I’ve tried over my gear testing career. It slots nicely under the wrist closure of my jacket, and I’ve yet to have any comfort issues from rubbing. Additionally, the elastic is reinforced with a leather pull tab to mitigate wear over the seasons.

Compared to a gauntleted glove, there’s more potential for snow to sneak in if it happens to be a particularly deep day. I’ve been able to mitigate this by paying extra attention to the closures on my jacket’s sleeves, not perfect, but the only times I have issues are during sudden faceplants where I end up shaking snow out of every other piece of gear anyway.

Heatkeep Thermal Insulation

Insulation-wise, Kinco uses similar synthetic polyester insulation that we see in almost every other glove on the market. Combined with nylon padding layers and moisture-wicking polypropylene, Heatkeep insulation keeps you warm and dry in conditions ranging from frosty farm fields to your local chairlift.

From a performance standpoint, you’ll get more out of your Kinco gloves if you’re an aggressive skier that isn’t too sensitive to cold. I’ve never had issues with them, but I’m also the type to get sweaty if I even think about walking up a set of stairs.

Canvas Backing

While these gloves have a lot in common with other models we’ve tested, it’s safe to say that nothing else has a striped canvas backing on the shell. This iconic Kinco pattern is supposed to keep the gloves breathable and keep you cool while working your way through a tree trunk with a crosscut. It still does an excellent job of keeping you cool on the ski slope but at the cost of critical performance points.

Cotton is flat-out a bad material to use in outdoor gear. The biggest reason is it loses all of its insulative properties when it gets wet and does a poor job of protecting you from the wind. Other models of Kinco have a full leather body which effectively circumvents this issue, but when it comes to the 1927KW, this backing looks good but is a serious consideration.

Pairing Loop

A minor feature but one we like to see nonetheless, a discreet pairing loop helps hang your gloves out to dry after a day of skiing or after a coat of leather treatment. They also help you keep track of them in a crowded ski pack.

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Who’s it for?

Kinco gloves of all varieties are a great option for skiers and snowboarders needing something affordable and hardworking. This model specifically isn’t optimized for skiing but still does the job admirably. You really can’t ask for much more in terms of value and durability- I’ve had my pair for years and expect many more.

My affection aside, these are far from miracle gloves that will solve everyone’s problems wholesale. They’re less than ideal for technical applications and multi-day tours where you need consistent performance and don’t have the luxury of drying your gloves out at home. Those with cold hands will also be better off looking elsewhere.

The Competition

As mentioned earlier in the article, the 1927KW is only one of several Kinco gloves that you could find useful on the slopes. Their 901 model was explicitly designed to work better for mountain sports. It features a full leather back, a versatile cuff, and the build quality that makes us love the 1927KW.

If you’re looking to add a little warmth to your Kinco experience, consider the Axeman. This lined mitten has a full cowhide build and trades some of the glove’s dexterity for an uptick in insulation.

Those who appreciate the rugged qualities of Kinco gloves but want something better suited to alpine environments should consider Black Diamond’s Guide Glove. It brings the same ultra-durable design concept translated into a glove that you can trust on the biggest mountains in the world.

Finally, for another option in the budget category, the Gordini Stormtrooper series has been a long-trusted favorite with fiscally conservative skiers for years.

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Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.2

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Unbeatable price considering the materials used and the build quality
  • check-mark
    Competes with premium glove models for resort use and low elevation touring
  • check-mark
    Outcompetes premium models when it comes to durability and longevity

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThe canvas backing for this model is cotton, and therefore isn't waterproof
  • check-markRequire semi-regular upkeep to ensure they stay supple and water-resistant
  • check-markThere's a little bit of a break-in period before you can feel the full comfort benefits

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