Accessory Review: Echo Design Touch Gloves

Type: clothing that doubles as a phone accessory
Price: around $30.00
Get It: If you live in an area with reasonably cold winter weather and want to use your phone outdoors

Last winter I suffered. Oh, in a very, very first-world way, but an uncomfortable one. I had to choose between using my Droid and having warm hands. Guess which usually won? You got it, the Droid!

I had heard of touch gloves but I hadn’t actually seen any in person, but when this winter started coming on, I knew I had to give them a try.

Here’s the basic idea: Touch gloves have conductive fabric at the tip of some or all fingers that makes your touches on your screen just as responsive as if your fingertips were bare, at least in theory.

View of Touch Fingers

See the dark silvery bits on the thumb and forefinger?

I looked at a bunch of different ones, finally landing on the Echo Design Solid Touch Gloves, which are reasonably priced around $30 (depending on retailer). I will be honest, a major deciding factor had less to do with the glove design as whether they came in sizes. For example, the Isotoner ones look good, have Thinsulate, and are priced very well but they are one-size-fits-very-few-people. See, I have tiny little hands and I figured fit would be important if I wanted to use my phone.

I was right.

The Echo Design gloves in size small fit me very well overall and they have a nice shape with their proprietary eLink fabric on the thumbs and index fingers. Sometimes the end of the thumb stretches away from the end of mine, though, which can be a little bit of a problem for typing, but a quick tug makes it right. There is also that little seam lump that every pair of gloves I’ve ever had have in the thumb, which is usually okay but a little cumbersome for using on a phone as it feel s like you are disconnected from your screen. You do get used to it, though, much like women with really long fingernails can type properly with their nails on a computer keyboard like I type with my fingertips.

Typing with Touch Gloves

Checking Notifications with Touch Gloves

Where these gloves shine is in unlocking and answering the phone, checking notifications, and all the basic tasks you usually do with an index finger.

On the other hand, the index fingers fit, well, like a glove. I have no problems using them for any task, including using either the standard multi-touch keyboard or Swype in portrait mode. In fact, it’s easier to type with them in that mode than with my fingers, as they come to almost a point. I am highly impressed. Unlocking, checking notifications, making calls – whatever task you might do with your index finger is a breeze.

Gloves on display

They definitely look good and mostly fit really well.

The styling is very chic, they taper nicely at the wrist and are long enough to slide easily under coat sleeves. I would be happy to wear them to any event, they look more expensive than they are. Good construction makes me think they should last awhile, too. The purple color I chose works well for my wardrobe as a colorful neutral but they are available in a wide variety of colors, wrist styles,  and even fabrics (including luxurious cashmere for $78).

Mine are made of 80% wool and 20% nylon (the eLink fabric is made of 92% nylon and 8% Dorlastan, according to the label), which must be dry cleaned. When they first arrived the temperature was in the low 40s and high 30s and I found myself wearing them even when it was just on the cusp of being cold enough for gloves, as it’s extra-nice to have warm hands if trying to use a touchscreen (plus, I was excited to try them, of course!). They were lovely in the 30s, even as it started dipping lower into them.

However, when the weather turned and the temperature plummeted, even hitting 20° with a wind chill of 9°, they couldn’t really stand up to that. On shorter trips I would wear them but keep my hands in my pockets when not using my hands, on longer trips I would drop them in my bag and wear my warmer gloves except for when I needed to use my phone. There’s a point where you simply need lined and fluffy and even if those had conductive fabric you can hardly even hold your phone properly with them anyway.

In general, I found that I don’t  use my phone quite as much as I would while on the go in warmer (gloveless) weather but it sure is nice to never have to have bare hands!

I am very glad I have these gloves, they fill a big gap in my wardrobe in several ways and look great doing it. I recommend them, despite their imperfections, depending on your weather and willingness to change gloves on the go, if you live somewhere with weather anything like my region (the NYC area, where temperatures are usually in the 30°-40° range for much of winter) they will get you through most weather but don’t expect them to replace heavier gloves for those extra-cold days. If it’s colder where you are you have to decide if it’s worth either changing gloves when you want to use your phone or letting your hands get cold a bit quicker.

Note from Renee: The gloves CraftLass got from Zappos appear to be sold out and aren’t showing up in the search, but here is a similar pair from Amazon! (Update: Links to reviewed gloves below!)

Echo Touch Gloves (zipper version) on Amazon

Here’s a link to Zappos so you can see if they’re available when you search! Search for “Touch Gloves”:

Click here for Zappos.com!

Here are some touch gloves for men from Kohl’s:
Degrees® Suburban Touch Gloves

And an Isotoner version from KMart:
Contours by Isotoner Smart Touch Gloves

Also, found these highly-rated Isotoners at Sears:
Isotoner SmarTouch Tech Stretch Gloves

Update: I found the Echo Design Touch Gloves that CraftLass reviewed in 2 places!
From the source at Echo Design (duh)
and at the MoMA Store

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3 Responses to “Accessory Review: Echo Design Touch Gloves”

  1. Amy says:

    I purchased the Isotoners with the touch thread in the fingers. The don’t keep my fingers warm for driving and such in our bitter cold here in SD. But for short times out of the wind it works.

    So I wear a pair of wool mittens over my Isotoners to drive in and wear outside. Then while I’m waiting for kiddos in the truck and isolated from the wind, I can take off the wool mittens and use the Isotoners with my Android. Hope that’s of help!

    • Renee says:

      So the common theme here seems to be ‘not that warm, but functional’.

      Using them as mitten liners sounds like a good idea!

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