It’s that time of the year again. Time to break out the winter running gear as the temperatures drop and the weather affects not if, but how, we run. Proper attire and gear should improve both the enjoyment and safety of runs in the winter, especially for younger runners. Covering areas of heat loss, such as head and hands, is important.
Last winter, I bought three sets of Saucony Ulti-Mitts and Skull Caps for my two sons and me, and I’m thrilled to review them after a full season of testing in the cold New England weather.
Continue to read my review below the photos.
Saucony ViZiPro orange Ulti-Mitts (foreground) and Saucony black Skull Cap (background).
Glove shown outside mitten (glove can be stashed in pocket). Convertible thumb and forefinger.
LED light improves night visibility.
Removable USB LED light holds about 2 hour charge and operates in steady or blinking mode.
What we like:
- Glove with attached mitten cover that can be worn as either glove (with mitten conveniently stashed away) or covered with mitten to provide 2-layer protection against cold, wind and rain.
- Ulti-mitt provides protection for temperatures down to about 30˚F (we recommend that you wear thin glove liner for temperatures below 30˚F).
- Inner glove wicks moisture away from hands while outer mitten is wind- and water-resistant.
- Quick change from mitten to glove (and back) on the run makes it easy to operate watch, tie shoes, or operate zippers on clothing without having to remove entire mitten.
- Night visibility improved with reflective logos, ViZiPro colors and removable, rechargeable USB LED light (a big favorite with my sons).
- Available in black, ViZiPro orange and ViZiPro pink.
- Gloves made from moisture-wicking DryLete fabric with wind- and water-resistant mitten shell from SonicLite material.
- USB LED light manufactured from plastic with metal USB prong.
- The Ulti-Mitts have worn well (pardon the pun) last year from October through March, we washed them in hot water and hung them to dry, with no obvious signs of wear or deterioration.
- The Saucony Ulti-Mitts II are priced at the upper end for what we would expect to pay for winter running gloves, but given the combination glove/mitten with USB LED light, the $45 cost (online) seems acceptable.
- Replacement USB LED lights are available for $10.
What we would improve:
- In our opinion, the Ulti-Mitts do not provide adequate protection below 30˚F.
- Saucony should consider minimal insulation inside the glove without adding bulk to impove protection down to 20˚F (as an alternative, we recommend wearing a thin glove liner).
Saucony Skull Cap
What we like:
- Two-layer skull cap with outer layer that retains heat and is wind- and water-resistant and inner liner that wicks away moisture and helps insulate.
- Skull cap provides protection for temperatures down to about 20˚F (we recommend that you wear thin balaclava under skull cap for temperatures below 20˚F).
- Available in black and ViZiPro orange.
- One size fits all (in our experience, fits a 10 year old boy as well as an adult male).
- Outer layer made from DryLete to retain heat and resist moisture. Inner liner from moisture-wicking PrimoLite.
- Like the Ulti-Mitts, we have worn the Saucony Skull Cap from October through March last year, and washed it many times without apparent wear and deterioration. The cap holds up well.
- The Saucony Skull Cap is reasonably priced and costs $20 (online).
What we would improve:
- We don’t believe the Skull Cap sufficiently protects the head when temperatures drop below 20˚F.
- Saucony should consider a thicker fleece liner or a 3rd, reflective layer to retain heat without adding bulk (as an alternative, we recommend wearing a thin balaclava under the skull cap in extreme cold weather, which also protects the face and neck).