Icebreaker Quantum and Sierra Gloves


Basic summary: Two thin but exceptionally warm gloves with high merino content designed for aerobic activity. Both are strong options for stand-alone use in moderate winter climates, and can be layered under a more weather resistant layer for extreme conditions.


Quantum Sierra
Weight (size medium) 49g 39g
Fabric type 98% merino, 2% nylon 88% merino, 9% nylon, 3% lycra
Touch screen compatible Thumb and index finger Thumb and index finger
Intended use Lower intensity, longer duration activity High aerobic activity
MSRP $40 $40

Deep dive:

One of the primary benefits of merino wool apparel is its exceptional warmth to weight ratio; a thin baselayer can typically provide an impressive amount of warmth, allowing you to travel light without compromising comfort. Additionally, the fiber’s moisture-wicking capability and breathability help with thermoregulation, and natural odor resistance makes it easy to wear day after day.

Considering these obvious benefits, it’s somewhat baffling that merino wool isn’t a more common primary material in gloves. There are probably 20 different companies making wool socks, but when it comes to providing the same love for your fingers, the offerings are relatively few.

Luckily, Icebreaker is doing its part to remedy this. We’ve been using two glove models – the Quantum and the Sierra – consistently since late fall, and they’re all we’ve needed to stay comfortable with temperatures into the low 30s. If your winter conditions are harsher than that, both models are thin enough to easily layer underneath a mitten or waterproof exterior.

The only quibble we have with testing these two gloves is that it’s rather difficult to tell them apart. Their fit and feel are identical, and while the grip patterns on the palms are slightly different, the functional difference is generally imperceptible. Fabric composition is higher in merino in the Quantum than in the Sierra, but again, from a performance standpoint (determined by insulating capacity, speed of moisture wicking, or security of fit) you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. Both have a convenient clasp to clip the pair together to hang dry. Even the price point is identical.

The product pages for each glove list some ideal uses, which indicate that the Sierra is the choice for higher aerobic activity and the Quantum is more suited for all-day adventure – however, either of these gloves is more than capable of delivering the goods in terms of comfort and performance.

The Icebreaker Quantum and Sierra gloves are available now at


About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, California native, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 25 years of experience in endurance sports. He was a collegiate rower at UCLA, then dabbled in marathons and Ironman-distance triathlons before falling in love with ultras in the early 2000s. His favorite locations to run include Marin County, CA, and the Sierra Nevada mountains, and he loves exploring America's National Parks. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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