Below you’ll find our review on the Outdoor Research Splitter Crack Gloves. We tested every crack glove we could get our hands on and compare the pros and cons against all the other glove options out there. (Future reference, you can see every model of crack gloves on

Fit Overview

Fit Overview for Outdoor Research Splitter Crack Glove

Brand Sizing – Mostly run big, but can be ok if you’re at the top of the range. The Outdoor Research Splitter has 3 sizes (XS, S/M, L/XL) which leads them to be baggy if you are mid to lower in your size. We generally recommend sizing down.

  • OR is the only brand we’ve tested that combines multiple sizes into ranges. This has led to a few comments we’ve gotten from folks we’ve met using them that they found them feeling oversized or baggy.
  • Because the size ranges are so big (2, 3, and 4 full cm across the sizes respectively) we’ve found this glove to be the most difficult to nail down first try. Those at the bottom of their range will notice bagginess the most, while those at the top might find them generally correct, if not slightly snug.
  • These gloves are very thin and stretch considerably, so sizing down hasn’t caused much discomfort.

Note: The thin microfiber of this glove will stretch considerably in the fingers, no matter how you size them. Out of all comments and conversations concerning durability, this glove has been mentioned as having breaks and tearouts the most. Expect undersizing this glove to affect durability. 

Hand coverage – Good.  Oversized gloves offer a ton of extra protection for the wrist and across the knuckles. Like most gloves out there, there is no thumb protection.

  • Sizing up (or perhaps on-size if you’re at the bottom of OR’s range) provides some of the most hand coverage we’ve seen. This coverage is usually baggy around the back of the hand, but for those seeking to cover as much skin as possible to simply protect against abrasion, this might be a way to go.
  • Even when sized down to snug, the Splitter has coverage comparable with most brands and even offers a bit of wrist bone padding with a bit of rubber below the heel of the hand.

Jamming Performance – Good for thin, even cracks where flexibility of hand is key. Splitter hands perform well, but better when undersized, as baggier gloves can shift and slip on the hand. No Thumb coverage for narrow fists. Generally not enough structure or padding to be very helpful in flaring fists and stacks.

  • Rattly fingers and thin hands is the best home for the Splitter, but mostly when they are undersized. We should say that thinner crack climbing involves a ton of technique and experience when compared to hands and wider, and those who have found the Splitter to be a good choice often have strong hands and technique and rely on the splitter simply for extra skin coverage.
  • In regular hands they perform ok, and the thin rubber provides a surprising amount of cushion for some uneven surfaces. When oversized, there are a lot of reports of hand slippage in open hand and cupped jams.
  • Like many gloves in its class, having such thin materials with no thumb coverage generally makes the Splitter a poor choice for fists, stacks and flaring jams.
Durability and Wear for Outdoor Research Splitter Crack Glove
The Splitter is widely discussed for having long-term durability issues. Most complaints center around the finger loops and wrist strap loop tearing out and failing. Notice the bottom of the thumb loop on the very worn glove and the 'rolling up' of the finger loops. This particularly worn glove is a few years old and still going, but definitely about to blow out. When properly sized and used in appropriate jams like hands, this glove can last.

An entire blog post dedicated to how to fit crack gloves.
How To Fit Crack Gloves

Comfort & Feel

Finger Comfort – Super comfortable. The very stretchy microfiber means that even sizing down, you never feel the glove pulling on your digits or finger webbing.

  • OR uses the second thinnest leather we’ve seen in crack gloves for the body and finger loops of the Splitter. The holes are average size, but the soft suede is so stretchy that it doesn’t really matter if you have sausage fingers. We haven’t encountered anyone who has felt any discomfort in the fingers wearing these gloves.

Glove Stiffness – Very Soft. The Splitter is the thinnest glove we’ve measured overall, though only just barely, so it can feel the most like a second skin when worn undersized.

  • Though the Red Chili Jamrock is made with thinner suede, this glove takes the cake for thinnest because of the super thin and flexible rubber on the back.
  • When worn loose the Splitter often slips and can roll because it is so soft, but when sized down it can feel better than tape because it absorbs some pressure, yet still feels a bit like a second skin.
  • This flexibility has limits, and when hanging tons of weight on a thin or twisting jam can start to feel like it is about to tear. Our Splitter’s haven’t split yet, but many reports from others say it is a matter of time.

Padding – Very little; the least out of all gloves with rubber. For smooth, even cracks or indoor training this glove is fine for hand jams, but prepare to feel the pain when it gets craggy or wide.

  • These gloves are definitely not made to pad the hands. Like most thin gloves they can hold their own in even, smooth features when sized appropriately tight, but as soon as there are features and odd shapes inside cracks they simply become abrasion protection.
  • For those used to a single layer of tape to keep the blood inside their skin, the OR Splitter can be a nice light alternative to taping up for a couple laps on a crack trainer, but they lack a ton of comfort for longer, more complicated stuff. Expect to have seasoned hands and calluses if you’re using the Splitter for much more than light training.
  • After heavy use, the padding can start to peel and separate from the backing, which hasn’t caused any issues of catching, but you can definitely tell when this glove is on its way out.

Glove Height – Fairly tall. Lots of nice flexible wrist coverage for deeper jamming, and knuckle coverage that stays with you. Long handed folks should expect good coverage here.

  • This glove is pretty tall, and offers good coverage of the entire back of the hand, even for people with tall hands. The wrist strap stays put and lets the knuckle coverage flex forward when the fingers curl, offering a bit of padding in the ‘punch zone’ of the knuckles.
  • The wrist shape is long and covers the wrist bone even when worn undersized.
Comfort and Feel for Outdoor Research Splitter Crack Glove

Build Features

Build Features for Outdoor Research Splitter Crack Glove

Notable Features – Things that are only found on the Outdoor Research Splitter Crack Glove

  • One thing that is particular about the Splitter is the ‘splits’ in the rubber backing. At first these seem mostly aesthetic because the glove is so flexible you wouldn’t think it needs them, but we’ve actually noticed they perform well at keeping the glove deformation down during jams. Much like everything else about the rubber on these gloves, this has its limits, but on odd shaped thin jams these slits do help the it follow hand shape. Most noticeable when the glove is undersized.
  • Other gloves have taken cues from the Splitter and made their hook and loop pads into a non-straight shape to aid with fitting. We think this one does a great job at allowing those with long or short hands to move the strap above or below the wrist bone which goes a long way towards comfort.
  • Outdoor Research has also wisely incorporated some of the backing rubber around the strap loop to aid in durability and provide a bit more wrist protection. Unfortunately most complaints we’ve gotten about these gloves is that this rubber isn’t enough and they still tear here.

Performance on Rock

Rock Experience for Outdoor Research Splitter Crack Glove

When it comes to time spent on rock, the Splitter from Outdoor Research did ok, but for the most part left us wanting a bit more out of the glove. Thin hands and parallel cracks definitely benefit on rock types that break cleanly like sandstone and granite, but when the shape of the crack requires any protection or padding against sharp edges, irregular sides, or knobby protrusions, the Splitter lacks the heft and left our hands bruised and sore. Worn undersized, they definitely felt more like tape than many other gloves out there, and when you’re not needing them for a short section of crimping or jugging, they stay pretty unnoticeable.

In cracks where there is need for filling space, say the flaring basalt cracks of Bear Lodge (Devil’s Tower) in Wyoming, there simply isn’t enough glove to deform into the crack and offer additional purchase, which resulted in removal of the glove more than once to get a better jam with a strip of tape across the knuckles. The same can be said for anything wide where building a stack of hands becomes necessary, because the thin materials are both so stretchy that they feel more like putty on the back of your hand than extra friction when it comes time to really wrench hard.

When compared to tape on almost any rock type, the super stretchy rubber on the Splitter definitely offers more friction, but unlike tape it cannot hold much weight before succumbing and either rolling or shifting on the hand. They have served well as a quick layer for indoor crack walls that are even and uniform, but even then leave the user with sore joints after long sessions. This glove probably best serves climbers with strong hands and jamming prowess who are looking for a bit of coverage on easy terrain rather than taping up.

For the most part the performance of the Splitter glove has been pretty lackluster. As one of the longest running gloves on the market, that isn’t surprising. Every other crack glove has some feature that seems to be solving or improving on a shortcoming of these, and we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that. OR has actually responded in kind and launched an updated version of the Splitter crack glove since we initially started testing, and though we haven’t spent any time in them yet, they appear to offer some nice updates at the same price point. We felt it was important to include these gloves in our testing because they are so ubiquitous that most folks looking to compare crack gloves have a high likelihood of using them as a point of comparison.

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Jeff Jaramillo

Jeff Jaramillo

Jeff currently lives in the Midwest and spends most of his free time answering questions nobody asked. When not plugging gear on moderate warmups and calling it a day, he can be found whining about whipping on bolts in the gym or at the local pub waxing poetic about climbing saving humanity and the planet.

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