I don't think leather is as practical as something made from synthetic materials. Once they get wet (invariably, if you are outside a lot), they tend to dry up and crack (road salt contributes quite a bit to this). I have a pair from Arc'Teryx that has worked very well for several seasons. They're not at all cumbersome, unlike others on the market. I bought mine for about $25 from STP. I think they retail for about $40. Oh, about the balaclava, I own one too. Never once wore it. I feel like a criminal every time I put it on. It looks quite silly in Boston, actually.