Buying a Pair of Winter Gloves – What do I need to know?
Gloves aren’t always the first things you think of in winter, but their importance is undeniable. Sure they aren’t always the most aesthetically pleasing items of clothing in general, but without a good pair of gloves your hands can be next to useless. And let’s be honest you need your hands for an awful lot of things. In winter you could need then for shovelling snow or scraping ice off your windscreen to even building a survival shelter or simply driving to work.
In order for you to be able to use your hands as effectively as possible, and keep them warm there are a number of things you need to consider. In this guide we will talk you through how to buy the right pair of gloves and some of the key features you may want your gloves to consider. For our full range of gloves click here.
Why do I need a pair of winter gloves?
For the average Joe a pair of thin woollen gloves may suffice, but if you are spending time outdoors, working with your hands often, or maybe just feel the cold then you will want a more robust pair of gloves.
Some thing you really must remember when looking/choosing a pair of gloves is the environment in which they will be used. A cold environment is a given, but think more along the lines of are they for driving? Work? Are they likely to get wet? Do I need to use my mobile phone while keeping the gloves on? By thinking about why and when you’ll use your gloves you will start narrowing down the options significantly.
Types of Winter Gloves
Since winter gloves are fundamental to a variety of outdoor activities, there is a vast selection of hand wear available and some are for extreme activities such as mountain climbing while others are for skiing. There are four main types of gloves, including fleece, liner, soft shell, and insulated. Before making a purchase there are a few things to understand about the features and advantages of each type of glove.
Fleece gloves offer tightly knit synthetic fibres for superior warmth. The degree of warmth is equal to the weight of the glove. Because the thickness of the glove makes a difference in hand coordination and finger dexterity (in plain English this means: More fleece equals warmer hands but that usually means less movement), it is key to choose the right amount of warmth and thickness for the type of activity that the glove will be used for. Although you can get very thick fleece gloves, they aren’t ideal for very windy conditions and aren’t very waterproof. Therefore, they probably aren’t ideal for fast moving activities and extreme sports.
Liner gloves tend to much thinner and much tighter fitting. These style of gloves are much better for moderate and high energy activities as they allow your fingers more movement whist also being wind and water resistant. Because these gloves are much thinner and tighter fitting it is possible to wear another pair of gloves over the top for double insulation.
Soft Shell Gloves
The advantages to softshell gloves are that they are very light and very resistant to the elements such as wind, water and snow. They are ideal for the very cold climates by providing good warmth; they are also good for levels of moderate activity. They aren’t hard-use gloves but very good all purpose gloves.
These gloves are multi-layered. The between the layers you have synthetic fibres which help lock in the heat and retain warmth. The outermost layers of these gloves tend to be waterproof or highly water resistant depending on the design. As well as being waterproof or water resistant these gloves are usually breathable in order to let moisture out and keep your hands dry. Insulated gloves are extremely popular in wet weather conditions.
Fingerless gloves frankly won’t give you a huge amount of warmth. However you do get the big advantage of movement and usability this is in part due to the most having well padded palm support. You can carry out most tasks without having to remove your gloves. So although not ideal in very cold conditions, very useful in fairly cold climates.
Touch screen compatible
Touch screen gloves can be used with the majority of touch screen electronic and mobile devices such as the iPhone or latest Samsung Galaxy phone. These can be worn while accessing electronic devices such as music players, mobile phones, or tablets or even touch screen laptops. Even with this added functionality they lost none of their other abilities.
The Best Gloves for Winter Activities
In the midst of winter you need gloves that are going to be both very warm and very functional. In order to keep your hands warm in the coldest of conditions you will need gloves with multiple layers. Usually and outer layer, insulating layer and an inner lining.
The Outer Layer
The Insulating Layer
The middle layer should be an insulating layer. Using the right combination of insulation or insulating materials can be a tough choice, due to the sheer range on offer. If you favour more natural insulation then wool is a favourite and faithful standby, but the downside is it gets itchy, the odour (when it gets wet it can often make the wearer’s hands have a less than pleasant aroma), it’s also not the warmest and offers little protection from the wind. If you favour more man-made and synthetic materials you are going to have to pay more (especially with some of the big brand names), but they are usually of much higher quality. You’ll also find the insulation is actually sewn into the glove itself to prevent the insulating layer from moving around, thus keeping the entirety of your hand warm.
The Inner Lining
The inner lining is the last and innermost layer to a properly insulated glove. The inner layer should wick away moisture to keep the wearer’s hands warm and dry while working. A recent development in winter glove technology is the addition of heated gloves. These gloves can have a shelf life of up to five years.
Choosing the size
When choosing the perfect pair of winter gloves for the wearer’s needs, it is important to get the right fit for the buyer’s hand. Gloves basically have four sizes, which are small, medium, large, and extra large. Now that makes things a little difficult, because as with all clothing and apparel companies they all use slightly different measurements so you could be a small with one company and a medium with another. Therefore, it’s always worth asking about the sizing or consulting a size chart before purchasing. The gloves you are buying should be big enough to allow for adequate movement of the thumb and all of the fingers, yet be tight enough to allow for proper hand coordination and to block out cold air. This is why you need to think of the functionality and uses for the glove right at the start.
Many gloves are equipped with a built in seam or some sort of seal at the wrist, which can vary from a simple elastic band or cuff, to a strap that can be tightened to cinch the glove once it is on to create an effective guard against snow, ice, and cold. This could be a really important feature depending on the conditions you are likely to be facing!
No one wants freezing cold hands, and especially if it’s just been snowing and you’re out with friends, family and the kids you don’t want the time cut unwantingly short because of a pair of gloves. Whether going across the country in a dog sled, building an igloo, a snowball fight or even shovelling the driveway, it is all done more easily with warm hands. All it takes is some motivation and a good pair of gloves!