What Goes Into the Best Winter Gloves Ever Made? Quite a Bit.
Whether you’ll be working, snowboarding, fat biking, cross country skiing, or simply walking around this winter, it’s vital that you keep your hands protected from the elements. Why?
At best, cold hands are incredibly uncomfortable. In extreme temperatures, improperly insulated fingers can be susceptible to frostbite. Considering how important healthy hands are to your quality of life, it’s no understatement to say you deserve the absolute best winter gloves you can buy. But with the vast selection of warm gloves available, how do you know if you’re choosing quality? How can you tell if the snow gloves you select will keep your hands safe in extreme conditions?
The purpose of this blog article is to guide you through a logical decision-making process. In other words, if you carefully consider the criteria outlined below, it will help lead you to the perfect pair to suit your needs.
Attributes of the Best Winter Gloves
Are the Gloves Designed for Your Specific, Intended Use?
It should go without saying that what makes for a great alpine ski glove may not be ideal for winter construction, or perhaps snowmobiling, or even cross-country skiing.
As such, the first thing you should assess is if the gloves you’re considering possess the basic features you need for your chosen activity.
Using alpine ski gloves as an example, a properly featured pair would, naturally, be adequately insulated for single-digit temperatures. They should also feature an integrated goggle wipe. You will need the gloves to be windproof and
waterproof. They should feature wide gauntlets that fit over your jacket sleeves and other design functions intended to keep snow from getting in. In addition to that, the gloves should offer reinforcements in high-abrasion and high-stress areas, and feature wrist leashes to help prevent you from losing them in a “yard sale” type of fall.
Naturally, many of the features mentioned above would be unnecessary on a pair of winter construction gloves or insulated mechanic gloves, but you would instead require the best-possible dexterity and a much higher level of durability and abrasion resistance. A glove intended for cross country skiing, meanwhile, would need to be extremely lightweight and breathable. And with the advent of mobile technology, you often will want to choose a glove that’s touchscreen compatible, regardless of activity. In short, if the glove you’re considering doesn’t meet the basic criteria of your intended use, keep shopping.
Do the Gloves Feature Quality Materials?
One of the great things about modern technology is that the newest textiles are higher performing than traditional fabrics in every conceivable way. For example, in the past, waterproof gloves were clammy and uncomfortable. Now they can be breathable and moisture-wicking, even when you’re engaged in high-exertion activities. Materials now are also more lightweight, yet durable, tear-resistant, and abrasion-resistant. Insulation is now thinner and lighter weight without sacrificing warmth. And break-in is a thing of the past.
When considering your next pair of winter gloves, why not take advantage of these technological advancements?
When shopping, check the tags of your potential selections. The premium-quality technical wear will always list the high-performance materials used in its construction.
Do the Gloves Feature Quality Manufacturing?
All of the best materials mean nothing if the glove isn’t put together properly.
Look for features like a pre-curved, articulated fit, and of course reinforcements where a lesser-constructed glove would likely fail after extended, heavy use. A well-designed glove will also fit better, seams will not be placed in areas that could cause chafing. Finally, quality manufacturers will offer Durable Waterproof Coatings that help repel water and can stand up to long wear and heavy use.
Where are the Gloves Made?
While supply chains are global these days, many products sourced from overseas are often produced to lower quality standards, poor materials, and hasty design. While many stitchers can produce the same level of quality when the manufacturer is not connected directly with the production team miscommunications, a 'just make it and fix later' mentality and rushed production can often occur.
Have the Gloves Undergone Thorough Testing?
It’s one thing to thoughtfully design a glove. It’s another thing entirely to put it through rigorous testing, both in a lab and in real-world conditions. When shopping for gloves, check the manufacturer's website. High-end brands will often describe the testing procedures their products go through (such as abrasion tests and accelerated simulations of harsh outdoor conditions). In addition to their lab tests, the manufacturers may sponsor a stable of endorsees (often elite adventure sport athletes) who use and abuse their equipment in far more extreme ways than a normal user ever could.
Does the Glove Manufacturer Strive for Constant Improvement?
Another function of the endorsees mentioned in the previous section is that after living with a product for an extended period of time, they are able to more quickly identify design flaws. In turn, they can report back to the manufacturer with meaningful suggestions for design improvements. This, in tandem with continual efforts to enhance manufacturing techniques and utilize cutting-edge materials, leads to a winter glove that outperforms its previous version year after year. As such, if you’re shopping for a winter glove and this year’s model is identical to the model made five years ago, you might consider looking at a different model.