What is the best way to choose the right winter work glove?
Most manufacturers don’t include temperature ratings or insulation values for winter gloves, so how do you know if the glove you’re choosing won’t leave you with frostbitten fingers.
Frankly you don’t.
At Superior, we are applying a new scientific approach to winter gloves which we will be discussing soon. In the meantime, we don’t want to leave you wet and cold, so here are some hacks to stay warm and toasty.
1. Choose a Multi-Layer Glove for Temperatures Below 20°F/-5°C:
A glove like this one is good for moderately cool temperatures but not much more below 32°F.
For colder temperatures we recommend a glove constructed with a minimum of two layers.
Here are some examples:
- SNTAPVC:Two-layer construction with nylon outside, napped fleece inner layer.
- 378GHVTL: Three-layer construction with leather/nylon outisde, Thinsulate™ middle layer, and nylon inner layer.
- SNOWD200L: For-layer construction with calfskin/double-layer nylon gauntlet, two layers of 400gsm Thinsulate™, and foam-to-fleece laminate layer.
Note: waterproof membranes in a glove can make the difference between soaking wet prune hands and dry hands that are relatively comfortable and warm.
2. Moisture Management:
Most of the body’s sweat comes from the hands and the soles of the feet.
Water conducts heat away from the body 25 times faster than air because it has a greater density. So managing moisture is key to designing warm winter gloves.
The next-to-hand layer of our winter glove linings aren’t cotton.
That is the worst material for a winter glove lining as it absorbs sweat and moisture and holds that water next to your skin where it cools you off.
We usually choose between a synthetic material like polypropylene or a natural fiber like wool, both of which will wick moisture away from the skin.
3. Outer Layer Selection:
When looking for a good winter glove, look for one with a dense outer layer to block wind.
Here is an example of a bad choice. The knit on this glove is too open, allowing wind to penetrate the glove and accelerate heat loss.
Our testing has shown that a dense outer layer in a glove will contribute +25 °F (+14 °C) of warmth to the glove in still conditions, and 50 °F (+ 28 °C) warmth in windy conditions. That is a huge difference.
This is an examples of one of our best-selling gloves with good outer shell:
4. Specify the Right Insulation:
If you’re working in really cold temperature (below 0 °F/ -20°C) we recommend using a glove with Thinsulate™ insulation.
Thinsulate™ gives the maximum warmth for its thickness, due to the very fine denier of the synthetic fibers which trap air in the tangle of fibers extremely well.
It retains warmth well, even when damp.
Thinsulate™ lining comes in many weights and types. Its thickness is measured in grams per square meter (gsm). When working in cool conditions, or environments where dexterity is critical, gloves with 40 gsm Thinsulate™ is sufficient.
For light activity levels or work in cold conditions, choose a glove with 100 gsm Thinsulate™. We are one of the very few glove companies worldwide offering styles with 200 gsm Thinsulate™ to handle extreme cold work environments.
Learn more about Thinsulate™ Levels.
5. Pay Special Attention to the Lining in the Fingertips.
A lot of winter gloves we see are especially poorly designed in the fingertips.
They either have less insulation in the finger tips or poorly designed seams, allowing heat to escape where you need it most.
Fingers (and especially fingertips) are more susceptible to cold because they do not have major muscles to produce heat.
In addition, the body will preserve heat by favoring the internal organs and thus reducing the flow of blood to the extremities under cold conditions.
Fingers tend to get cold more quickly than the rest of the hand because they lose heat more rapidly since they have a higher surface area-to-volume ratio, and they are more likely to be in contact with colder surfaces than other parts of the hand.
Look for linings that are fully “sock lined,” meaning the lining fully wraps the sides of the fingers too, with no heat leakage points where linings have been over stretched in sewing and the insulation loft has been pulled thin.
Some of our styles come with extra linings just at the fingertips.
Want more winter reading?
Read “How to Stay Warm Like a Canadian.”