In matters of gloves, there are many worthy options vying for your attention. You know you need a dependable partner, but how do you choose? Variable conditions, fluctuating elevations and inclement weather make it tricky to pick one glove for all days. Do you desire a one-glove wonder or will you invest in a multi-mitten quiver? Your answer will reveal the type of waterproof, breathable, and windproof protection you need! It’s most important to match your mittens with your intentions. There are many outdoor products promising self-improvement and flashy adventure but be discerning and choose a pair that balances your life and priorities. Start with some soul searching and ask yourself the following questions:
Do you prefer skin tracks to lift lines? Are you a hearty stormchaser or more a bluebird bunny? Complain of numb thumbs or sweaty palms? Partial to type two “fun” (i.e. you swing ice axes in subzero climates for “fun”)?
Glove styles and fit come in many forms and assemblies. Just as outdoor clothing utilizes layering systems to address thermal regulation, glove construction also relies on layering to keep hands dry, retain heat, preserve dexterity, and adapt to changing conditions and behaviors. The most popular and universal method of building waterproof versatility into handwear is to sandwich an insert between the external shell fabric and the internal lining.
If you were to cut your waterproof
gloves open to look for the insert …
(we don’t recommend it because we don’t warranty dissected gloves)
You’d see something that looks a whole lot like a plastic bag– but is so much more than that. Dri-Max®, AquaBloc® and GORE-TEX® technology are three kinds of inserts that rely on this layering construction for waterproofing, and fundamentally protect hands from exposure to the elements.
Dri-Max® technology uses a basic impermeable layer of polyurethane to restrict all forms of snow and rain – flakes, crystals, pellets, graupel, drizzle, or straight showers – from leaking in. While it is highly effective at keeping the outdoors out, internal moisture is effectively trapped in. A Dri-Max® glove is thus best suited for a low sweat arctic activitylike kids steering bobsleds or dog sleds and holding cold beer in an ice shack. Gordini even makes a whole fleet of kids gloves that utilize Dri-Max® technology to handle even the wettest of cold weather playdates. Try a thumbless Sprout for the littlest of littles or add handwarmers to the Heaterpack Mitt to keep your toddler toasty.
AquaBloc® is Gordini’s premier and proprietary insert that delivers waterproof, windproof, and breathable technology. It’s perforated and seam sealed structure let’s moisture escape without letting water molecules in. AquaBloc® is an all-around performer that withstands persistent cold and wet weather, and sheds heat with you as you move.
The insert’s increased elasticity, strength, and durability make it a great choice for long days recreating in the snow. Resort days bring all sorts of conditions. One minute your hands are sweating from a side-stepping Stairmaster traverse, the next you’re stuck on wind hold and fighting off Reynaud’s. AquaBloc® inserts offer waterproof versatility in models like the Cache, the Camber and the MTN Crew. Choose from a variety of insulations or linings to suit any forecast. AquaBloc® delivers high quality breathable protection in everything from white-outs to spring slush, to frankly any old damp day in Sierra cement. These whine-proof mittens were built for full-day play. Whether you’re teaching and likely dragging your toddler between French fries and pie drills or logging lift laps bell to bell, AquaBloc® inserts offer the best of comfort and care for your family.
GORE-TEX® technology was pioneered in 1959 and has led the industry in performance, durability and testing ever since. GORE-TEX® layers a fused and laminated micro-porous membrane to an outer textile to withstand the wettest of microclimates, both inside and out. Designed using bluesign® APPROVED materials and made in the USA, GORE-TEX® inserts are built to not only survive, but thrive, in the most severe and dynamic of environments.
GORE-TEX® ensures waterproof integrity without compromising on breathability. With every square inch of membrane lies nine billion tiny pores. Each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet and 700 times bigger than a water vapor molecule.1 This highly selective semi-permeable system delivers exceptional heat retention, maximum air flow, extended durability, and high-performing dexterity both in lab testing and in the field.
GORE-TEX® inserts are the foundational waterproof component of the Front Line system series purpose-built for alpine touring, the Polar mitt for extreme weather warmth, and the GTX Storm glove for streamlined durability. When transitioning in technical terrain and punishing weather, choose from a broad collection of GORE-TEX® gloves for full day, full throttle mountain adventures. Also approved for expedition chores including split-level igloo build outs and digging snow pits.
1Team Gore, "THE GORE-TEX® MEMBRANE: WHAT IT IS, HOW IT WORKS AND WHY YOU NEED IT", GORE-TEX® BRAND, Last modified 201,
Over time and with frequent use, you may wonder if you can make your gloves even more waterproof. The short of it is no, not really. Your gloves are already waterproof if they are built with a layered insert or membrane; although, additional treatments can be applied to your glove or mitt’s shell (exterior) to enhance repellency and durability. The curing of the fabric can occur pre-construction as a DWR (durable water repellent) coating or it can be applied post-purchase by the consumer, as is the case with a common synthetic leather coating known as Scotchgard.
This waterproofing method is an added bonus for your already watertight paws. There are a variety of over-the-counter applications available and can help extend the life of your product as well as improve breathability by restoring hydro-phobic fabric qualities. Beware that discoloration or fading may occur, so opt in only if aesthetics come second fiddle to function. Sponge-on or easy-bake mitten treatments will eventually wear with continuous use and can be reapplied as needed. Remember to follow recommended glove care instructions and avoid wash-in water-repellency treatments, as putting your mitts in the washing machine is a surefire way to ruin your waterproof insert!
Various construction methods, insulations, features, and fabrics offer distinct properties that may or may not suit your weather and waterproof needs. Consider all your options and let your passions guide you. It’s all about getting to know your gear – learn when it thrives, recognize its shortcomings, and practice self-care – with the core intention to build real partnership that endures. Find your glove of all time that will weather the storms, stand the test of time and support you in all your future adventures together.