Gloves -vs- Mitts
Decision fatigue when shopping for gloves or mittens is real.
Every company seems to have the same but slightly different options — and there appears to be a glove or mitten for every use and everyone.
Sigh. And we didn’t even get started on price points!
So, how on Earth are you supposed to find the right glove or mitten for what you need, without breaking the bank or having to buy tons of gear?
Well, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive — but concise and not overwhelming, we swear! — buyer’s guide.
Things to consider when buying gloves or mittens
To reduce your decision fatigue, you’ll want to consider a few things when buying gloves or mittens. The hope is, by evaluating the type of activity, insulation, and features, you’ll be able to quickly identify what you need and eliminate what you don’t. Because while shopping can be fun, you don’t need to spend two hours or more trying to figure out what glove or mitten works best for you.
A highly aerobic sport, you’ll work up a sweat while cross-country skiing and need hand protection that allows you to strap into and grip poles.
You might be seated, but you will need ample dexterity and insulation to handle the snowmachine and protect you from the windchill.
Resort skiing and snowboarding
Resort activities are relatively laid-back. You may have the opportunity to do some resort-monitored, off-piste activities, but you’ll mostly be going downhill or riding the chairlift. You need enough dexterity to grip your poles and fiddle with persnickety boot buckles (hi, perfect fit and circulation, is that you?! No? Okay.), but you also need serious warmth for long lift rides and gusty descents.
Backcountry skiing and splitboarding
Touring typically involves high aerobic output on the uphill with a quick but colder descent. It also involves being in and out of your touring pack, taking touring skins on and off, dealing with board or ski bindings, snacking intermittently (or a lot), checking conditions, and so forth. You’ll want to maintain fast access to your avy tools and shouldn’t expose your hands to cool conditions for prolonged periods.
Nowhere are grip, dexterity, and warmth more important than when you’re hanging on to a giant icicle. Look for pre-curved, gunn-cut fingers and silicone grip for maximum performance.
Other activities to consider
Sledding, snowshoeing, hiking, and fat biking
Recommendations From Gordini
Finding the right gear for your chosen winter activity starts with deciding whether a glove or mitt — or something in between - suits you best. If we were to apply all the information that we presented in the first half of this article to a pair of gloves and mittens, what would it look like?
Let’s find out.
Want to free up your fingers without subjecting them to the weather conditions around you? Grab some gloves.
Gloves provide a ton of dexterity, making them great for outdoor work, fat biking, backcountry skiing, or — really — anything with poles. Additionally, gloves tend to be a bit more breathable (because they’re separated on all sides) than mittens, so if you’re looking for something to protect your paws during aerobic activities, gloves might be your best bet.
Because gloves are more breathable, if you’re sensitive to the cold or have poor circulation, you might want to consider mitts. Or add a hand warmer when temps start to drop — giving us the perfect opportunity to mention our handwarmer pockets (as featured in our Side Cut Gloves) which are designed with this in mind.
Think of mittens as a sleeping bag for your hands: aka say hello to cozy town. Great for high-fiving, making snowballs, and keeping hands warm on cold hikes or while resort skiing.
What do you get when you combine a glove with a mitten? A 3-finger! A 3-finger frees up your thumb and your pointer finger while keeping your middle, ring, and pinky fingers bundled together.
Additional things to consider
If you find that our suggestions aren’t quite cutting it for you and want more information, well, we won’t leave you hanging.
Insulation keeps your hands warm. It’s worth noting that the type of insulation featured in a glove or mitten impacts weight and warmth — and price point. But some insulations are better suited for certain climates and activities.
Ideal for aerobic, sweaty activities, synthetic insulation is low-bulk and keeps your hands warm even when wet, and it dries quickly. Plus, synthetic insulation gives you the most bang for your buck.
Synthetic insulation found in Gordini products
Down is best suited for keeping your hands toasty-warm during relatively low output activities like lift skiing, walks around the neighborhood, or sledding. At Gordini, we have a long history of putting down into ski gloves, adding a touch of luxurious warmth no matter your activity. You’ll notice that some gloves and mittens feature a combination of down and synthetic insulation. Particularly in gloves, supplementing down insulation on the back of hand with synthetic insulation on the palm insulates the areas where you lose the most heat and keeps down bulk to ensure dexterity.
Down insulation found in Gordini products
Those sheep have it figured out! Like synthetic insulation, wool keeps you warm even when wet, dries quickly, breathes well, and wicks away moisture. Wool isn’t a frequently used insulation product, but it’s ideal for high-output activities or when used as a lining or liner in a warmer glove when it is incorporated.
Wool found in Gordini products
And just when you thought that things couldn’t get more complicated — after all, gloves and mittens are so small and straightforward, right?
Outdoor apparel has come a long way. For a relatively small piece of gear, your gloves and mittens can be packed with features to keep you comfortable all day long.
When you’re doing outdoor activities in cold temperatures, moisture of any kind (be it precipitation or sweat buildup) can be dangerous - and day-ruining. Waterproof inserts, such as GORE-TEX® and AquaBloc®, are waterproof, windproof and breathable, keeping moisture out while allowing sweaty hands to breathe.
Waterproof tech found in Gordini products
Windproof tech layers are great for conditions that aren’t as wet but still require protection from the wind while permitting breathability. Cold weather cycling is a prime example where this technology shines. You’ll find this in linings and liners as added protection against chill factors.
Windproof tech found in Gordini products
Some gloves and mittens come with a removable or fixed liner. A removable liner can be worn standalone, whereas a fixed liner (or fingermitt) is typically sewed into mittens or gloves for extra warmth.
Liners offer excellent perks such as touch-sensitive fingertips so you can navigate screens without getting your hands cold. Ultimately, liners give you the flexibility to add extra warmth to your waterproof shell, and depending on the condition, they also dry faster.
The Right Fit
There’s a happy medium you want to strike when it comes to fit. A glove or mitten that’s too big doesn’t maximize warmth and just gets in the way, whereas a glove or mitten that’s too small doesn’t give your hands room to move or hold in warmth.
That said, you do want to take into account the right fit for your activity and how you plan on using the mitten or glove long-term. For example, you want a next-to-skin fit for cross-country skiing, but for downhill activity, you will probably want something with enough room to accommodate an additional liner should conditions on the slopes become colder and snowier.
MEASURING HOT TIP
Be sure you stretch, flex, make a fist, and jazz hands to see how the material moves with you. You’ll know if something’s too big or too small. If it’s too big, you’ll have enough excess material at the top of the fingers to fold them over. If it’s too small, your movement will feel restricted and fingers will be pushing at the seams.