There’s no need for frozen fingers to get in the way of a good workout. With a pair of running gloves, you can keep the burn where it belongs: your legs. This guide will help you learn how to choose the best running gloves for your needs.
Materials: Running gloves are generally made from synthetic blends. The four most commonly used fabrics, Polyester, acrylic, fleece and polypropylene have different sweat-wicking, breathability, warmth, and wind and waterproofing features that are worth considering when making an informed buying decision.
Polyester: A glove with polyester will typically have high breathability and sweat-wicking potential while still keeping hands dry and comfortable to maintain warmth. It won’t, however, offer any sort of wind or waterproofing.
Acrylic: An acrylic-elastane glove will be breathable, stretchy and decently warm, but it won’t offer much in the way of wind or waterproofing.
Fleece: Putting on a fleece glove is like putting on a nice fleece pullover—it’s super cozy. But they don’t do as great of a job as some of the other fabrics when it comes to sweat-wicking and breathability—unless the glove features panels of different fabrics. Some gloves will feature a fleece panel on the outside (though this is also commonly terry cloth) for wiping away forehead sweat.
Polypropylene: A glove with polypropylene will typically provide great wind and waterproofing to keep the runner’s hands dry and warm, though it does sacrifice some of the breathability and internal moisture-management in the process.
Fit: Running gloves should fit snug to the hands. They should feel like almost like a second, much warmer, layer of skin. Gloves that are too big will flop around, which isn’t only obnoxious, but can lead to chafing. Gloves that are too small will cut off circulation to the fingers and lead to uncomfortable numbness in the hands.
Thickness: Running gloves are thicker on the back side of the hands to provide the most warmth and wind protection, while the palm of the hand and insides of the fingers will generally feature a thinner mesh fabric for maximum breathability. However, some gloves are thicker than others because of fabric type or because they feature a liner for extra warmth.
Warmth: Whether a glove is warm enough for a runner is highly dependent on the runner’s temperature and circulation. Some runners will need to wear a glove throughout the entire length of a run, while others might reach a point where they can take them off and stuff them in a pocket. Some fabrics are warmer than others, as well, and gloves with liners provide the most warmth.
Seasonality: Gloves can typically be worn year-round, though are not recommended for warmer weather. In the fall and winter, a glove with a liner and a wind-proofing fabric can help keep fingers warm and comfortable. In the spring, runners can typically skip the liner and go for a waterproofing fabric on rainy runs.
Weight: Fabric will dictate the weight of the glove. Most gloves are lightweight enough they don’t interrupt the comfort or flow of a run.