Gloves Versus Mittens: An Educated Debate

gloves-vs-mittens-featuredWhile win­ter doesn’t offi­cial­ly begin until Decem­ber 21st, the thin lay­er of frost cov­er­ing those leaves out­side has a way of mak­ing us feel oth­er­wise. When the chill in the air has you reach­ing for your win­ter gear, do you have a go-to pair of gloves or a mighty warm pair of mit­tens? We know there’s an ongo­ing debate in many social cir­cles about which of the two is real­ly warmer, bet­ter and more prac­ti­cal, and we think it’s high time we hashed out that healthy debate for all to see.

Glove enthu­si­asts argue:
First and typ­i­cal­ly fore­most, the glove-wear­ers among us state that they pre­fer them because they pro­vide more dex­ter­i­ty than mit­tens. Also, they say, gloves insu­late each dig­it indi­vid­u­al­ly, while mit­tens do so only for the thumb.

Mit­ten devo­tees counter with:
Body heat. Your fin­gers, when bun­dled togeth­er, are bet­ter able to gen­er­ate heat using one anoth­er. Plus, when it comes to snow sports, how much dex­ter­i­ty do you real­ly need? You can just as eas­i­ly hold your poles and put Frosty’s car­rot nose into place with your mit­tens as well as you can with a gloved set of fingers.

The expert’s take on things:
The sin­gle most impor­tant step you can take in keep­ing your hands warm is to make sure they stay as dry as pos­si­ble. The more moist your hands get, the high­er the poten­tial that they’ll get cold. You may recall our Snow Glove Buyer’s Guide, in which we speak with Arc­tic Explor­er Eric Larsen for some expert advice.

“I’ve spent my life search­ing for the per­fect glove,” Larsen said. “A lot of glove char­ac­ter­is­tics pre­clude oth­er ones.”

The Buyer’s Guide con­tin­ues: “In super cold con­di­tions, mois­ture man­age­ment becomes increas­ing­ly impor­tant as even slight damp­ness can lead to dan­ger­ous loss of heat. In mild con­di­tions, repelling mois­ture from the out­side while allow­ing sweat to leave the body is also dif­fi­cult, lead­ing to com­pro­mis­es in glove design that allow for quick evap­o­ra­tion and min­i­mal water repellency.”

The con­clu­sion:
The debate of mit­ten vs. glove may rage on for cen­turies to come, but because the real issue is breatha­bil­i­ty (not dex­ter­i­ty or insu­la­tion) that aspect will like­ly always be a mat­ter of per­son­al pref­er­ence. In oth­er words, decide whether you pre­fer the feel of a glove or a mit­ten — or if you need one or the oth­er for a spe­cif­ic activ­i­ty. Then make sure that it’s made of breath­able fab­ric so that your hand per­spi­ra­tion can escape as vapor, keep­ing your fin­gers and hands as dry and as warm as pos­si­ble so you can stay out in the snow as long as your heart desires.