Skiing is fun. But if you get frostbite, that is not fun. Skiing requires special attire that shields you against the elements while undertaking the chilly adventure. Gloves are an essential part of the attire. Gloves protect your hands from catching a cold, and they come in different types.
There are also various types of materials used to make the gloves. Every glove addresses a specific market in the skiing exposition. This article looks at all kinds of ski gloves, including the features and materials used to make them.
Picking suitable gloves for your skiing experience guarantees you a safe and warm adventure. But choosing the right glove might be a little convoluted. You have to balance many things, including dexterity, insulation, durability, waterproofness, and breathability.
You might also want to consider the gloves’ variations. It is also worth looking at whether you want mittens, lobster, or 3-in-1 gloves. Everyone has their own preference. If you’re a beginner, you’re in the right place. Find out which type of ski glove works best for you.
Mittens are gloves whose fingers are not separated. You only have the allocation for the thumb. The rest of the fingers go into one area. Mittens are very warm as the fingers share warmth compared to regular gloves, where each finger is in its compartment.
Putting all fingers in one compartment also reduces the surface area, therefore losing less heat. The challenge with mittens is their dexterity. Although they serve well, to an extent, five gloves have better dexterity.
2. Lobster Gloves
Lobster gloves are the middle ground between ordinary gloves and mittens. Lobsters combine the idea of fingers sharing their warmth for better heating and separating the fingers for better dexterity.
Lobster gloves join the index finger and the middle finger in one compartment and the ring finger and the pinky in another compartment. By doing that, the lobster feels warmer and less clumsy.
3. 3–in–1 Gloves
A 3-in-1 glove is another variation of the lobster. A 3-in-1 glove combines the middle finger, the ring finger, and the pinky in one compartment and a compartment for the index finger and the thumb.
The 3-in-1 also improves the warmth of the gloves and offers better dexterity.
Features of a Good Ski Glove
A glove is a simple piece of skiing clothing but very complex at the same time. Many other factors come into play for a good glove to come to market.
Insulation is the main technology that ensures gloves protect you from the cold in the environment. In addition, they ensure your hands are warm.
Cotton has the disadvantage of getting wet and staying cold when wet. Therefore, it is not the best material for ski gloves since while skiing. There is a high probability that your gloves will get wet.
Wool, contrary to cotton, stays warm when wet. In addition, it is a little heavier. Its breathability is also not desirable. A heavy glove with limited breathability is not exactly a good glove, even if it stays warm when wet.
c. Goose Down
Natural goose-down feathers work well in extreme cold. However, gloves made with natural goose-down feathers insulation tend to be too warm because of limited breathability.
In addition, if the cold is not biting, you will feel as if your hands are floating in the glove. The feeling of floaty hands reduces the dexterity of the glove. So, although the insulation is top-notch, the other factors make the glove less desirable.
d. Lofty Synthetics
Similar to goose down, lofty synthetic gloves also feel floaty, with slightly better breathability. Lofty synthetics stay warm when wet, and they are water-resistant. Unfortunately, their dexterity is not a strong point, although that is dependent on what you want to use the glove for or the type of dexterity you prefer.
e. Thin Synthetic Insulation
Thin synthetic insulation is the best insulation. Gloves with such insulation are comfortable to use in everyday skiing activities. They are warm enough, and they do not sacrifice dexterity or warmth. So when shopping for the perfect glove for your next skiing expedition, find one with thin synthetic insulation.
2. Shell Material
The shell material makes the top layer of the glove. Skiing is a very demanding activity, and you interact with the environment and nature, trees, rocks, and more. Therefore, a good glove should not only keep you warm. It should also keep you safe from bruises, burns, scratches, or cuts.
Leather is the glove material that has stood the test of time. The leather used to make gloves includes goatskin and cowhide. Leather is naturally more durable than nylon, but when you add good care to your gloves, they stand to serve you for several years. Treated leather also makes it waterproof, warm, and windproof.
Nylon is the most common synthetic material used to make gloves. High-quality gloves made of nylon use breathable fabric, but it also has to be waterproof. The waterproof material comes in a hard shell and soft shell versions.
Such gloves can also use leather, especially in areas of the glove that experience the most friction, like the fingers and palms.
When you get wet and cold in the gloves, the wetness is not from water penetrating the glove but rather your perspiration that did not find means out of the glove. The membrane is the layer between the other shell and the insulation in the glove.
The membrane usually controls the breathability of the glove and waterproofness. The membrane is usually waterproof and breathable because it has microscopic holes that are small enough to prevent water molecules from seeping in and big enough for perspiring water from your body to pass out.
The breathability and the waterproofness of a glove are dependent on the make of the membrane material. Here are some materials used to make the membrane in ski gloves.
The lining inside a glove is an extra layer that gets in contact with the hand. The layer increases comfort and warmth. In addition, most lining materials are synthetic, depending on the brand.
More crucial is that the lining material should have wicking capabilities to lift sweat from your hands and allow it to perspire into the environment.
a. Sewn-in Fixed Liners
These are liners that are attached permanently to the glove.
The benefits of a sewn-in liner are:
- These gloves are not complicated as they come in one piece.
- The gloves are very easy to put on as the liner is permanently attached to the shell glove.
- You will never be stranded because you have misplaced one of the liners.
- They are easier to put on and remove, saving time and effort.
They also have disadvantages, such as:
- They dry slower compared to gloves with removable liners.
- They might not be as warm as a glove with removable liners depending on the design.
- The glove comes as one piece, so if you need to replace it, you replace the whole glove, the glove shell, and the liners.
- It is very difficult to repair the glove as it is in one piece. You can only get a new one or get it to a professional.
b. Removable Liners
Removable liners are not physically attached to the glove shell.
The advantages of a removable liner include:
- You can use the liner as a glove separately in less harsh weather.
- The shell, too, can be used as a separate glove depending on the need.
- They can dry faster once you dry the liner and the shell separately.
- Most removable liners have better breathability.
- You can easily replace either the liner or the shell instead of the whole glove when you need to.
- If the glove needs repair, you can easily repair it because it is separate.
The challenges with removable liners include:
- They are usually difficult to reseat, hence it might take a while to wear them.
- The fact that they are like two separate gloves reduces their dexterity.
5. Cuff Style
There are two types of cuffs: short cuffs or long cuffs. The preference for either depends on whether you like your gloves under your jacket or above. However, long cuffs are recommended for deep snow and icy areas. The long cuffs are very easy to put on and remove relatively too short cuffs.
a. Short Cuffs
Short cuffs go under the jacket. They are designed just enough and have no fluff.
Short cuffs are lighter and less bulky. Their lack of bulkiness makes them easy to pack for any travel arrangements. They also allow for more wrist mobility. In addition to their convenience, they are also perceived as fashionable.
Unfortunately, they might not be as warm as long cuffed gloves. However, if you have warm hands, they can work for you.
b. Long cuffs
Also known as over the cuff, these gloves go over your jacket and cover your jacket sleeve. They are held on the wrist by an elastic code. As mentioned before, they are easy to put on and remove.
In addition, they are more versatile when it comes to warmth. For example, if it is warmer, you can opt to wear it open to allow more air circulation, but you can wear it closed if it is cold.
6. Size and Fit
When choosing your gloves, you should be cognizant of size and fit. You do not want to buy a glove that constrains your finger movements.
A good glove needs to deliver comfort, dexterity, and warmth. It should also fit snugly enough to allow room for your fingers to move and fold. At the tip of the finger, you should be able to pinch at least a quarter-inch of the cloth.
Although that is not a sure bet that the glove fits, you can also consult size charts for the brand you intend to buy to know your exact fit. You should also make sure that your wrist fits into the glove to ensure it is covered.
Ski gloves are also usually made with reinforcements in specific areas such as the palms, the fingertips, and the thumbs. These reinforcements are added to increase a glove’s grip and durability.
The modifications on the fingertips are meant to allow you to operate a touchscreen, be it your phone or your car stereo, while still wearing gloves.
Some gloves have additional features meant to improve the experience of the skier. They include
- Articulated fingers – The articulated fingers enhance the pole’s grip while skiing.
- Zippered pockets – The zippered pockets can be used to keep disposable liners but can double up as ventilation if the glove becomes too warm.
- Wrist Loops – Also known as idiot straps, these are beneficial as they ensure you do not lose your gloves if you accidentally drop them. They attach the glove to your jacket using the string.
- Nose wipe – This is a soft surface on the thumb of a glove that you can easily use to wipe your nose rather than fishing in your pocket for something to do that.
- Mini squeegee – On the thumb, too, a mini squeegee can be attached to help you wipe your goggles.
- Padding – To protect you against race gates, trees and racks, some gloves have padding at the back and the knuckles.