The benefits of having feeling and dexterity in the extremities of your body while on the slopes is hard to deny. Fine motor skills become increasingly difficult with greater exposure to cold temperatures, and an ill-equipped ski glove or mitten will reduce the enjoyment you can gain out of your skiing holiday. By making an investment in an adequate ski glove or ski mitten, you will ensure that your hands are kept warm, dry and functioning at their best. Snowscene prides itself on ranging a wide assortment of gloves and mittens.
This buying guide will assist you in deciding which option is best for you, and simplify some of the complex technologies integrated into such products that allow you to enjoy your skiing experience to the fullest.
Gloves vs. Mittens: Does it really matter?
You may have experienced this debate already amongst your friends as wearers of mittens or gloves hold their decision with passionate determination. There is no clear better choice for every wearer, but there are definitely considerations to make when deciding what choice will function best for you.
The first consideration should most definitely be warmth. When brands are manufacturing gloves and mittens, the materials used for the outer membrane and the internal insulation will be almost identical. However, this does not mean they will perform the same way. Due to the decreased surface area of a mitten, in addition to the body warmth of each finger not being separated by thick material, a ski mitten will be a warmer option for the wearer that finds themselves cold even in mild conditions. While a mitten will be warmer, this does come with the trade-off that a mitten can provide a more limited dexterity to the wearer than a comparable ski glove.
To help overcome this concern brands like Swany have introduced finger slots inside of the mitten which makes the wearer feel like they are wearing a glove with all the extra benefit of a warmer mitten.
It should be noted that while mittens are the warmer choice, a well-constructed ski glove will function incredibly well to keep your hand warm even in harsh conditions. The addition of a glove liner, which is worn against the skin with an outer glove or mitten worn on top, will provide additional warmth that may be desirable when paired with the dexterity advantages of the glove. Depending on the design of the ski glove, the wearer may still find that they do not have adequate dexterity to allow them to unzip their jacket, take photos or have a drink without removing the bulky outer glove.
To conclude, the decision really comes down to what you prioritize the greatest. If warmth and comfort are your sole concern, regardless of slight usability restrictions, a mitten will be the correct choice. If you tend not to be bothered by the cold, and would prioritize your dexterity on the mountain to allow you to move more naturally with you gloves remaining on, your decision is also clear with gloves suiting your preferences well. If you are still unsure what will suit your needs best, come into store and chat with one of our knowledgeable Retail Team members and allow them to find the best product for your needs.
A highly valuable, but often overlooked, component of your ski apparel ensemble should be a set of glove liners. Often constructed out of lightweight material, merino wool being an excellent choice, these glove liners provide a second layer of warm on those days where the conditions are sub-optimal. Ideally gloves and glove liners should be purchased at the same time, thus allowing you to try them on together to see if they are comfortable and whether you have selected the correct glove size. A perfectly-fitting glove may become unbearably tight when worn with a glove liner underneath, so it is essential that you allow for the glove to be slightly larger than what may be ideal to ensure that you are able to fully appreciate the value of the glove liner.
There is a fine line between purchasing a correct glove size and allowing for too much room. As well as providing increased warmth, a glove liner is an effective tool to extend the life of your glove. As your body will perspire while you are exerting yourself on the ski slopes, a glove liner is able to wick the moisture from your skin and ensures that it will not be soaked into the internal membrane of the ski glove. As the internal membrane of your ski glove is often difficult to clean due to it being stitched into the outer layer, a glove liner, which is able to be easily washed, can reduce the dirt build up inside of your glove and allow you to gain maximum value for money from the glove.
Leather or Synthetic?
The two most common materials that gloves or mittens are made from are leather, or synthetic materials such as nylon or Teflon.
Leather has been used in glove construction for decades, and is incredibly comfortable and durable when cared for correctly. A leather ski glove will slowly mould to the shape of your hand with more wear, and will soften during this process. With adequate care, in the form of leather balms and protective coatings, a leather glove will last many years. This durability does come with an increase in its cost to purchase when comparing to products constructed using synthetic materials exclusively, but seasoned skiers or snowboarders will find value in the higher cost due to the long-lasting nature of the glove.
If you wish to purchase a more cost-effective option, gloves manufactured with synthetic materials are a great choice. The synthetic materials are selected due to their hydrophobic nature, which will allow snow or water to bead up and roll off your glove rather than being absorbed by it. A synthetic glove/mitten are not as comfortable and are not as durable but is a great alternative as it requires little to no maintenance aside from simply wiping them down and ensuring that they adequately dry before being worn again.
Glove & Mitten Sizing
If you have committed to the idea of wearing a glove liner then any glove or mitten you try on, you need to wear the glove liner to ensure the fit is comfortable. The general rule for sizing is you want to have at least a finger nail worth of room at the tips of the glove when your fingers are outstretched. You also want to make sure that when you make a fist the fit isn’t so tight that it constricts your fingers from curving fully.
If you feel you like you are in between sizes and you aren’t sure which size to select, our recommendation is to always go the bigger size. It’s much more advantageous to have your glove slightly bigger than smaller.