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Buyers’ Guide: Winter Work Gloves

To find the right glove for the job, you need to understand the key components that go into each one.

If you’re like most farmers, you probably own a dozen pairs of gloves. You have a few stashed at home in the mud room, some extras that float between pickup trucks, and some dedicated work gloves that rarely leave the shop. 

You know that your leather gloves are better for shop work and your insulated pair is best for long days in the cold. What about a long day in the cold when you’ll need to use your smartphone? Or when you need to fix a fence in the snow?

That’s when it’s helpful to understand the variety of components in each glove that contribute to its warmth, says Dave Gellis, president of Gordini USA.

For the past 23 years, Gellis has worked at Gordini, overseeing the brand’s products that are designed to keep the body’s heat production and heat loss in balance. You may not have heard of Gordini, but you might own a pair of the gloves the company makes. Gordini manufactures, distributes, and markets Carhartt gloves throughout North America. 

Touch Sensitivity + Warmth

As you’ve probably discovered, touch sensitivity and warmth don’t always go hand in hand. “Touch sensitivity is very difficult to have in thick gloves,” says Gellis. “When you use touch-sensitive equipment with insulated gloves, the accuracy is less than desirable.”

Touch-sensitive technology is incorporated into a glove using a conductive print on a fingertip or by weaving metallic or conductive yarn into the fabric. While this technology can be included on insulated gloves, this doesn’t necessarily add value.

“For example, you could have a fully insulated glove with conductive fabric. You could probably slide the bar on an iPhone to unlock your phone. If you want to call an 800 number, though, you may dial 844 instead of 800 because it doesn’t allow you to be as accurate,” explains Gellis. 

For a touch-screen-compatible glove that is accurate and provides warmth, he recommends a noninsulated product with a soft shell or what is referred to as a stretch fleece glove. Look for weatherproof ones that will give you some of the benefits of an insulated glove.

Core Components

There are many components that go into winter work gloves, as you can see in the image of the deconstructed glove. The four key components in each glove that you should examine include the outer shell, insulation, lining, and an insert.

When you look at the outer shell, select a glove with windproof fabric. 

“By reducing or cutting the wind’s ability to permeate the fabric, that immediately offers you a warmer product without adding bulk. This is critical for farmers,” says Gellis. “If the glove is bulky, you might be satisfied with the warmth, but you won’t be as productive.”

The next component that creates warmth in gloves is one you are already familiar with: insulation. A light to midweight Thinsulate that weighs about 100 to 150 grams is what Gellis recommends for farmers. 

“That weight with the windproof shell provides two elements I consider really important for warmth and performance,” he says.

When it comes to the lining, the material is what’s really important. You want a lining that can wick away moisture, so any perspiration that develops as you work is removed and your hands stay dry. 

Keeping hands dry also depends on the glove insert, which is sewn in between the shell and the insulation. The insert should be waterproof yet breathable.

“That additional layer of waterproofing keeps hands dry from outer elements, and allowing for breathability keeps hands dry from inner elements,” says Gellis. “If the insert isn’t breathable, your hands will sweat like crazy.”

Prices for this type of glove range from $30 up to $50. 

When you’re glove shopping this winter, also remember the benefits of different materials. 

“Suede gloves with insulation and lining are great for fencing because they will minimize the risk of puncture injuries,” Gellis says. “Leather gloves are great work gloves, because leather has a great grip in dry or wet conditions, including a good oil grip.”

 

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