Types of Winter Gloves

Gloves thick with insulation help when playing or working in the snow.
Gloves thick with insulation help when playing or working in the snow. (Image: Jordan Siemens/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Your hands and feet lose heat in cold weather much faster than the core of your body. When out in cold weather it is essential to have your head, feet and hands covered in order to prevent discomfort or, in extreme temperatures, frostbite. There is a large variety of winter gloves on the market. Different gloves provide different levels of warmth; some gloves are purely for functionality while others seek to provide an aesthetic element as well.

Gloves By Activity

Winter sports like snowmobiling, skiing, sledding and building a snowman require a thick glove, as do activities like shoveling the driveway or scraping ice off your car in the morning. Gloves for outdoor activities vary on their functionality. Inexpensive gloves have extra insulation and at times have a rubberized texture on the palms for extra grip. More expensive gloves are made with special fabric that wicks away moisture or is water resistant. There are heated gloves that can be plugged into an electricity source or contain a special gel that when heated in the microwave retains the heat for a number of hours. If you won't be outside long, a glove with just the extra cotton insulation should be sufficient. If you expect to be outdoors often, in especially cold weather, for hours, a more expensive glove will be the better option.

Gloves By Style

A glove is specifically a garment worn on your hand that has a separate section for each finger to go into. Mittens have no "fingers," but are often considered gloves too. Mittens provide extra warmth by keeping the fingers close together allowing them to share their heat. The drawback of a mitten is that you have limited use of your hands because the fingers are not separate. A mitten can have interior insulation by being stuffed with cotton, like an inexpensive glove. Often times they have insulation in the form of faux or real fur or sherpa on the interior that allows for your hands to have a soft, cozy texture inside.

Another type of winter glove is the fingerless glove. This glove is cut off at the first knuckle of the hand with either a raw or hemmed edge. These provide the least warmth, but the most functionality for your hands. A hybrid of mitten and fingerless glove is also popular. The glove works as a mitten, but the top mitten half can be folded back and buttoned to the top of the hand to reveal fingerless gloves for movement.

Gloves By Material

Gloves and mittens come in a wide array of materials. This is most notable in the market for women's gloves. As women are assumed to have more of an interest in the way gloves look, makers of gloves offer a variety. Gloves can be made out of cotton yarn and made at home, but they are also sold in stores. They are in a number of solid colors, from the most bright to plain black. Thin lycra gloves, simply called "knit" gloves are sold in almost any store that sells outerwear or clothing for a few dollars per pair. Luxury yarns, such as cashmere also provide the material for mittens and gloves. Gloves are also made in leather, the quality of which goes up with the price. Slim fitting leather gloves are popular with both men and women. Some leather gloves provide interior insulation in real or faux fur or sherpa.

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