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Get Great Gloves – A Q&A Guide

Posted on January 9th, 2014

OUTDOOR pursuits demand an investment in practical kit when the weather turns colder, which is why marketing director of extremities, Carolyn Budding, is offering her advice on how to choose the right pair of gloves for your winter activities.
She said: “Choosing the right pair of gloves is essential for any outdoor activity in cooler weather, be it walking, running, cycling, skiing or mountaineering.
“It’s easy to get bogged down in the technical details of what different gloves can offer, but in the first instance, getting back to basics is a good place to start.
“Taking time to think about what you will be doing while wearing the gloves, the equipment you will be using and the conditions you are likely to experience is also worthwhile.
“Essentially, the properties of gloves are waterproofing, windproofing and warmth, alongside durability, flexibility and breathability. But not every glove can provide, or needs to provide all of these.”

Where do I start?

“Gloves generally serve the purpose of keeping hands warm and dry.
Not all gloves are waterproof, so if you are going to be out and about in wet or snowy weather, looking for gloves that are fully waterproof (usually because they have a waterproof liner inside) is a prerequisite.
For warmth you need fleecy linings or insulation, and gloves which feature an elastic cuff, drawstring closure or a wrist-strap which can be pulled snug to keep out rain, snow and wind are a good start.
However, for some activities, warmth and flexibility are key, in which case thinner gloves made from thermal or windproof materials are the way to go.”

What is a base layer glove and do I need one?

“If you simply want a glove that will keep you warm and dry while out walking in rain or snow, a waterproof insulated glove will probably do the trick.
“However, if you’re planning on being outside in extreme cold, layering gloves in the same way you would clothing will provide more warmth and protection from the elements.
“A base layer glove of warm materials such as merino wool can be worn under a mitt or glove to protect hands while enjoying the outdoors.
“There are many gloves on the market which can be used as base layers, or are suitable for use during chilly days. The flexibility and comfort of these gloves is important, bulky seams can become uncomfortable when worn under a bigger glove, so trying out your base layer with the outer glove is a good idea.
“It is also worth considering whether touchscreen compatibility is something you may require. There are gloves which are ideal as base layers which also incorporate touchscreen compatible materials in the thumb and forefingers, avoiding the need to remove gloves to use a smartphone or other touchscreen device such as a hand-held GPS.”

What should I look for when buying specialist gloves?  

“Specialist gloves are designed with highly technical materials and components in mind.
“An important aspect to look for is the “breathability” of the gloves you choose. A common misconception is that breathability is how the material allows air to move through the fabric.
“What you are actually looking for is a material which allows sweat to pass as water vapour to the outside of the glove. This prevents sweat condensing and chilling the skin. A breathable glove that is waterproof will also prevent moisture coming into the glove.
“If you’re planning activities such as skiing or walking which include the use of poles, protection on the palms, inner fingers and between the thumb and forefinger is a necessity to prevent rubbing or discomfort and avoid excessive wear on the gloves.
“Likewise, if you’re planning a climbing or mountaineering expedition, fabrics or silicon prints which aid grip would be a good option.
“For some a mitt may be preferable to a glove as the proximity of the fingers to each other retains more body heat, although others opt for the greater dexterity provided by a glove.
“Outer gloves and mitts can be both waterproof and windproof. Waterproof fabrics are generally windproof, but windproof gloves while offering some water resistance are not fully waterproof. So it is wise to check these details, rather than assuming a glove will fully protect you from wind and heavy rain.
“Fabrics such as Gore-Tex®, WINDSTOPPER®, POLARTEC® and Primaloft® are generally accepted as materials which will provide waterproofing, windproofing and/or warmth and as such have become synonymous with clothing for outdoor pursuits.”

And finally – “Making an investment in the right gloves is essential for many outdoor activities.
“The free use of hands which have been kept warm, dry and protected is an important safety factor when taking on the elements. Taking time to think about how your gloves can protect your hands and what demands you will actually be placing on your kit is a worthwhile investment of time before you invest any money.”



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