The Anatomy of Mitts and Gloves

Posted on January 06 2015

WOW! Another winter season at WEK seems to be nearing an end. Yes, I know, it's only the beginning of January but I have been in winter mode since July! Crazy as it sounds, Gordie, Benjamin and I are almost finished all our fall and winter bookings for winter 15. My recent blog post asked for suggestions of topics you would like to read about. 

The first topic for 2015 comes from Sharlene D

January 02, 2015

I would like to hear about different gloves and mitts. How the expensive ones compare with the cheaper ones. Warmth vs dry-time, long vs shorter, mitts vs gloves.

Sharlene D

One of the brands that West End Kids carries for Mitts and Gloves is GORDINI. Gordini has been a staple at WEK for many years. I have been fortunate to have the same, great sales representative all these years...Dean Shantz. I asked Dean if he would answer Sharlene's questions.

Thank you Sharlene for the suggestion and thank you Dean for taking the time to respond!!

Shopping for Handwear can be Confusing at Times.

Dean Shantz, Sales Representative for Gordini

What’s the difference between Gloves and Mitts, and why is there such a price range?

It is generally agreed upon that mitt’s are warmer than gloves. This is due in most part since there is less surface area exposed to the cold and that the mitts are more efficient trapping the heat that your hand generates. 

The amount of heat generated depends on the person. Gloves and mitts simply trap the heat generated. With this in mind the two most important features of gloves and mitts are the quality of the insulation and the lining used to manage the moisture build up. Our hands sweat, resulting in a build up of moisture and cold hands.

The anatomy of the Gloves and Mitts are as follows 

#1 The liner is next to the skin, materials such as polyester, polypropylene and Merino wool is used in the more expensive models, with Cotton or Nylon used on the less expensive models. The liners job is to wick the moisture generated by the hand away from the skin, ensuring that your hands stay dry and hence warm.

#2 Next is the insulation component.  The best insulator is DRY AIR, and the best way to trap that dry air is with a nonabsorbent synthetic material. Again there is an abundance of choice. On the synthetic side from inexpensive polyester to the more expensive Primaloft. Both Down and wool are effective natural insulations, however down is less effective if it becomes damp.

#3 Next is a membrane insert used to keep the hands dry.  This is what makes the gloves waterproof and breathable. Essentially this is much like the cheap plastic gloves used at the bulk section of the grocery store. In more expense gloves and mitts this is a branded product like GORE-TEX or generic AQUA-BLOC. Made of a microporous material designed to be waterproof and breathable. On less expensive models this could be no more than a plastic bag, which offers excellent waterproofness but no breathability. This most often results in a cold and damp hand.

#4 Next is the outer material, here better materials such as goat skin, pig skin offers a supple feel and great durability.  Nylons with a heavier denier offers stronger seams and a better fit. One easy rule of thumb is that the more seams the better the fit and hence the more expensive.

The difference between short cuffs and gauntlet cuffs is more of a personal choice. Obviously the long cuff offering more snow protection but with a more restrictive fit.

From a totally bias point of view!  Winter activity is more fun when you are warm and dry. The design, materials and construction of better quality gloves and mitts all play vital roles insuring that your hand stay warm and dry.

1 comment

  • Brenda McGuire: January 07, 2015

    Thanks Dean for such a comprehensive breakdown, very informative. B. McGuire

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