Winter Mittens Vs. Gloves - Which Ones Are Best for Skiing & Snowboarding?
Skiing and snowboarding are both very fun sports, but you need to take some precaution in order to enjoy it. Not only can these be very dangerous sports, but it's also a winter activity which adds in the extra element of the dreaded cold. For this reason, these are gear-intensive sports which you can't afford to skimp out on. It's of extreme importance that you find the best ski glove or mitten to protect you from cold and injury.
Gloves vs Mittens: What's the Difference?
When it comes to what is best, one style isn't necessarily better than the other. It all comes down to your preferences and what you need out of glove or mitten. Let's take a look at the pros and cons that distinguish winter mittens and gloves.
The main reason to opt for gloves over mittens is that they have better dexterity. Gloves allow you to use five fingers instead of just two or three, which makes it easier to control grab your ski poles, adjust your goggles, or do anything else you need to do on the mountain. Plus, gloves often have textured fingers that give you better control over the glove tips for delicate tasks, like opening a zipper or entering text on your phone. Mittens, on the other hand, tend to have rounded finger and thumb compartments that aren't great for fine motor control.
The main benefit of winter mittens is that they tend to be warmer than gloves. That is because, with mittens, your fingers are scrunched together, allowing them to share warmth. With gloves, each finger is surrounded by cold air on the other side of the fabric. Plus, heat can circulate much more easily with the large mitt compartment than within the individual finger pockets of gloves.
When to Choose Gloves and When to Choose Mittens?
You can wear either gloves or mittens for skiing, but skiers tend to prefer gloves because they make it easier to grip ski poles. Ski poles usually have moulded handles. which pair perfectly with gloves, but don't really fit the wide compartment of mittens. In contrast, most snowboarders choose mittens over gloves. Snowboarders don't need to grip poles, and most modern snowboard bindings are designed to be easy to tighten or release even with mittens on.
When choosing whether to wear a glove or mitten based on the current day's weather, then mittens make a better choice for very cold conditions while gloves are the choice for warmer conditions. But, when trying to decide between buying just one pair of gloves or mittens, then mittens might be the better option as they tend to have a wider temperature versatility on the cold end.
Features to Look for in Gloves and Mittens
Once you've decided on what is better suited for your needs, it will time to think about the specific features that go into getting a quality pair of gloves or mittens.
For mittens, you'll have to decide if you want a traditional or lobster style. Traditional mittens feature a thumb and a four-finger pouch while lobster style mittens have a thumb, forefinger, and three-finger pouch. Traditional mittens are warmer but lobster style mittens offer the benefit of some dexterity by offering a hybrid design between mittens and gloves.
You'll also have to choose between standard gloves and mittens, or gloves and mittens with removable liners, also known as 3-1style gloves. 3-1 style gloves and mittens are great for skiing and snowboarding through the whole season as you can take out the liner and wear just the shell as the weather warms up into the spring.
There are two types of insulation typically used in gloves and mittens - down and synthetic insulation. Of these, you'll probably want to choose synthetic insulation. Although down is an extremely good insulator, it doesn't retain any heat once it gets wet. It is also more expansive than synthetic insulation and its lightweight isn't all that important in gloves or mittens. Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, will stay warm even if you sweat into it or get snow into it.
It goes without saying that waterproofing is a must in both gloves and mittens. Sooner or later, you are going to get snow on your fingers and when that happens, your fingers should stay dry. Otherwise, any moisture that gets inside your insulation can quickly freeze as you sit on the chairlift between runs.
As you sweat, that moisture needs to be able to escape through insulation. That explains why many gloves and mittens use Gore-Tex or another waterproof breathable membrane. Keep in mind that some membranes are more or less breathable than others, and some break down with use faster than others.
In order to be able to use a smartphone with a touchscreen, you'll need to opt for a pair of gloves with touchscreen-compatible fingertips. This will prevent you from having to pull your hand out of your glove every time you want to access your phone - which can quickly lead to losing all the heat you've built up inside your glove, and soon after, frigid fingers. With mittens, touchscreen compatibility isn't important as you probably won't have the dexterity to type or enter patterns on your phone screen anyway.