Winter is coming fast. Don’t let the cold take you by surprise! When looking for winter work gloves, it may be difficult to know where to start. It may seem impossible to find good work gloves that can keep your hands warm, and offer sufficient dexterity. Generally, the warmer the glove, the bulkier it is, impeding on dexterity. Therefore, it is essential to decide if you wish to prioritize cold protection or dexterity preservation. According to the heat and dexterity level you need, the style, lining and glove type are all key elements to guide your choice.
There is a large diversity of insulating materials used for lined work gloves. Insulation works in two ways; first by trapping the air, and second by reflecting the body’s radiant heat. If you want to keep your hands warm, you need an insulating material with a lot of fibers, but if you want to keep great dexterity, the insulation must have fewer fibers, which means that more air will make its way to your hands.
Picking the best insulation for winter gloves is all about balance. You do not want gloves so thick, they prevent your hand from moving. At the same time, you do not want a glove so thin, your hands are cold. When looking for the best thermal insulation, you need an option that traps air and wicks away moisture.
Understanding the different types of insulation and linings can help you determine the best winter gloves for your needs.
Types of linings according to the heat index:3M™ Thinsulate™
Thinsulate™ is a trademark of 3M™. This fabric is breathable, moisture resistant, machine washable and dry cleanable. Thinsulate™ fibers are very fine, and consequently are more efficient at trapping air. As the fibers are so fine, it is easy to use a great quantity to block much more body heat loss without seriously compromising dexterity. Thinsulate™ is measured in grams per square meter of insulation. The lower the temperature, the higher the insulation in grams is necessary. However, the higher the gram count, the lesser the flexibility.Thinsulate™ uses the C index to represent the heat level.
C150: For extreme cold conditions
C100: Ideal for warm to very cold weather, it is the most popular level of insulation for winter work gloves. There is a large variety of safety gloves using this type of insulation, both for general or specialized work.
Here are a few examples of gloves using the C100 Thinsulate:
Backhand protection goatskin gloves
High-performance synthetic gloves
Construction site gloves, BDG-performance, arc-flash protection, high visibility
C40: for warm weather only
Polar is a soft insulating fabric made of polyester. This is a soft fleece synthetic material with thermal insulation properties. Polar (also called micropolar) is much lighter than wool, but shares certain common characteristics; soft, lightweight, hot and comfortable. It is water resistant and retains thermal insulation even when wet. The fabric is also breathable. However, it is quite flammable if not treated with a fire retardant. Also, it is not windproof, produces static electricity, gathers lint and is pilling easily.Wool, felt and velvet
Wool fibers form tiny air pockets that retain heat. Wool can be saturated up to 60% of its own weight before being wet even though it is not waterproof. Wet wool effectively conducts cold. If the glove is not waterproof and you are working in wet conditions, wool offers a better insulation than polar, at least at the beginning, as it contains lanolin which is a natural water-repellent. However, once drenched, wool takes a lot of time to dry. In comparison, velvet is warmer than wool, but is significantly thicker, therefore affecting dexterity.Foam
Foam insulation is somewhere between velvet and cotton fleece in terms of heat/density ratio. When comparing similar densities, foam is warmer than cotton fleece and least affects dexterity than velvet. This type of insulation is cost-effective for general-use lined work gloves, such as this cowhide glove with foam and fleece lining.Cotton fleece, fleece and flannel
Cotton is the basic option for winter gloves. This material is made of loosely interwoven fibers trapping the air between them. Cotton is breathable, lightweight and comfortable, but absorbs up to 27 times its weight in water, which can result in serious consequences in cold temperatures.
In addition to considering lining options, other factors must also be taken into account when choosing a winter glove. For example, some linings are warm without being waterproof or windproof. However, gloves with this type of linings are covered with a water-repellent material to provide the best hand protection.Bob Dale Gloves
Bob Dale Gloves (BDG) is a solution-focused manufacturer and supplier of high-quality hand protection products to the North American and Central American markets. With over 35 years of experience, we work with our customers to provide solutions for their specific needs by manufacturing and supplying gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) in Canada, the USA and international markets.
Founded in 1981, Bob Dale Gloves has remained family owned. Three generations later, the company’s objective is still the same: To be the sought-after glove and hand protection solutions provider in North America. Brands of Bob Dale Gloves include BDG®, Gander Brand®, Ninja®, Grippaz®, CarbonX®, ARC TEK, and Willow.