GLOVE LINER BUYING GUIDE
Planning your next ski trip, long distance run or outdoor adventure? This buying guide aims to make clear why glove liners should be added to the top of your list of must-have outdoor essentials as well as what to look for when buying your next pair of liner gloves online.
WHY BUY GLOVE LINERS
Surprisingly, glove liners are often overlooked when considering the best way to keep hands warm for snowboarding, skiing and other winter sports.
Like the layer-on-layer principle used when combining an outer jacket with a warming inner baselayer, an outer glove combined with the right thermal protecting inner glove can be the perfect solution for extreme cold weather conditions and keeping you fingers nice and toasty.
Alternatively, glove liners are a great wear alone alternative for those instances when outdoor temperatures are too warm for gloves but too cold to expose an unprotected hand to the elements.
GLOVE LINER BENEFITS
The main benefits of using and having glove liners readily to hands, to excuse the pun, are:
- offer an extra layer of protection for your hands - this is especially needed if you are off-piste with a high risk of your hands coming into contact with branches and other hard surfaces in cold weather,
- absorb or wix sweat from the surface of your skin helping to keep your hands dry,
- improve thermal layering and warm hands in cold temperatures,
- can be worn by themselves when weather conditions are milder,
- provide a good alternative from outer gloves when increased hand dexterity or good grip is needed in cold weather. With heavy or abrasive use, there is a risk of quickly wearing out glove liners if worn without outer gloves,
- are lightweight and offer a short term backup if ever you should lose an outer glove, and
- can be worn with most brands of outer gloves. In some cases, glove liners may even cushion and improve the comfort of harder outer gloves - see glove liner fitting below.
GLOVE LINER FITTING
"Snug" rather than "tight" is the best fit for a glove liner.
Avoid wearing a glove liner you have to tightly stretch to fit over your hand. Instead, a glove liner should be easy to put on and take off using only your index finger and thumb.
If the material of a glove liner stretches tightly across your palm or the back of your hand then go up a size.
However, unlike outer gloves where extra wiggle room may be a reason to buy a bigger size from the get go, always start by buying a glove liner size that matches your actual hand size measurement, i.e. is true to size. This is especially true for Norrgear glove liner sizes as confirmed by customer feedback.
If the material of a glove liner is loose fitting across the back of your hand and there are clumps or excess material where your fingers meet your hands, then go down a size for a better fitting glove liner.
A snug fitting glove liner will be in contact with all of the skin on your hand without being too loose or tight. This is the best way to achieve warm hands and ensure perspiration is best absorbed or wixed away from the surface of your skin.
GLOVE LINER MATERIALS
Not all glove liner materials are equal!
Few things are more annoying and hinder the enjoyment of a great day outdoors than a glove liner continually gliding down, loosely flapping around or unceremoniously falling off your hand when wet.
To avoid the above and spending ever other minute re-adjusting a glove liner to stay on your hand, materials and cuff design are of paramount importance when deciding which glove liners to spend your hard earned money on.
While a 100% merino wool glove liners may at first seem the best choice due to their good heat retention qualities when wet, it's important to remember the flipside of this will be heavier weight, a less than perfect fit and even some itchiness that most people would prefer to avoid.
The best materials for a glove liner consequently will be a good mix of natural and synthetics. While some synthetic materials have excellent thermal retention qualities even when wet, they should also be included in a glove liner to improve the stretchiness or elasticity of the material and maintain a snug fit.
What you are looking for is "four-way" stretch, which is a manufacturer's assurance that a glove liner fabric has sufficient mix of synthetics to ensure that if you pull the fabric lengthwise or crosswise (think points on a compass), the glove liner fabric will flex but return to its original shape once you release the fabric.
Unlike a pure wool garment which will loose much of its close fitting shape when saturated with water, adding some synthetics will ensure this is avoided and the glove liners instead retains their fit and shape even in wet conditions.All NORRGEAR glove liners come with a 4-way stretch.
This is one of the guiding principles behind NORRGEAR's selection of glove liner materials. Based on testing in Northern Norway, we have found a ~10% synthetics and ~90% natural combination to be the optimal mix for the design of well insulating gloves liners even in the coldest and wettest weather.
GLOVE LINER CUFFS
Cuff design is frequently ignored in most glove liners largely due to retailers wishing to avoid extra sewing costs. As anyone who has worn a pair of glove liners can confirm however, good cuff design is crucial.
The length and style of a glove liner cuff will be the main factors, which determine how successfully you can keep snow out, stop water running down your arm, keep your glove liner from sliding off your hand and maintain maximum comfort in the cold and wet.
Main glove liner cuff designs are:
- short glove liner with no cuff. A minimalist design and popular choice for all winter sports as they can be worn under most outer winter ski glove or mitten
- short glove liner with cuffs are designed for easy putting on and taking off. The cuff help to ensure a constant snug fit as well as stopping heat loss and keeping snow out
- knit wrist long cuffs for ultimate warmth in the coldest conditions and guaranteed stay-in-place fit no matter how strenuous your activity level
- long cuffs are ideal for wearing under your jacket sleeve.The extra length offers excellent extra warmth around the forearm and wrist in cold temperature or deep snow on the slopes and will fit snugly under most leather or ski patrol gloves
Summarised, depending on your specific requirements there are several glove liner options available. Ultimately, carefully consider the weather conditions you are most likely to encounter. If the weather will be extremely cold, airing towards a long cuff glove liner design may be the best choice. If weather will be on the warmer side or inclement, then a short cuff will likely best suit to your needs.