Trying to finish a job or accomplish basic tasks when the temperature drops is a whole new challenge. Reduced efficiency in the fingers, poorer mobility in your joints, and the fact that every mistake is 250 times more painful in the cold all mean that getting a set of gloves that can give you protection, warmth, and still provide you with enough dexterity to grip a troublesome nailhead or bolt is imperative. Whether doing light construction, scraping off the frosted windows, turning a wrench on your old beater, or taking down the holiday lights you left up for three months too long, you need work gloves that can get the job done.
Choosing your winter work gloves is all about finding a happy medium. They need to be thin enough that you can get a tactile feel for what is under your fingertips, but not so thin they let all the heat seep away, reducing your paws to icy sausages with no sensation. They need to have specialized grips for grapping metal that is below freezing without slipping, and provide a level of compression that will help keep circulation going out to your digits. Strong enough for the tough jobs, but soft enough that they won’t abrade dry, weathered skin, here’s how to keep your hands in the game and on task.
Our Suggestion For Winter Work Gloves
Though anything on here will give you a solid season worth of work, the ideal set of work gloves for cold weather isn’t a single glove at all, but a combination of a soft liner glove that feels good on your hand, and a thicker shell glove – usually leather, deerskin, or something equally durable. This combination is warmth layering for your hands and gives you both a soft interior and a rugged exterior. Then you can mix and match bargain gloves until you find the combination that works for your hands.
Otherwise, there’s always…
Mechanix managed to make simple work gloves an artform, and thus have multiple appearances on this list. As one of their most basic winter option, those on a serious budget who still long for rubber grips, a soft feel, and easy on/off action should begin their Mechanix love affair here.
An oldie but a goodie, the 1927KW is a timeless classic for a reason. Often emulated, the warmth, flex, longevity, and easy fit make these a must grab. That’s pigskin, not standard leather, meaning more water fighting power, and it’s backed by the same thermal lining favored by snowboarders for holding warmth while providing range of motion. Don’t let the price put you off: they’re incredible, and usually all you need.
Kincos are the platinum standard when it comes to winter work gloves. Basic, grained pigskin with warmth backing seems like a simple enough recipe, but these do it so well that it reinvents the glove. Built strong enough to last, yet cheap enough to discard, everyone should have these, just in case.
Ironclad is a hit or miss brand, so while we can’t vouch for everything in their lineup, we can say with great authority that their Ranchworx are worthy of mention. Much of the leather is rough bullwhip, making it harder than boot camp and backed up by exo-guard construction that adds safety without inhibiting finger motion. Kevlar reinforcement should tell you all you need to know about survivability, and the terry cloth wipe on the back of the thumb should sing a song of smart design.
Carhartt might have the market cornered when it comes to overalls and work coats, but they’re only part of the glove game. You won’t go wrong with any of their work glove options, but we like the choice of switching from fingerless to mitten mode that the Flip It provides. These go from gripping and ripping to just plain gripping and holding with ease, then bring the warmth when it counts.
Since leather is nearly impossible to water and weatherproof, Gempler went with pigskin instead, which also adds in flex where it counts for less stiffness and more movement before you even break them in. Three layers of waterproofing and weather-resistance might not allow you to feel every texture, but will keep hard-working hands warm and mostly dexterous while you while away the hours.
Not every job requires tough leather, pigskin, and miles of insulation. The modest GliderGloves make a decent liner for a larger piece, and are at the top of the heap when it comes to operating a touchscreen. They aren’t going to survive much abuse by themselves, but their intense degree of facility when used alone, their capacity to seamlessly work high-tech gadgets without exposing your skin, and their overall low-profile fit and feel make these ideal for ordinary wear, small tasks, or wearing as a liner to a beefier mitten.
Woodworkers who have shops or garages will find these most to their liking. Comfortable for long wear despite the itchy appearance, and giving your fingers the freedom they need without allowing drafts to drift in, framers and anyone who needs their fingerprints out and proud while they toil will be hard-pressed to find complaint here.
When Mechanix says “Original” it’s like when Buck knives says it; it doesn’t mean old, it means tried, tested, and true. Fleece all around with seamless palms, these are a warm, soft upgrade from the Fleece Utility choice that will go far more than three times longer than their marginally cheaper cousins.
60-gram thinsulate begins the story of these working champions from Wells Lamont, as fleece lining provides comfort. Built with dexterity at the forefront, these won’t give you supreme heat should you be going into sub-zero temperatures with wind chills, but will stand up to your average cold and wet without wearing down or slipping up.
A dandy set of hand-holders that look good anywhere, the Flurry Gloves bear a simple loop for being hung on a belt, along with lots of moisture wicking properties and the ability to dry fast. Minor texture spots provide enough grip for a basic hammer swing or wrench turn, though these won’t be up to building that winter deck you’ve been dreaming about. Excellent for camp chores and nippy days when anything more would be too much. Purchase: $39
Waterproof and built with a full-blown knuckle guard, cold weather is just the start of what the Polar Pro wants to save you from. Made for those who are out in the extreme conditions with tool in hand should have a set of these on. They are just as deft as most Mechanix gloves, but for the warmth and safety they provide, they’re given all the pliability you could hope for.
Ugly as sin for super high visibility, the HexArmor GGT5 Series 4021X High Vis Work Gloves do it all. Impact fighting plates, cut resistance on the palm, thinsulate lining, wicked waterproofing, and lots of clever finesse make these a go-to choice for those who don’t mind the price.