Snowboard Gloves – How to choose the best one !

Andy Bowen

by Andy Bowen

July 24, 2019

Buying Guide for Snowboard Gloves


Buying snowboard gloves may seem like the easiest thing in the world, you go to a store, ask for a pair, and voila, you got a pair of snowboarding gloves. Strictly technically speaking, that’s all there is, but you need to choose from the given selection. And if you find yourself into a well-supplied winter equipment store, you will find the selection overwhelming.

Snowboard gloves are one of the most important accessories, but not all are made the same. Only the best ones can keep you dry and warm as expected, and have the necessary features to keep you like that all day long. That is why we’ve made this guide, so you know how to choose the best ones and with the best features and materials.

Gloves vs. Mittens

This is the first dilemma – the warmth of mittens or the dexterity that can be achieved only by wearing gloves. Here we look at the pros and cons of gloves, mittens, 3-in-1 hybrid gloves, and the popular lobsters.

Gloves

Pros

  • One word – dexterity. Almost all professional snowboarders wear gloves as opposed to wearing mittens that limit their mobility.
  • They will keep your hands dry and insulated from all outside elements (snow, rain, wind) no matter what.
  • Wearing gloves means that you can easily grab your phone and if needed use it. However, not all gloves come with a touch resistant feature that allows the usage of smartphones.
  • While wearing gloves, the goggle straps can be easily adjusted while on the slopes.

Cons

  • They can never keep you as warm as mittens can.

Mittens

Pros

  • They will keep your hands warm all day long.
  • Not everyone finds them as limiting as people like to think of them. For example, Bode Miller who is a legendary skier, and an Olympic medal winner, regularly wore mittens on the slopes.

Cons

  • The fact that the fingers get to share one compartment limits mobility in some situations.

Lobster Mittens

Pros:

  • Their 3 finger compartment offer much better dexterity than the 4 finger compartment mittens
  • Can keep you warm over long periods of time

Cons:

  • No professional snowboarder would settle for lobster mittens as they don’t offer the same level of flexibility as gloves.

3-in-1

Pros:

  • They offer the best of both worlds (gloves and mittens)
  • The best ones are made of breathable materials
  • Suitable for various maneuvers

Cons:

  • Their price tag is formidable

Shell Material

Synthetics

Most snowboard gloves feature a body made of synthetic fabric. Typically that’s nylon. The best ones are made of breathable, waterproof fabric that has a membrane of Teflon or Polyurethane. Gloves utilize breathable and waterproof fabrics that come with either softshell or a hard version. Most of them are combined with either synthetic protective materials or leather. However, that’s only limited to the most abrasive areas like the fingers and the palms.

Leather

Leather is the perfect material for both gloves. Goatskin and cowhide are the most used types of leather. Each of them is more pliable and durable than any nylon material. Plus each of them is naturally water-resistant. A combination of microporous membrane and a treated leather makes the gloves windproof, warm, and waterproof. If maintained properly leather, snowboarding gloves can last for many years.

Insulation

Proper insulation is also a feature that matters a lot when choosing a proper snowboard glove. The best-isolated ones offer excellent breathability and warmth without affecting fit or restricting movement. Also, keep in mind that thicker doesn’t mean warmer. Here we will present the most commonly used insulations used in best snowboarding gloves.

Thinsulate

This insulation consists of very thin microfibers that provide top insulation and are not too bulky. As a result, it is widely used for gloves where dexterity is a top priority.

Down

This is one of the nature’s finest insulator which is most suitable for areas with very cold and dry conditions. Down is made of feathers and down plumules. Thanks to that combination it can effectively trap air which can maintain the hands insulated. There aren’t many other materials that can match its insulating qualities, but once water penetrates it, it’s very slow to dry.

Primaloft

Thanks to its microfiber synthetic insulation this material is the perfect insulant for wet conditions. It doesn’t hold warm as same as down, but it is much more water resistant, its compressible, and it’s very breathable.

R-Loft

R-loft is an attempt to mimic the features of down. R-loft insulation keeps the warm inside and is very soft while being water-resistant and very breathable. The lofty synthetics can keep you warm even in heavy rains or when it is snowing.

Membrane

Out on the slopes, hands can get cold very quickly. Most times the reason for that is your own perspiration and that your gloves lack breathability. The membrane is what addresses this issue and makes sure that doesn’t happen. In gloves, the membrane is between the insulation and outer shell. It has tiny microscopic pores that don’t allow for water to enter, but at the same time are large enough so that sweat can escape.

The quality of the membrane is what determines how breathable and waterproof a glove is. Thanks to technology, there are plenty of waterproof materials that make for great membranes. Here are what many consider the best ones on the market:

Gore-Tex

This type of membranes is placed between the insulation and the outer shell. Typically, they provide the highest level of breathability and waterproof for snowboard gloves.

 

Hipora

This type of membrane is made of polyurethane coating which very stretchable and also breathable, windproof, and waterproof. Thanks to its microscopic pores, moisture can easily evaporate, while the liquid can’t penetrate.

Windstopper

The material is coated with ePTFE coating and is not waterproof, just breathable and waterproof. Thanks to those features, the snowboard gloves are less bulkier with fewer layers. That makes it more suitable for places with dry and cold climate. Like most similar products, gloves made from Windstopper are coated with a durable water repellent. But even so, the gloves have limited water resistance. Heavy rain will surely penetrate, but a light drizzle won’t.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane (PU) is the widest spread membranes on the market. This type of coating offers a great combination of cost and waterproof breathability.

Size and Fit

Shell material, membrane, insulation, all that matter. However, what also matters a lot is that the gloves fit you properly. By buying properly sized gloves you ensure better comfort, warmth, and dexterity. For maximum performance, well fitting gloves should have a bit of space at the end of the outstretched fingers, and fit snuggly. The palm should be fully inside the cuff so that the wrist is well covered. When making a fist, it shouldn’t fit too tight and constrict your fingers.

Each manufacturer has its own letter sizing system and uses different numeric. Typically, they measure the circumference that’s around the hand’s widest part. Sometimes they present that in centimeters, other times in inches. Therefore, check their sizing chart before making a purchase or simply when checking out what would fit you most. But in any case, don’t buy without trying the gloves first. That’s the only way to make sure they fit your hand properly as they should.

Additional Features

Here are several more glove features for added convenience and comfort:

Touch-Screen Compatibility

Up there on the slopes, taking a quick selfie or simply answering a phone call on your smartphone can be done only if you remove your gloves or have touch-screen gloves. If it’s snowing and it’s cold, and often is on the slopes, you might not want to remove the gloves and risk getting your hands cold and wet. Touch-screen gloves have been around for some time, but rarely someone knows what makes them work or what materials are used. Very often, many sellers promote their gloves like touch-screen compatible, while they are not. Here are a few things to know about touch screen gloves that can help you distinguish the right ones from the scammers.

Many don’t realize that the human body is capable of storing an energy charge, which in fact means that it is sort of a “capacitor”. Most modern electronics have a capacity touchscreen that reacts to anything that has some capacity. As explained above, the human body can do that therefore when one touches a touchscreen it forms an electrical circuit. That signals the phone which app to open or what text to write.

Wearing regular gloves means that you have isolated your body from the touchscreen and no electrical circuit can be formed. On the other hand, touch-screen compatible gloves feature a metal wire that forms the needed electrical circuit. Thanks to that, snowboarders and skiers can use their smartphones and tablets without removing their gloves.

Heating

Same as the touch-screen compatible gloves, these are specially designed for this purpose. They have embedded a heating element supported by a small battery that can provide additional heat when needed. All heating gloves can be recharged many times over with the help of a USB port.

The biggest downside of buying gloves with embedded heating is the cost. Other than that they are pretty convenient and will keep you warm in all sorts of conditions. If you spend long stretches of time far from your base, then they might be your best investment in snowboarding equipment.

Leather palms

Many snowboarders’ gloves have leather palms as reinforcement for the area we use the most. Gloves with leather palms will greatly outlast the ones without. However, not all gloves with leather palms are made the same and can last evenly long.

Nowadays, most gloves with leather palms are made of three types of leather: deerskin, goatskin, and cowhide. The overall quality of the leather palms is not limited only to the type of the skin but on their treatment, their thickness and the tanning process.

  • Cowhide leather palms are the toughest by a long stretch. They are also known for their dexterity and their softness. The thing to watch out when looking to buy cowhide leather palms is their thickness and quality which can vary.
  • Deerskin is the most dexterous and softest of all leathers. At the same time, thanks to its thinness it loses much of its toughness.
  • Goatskin is not as tough as cowhide, but way tougher than deerskin. In terms of softness is somewhere in between as well. But, many people love them just for that and love that balance. Goatskin leather palms are quite popular.

Long gauntlet cuffs

The idea with the long gauntlet cuffs is to provide extra protection for your hands. They are very practical when you are headed toward remote slopes where the weather can be quite unpredictable and it often snows.

Wrist cinches

Wrist cinches can serve to distinguish purposes; to keep your wrist tight and to make sure that you don’t lose your gloves. Just imagine, there you are on the chairlift and one of your gloves falls down – it sucks and it will ruin your day. Snowboarding with just one glove doesn’t feel the same and it will bug you until you buy a new pair because no one sells them one at a time. One lost glove is the same as losing them both.

Zippered pockets

For when you need a bit extra space to carry some stuff with you on the slopes. In most cases, zippered pockets on the back of the glove are there to keep a hand warmer packer for single usage. That can be very practical, especially if you are the type that is born with cold hands.

Thumb wipes

These are pads that are made from soft material placed on the thumbs. Their goal is to help you wipe a running nose or even your goggles. They are cheap and quite practical. Don’t hit the slopes without it.

Cuff Style

Which cuff style suits you most is a personal preference. In any case, the main idea is to keep snow from getting into the jacket and on your hands. Then there is the style of the jacket that should be also taken into consideration. Certain jackets are designed to be worn under the cuffs while others to go over.

Under The Cuff

This type of cuffs offers much better hand mobility as they don’t go over the wrist. Jackets featuring velcro adjustment tabs are best suited to this type of gloves.

Over The Cuff

This type of cuffs goes past the sleeve of the jacket. They offer much better snow protection on account of mobility.

Tips

So now you know everything that it needs to be known about gloves, the materials they are made of, and their main features. Next is to learn how to get a great deal of a pair of new snowboarding gloves. Here are a few tips on how to buy great gloves for the lowest possible rate.

Timing is everything

Don’t wait for the winter to come so you can purchase a new pair of gloves. Instead, look for deals before or after the season ends. According to some experienced buyers, the ideal time for buying gloves and other accessories is soon after the season ends. That’s when sellers will try to get rid of their current stock and replace it with a new one. During that period they will give all the possible discounts to get rid of everything they haven’t sold in the season that passed. There is no reason not to take advantage of that. Plus, not many people will be able to tell if you were wearing last year’s gloves or the newest ones. What matters the most is to get ones with the best features and materials.

Don’t buy from ski resorts

Ski resorts offer the highest possible prices and rarely when you can get a good deal there. This is important as not to buy during the season unless you have no choice, or money is no matter of concern for you.

Scout for online deals

We live in an age of the internet and in which online commerce is superior to brick and mortar shops. But very often even the brick and mortar shops have their own e-commerce websites and offer their discounts online as well. Thus no need to drive from one to another side of the town in order to find the best price for your favorite snowboarding gloves.

The best place to start scouting for great deals and discounts on snowboarding gloves and other winter accessories is everyone’s favorite search engines – Google.  There are plenty of websites that offer great snowboarding gear and accessories for top rates. You can bookmark them for easier following, follow their social media pages, signup for their newsletter, or whatever method works for you best. Just find a way to keep in touch with their offers and discounts.

Grouper discounts

Grouper is a massive market for all sorts of discounts – snowboarding equipment, accessories, and clothes can also be purchased through this discount aggregator. Again, the trick here is to keep them in the loop and check their offers frequently. They too have their own newsletter that can be customized so you receive discounts on only what interests you.

Don’t ignore Black Friday

Sometimes good things happen to those that wait. End of November might look like a long time to wait, but it can be worthy if you are fast and tenacious. Black Friday is a great opportunity to snatch a great pair of heavily discounted snowboarding gloves.

The Chinese version of Black Friday (Single’s Day)

Believe it or not, the Chinese version of Black Friday – Single’s day is way bigger than the genuine Black Friday, both in sales and in terms of the offering. Don’t be surprised to find many international brands on the Chinese e-commerce website like Aliexpress and JD. Their single’s day discounts are massive and they are well-stocked for that day.

…Few words to the wise

Reputation is everything in this business. The old brands are always at the top. However, even they can sometimes launch a mediocre or even a poor product. That is why you need to rely more on user reviews than on old glory. Nowadays, people like to speak their say on everything – snowboarding gloves and other winter sports products included. Trust the wisdom of the crowd and always read reviews before making a decision.

Another important thing to keep in mind is the return policy. If you buy online make sure that the e-commerce website from where you make your purchase have a return policy in place. That way if you don’t like what you buy, you can return the product to the seller. There can be many reasons for that; wrong size, wrong model, you don’t like the finish, the gloves are different color, and so on. Things like that happen and there is no way to tell if that can happen to you. Plus, a good return policy speaks a lot about the e-commerce website and how they value their buyers.

In Conclusion

Snowboarding is an expensive sport and that is that! A good chunk of the people that are into snowboarding is quite wealthy so that they don’t have to worry about getting the most for their money. Then there is the other half, the half to which you belong. If you are already reading this, then you probably care about getting a great deal, whether it is on just gloves or some other accessory.

The knowledge here will allow you to identify the best product, the snowboarding gloves made of the best materials that have the best features for your money. That doesn’t necessarily mean buying the most expensive ones, or the ones with the famous logo imprinted one. It means distinguishing between what’s good and what’s overrated, what provides great value and what not so much. Armed with that there is no way you can go wrong when choosing your next snowboarding gloves.

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