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Gloves or Mittens - How do you keep your hands warm in winter?

Updated on November 28, 2013

Do you prefer mittens or gloves?

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If it's not cold where you are now, it's likely to be soon (unless you're in one of those yummy year-round warm climates). It's sometimes a challenge to keep warm when it's cold outside. Jacket - check. Hat or ear warmers - check. Scarf - check. However, it's an age-old question. Gloves or mittens to keep your hands warm? Check out the history and the facts and cast your vote here for your preference.


About Gloves

The word "glove" comes from the Old English word "glof," which means clothing that covers the hand. Gloves have been around in one purpose or another since 440 BC. They are known to cover the thumb and each finger individually on each hand. Gloves became a fashion statement in the 13th century and that still exists today.

Gloves used to keep the hands warm are made from many different types of fibers. Since each finger is separated from the others, they are not terribly warm, even when insulated. The advantage of using gloves, however, is that while still looking stylish, one has use of the hands for all except the most minute tasks. There are even special gloves that can be used while texting.


About Mittens

Mittens have been around since about 1000 AD, as evidenced from archeological finds in Latvia. Mittens have a separate thumb but the fingers are together in one pouch. This allows for more warmth to spread between fingers since they are in close contact. Mittens are easier to put on since you only need to worry about where the thumb goes. Since the fingers are in closer contact than in gloves, prolonged wearing can lead to finger sweating. It is almost impossible to hold onto anything while wearing mittens, as the ability to grasp things is severely diminished.

Children are more often seen wearing mittens because of the ease of putting on and taking off. Did you ever have a pair of mittens attached together by a string that your mom fed through one arm of your coat, across the back and down the other sleeve? These are known as "idiot mittens" (I never knew that) because it's harder to lose them that way. I think they're a fabulous idea and I know many adults would benefit from this, as well. Ha, ha!

Fingerless Gloves & Glove/Mitten Combos

Fingerless gloves have the same covering for the hand but the thumb and fingers are not totally enclosed with fabric. This allows even more dexterity of movement. I have seen band members wearing these type gloves.

There is also a combination mitten and glove. Rather bulky but inherently useful, these are fingerless gloves with a mitten flap that can be pulled over the fingers for mitten use or fastened to the top of the glove when more of a glove is needed.

Whatever your preference (don't forget to vote!), keeping the hands covered is important in frigid temperatures. Frostbite is not fun.


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