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When we think “winter gloves,” Kombi typically comes to mind as it’s a Canadian company, founded in Montreal, Que., in 1961. Kombi was founded by Danny Gold, a ski racer for McGill University. Gold designed his skiing gloves to provide knuckle protection. Since then, the company has been innovating to protect our mitts with gloves.
Last winter was cold; the type of frigid air we remember from decades ago. It’s nice to see that Canada can still stop us in our tracks in the most literal and snowy way. To understand how we can keep our wee digits nice and toasty for whatever the winter has in store for us, we reached out to Mark Pascal, president and CEO of Kombi.
How to choose the best winter gloves?
As presumed, it’s not one-size-fits-all. According to Pascal, you need to consider more obvious factors like weather conditions and the activity you’ll be doing, but also individual blood circulation. Within the Kombi world, mitts come with a warmth factor from one to four, with four being the warmest.
Other brands have their own way of ranking warmth:
- The North Face uses a warmth and water rating, with three being the warmest and most waterproof.
- Outdoor Research uses three labels: warm, warmer and warmest.
- Helly Hansen uses six variables to rate its gloves: windproof, waterproof, insulation, breathability, weight and durability, with each variable ranking one to six.
- Burton guarantees that its gloves will keep your hands dry and labels certain styles safe for “Arctic” conditions.
What material is the warmest?
Though down is a warm option, if your hands are sweaty, you may want to go with a synthetic option. Pascal recommends pairing warm synthetic materials, like Primaloft, with waterproof and breathable membranes like GORE-TEX.
If you’re going with a waterproof membrane, you’re preventing water infiltration and sweat-wicking properties. Waterproof membranes are best for people who don’t sweat a lot or for low-intensity activities, like walking.
How do I make sure my gloves fit perfectly?
We take the phrase “fits like a glove” for granted, but it’s no easy task. According to Pascal, “finding the right size makes all the difference. If your gloves are too tight, they will restrict airflow and your hands will get cold.”
Pascal says you want to give your hands some wiggle room within your gloves to help with proper blood circulation. There should be a one-centimetre gap “at the tip of the fingers and on the side of the hand. The insulation should not be compressed when wearing gloves or mitts.”
Should I wear multiple pairs of gloves?
“Gloves conserve heat but don’t produce it,” said Pascal. “If you’re layering liners, you should consider the weight and composition of the fabric. The rule of thumb: the heavier the fabric, the warmer it will be.”
Pascal recommends “to pair a liner with an insulated glove/mitt. This will allow you to have the best of both worlds and adjust to your environment. Depending on weather conditions, wear only the liner or insulated glove, or both for extra warmth.” He added to “choose an insulated style combined with a breathable and water-resistant membrane for optimal performance.”
Do I need heated gloves?
Gloves conserve heat but don’t produce it — unless they’re heated gloves. Heated gloves can provide up to eight hours of warmth on those freezing-cold days. “They’re great for those with poor blood circulation problems and extra cold days on the hill. Alternatively, you can add hand warmers in your gloves or mitts for a little extra warmth,” recommended Pascal.
Are gloves or mittens warmer?
A highly debated lifelong question, and it turns out that mitts are warmer! “Mitts have less surface area and fewer seams meaning less heat loss,” said Pascal, while gloves tend to offer more dexterity.”
How should I wash my gloves?
Pascal recommends reading the washing instructions for each set of gloves. However, “a rule of thumb in caring for your gloves is to always let them dry before putting them away, and clean in between washes with a dry cloth to remove marks or residue from outdoor activities.”
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