Safeguard your hands during your runs. Wear only the best running gloves to keep your hands warm and dry during the colder, winter months.
When the weather turns chilly, it can be harder to make yourself want to get out and run. Finding the right gear can make a world of difference to your motivation level. To keep your hands toasty warm, you’ll need to find the best running gloves to add to your wardrobe.
Do I Really Need Gloves?
Aside from the comfort factor, you don’t want to get frostbite when you’re chasing your runner’s high. While on warmer winter days, you might be able to get a short run in without risking a doctor’s visit, things can get bad quickly.
Winter isn’t known for its even, predictable temperatures -- it can seem perfectly warm out when you’re on your desolate 10-mile county road run. But just a half an hour later, a fierce winter storm can blow in.
The best way to safeguard yourself is to be prepared for the worst winter has to offer every time you go out for a run. Gloves are a key part of that preparation.
Quick Look: Our Top Picks
What Should I Look For in Running Gloves?
Running in cold weather is often feared by runners -- both the ones who are new to the sport and those who have been doing it for years. But winter running doesn’t have to be dreaded quite so fiercely when you have the right gloves on your hands.
When you go shopping for running gloves, you need to know what you’re doing. If you pick the wrong ones, you’ll end up with sweaty hands and you’ll have to take your gloves off just to swipe your phone.
Here are some of the crucial elements to look for when buying running gloves.
Material: What your running gloves are made out of is one of the most important factors. Common materials for running gloves are wool, acrylic, fleece, polypropylene, and polyester.
Thickness: With running gloves, you’ll want most of the thickness of the glove on the outside of the hands because that will protect the side of your hands that face the most wind. The inside of the hands doesn’t need as much warmth since they won’t be facing the wind. That means the material on the inside of your hands can be thinner so you get more breathability.
What temperature you’ll be running in: When determining how warm or thick you need your gloves to be, look at the temperatures you’ll be running in. If your state routinely sees freezing temperatures, you’ll need warmer gloves than someone who doesn’t get too many days below 40 degrees.
Fit: Running gear is generally fitted -- it looks snug when it’s on a runner. Gloves are no exception to that rule. If your gloves are too loose, your hands will get irritated and you may even get some chafing. If they’re too tight, it can be just as unpleasant -- you won’t be able to tell whether your tingling fingers are from the cold or because your circulation has been cut off from your too-tight gloves.
Functionality: While avoiding frostbite is the ultimate end-goal during your cold runs, you also need your gloves to be functional. If the fingers are too big or bulky, you won’t be able to push the buttons on your running watch and you won’t be able to use your phone if you need it. You can find running gloves that you don’t have to take off when you want to use your phone.
Waterproof gloves: If you’re running in the winter, chances are you’re going to hit some cold rain or snow. When that happens, you’ll want a pair of waterproof gloves. There’s no point in wearing gloves if your hands can’t stay dry and warm.
Do you want extra reflectivity: For those dreary winter runs, every little bit of reflective gear you have can help with visibility. Some running gloves have reflective material on them to help keep you safe from cars when you’re running after work in the winter and it’s already dark out by 5 p.m.
Fingerless gloves: Some runners prefer fingerless gloves when they’re running. You can find them with hoods attached to the gloves so you can flip them over the tops of your fingertips when they start getting cold. The perk to this kind of glove is that you can still operate your phone without removing your whole glove -- you’ll just flip back the hood.
Are they machine washable: Gloves have a dirty job -- they soak up any sweat your hands generate when you’re running. Plus, since our noses tend to run during winter runs, they also serve as an impromptu Kleenex when our noses start to run harder than we are. So good running gloves will be easy to clean because they’ll be needing it often.
- Spring/Summer 2014
- Conductive synthetic leather on...
- Synthetic leather strategically...
- These will wick away the moisture quickly and effectively.
- They are odor resistant, so if you want to get quite a few runs in before washing them, it will be your little secret -- no one will be able to tell.
- You can use these gloves with your touchscreen device -- you can swipe your screen with your index finger and your thumb.
- These gloves are made to last -- they are durable.
- These do well at blocking the wind.
- They are easy to get off and on despite their snug fit.
- They have small areas of reflectivity, which will give you extra visibility when you run in the often dark conditions of winter days.
- You can only get these in two colors -- basic black and screaming yellow.
- They don’t have much resistance to water.
- These won’t be warm enough for subzero temperatures.
2. TrailHeads Women's Power Stretch Running Gloves
- 4-WAY STRETCH POLARTEC POWER...
- TOUCHSCREEN COMPATIBLE- conductive...
- SILICONE PALM GRIPS in a...
- NOTE: Designed for aerobic...
- TRAIL-TESTED GUARANTEE - Your...
- They have a four-way stretch with a tough exterior layer that can stand up to wind.
- The interior layer sucks moisture away like it’s nobody’s business.
- You can use your touchscreen devices by swiping your thumb or your forefinger on them.
- These are fashionable gloves with a swirl pattern on the outside of your wrist.
- The hands of the glove have grippers on them to help you hold things, like your phone or your water bottle, without them slipping right out of your hands.
- The fabric will stretch with your hand so it always feels comfortable, never too restrictive.
- You’ll get great breathability with these gloves so your hands won’t feel overheated.
- Because they don’t have a close-fitting knitted cuff like some gloves do, they are easy to take off and put on.
- When the temperature hits single digits, you’ll want to find another set of gloves -- these won’t be warm enough.
- You only get two color choices.
- They aren’t windproof.
- LIGHTWEIGHT FABRIC BLEND of nylon /...
- TOUCHSCREEN COMPATIBLE- conductive...
- CONTRAST MESH INSETS- Do you...
- 4-WAY STRETCH FABRIC delivers form...
- TRAIL-TESTED GUARANTEE - Your...
- Your hands will stay dry with these gloves.
- This glove gives you enough protection for milder winter days and it won’t feel like your hands are overheating on your long runs, thanks to the mesh webbing that allows your hands to breathe.
- These gloves are touchscreen friendly -- you can swipe your screens with your thumb or forefinger while wearing these.
- They have stretch cuffs to make sure you get a good fit without them sliding off or around.
- You can put these in the washing machine.
- They’ll feel lightweight and comfortable on your run.
- These gloves will look nice on your hands if you’re concerned about fashion as well as function.
- You’ll preserve your dexterity with these thin gloves.
- These aren’t made for really cold days -- if the temperature hits single digits, look for a warmer pair of gloves before heading out.
- You have to air dry these gloves -- they can’t go in the dryer.
- You’ll only get two color choices.
4. Head Digital Sport Running Gloves
- The Head Multi-Sport Gloves feature...
- They work with touchscreen devices so you can still use your phone while you’re out on a run without taking your gloves off.
- They have grippy material on the inside of the hands so you won’t drop things because your gloves are too slick.
- You won’t get cold wrists where your gloves end and the jacket begins because of the extended cuff these have.
- These gloves may feel somewhat cool until you hit the one-mile mark of your run, but after that, you’ll be comfortable and your hands won’t feel overly hot.
- The material is soft and won’t feel abrasive on your hands.
- They only come in two colors, gray and black, so you will have to rely on the rest of your running outfit to make you visible to traffic.
- They are wind resistant, but not fully windproof.
- These are expensive for a single pair of gloves.
5. The North Face Women’s Etip Glove
- Etip functionality with a...
- Touch-screen compatible, four-way...
- 5 Dimensional FitTM ensures...
- Silicone gripper palm pattern...
- Four-way-stretch fleece
- You can get these gloves in a wide assortment of colors, including bright colors that will make you more visible to drivers.
- They have a buckle closure, so you won’t be tearing apart your house looking for one missing glove.
- You can use touchscreen devices with these gloves.
- The sizes will be consistent with these gloves because of the 5-Dimensional Fit they use.
- Your palm will be covered with silicone grippers, which means you won’t be dropping anything when you’re out running.
- The gloves are breathable, so you won’t feel like your hands are on fire after a few miles.
- These gloves are thin enough that you’ll preserve your dexterity when you need to open water bottles or gel packs while running.
- These gloves are also expensive.
- They are spot clean only, which isn’t ideal for runners who tend to sweat a lot.
- They aren’t waterproof.
- If you’re running in super cold temperatures or if you like your hands to not feel a bit of cold on a run, these won’t be warm enough for you.
And the Winner Is …
While all the gloves on this list are great for runners, the best running gloves would be the Pearl Izumi gloves. They come out on top largely because of their affordable prices. If you’re only going to use them for three or four months out of the year, you don’t want to spend too much on them.
These gloves will allow you to use your touchscreen device and stop and tie your shoes without fighting bulkiness.
They’ll keep your hands dry, warm, and odor free. Plus, that small area of reflectivity they have might make a big difference on dark winter days.