Mittens vs. Gloves: Why Mittens Are the Ultimate Winter Handwear

Hand Armor Gloves 28 May 2024
Hand Armor Gloves | Mittens vs. Gloves: Why Mittens Are the Ultimate Winter Handwear

As winter rolls around, the choice of handwear becomes crucial not just for comfort but for maintaining an active lifestyle in harsh conditions. While gloves have long been the standard for dexterity and elegance, mittens are making a strong case as the better option for most cold-weather activities. At Hand Armor Gloves and Trading, a pioneer in the handwear industry since 1977, we’ve observed a steady increase in the demand for mittens over traditional gloves. In this post, we will delve into why mittens might just be the smarter choice for you this winter.

Founded by Jim Rosenwald, Hand Armor Gloves has been an integral part of the upper Midwest’s fur trade, offering a wide variety of products ranging from premium deerskin gloves to the warmest mittens designed for severe weather conditions. As industry leaders in handwear, we bring over four decades of experience and expertise to help you make the best choice for your needs.


Overview of Mittens and Gloves

Mittens and gloves serve the fundamental purpose of keeping our hands warm, but they do so in different ways due to their distinct designs. Gloves are made with separate sheaths for each finger, providing greater dexterity and precision. Mittens, on the other hand, encase all fingers in a single compartment, promoting a higher level of warmth retention.

Hand Armor Gloves and Trading offers an extensive selection of both gloves and mittens. Our products, especially our deerskin gloves, have been popular among professionals and winter enthusiasts alike for over a decade. As we continue to expand our range, including high-quality mittens, we ensure that every pair meets the rigorous demands of cold weather.

Hand Armor Gloves | Mittens vs. Gloves: Why Mittens Are the Ultimate Winter Handwear

Design and Material Differences

  • Gloves: Individual fingers for flexibility and fine motor tasks.
  • Mittens: Single compartment to increase warmth by keeping fingers together.

General Uses

  • Gloves: Ideal for activities that require precision, such as driving or operating machinery.
  • Mittens: Best for maximum warmth and protection against cold, perfect for general outdoor activities and sports like skiing.


Benefits of Mittens

Warmth and Insulation

One of the most compelling reasons to choose mittens during the winter is their superior ability to retain heat. Here’s why mittens can keep your hands warmer than gloves:

  • Shared Body Heat: Unlike gloves, mittens allow your fingers to share body heat in a single compartment, which significantly reduces heat loss and keeps your fingers warmer than when they are separated.
  • Less Surface Area: Mittens have less surface area exposed to the cold compared to gloves, minimizing the cold’s impact and the heat exchange with the outside air.

At Hand Armor Gloves and Trading, we design our mittens with high-quality insulating materials such as Thinsulate, which traps heat while allowing moisture to escape, ensuring your hands stay warm and comfortable even in the coldest conditions.

Simplicity and Comfort

Mittens are not only warmer but also generally simpler in design and more comfortable, especially for extended wear:

  • Ease of Use: With a single compartment for all fingers, mittens are easier to slip on and off, which is particularly advantageous in cold weather when ease of use becomes crucial.
  • Comfort Over Time: The spacious design of mittens allows for more natural finger movement inside, reducing stiffness and improving blood circulation.



Variety and Style

Mittens come in a variety of styles and materials, catering to different tastes and requirements. Hand Armor Gloves and Trading offers a wide selection, from sleek leather mittens perfect for a stylish urban winter to rugged ski mittens designed for high performance in extreme conditions. Our extensive range ensures that everyone can find something to suit their needs and preferences.

Here’s a glance at some popular mitten styles from our collection:

Style Material Ideal Use
Leather Deerskin Urban fashion, driving
Ski Mittens Waterproof Winter sports, extreme cold
Work Mittens Thinsulate Outdoor work, cold storage


Comparative Analysis: Mittens vs. Gloves

While mittens offer superior warmth and simplicity, gloves are often favored for their dexterity. However, each has its advantages and ideal scenarios for use. Here’s a detailed comparison:

Dexterity and Usability


  • Advantages: Gloves provide better dexterity, making them ideal for activities requiring fine motor skills, such as typing, handling tools, or any task where precise finger use is necessary.
  • Best Uses: Driving, professional work (especially outdoors), sports that require grip like ice climbing, and everyday tasks like using smartphones.


  • Advantages: Although mittens do not offer the same level of dexterity, they are significantly warmer, which can be crucial in activities where exposure to extreme cold is a concern and fine motor skill usage is minimal.
  • Best Uses: General outdoor activities, spectator sports, walking, hiking, and especially winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding.

Protection and Durability


  • Material Diversity: Gloves can be made from a variety of materials, including leather, synthetic fibers, and hybrids, tailored for specific environments and durability needs.
  • Protective Features: Many gloves come equipped with reinforced palms and fingers, offering protection from physical hazards and improved grip.


  • Warmth Retention: Mittens generally provide better protection against the cold, with designs that focus on maximizing heat retention.
  • Material Options: Similar to gloves, mittens are available in materials like deerskin, elkskin, and synthetics, often with added insulation layers such as Thinsulate to enhance warmth.

Hand Armor Gloves and Trading prides itself on offering both gloves and mittens that meet high standards of protection, durability, and functionality. Our products are designed with the end-user in mind, ensuring that whether you choose gloves or mittens, your hands are well-protected against the elements.

Practical Considerations for Choosing Mittens

Choosing between mittens and gloves often comes down to the specific needs and activities planned. Here are a few scenarios where mittens might be the superior choice:

  • Extreme Cold: When temperatures drop significantly, mittens are more effective at preventing frostbite and other cold-related discomforts.
  • Children: Mittens are easier for children to manage, making them a practical option for keeping young hands warm.
  • Simplicity and Comfort: For those prioritizing warmth and ease of use over dexterity, mittens are undoubtedly the better option.

Drawbacks of mittens include reduced dexterity, which can be mitigated by selecting mittens designed with flexible materials and ergonomic features that enhance grip and usability.


Hand Armor Gloves | Mittens vs. Gloves: Why Mittens Are the Ultimate Winter Handwear

Consumer Guide: Selecting the Right Mittens

Choosing the right mittens involves considering a variety of factors to ensure you get the warmth, comfort, and functionality you need. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

1. Sizing and Fit

  • Measure Your Hand: Accurate sizing is crucial for comfort and warmth. Measure the circumference of your hand and the length from the base of your palm to the tip of your middle finger.
  • Check Size Charts: Refer to size charts provided by the manufacturer, like those at Hand Armor Gloves and Trading, to find the right fit.
  • Consider Layering: If you plan to wear liner gloves under your mittens for extra warmth, consider sizing up to accommodate the extra layer.

2. Material Choice

  • Leather: Leather mittens, particularly those made from deerskin or elkskin, offer durability and excellent cold protection. They are ideal for both casual use and specific activities like riding or outdoor work.
  • Synthetic Fabrics: Synthetics are often waterproof and windproof, making them suitable for wet snow conditions and winter sports.
  • Insulation: Look for mittens with quality insulation like Thinsulate to ensure high thermal efficiency.

3. Features to Consider

  • Waterproofing: Essential for activities involving snow or wet conditions. Ensure the mittens have a reliable waterproof layer.
  • Cuffs: Longer cuffs provide better protection against snow entering the mittens, especially useful for skiing or snowboarding.
  • Grip Enhancements: Some mittens come with textured palms and fingers, which can be helpful for gripping ski poles or other equipment.

4. Specialty Mittens

  • Activity-Specific Designs: Some mittens are designed specifically for activities like skiing, mountaineering, or motorcycling, offering features tailored to these needs.
  • Heated Mittens: For those who struggle with extremely cold hands, heated mittens provide additional warmth via battery-powered heating elements.

Recommendations from Hand Armor Gloves and Trading

At Hand Armor Gloves and Trading, we offer a diverse selection of mittens suitable for various conditions and preferences. Here are some top picks:

Model Material Features Ideal Use
Winter Warrior Deerskin Thinsulate insulation General cold protection
Alpine Pro Waterproof Extended cuff, grip texture Skiing and snowboarding
Urban Chic Leather Stylish design, wool lined City use, driving


As winter approaches, the choice between mittens and gloves becomes more than just a matter of preference—it’s about comfort, functionality, and protection from the cold. Mittens, with their superior warmth and simpler design, offer significant advantages, especially in extreme conditions. At Hand Armor Gloves and Trading, we understand the importance of keeping your hands protected and comfortable. We invite you to explore our wide range of mittens and gloves to find the perfect match for your winter needs.

Don’t let the cold hold you back this winter. Visit us today to browse our extensive selection and equip yourself with the best in hand protection!

Hand Armor Gloves | Mittens vs. Gloves: Why Mittens Are the Ultimate Winter Handwear


Frequently Asked Questions



Mittens are generally warmer than gloves because they allow your fingers to share body heat in a single compartment, reducing heat loss. This makes them ideal for extremely cold conditions and activities like skiing and snowboarding.
Mittens are not as suitable for tasks that require fine motor skills. For activities like driving, handling tools, or using smartphones, gloves are a better option as they provide individual sheaths for each finger, allowing greater dexterity.
High-quality insulating materials such as Thinsulate are excellent for extreme cold, as they trap heat while allowing moisture to escape. Deerskin and other durable leathers also provide excellent warmth and durability.
Measure the circumference of your hand and the length from the base of your palm to the tip of your middle finger. Check the size charts provided by the manufacturer to ensure a good fit. If you plan to wear liner gloves under your mittens, consider sizing up.
For winter sports, look for mittens with waterproofing, extended cuffs to keep out snow, and grip enhancements on the palms and fingers for better handling of equipment like ski poles.
Yes, there are mittens designed specifically for activities such as skiing, mountaineering, and motorcycling. These mittens often include features tailored to the needs of these activities, such as added insulation, reinforced areas, and ergonomic designs.