Beginner’s Gear Guide: Best lightweight gloves

Winter is coming, and I may not watch Game of Thrones but I do know that chilly mornings are already in full swing here in Colorado.

I’ve had two great pairs of lightweight gloves that I love, so I’m pitting them against each other to help you decide for yourself. It’s The North Face’s Women’s Etip vs. Manzella’s Silkweight Wind Ultra Tip.

Both are great all-purpose gloves that are great for running, walking, and hiking. Consider these the perfect happy medium between naked hands freezing to death and wearing gloves and sweating through them in 45-degree weather. Here’s how they stack up otherwise:


North Face is $45, while Manzella is a bit cheaper at $35. REI also has excellent end-of-season sales, which is when I bought the North Face ones initially, so keep that in mind when shopping.


North Face’s gloves could be used as a liner if you use bigger mittens for skiing or when it gets really cold. The Manzella’s definitely wouldn’t be as comfortable under mittens, only because they have a bit more structure to them than the North Face gloves.

BUT that structure is what makes them windproof. The Manzella gloves absolutely kill the North Face ones for biking and windy weather. This was a dealbreaker for me because I wanted one pair of gloves that I could also use for biking to work.

With the North Face gloves, I can feel EVERYTHING if I pick up even the slightest amount of speed on my bike. It’s not great. Is it better than not wearing any gloves at all? Obviously, but I don’t go very fast on my bike and my hands are frozen by the time I get to work 20 minutes later.


This makes opening doors, holding on to the steering wheel, and generally existing in winter a million times easier. As someone who is constantly freezing cold from October – May, anytime I don’t have to take off my gloves while outdoors is a good time.

The North Face gloves have grips on your first three fingers and part of your palm. The Manzella gloves have grips across the entire palm and on each fingertip. It’s equally easy in both pairs to open doors, tie my shoes, find things in my backpack, etc.

Touchscreen compatibility: 

Again, not having to take my gloves off is my number one goal during winter. The North Face gloves fit my fingers slightly better so that made my phone a little easier to use than with the Manzella gloves. I bought a slightly larger size to better fit my long fingers, and besides using a phone the Manzella gloves fit me better (I have kind of big hands for a lady).

This functionality decreases the more times you wash them, but after three years it still worked on the North Face gloves (and I wash them more because they’re light grey – bad color choice). A year later, the Manzella touch tip still works like a charm. Again, because they’re black and not light grey, I haven’t had to wash them more than once or twice.

General guidelines:

If you want to buy lightweight gloves for winter, but don’t want to buy these ones, here’s what I suggest you look for:

*Rubber grip on at least the pointer finger and thumb so you can open doors and generally operate as a normal human without taking your gloves off.

*Touch screen compatibility so you can still use your phone (great for checking where the EFF the bus is on a cold January morning).

*Cuffs long enough to go all the way under your jacket sleeve.

*That hard-to-find balance of not too thin and not too thick.

Where to shop

You can find these at REI:

I’ve gotten great deals on gloves (and mittens) at REI at the end of the season, so if you can make it through one more winter with what you’ve already got, patience is a virtue. Check sales around mid-March.

If you prefer Amazon, North Face gloves are here and Manzella are here.



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