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. The hunt for gloves is on.

I bought the North Face Women’s Etip gloves about three years ago (on sale). They’ve been a great lightweight, all-purpose glove that I can also use as a liner in mittens when it’s really cold. They’re great for running, walking, or hiking. Not so much for bike riding.

At $45, they aren’t cheap, but they will last you a long time. The only reason I’m replacing mine this year is that I lost one while biking to work, so if you can handle the responsibility of fully zipping your pockets after putting your gloves in them, you should be good to go for many years to come.

Here’s why I love these gloves:

Etip + Grip. The “Etip” feature actually works really well for the first year, and besides not being able to unlock my phone with my thumbprint (obviously) I loved being able to have full use of my phone while my hands stayed warm. Admittedly, this functionality decreases the more times you wash them, but after three years they still work better than any regular gloves I’ve tried to use my phone with.

The best thing about these gloves, though, is the discrete grips on the thumb, index finger, and part of the palm. 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.

Mid-weight material that gives you versatility. These gloves aren’t waterproof, but are otherwise super versatile thanks to their mid- to light-weight material. They’re the perfect happy medium between naked hands freezing to death and wearing gloves and sweating through them in 45-degree weather.

They aren’t perfect, though.

I wouldn’t suggest getting the light grey color that I did, because it obviously shows dirt much easier which in turn makes you want to wash them, which then degrades the “etip” capability.

They also aren’t especially wind resistant. These gloves are perfect for commuting via foot, bus, or car, but biking with them leaves a lot to be desired. 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. Anytime I pick up even the smallest amount of speed, I feel EVERYTHING. It’s not great.

If you’re looking to buy something before winter is here in earnest, you can find these at REI and Amazon. I’ve gotten great deals on gloves (and mittens) at REI at the end of the season, though, 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 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.

*Etip/it’s equivalent for other brands 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.

 

 

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