Spending good money on winter gloves is surprisingly rewarding. Anyone who’s ever legitimately worried about losing a finger due to a pair of cheap, inadequately lined gloves understands the euphoria of finally wearing a pair that keeps your hands toasty warm. Here, Niklas Magnusson, master glove cutter at Hestra and great-grandson of Martin Magnusson, who founded the Swedish company in 1936, tells you what you need to know before upgrading to your first nice pair (or, hey, your 10th). Because if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right.
Go with a brand that offers half sizes.
“It’s hard to judge just by looking at a glove how it is made or how it will fit. You’ll usually know after a week or two of wear if it’s of good quality. If it’s poorly made, it will have too much elasticity and will start sagging on your hand. You should have to work pretty hard the first time you put them on and then they will conform after your hand after a couple of wears. We offer half sizes in most of our gloves and even quarter sizes in our unlined peccary gloves to make sure our customers get the perfect fit.”
Buy at least two pairs so that you can alternate.
“Anything that’s made of a natural material like leather or cashmere needs to rest in between wears. If not, the materials will wear out much faster. Dress shoes with leather soles are a good example of this—if the sole is damp or wet, it wears out quickly if you keep wearing them. Ideally a guy has a minimum of two pairs of gloves to alternate between.”
Pick the lining that fits your climate—or buy all three.
“A proper glove wardrobe should consist of unlined gloves, cashmere or wool-lined gloves, and fur-lined gloves (shearling or rabbit fur). The unlined gloves are in great above 32F, cashmere-lined gloves work down to 17F, and fur-lined gloves should be worn when it is colder than that. It also depends on if you are a warm or a cold person and if you spend long periods of time outdoors.”
Know that the best, warmest linings are more delicate.
“In cheaper gloves you often find polyester-fleece lining or a wool-polyester mix. These materials last longer than cashmere or wool. The quality test is not how long the lining will last, but how fine the wool or cashmere is. A cashmere or wool lining will wear out after two seasons but it is infinitely warmer and more comfortable.”
Buy from a brand that takes leather very seriously.
“Paying more for gloves means getting premium leathers and materials. Our higher price also allows us to offer good working conditions in our factories and have quality inspections at each step of the production chain. Either my father, my cousin or I personally check every shipment of leathers before sending them out to the factories where they make yet another quality inspection before cutting them.”
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