Cold Weather Running Gloves – The Complete Guide

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Cross Training For Runners
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Written by :

David Dack

Hands getting cold when running in winter? Then you need a pair of proper cold weather running gloves

Although running gloves might not be normally high on a runner’s list of essential items, logging the miles without them in the cold season could impact your performance like nothing else.

Running with exposed hands in frigid weather is tricky as it can lead to chafed and cracked skin and more serious injuries such as frostbite.

What’s more?

The experience isn’t just uncomfortable but can make training feel even longer and harder than it is.

That’s why choosing the proper running gloves is crucial, especially when your fingers depend on them.

But how do you make the right choice? Fret no more.

In this article, I’ll dive into how to choose running gloves for cold weather.

Why You Need Running Gloves

Often considered an optional item, running gloves is a must-have during the cold season.

The frigid temperature combined with exertion can impact the circulation in the hands and fingers. This can cause discoloration, numbness, or worsen conditions, such as Raynaud’s Disease.

That’s not the whole story. We lose a lot of body heat via our extremities, so keeping our hands exposed can make us feel even colder during winter training.

What’s more?

When you’re running and keeping your hands away from your body, the latter is especially exposed to the harsh elements.

I can go on and on, but you get the full picture.

The Many Roles Of Running Gloves

A pair of running gloves have two primary functions:

  • To provide you with warm during frigid temperatures, and
  • To offer protection against harsh weather conditions such as pouring rain and fierce winds.

Running gloves can serve other purposes, like increasing safety, as some also feature reflective detailing. This allows you to be seen by other road users.

Some gloves also provide grip, making it easier to hold items and operate devices such as smartphones without taking them off.

Keep in mind that research has found that exposure to the cold for long periods can hamper mental alertness, leading to an accident while running.

Additional Resource – Here’s the full guide to proper running gear.

How Cold Is Cold To Wear Running Running Gloves?

I hate breaking it to you, but I don’t know the exact answer.

The exact temperature you need to wear running gloves is a personal choice as it hinges on your comfort level, circulation, cold acclimatization, and how long you’ll be running in the cold.


As far as I can tell, most runners would start putting on gloves the temperate dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Degrees Celsius).

Here’s the full guide to winter running gear.

What To Look for When Choosing Cold Weather Running Gloves?

Hopefully, you’re now sold on the importance of running gloves for comfort and safety. Now Let’s get into the things to look for when shopping for a new pair of running gloves.


Running gloves are usually made from synthetic blends.

The four most widely used materials are polyester, fleece, acrylic, and polypropylenes, which have different sweat-wicking, warmth, breathability, and waterproofing properties.

When choosing running gloves, go for a pair made with materials that will keep you warm and dry. Check if they’re made with moisture-wicking materials, breathable for extra warmth and protection against the cold.

Avoid gloves made from fabrics that hold water, such as cotton, since wet hands are more prone to the harmful effects of the cold, such as frostnip and frostbite.

I’d recommend lightweight polyester, nylon, and merino wool for the ideal moisture-wicking action.

Additional Resource – Your Guide To Runners Nipples

Touch Screen Features

Run with your phone?  Then make sure the gloves are touchscreen compatible.

A pair of touchscreen-friendly gloves will allow you to seamlessly operate a phone, which can help you check routes, switch songs, take calls, etc., without taking them off.

Most running gloves are designed with a level of compatibility with a touchscreen. However, some brands are better than others. Also, remember that you’ll need to pay a little more for the technology.

Additional guide – Here’s how to breathe when running in the cold

The Fit of Running Gloves

The other thing to pay attention to when choosing running gloves is the fit.

Getting the right size gloves is tricky as they come in various hand shapes and sizes or the sizing guides of various brands.

If you pick a pair of gloves that are too large, they’ll peel off and cause discomfort that might lead to cracking and chafing. Plus, these won’t keep your hands warm enough.

On the other hand, running gloves that are too small can cut your circulation, causing a lot of pain. And you don’t want that.

As a rule, the gloves should fit your hands as this improves warmth and touchscreen capability.

What’s more?

When choosing running gloves, measure the size of your hand to get the perfect fit. This can be done by measuring your hand length from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger. Next, refer to the sizing charts to determine your glove size.

Find yourself between two sizes? Go one size down.

Additional Resource- Here’s your guide to running sunglasses


Picking running gloves that are warm enough will depend on your temperature and circulation.

Some runners may have to keep their gloves throughout their run, whereas others may take them off and stuff them in their pockets.

You should also look out for moisture-wicking features along with thermal gloves.  Thermal gloves cannot only on keep your hands warm but dry. Even if it’s freezing, your hands will get sweaty while logging the miles.

That’s not the whole story…

Some materials are warmer than others, and gloves with liners offer the most warmth.

For example, polyester does well in the cold. It also features multi-layered insulation. That’s why running gloves made of this material are not only a durable option but also provide breathability for extra comfort.

Additional Resource – Your guide to running jackets

Weight Of Running Gloves

When it comes to running gloves, thickness doesn’t inherently mean more warmth and comfort. Instead, what dictates the weight of the glove is the material.

Thick gloves tend to be heavy and might cause your hands to go overheat while running.  Your core temperature will rise naturally from running, so you’d need less insulation to stay warm and cozy.

For this reason, make sure that the gloves are thick enough to warm your hands but still breathable enough to maintain dexterity.


Our hands have sweat glands that release moisture when we’re active. The harder and longer we run, the more sweat is produced.

Therefore, if you want to keep your hands warm and dry, pay attention to the breathability of a running glove. This helps wick sweat away from your hands and into the out later layer, where it evaporates out into the air.


A pair of waterproof gloves is another feature to consider if you run in the winter, especially under rainy conditions.

Water-resistant gloves are made with specific fabrics and technology that prevent water and wind from moving from the outside to the inside. Materials like polyester and nylon are widely known for their water-repellant powers.

Just keep in mind that not all waterproof gloves are also wind-resistant.

What’s more?

You should also look for a pair that has an elastic band around the wrist. This functions as a s barrier between your skin and the elements.

Cold Weather Running Gloves – Conclusion

There you have it! If you’re looking for a pair of running gloves for the winter then today’s post has you covered. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime thank you for dropping by.

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