When the temperature drops, blood flows out of your extremities and back to your core. This is why you feel your fingers and toes getting cold before the rest of your body, and a pair of well-fitting gloves can remedy this issue by encasing your hands with your body’s own heat.
This isn’t new knowledge but for some reason, guys still prefer to just stick their hands in their pockets.
This might be due to the belief that gloves are clunky, impractical for work, or not very stylish. While this may be true for some gloves — like the thick ski glove-like ones or the thin nylon ones sold at corner stores — there are quality gloves out there that will keep you warm without sacrificing mobility or style.
We’re not talking about work gloves here, exactly. When folks use that term, they’re talking about unlined gloves that exist to protect the wearer’s hands from splinters and callouses. This guide is for lined leather gloves that’ll keep you warm, look cool… and can handle a fair amount of work as well.
The list will start with gloves suited for milder winters and progressively get to gloves constructed to withstand nights that are far below freezing.
Sizing Your Gloves
Each manufacturer’s glove will fit differently so it is always best to refer to the size chart.
On all of the brands listed below, the retailer will recommend a size based on the circumference of your palm, and also the length between your longest fingertip to the bottom of your palm.
An embarrassing note: I originally thought “circumference of your palm” meant coiling a measuring tape around the perimeter of my palm, carefully snaking it past the bottom of each one of my fingers. What it actually means is to wrap the measuring tape around your hand at its widest point. (You may have found that obvious. I… didn’t.)
If this is too confusing, try to take advantage of some of the brands; free return policies and try on multiple sizes until one feels right.
How Gloves Should Fit
The term “fits like a glove” is often used to describe boots that contour the shape of your feet perfectly with little room to spare. Ironically, this is not how you want your leather gloves to fit. Because of how much your hands move and flex, the gloves will stretch a little with wear — so don’t be concerned if they feel a tad tight (but not too tight) when they’re fresh out of the package.
Another thing to keep in mind is the length of the cuffs. You want the cuffs on the gloves to be a little longer so that your wrist will be securely covered when you tuck the gloves under your sleeve. Elasticated cuffs also help to keep some warmth from escaping.
1. Best Overall: Sullivan Glove – Deerskin Roper
These are the gloves I’ve been wearing for two years to keep me warm in New York winters.
Sullivan Glove is as American as this niche gets: it’s a small business that focuses exclusively on gloves and all of them are cut and sewn to order in Bend, Oregon. Keeping them “made to order” helps to minimize waste and keep prices reasonable, and indeed this is the least expensive entry on this list — and my most worn.
They sell a wide array of gloves for motorcycle riders, farm workers, and ranchers but for general purposes of keeping warm, their classic Deerskin Roper is what you want to look at.
These are by far Sullivan Glove’s most popular model in the “Classic” line. It’s thin, lightweight, and built like a work glove, but because of its minimalistic pattern, it actually pairs easily with most outfits.
Sullivan Glove Lined Deerskin Roper Highlights
- made with 2.5-30z deerskin
- lined with a polyester fleece layer
- elastic wrist to protect hands from debris
- retails for $75
The Deerskin Roper is great for many reasons.
First of all, because of deerskin’s elasticity, over time the Ropers will conform to the width of your fingers while maintaining their original length. Secondly, due to how the deerskin fibers are interwoven, the Ropers are extremely soft yet water- and abrasion-resistant. What this means is that compared to similar gloves made from cowhide, these will be more comfortable and tactile, meaning it’s easier to feel the outside world through the gloves. (An important feature for guys who work controls in their gloves.)
Lastly, what makes the Deerskin Ropers so great is that they require little to no maintenance. Unlike a lot of leathers out there, deerskin does not dry stiff after getting wet. They will maintain their shape and comfort even after a light snowstorm.
For added insulation, the Ropers are lined with a polyester layer that will keep your hands warm in milder cold temperatures. If it gets below 40 degrees Fahrenheit where you live, you might want to consider the other options on this list.
Other Gloves Offered by Sullivan Gloves
If the Roper Gloves are not your style, then you might consider checking out some of the alternatives that Sullivan Gloves carry. I picked out 3 that will be great for work and for looking great in the city. Just like the Roper, all of these are constructed out of 2.5-3oz drum-dyed American deerskin.
- The Deerskin Shorty – This is a similar glove to the Roper but unlined.
- Retails for $85
- The Gauntlet -This is a glove with an extended cuff that is meant to go over your sleeves. It is also made from deerskin.
- Retails for $85
- The Deerskin Classic – This is the cleaning-looking glove in Sullivan’s lineup. Even more simple than the Ropers. The one drawback of this style is that it lacks elastics by the cuff. Some prefer this minimal style but elastics will always provide a more snug fit.
- Retails for $65
Remember, though, Sullivan’s only lined glove is the Lined Deerskin Roper we’re highlighting here.
2. Best Wool Lined Glove: Filson – Original Lined Goat Skin Glove
Filson is a powerhouse in rugged fashion and to no one’s surprise, they are one of the contenders on this list. What is surprising though, is that their glove is not the most expensive option here. Usually, when Filson is on a list with other brands, they rank first in price (but also quality)!
Just like the Roper, Filson’s offering is constructed in the United States out of Grade-A American leather. But unlike the Roper, these gloves are made with goatskin.
Generally speaking, goatskin differs from deerskin by not being as soft or flexible, but in return, you get leather that has more tensile strength. This means that if you plan to work in your gloves, Filson’s Goatskin Glove will fair a bit better than the Roper.
This model is also lined with merino wool instead of polyester. Due to wool’s superior insulating and moisture-wicking capabilities, this glove also fares better than Sullivan’s in a wider variety of temperatures: it’s fine in fall but also functions well all the way down to freezing temperatures.
Filson’s Lined Goatskin Glove Highlights
- made with Grade-A American goatskin
- lined with a fine merino wool
- wing thumb for flexibility
- elastic wrist to protect hands from debris
- retails for $150
After wearing both gloves, I found the Filson gloves to fit slightly better on my hand because the fingers are longer and slimmer, while the Sullivans are a little stubbier and more spacious. Ultimately, which one has a “better fit” depends on how you prefer your gloves to fit.
3. Most Balanced: Hestra – Utsjö Glove
Up next is the Swedish legend, Hestra. They were founded in the 1930s and are another brand that exclusively sells gloves.
One of their warmest offerings is the Utsjö, made from Nordic elk leather. For those unfamiliar, elk leather is similar to deerskin in that it is abrasion resistant and has a high moisture tolerance. This makes a lot of sense if you think about how similar the two animals are in terms of appearance, diet, and lifestyle. And like, taxonomy.
Hestra’s Utsjö Glove Highlights
- made with Nordic elk leather
- lined with a breathable poly blend fabric and Primaloft Gold
- half-pique construction: overlapped on the backhand for increased range of motion
- elastic wrist cuffs and buttons to secure a proper fit
- retails for $165
What makes elk leather stand out from deerskin is that it’s about 50% thicker than deer.
On their respective websites, Sullivan and Hestra describe their leather as being 2.5 ounces and 4 ounces respectively. If 1 ounce of leather equals 1/64 inches, this means that the Roper’s deerskin is approximately 2/64 inches thick and the Utsjö’s elk leather is about 4/64 inches thick. The extra bulk in the elk leather provides some extra insulation, cushioning, and protection relative to both deer and goatskin.
The Utsjö Glove‘s Superior Lining
Adding to the Utsjo’s winter readiness are 2 layers of lining.
- The first layer is made from a polyester and nylon blend that has the insulating properties of polyester but also the strength and breathability of nylon.
- The second layer is made from the famously warm Primaloft Gold. Primaloft Gold is a great alternative to down as it isn’t bulky and doesn’t retain moisture, but it still comes with the same warmth as 550-fill down.
4. Give’r 4-Season Glove
These utilitarian gloves are 100% waterproof and both heat and cold resistant. Lined with Thinsulate insulation, Hipora lining, and a heat-reflective shield, there is no tougher glove on the market.
This last entry is for sub-zero dudes who need the absolute warmest leather glove. I just don’t know why it’s called the “4-season” — my hands get sweaty in these at room temperature and I wouldn’t recommend them in any moderate climate.
But it protects the hands from any extreme temperature, be it extreme cold or heat — you can plunge your hands into boiling water in the 4-Seasons.
Give’r 4-Season Glove Highlights
- cowhide leather
- lined with Thinsulate
- has a reflective heat shield for warmth
- Hipora membrane makes the glove 100% waterproof
- finished with an all-natural wax coating
- retails for $119
The 4-Season Glove is a cowhide work glove crafted in Pakistan. Being made out of common leather in a developing country helps the company keep its costs to only $119, one of the cheapest entries on this list — yet the best at sub-zero temperatures. Give’r makes their glove incredibly resilient and 100% waterproof by waxing the cowhide and then installing a Hipora membrane underneath.
For those who are unfamiliar with technical textiles, Hipora is a 3-layer semi-permeable membrane system that allows moisture to escape but prevents any from seeping in. Additionally, for warmth, these gloves have 40 grams of Thinsulate insulation and a reflective heat shield under the front of the hand to maximize heat retention.
If you look at their reviews, it’s firefighter after ice fisher after Canadian attesting to the astonishing protective effect of these tank-like gloves. They take longer to break in than the other leathers, but the feeling of security will be worth it.
5. Best Touchscreen Leather Gloves: Dents Shaftesbury
Lined with luxurious knitted cashmere and sewn from very soft leather, these aren't for working in the field but work great to keep you warm and your fingers functional.
A bonus entry! It’s one of the most curious but enduring signs of our times that we now need to take our gloves off repeatedly throughout the day, even when in the biting cold, because we need to use the touchscreen on our phone. Once upon a time you’d never take off the gloves until you made it back indoors, but it’s no longer the case.
Shaftesbury Glove Highlights
- Made of supple leather
- Lined with cashmere
- Dressy design
- Vented cuffs
This is a timeless design that isn’t geared toward working with your hands; it’s just about keeping ’em warm. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t high quality: these gloves are hand stitched and lined with cashmere wool from mountain goats, famous for its light weight and warmth.
How do they make them touchscreen friendly? By using leather from a sheep that grows hair, rather than wool or fur. The fine hair doesn’t leave markings on the leather and the grain is far less obvious than cow or elk, so the leather winds up smooth enough that the touchscreen is able to recognize it as your hand.
All of the gloves on this list are built to the highest standards. Whichever one you choose, makes sure that it is appropriate for the climate that you live and for your hand size. The last thing that you want is to make an investment on a glove only to have not fit properly or have it go to waste in storage.
We’ve worn all of these gloves extensively and can vouch for their quality and utility. A lot of guys know just which jackets and boots to wear in colder months but come up short when it pertains to their gloves — we think this list has solved that problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which company makes the best gloves?
The best overall glove is the Sullivan Glove's Roper, but for more freezing temperatures we recommend Hestra's Utsjo.
What kind of gloves keep your hands the warmest?
Gloves that are made from leather with some sort of insulating liner will keep your hands warm all winter. Look for Primaloft or Thinsulate for reliable insulators.
What are the toughest gloves?
The toughest glove on the market is the Give'r 4-Season glove. Those gloves are waxed and insulated so that you can do all sorts of work in them in the coldest imaginable temperatures.