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There aren't many households that contain fewer than several pairs of gloves and yet I suspect that many gloves remain unworn or are only seldom worn, Much of the time this will be because they are either an unwanted gift or they have been bought on impulse, perhaps in a sale, without really thinking through the main purpose for which you require them.
When buying gloves, price should not always be the motivating force in your buying decision. Gloves are primarily used for one of three purposes:
To keep your hands warm - sheepskin or thinsulate for example
To improve grip - driving or golf, for example
To provide protection to the skin - oven or gardening gloves, for example
If you consider prior to purchase the prime purpose for which you need them, there is less chance that you will make a mistake and buy a pair that will lie unused in a drawer.
For warm gloves, you will need to decide whether you go for man-made or natural. A sheepskin glove will look attractive but will easily show the dirt and are not easy to satisfactorily clean. They're also generally not waterproof. A glove made from man made material such as the thinsulate brand for example will offer you much more in terms of styles and colours; they're also quite good at shrugging off a rain shower, but some people find that their hands sweat in these.
For gloves that improve grip, there's nothing like trying them on for size and feel, ideally in the situation in which you want to use them. In the case of a golf glove for example, you will want to ensure that they are comfortable. If you are a goalkeeper, then try catching or visualising catching a few balls first, before investing in a pair. Driving gloves are often thin and leather. Again they will need to fit well. Some men in particular have fat fingers and struggle to find gloves that fit well.
Insofar as gloves providing protection are concerned, they must be fit for purpose. The prime purpose of an oven glove is that it prevents your hand from getting burnt, so don't go for something too thin. It's often better to get a pair that also covers your wrist. Single glove or traditional double gloves? Does the new silicon glove suit you better? Rubber gloves will protect your hands whilst washing up, but make sure they are the right size. I don't like them and find that my hands sweat a lot in these, but for those with sensitive skin, good washing up gloves are a sensible investment.
So, in terms of the three main purposes for gloves, make a sensible choice, considering a range of factors and not just price, or because they look nice. In my book, better always to buy from a reputable retail outlet where you can try them on. Online purchases are a risk as far as this is concerned with a far greater likelihood of a returned purchase and/or a dissatisfied customer.
Many of us will remember our Mums always ensuring that we wrap up warmly and gloves were always an important part of our outdoor clothing - fastened through our sleeves when we were in primary school as I remember. Nowadays, kids pay far less attention to the importance of keeping warm as can be seen in the scantily clad sights we see out on the razzle. They should surely catch their death out in all weathers without any gloves (or much else) on.
With rising energy prices putting extra pressure on all of us, why not make sure that any elderly relatives or neighbours have a good pair of gloves to help keep them warm and of course the best time to buy gloves is now - the middle of summer!
If you have read my reviews you will have gathered by now that Im a bit keen on skiing. My wife and I have been having annual skiing holidays for around 12 years, having taken to the sport rather late in life (an eternal regret). Our kids have joined us over the years, though other commitments have, in recent times, resulted in their absence.
From the start, even if you hire your skis and boots, really you do need to buy your skiwear, although I know that it is possible even to hire this. We showed our commitment to the sport by buying our ski clothing right from the start. I still have my very first all-in-one ski suit although I dont wear it so often these days. Im sure it will come back into fashion some day!
Not that I go out and buy new ski clothes every year, far from it. Im certainly not a fashion victim. I have a couple of all-in-one suits plus a couple of jackets and a pair of salopettes (padded dungarees). I do have a lot of ski hats. I just never seem to be able to find one that really does the job.
What I do buy every year, without fail, is a new pair of gloves. Gloves are the one thing that must be right. Nothing is worse than cold hands. It really does make skiing a miserable experience. The only worse thing is cold feet.
I have found that it isnt necessary to spend a fortune on ski gloves. I know people who say that they must have the best because they last for years. Not true. Even expensive gloves wear out. Whats better, spending £100 on a pair of gloves you use for 5 years or £15 on a new pair each year? I suggest the latter.
Which is why I happened to find myself in my local Millets.
Looking around to see what they had, I came across a revolving rack of gloves, most of which seemed to carry the Peter Storm brand name. I have only ever seen these in Millets so Im guessing its the house brand.
I spotted a pair of black gloves that claimed to be waterproof. Now, waterproof is good. Although they are not actually advertised specifically as ski gloves, the inside palm of the gloves is covered in a durable layer that covers the area that would naturally come into contact with a ski pole handle. This is essential.
The glove is elasticated at the wrist to keep out the drafts when skiing and the snow when you crash. The cuff extends a couple of inches further so that it can be tucked inside your ski suit sleeve for maximum insulation.
The lining did seem to be a little loose, almost as if it was made for a larger glove, but it felt comfortable to wear nevertheless. The insulation is Thinsulate, a product often found in skiwear and which I have had in other gloves. It always has seemed to do the job.
The price according to the label was £19.99, a little more than I usually pay but when I took them to the till I was told that the price was £9.99! Result! I bought them. Perhaps I should have thought about it a bit more? Why had the price been slashed when the ski season was nowhere near over?
Anyway, we arrived in Austria and on our first days skiing I proudly wore my new gloves. As the day progressed I noticed that the inside lining was starting to feel a little moist. Now, this is nothing unusual. Skiing is a potentially strenuous sport and, even a reasonably fit person such as I believe myself to be, can get a bit of a sweat on. Ski clothing is designed to deal with this and to evaporate the sweat away whilst also still keeping you warm.
By the end of the day the gloves definitely felt wet. The usual solution is to put them on a nice warn radiator and let them dry out. Thats what I did.
The following morning I picked up the gloves and put them on; and just as quickly took them off again. They were still tangibly wet. Indeed, they felt no drier than the previous night. Hours on the radiator had done nothing except make them warm, wet gloves. I put them back on the radiator and chose a different pair for the day.
Returning late in the afternoon I checked the gloves once again. Still no change! I got out the hair-drier and left the nozzle blasting warm air into the gloves for half an hour. Still no difference.
Finally, as best I could I turned the gloves inside out. This I could do with the palm area but trying to turn the fingers inside out proved too much of a challenge. It took a day for the exposed area to dry. The fingers didnt.
It eventually took the whole week for the gloves to become wearable again, by which time, all I wanted was my money back.
On returning to the UK, I took them back to Millets and got a refund without any dispute; at least Millets provided good customer service on that, even if the product was rubbish.
I also emailed an observation to the email address advertised on Millets website, advising them of the problem. To date Ive had no response!
I have to say that I have used other Peter Storm products, mainly an undervest for skiing, that is supposed and does indeed, wick moisture away from the skin. Maybe there is just a fundamental design flaw in those gloves? Waterproof they may be but thats only supposed to be in one direction, not both!
When it came to buying some new gloves, I was wary of Trekmates since the last pair I had, Trekmates Ski Dry, weren't waterproof for long - after a few hours in the rain they were wet through. But I liked the look of their Porelle gloves, so I gave them a second chance. Unlike Ski Dry which had a fleecy outer, the outer of these gloves is a polyester fabric, which is water-resistant itself. I tested this by holding them under a running tap - the water just rolled off. As well as being waterproof, they're windproof which helps to keep your hands warm. If it gets really cold, you'd probably get away with putting another pair of thin gloves on inside them. To make sure no water gets through, the gloves have a Porelle lining (hence the name), which is breathable as well as waterproof, so you don't get too hot and sweaty wearing them for long periods. The problem is that the lining isn't stitched in (it wouldn't be waterproof where the stitches go through), so if you take the glove off too fast the lining comes out. It hasn't happened to me yet, but I don't like the idea of trying to get the lining back in again! On the wrist of the glove is a velcro strap, to make sure it stays where it should and helps keep your hand warm by stopping wind or rain going in. The cuff of the glove also has an elasticated section which helps to keep the wet stuff out. For things like trekking poles and ice axes, the palm and thumb of the glove are reinforced with leather, so you get a better grip and stops the fabric from wearing through. The only extra feture I'd like to see on these gloves is a wrist loop, so you can take the gloves off but not have to put them back in a pocket somewhere. After describing all these features, you'd expect me to tell you the price is sky high. Well I won't - these gloves only cost me £20. Not bad, considering some of the other gloves in the shop!
Website - http://www.trekmates.co.uk/