Cozy fingers: the best thin & warm winter gloves
Do you really need to be forced to choose between mobility or warmth with your winter gloves?
Why not actually get both?
I know, I know. Thin and warm winter gloves seem to be quite the elusive sight (or purchase.) But they do exist!
However, it’s good to have reasonable expectations.
For example, you can grab a pair like Head’s Sensatec gloves. These are proper winter gloves which are also relatively thin and provide for increased dexterity. However, this model is not the “paper-thin” fit you might be looking for.
Alternatively, you can use something like the SmartWool liners. These are a pair of so called “glove liners”. While they’re slimmer and great for somewhat cold weather…
…they won’t perform as well at significantly lower temperatures.
That’s what I meant: you can have both, but within reasonable range.
Usually, thin gloves’ optimal performance lasts until around 23-30°F. Anything below and you should look elsewhere.
I’m about to give you 4 recommendations for what I consider the best thin winter gloves for both warmth and dexterity. Some of them would be better than others for some activities – for example running, riding a bike, working in the chilly outdoors.
ALL of them, however, are made by the leading winter wear brands.
Nylon, polyester, spandex.
Merino wool (45%), acrylic, nylon, elastane
Polyester, spandex, PVC rubber
4 best thin & warm gloves for a cozy winter
1. Best balanced thin winter gloves:
Head with Sensatec
If you want the best of both worlds, these Head gloves are your best choice. They’re significantly thinner than other models providing similar warmth, yet a bit bulkier than ultra thin liners.
This is a pair of cold weather gloves for athletes or people who love using their smartphones.
The secret to the latter lies in their Sensatec technology. This transforms them into a pretty accurate pair of thin smartphone gloves for the winter months. I’d say the Sensatec outperforms other pairs boasting “100% smartphone accuracy” – which is unattainable anyways.
The design is sleek and thin, but not paper-thin. Still compact and flexible enough to not add any unneeded bulk on your hands.
The problem? These can be considered thin warm gloves only if your area gets hit by winters at or over 30°F. For anything below 30 (give or take 5°F), these probably wouldn’t be an optimal choice.
As long as you like running and your environment is over 30 degrees, though…Well, these are the thinnest warmest gloves for any keen athlete!
Bonus points for the awesome silicone palm design and the stable, reliable grip they have because of it.
2. Best cold weather gloves with dexterity:
Under Armour ColdGear
If the temperatures hit lower levels, run towards Under Armour’s ColdGear product line. That’s a rule, because these are the warmest thin gloves available.
These fleece gloves withstand harsher conditions and can still be considered quite thin at the same time. No, they’re not as thin as liner gloves and I don’t really recommend you trying to use them as such.
However, considering the warmth they provide, these are not bulky or uncomfortable at all.
The big news here is the thermo-conductive inner coating. It helps you retain your own heat instead of letting it evaporate somewhere there in the cold winter air.
Paired with the Scent Control tech (a.k.a minimizing odors and sweatiness), you’re in safe hands. Similar to the Head, you’ve got extra gripping power through a silicone printed palm.
You can still use these as relatively thin cold weather gloves for smartphones, but…It’s only the index finger that supports proper smartphone usage. Keep that in mind!
3. Best glove liners for cold weather:
Alright. Maybe you just want something lighter that is OK for mild winters, but not much more. A lot of liners have some cold-resistance built in them, but Smartwools perform the best.
They do so because almost half of their material (45%) is made of merino wool. And you know how awesome merino wool is in giving you warmth during the winter!
The other part of the materials feature 45% acrylic, 9% nylon and 1% elastane. Also, these are knit in Taiwan, so you get some premium manufacture!
If you’re looking for dexterity, you’ll receive that. However, keep in mind that there’s no silicone grip here. So, if you plan on doing some winter sports, stick to other models.
If you, however, enjoy running in not-that-harsh winters, you’ll love these. You can also always slip them under another pair of gloves if it’s too cold outside.
Two things to keep in mind. First, these are somewhat smartphone compatible, but not as great as the previous two.
Second, compared to usual knit gloves, the fingers here are a bit longer. I haven’t had an issue with long-finger gloves, but some people don’t like it.
As for the manufacturer: I’ve praised Smartwool in a merino wool comparison post. They’re one of the big boys here, and quality is their second name!
4. Reasonable thin insulated gloves:
Mountain Made’s pair of warm and thin gloves for cold weather are actually quite comparable with the Head. They’re best suited for weather that’s 32°F or above and balance being thin with performance and functionality.
I’d recommend them for any sports activities and general use.
Honestly, this is a set of especially great thin gloves for winter biking. There’s the grip you need, as well as the good balance of materials and their lack of bulk.
A personal pet peeve of mine is the zipper, because I simply can’t stand designs with zippers. I always seem to get them stuck and struggle with them.
Putting a velcro strap seems like a better idea…
But really, in the long run, that’s just a small detail.
The stretch for active use, quick drying lining with extra softness and comfort, the compatibility with smartphone usage…
There’s a lot to like here. Do note that even the manufacturer says these tend to run a bit smaller than usual gloves. Pick a size that’s a tad larger than your standard purchases.
Also, these seem to be a bit more water resistant than any liners or the Head gloves. They might be on the same ground as the Under Armours.
True winter gloves or glove liners:
Which to pick and when?
Basically, these are two different approaches to how you keep your fingers warm during the colder months of the year.
The problem with some classic winter gloves is how bulky and unresponsive they are.
Really, some of them have such a “fat” design that you can’t even hit smartphone keys, grab a steering wheel properly, or similar much needed activities.
Some people prefer to pick a thinner “main” glove and supplement it with an even thinner pair of winter glove liners underneath.
This is what some call the two-layered approach. Whenever you feel you need the warmth and dexterity liners provide you with, you remove the upper layer (that being the gloves.)
All of this reminds me of how I do some cozy layering with my winter sheets…but the bedroom is different than outdoor activities, right?
By doing so, you’ll be able to do activities that require more flexibility without any issue. Should you switch back to a harsher environment, you can just put on your second layer again.
Of course, all of this also has to do with where exactly do you live, how much you sweat and other personal factors.
From my point of view, grabbing something like the Head pair I reviewed above is the most optimal solution. It’s a bit of a hybrid – neither a full-blown winter glove, nor the paper-thin set of liners.
Yet for most situations in mild to slightly colder winters they’ll provide you with both warmth and dexterity. No need to layer things – which, frankly, has always been pure pain for me.