Here in the GREAT State of Minnesota, we’ve recently had unseasonably high temps for this time of year. However, this mitten man knows better than to write off the cold weather! Winter is knocking on our doors, and I know parents have been gearing up to keep their little ones warm and protected this season.
As you are preparing for the cold and snow, one of the most common questions I get from customers is whether to armor their kids with gloves or mittens. Both are great options, but they each have their pros and cons. In this blog, we’ll discuss the basics of mittens vs gloves and which style fits best for your child’s needs. Snow let’s begin!
Understanding the Basics: Mitten vs Glove
A mitten is a type of handwear that covers the entire hand but does not have individual finger separations like gloves. Instead, most of the fingers share a single large compartment, with the thumb usually being separated in its own smaller section. This design allows for more warmth as the fingers generate heat together, making mittens particularly suitable for cold weather.
Gloves are another type of warm garment that covers the hands. The big difference between gloves and mittens is the feature that gloves provide individual openings for each finger and the thumb. The separate finger compartments in gloves enable more precise movements, making them suitable for activities requiring fine motor skills, such as typing, playing musical instruments, or engaging in certain sports.
Mittens vs Gloves: Advantages and Disadvantages
When it comes to choosing mittens or gloves for your children several advantages of mittens come to mind. Particularly, mittens provide advantages in warmth and ease of use for young kids. Here are some key pros to remember about mittens:
Everyone wants to know - “are mittens or gloves warmer?” Because mittens are designed to keep the fingers together in the shared compartment, they generate and retain more body heat than gloves. This benefit comes in handy during those super cold weather days!
Backed by Science: Mittens have a smaller external surface area compared to gloves. According to the principles of thermodynamics, heat loss is proportional to surface area. Therefore, mittens lose heat more slowly because there's less surface area exposed to the cold compared to gloves, which have individual fingers increasing the overall surface area.
Easier to Wear
For young children, especially toddlers who are becoming more and more independent, mittens are easier for kids to put on and off themselves. There’s no confusion for young kids on which finger goes in which hole. They only need to worry about getting their thumb in and the rest is a piece of cake!
Oftentimes kids find that mittens are more comfortable than gloves. Mittens allow their fingers to move freely. Whereas in gloves their fingers are restricted to their individual sheath.
Suitable for Most Winter Activities
Younger children often play in the snow by running around, making snowballs, and grabbing fistfuls to eat “snowcones”. Mittens are perfectly suitable for these activities since they don’t need the dexterity that gloves offer.
Since we talked about the many advantages of mittens, it’s only fair to also bring up some cons about them. Getting the whole picture helps you make the right choice when it comes to keeping your little ones warm. Here are the cons of mittens:
The most significant downside of mittens is the limited finger mobility they offer. Since all the fingers are in one compartment, tasks requiring fine motor skills, like tying shoelaces, picking up small objects, or zipping a jacket, can be challenging.
Potential for Overheating
It is rare, but in milder temps mittens could cause the hands to overheat. When hands overheat it can lead to discomfort and sweating. This can be particularly concerning in active play where the body generates extra heat. The sweating can make the inside of the mittens damp which could then lead to a slight chill in the hands if the activity slows and the sweat begins to cool.
Size and Fit Issues
Finding the right fit can sometimes be more challenging with mittens, as they need to accommodate all the fingers in one space. If the fit is too loose, it can reduce the warmth and functionality of the mittens. Conversely, if the fit is too tight it can constrict your child’s blood flow to their fingers, limit their dexterity, and cause discomfort.
Now it's time to talk about all things glove-related! You might be sold on the mitten in the ‘mittens versus gloves’ debate, but wait till you hear about the advantages of gloves. Let’s begin with the pros:
By this point in the blog, you’ve probably heard me talking about gloves and dexterity. Well, that's because it's important! The separate sheaths for fingers allow for finer motor control. This feature is crucial for activities that require precision, such as writing, using smart devices, crafting the perfect snowman, or engaging in sports. The last thing you want is your child taking off their protective handwear because they can’t function properly with them on.
Personal Comfort and Preference
As children grow, they start to develop personal preferences. Some children may find gloves more stylish and comfortable, especially if they are accustomed to the freedom of finger movement. Some children find mittens to be too restrictive.
Better Fit and Adjustability
Because of the separate sections for the fingers, gloves allow for a more contoured and precise fit. Oftentimes, gloves are designed for sports or outdoor work, they can have additional features like reinforced grip areas and padding for better fit and functionality.
You can’t talk about the advantages without talking about the cons when it comes to gloves. Although they are an excellent choice for keeping your precious children’s hands warm, there are some negatives to consider. Here are the cons when deciding between gloves vs mittens:
Probably the biggest disadvantage of gloves is the fact that they are just not as warm as mittens. If you live in a state with extreme cold temps, this may not be the way to go. Due to the fingers being separated they tend to lose more heat compared to mittens.
Less Suitable for Young Children
Young kids are always fighting for their independence. Unfortunately, gloves are not the easiest for young kids to put on by themselves. Oftentimes they have difficulty lining up the correct finger with its respective sheath. Kids can get frustrated and give up altogether, leading to even colder hands.
Depending on the quality and design, gloves can sometimes be more expensive than mittens. They also may require more maintenance, especially if they have special features like touchscreen capabilities etc.. This might be a consideration for parents, especially given how quickly kids can outgrow or lose them.
Special Features to Look For
- Waterproof and Breathable: Nobody likes soggy hands. Look for materials that keep the wet out but let the sweat escape.
- Insulation: From fleece to thinsulate, the right insulation makes all the difference.
- Adjustable Wrist Straps: Keep snow out and warmth in. Plus, they're great for keeping those mittens and gloves from disappearing.
- Long Cuffs: Help prevent cold air from entering and heat escaping with extended cuffs to go over your child’s coat. No more snow packed wrists!
Wrapping It Up
Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the mittens vs gloves debate. It's all about what works best for your kiddo's needs and activities. Think of it as a fun experiment - try both and see what your little ones prefer!