Winter Running Glove and Mitten Roundup

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There’s almost nothing that makes a long winter run more miserable than having freezing cold fingers. We’ve tested a variety of styles of mittens and gloves designed for the cold weather runner that will keep your hands comfortable so your feet can keep moving.

Black Diamond Midweight WoolTech Gloves
Since introducing its proprietary NuYarn fabric last year, Black Diamond has been incorporating it into a number of products for 2020. The Midweight WoolTech is a traditional glove style made from a blend of 52% merino wool, 42% polyester, 6% nylon, with a goat leather palm patch. The NuYarn fabric wraps thin wool fibers around a nylon core, combining performance aspects of wool with extra durability and moisture-wicking ability from the nylon. These WoolTech gloves come in three different thicknesses, and we prefer the midweight for its versatility. They insulate us comfortably in temps to the low 30s, and are still thin enough to fit under a mitten shell in extremely harsh conditions. The leather adds some welcome grip strength when taking the caps off drink flasks, but we found the touchscreen utility of the thumb and forefingers to be slightly tricky.

Arc’teryx Venta Mittens
Mittens are generally more effective than traditional gloves at keeping your fingers warm, but sometimes they can be so bulky that you lose any sort of dexterity. The Arc’teryx Venta remedies that through thin material construction that doesn’t compromise insulation. Its exterior surface consists of a windproof, breathable and highly water-resistant Gore-Tex Infinium fleece, while the interior uses synthetic OctaLoft insulation for additional warmth. TPU strips at the fingertips and across the palms provide some grip and added durability, and the cuff has stretch fleece for easy off/on capability. The overall shape of these mittens is relatively slim in comparison to other mittens, which also helps with dexterity in addition to the thin overall construction. We had no problem manipulating headlamp buttons or jacket zippers while wearing the Venta.

Nathan Reflective Convertible Glove/Mitt
If you can’t decide between a glove or mitten, or if you’re facing a variety of temperature and/or wind conditions, these convertible mitts are a great option. The exterior of the mitten is a wind-resistant shell with a spider-web reflective design for high visibility to approaching headlights. If your fingers are getting toasty, the mitten hood can be tucked into a pouch on top of your wrist, and the thermal stretch fabric gloves still provide nice insulation and have a DWR finish for mild water resistance. The mittens were comfortable in sub-freezing New England conditions. One nice accent is a chamois thumb pad for wiping your face, although we were somewhat disappointed with the functionality of the TruTouch index finger when trying to use our smartphones.

Tracksmith NDO Mittens
The NDO stands for “No Days Off.” These mittens give you the greatest versatility of use as well as the best insulation and weather resistance among this test group. The NDO is a dual-layer mitten system that combines a soft interior mitt with a highly weather-resistant shell that is lined with soft merino wool. In addition to the normal insulating character of mittens, the two layers trap air between them for added warmth in harsh conditions. These would be our choice for running in a deep freeze. The interior liner can be worn on its own for temps into the 30s, and it has a soft fabric blend on the palm and thumbs for soft wiping against your skin. There is no official touchscreen capacity to these mittens, but we found that the interior liner used by itself could operate our phones effectively until they started getting saturated with sweat.

All of the items included in this roundup are now available on the company websites.

Model Style Touchscreen Compatibility MSRP
Black Diamond Midweight WoolTech Gloves Thumb and index fingers $40
Arc’teryx Venta Mitten Thumb $59
Nathan Reflective Convertible Glove and Mitten Index finger $35
Tracksmith NDO Dual-layer Mittens None $48
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About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, California native, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 25 years of experience in endurance sports. He was a collegiate rower at UCLA, then dabbled in marathons and Ironman-distance triathlons before falling in love with ultras in the early 2000s. His favorite locations to run include Marin County, CA, and the Sierra Nevada mountains, and he loves exploring America's National Parks. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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