The Raynaud’s Association gets asked this question over and over again: “What’s the best gloves for Raynaud’s sufferers?”
As much as we’d like to say we’ve found the perfect solution, there is no one perfect glove or mitten for Raynaud’s sufferers. If only it were that simple! But no one glove will work for everyone, and no one glove will likely be the single solution for every Raynaud’s sufferer each day. For most of us, it’s best to have a “portfolio” of gloves and mittens that can be used in a variety of situations based on such factors as: the severity of a person’s Raynaud’s, specific weather conditions, planned activities for that particular day, etc.
Even with heated gloves, there are thinner, more flexible ones (like those from Gobi) and thicker ones with stronger (but heavier) batteries that provide more heat (Volt and Gerbing make good ones). We’ve also recently tested HXT’s Marathon Microwavable Mittens that could be a good solution in situations when dexterity is less of an issue (running, walking outdoors, driving, etc.). The Warming Store publishes an excellent Heated Glove Guide. Just keep in mind that it’s written from a different perspective than the way we generally evaluate these products. Their testers are looking for the best performing gloves for sport applications, whereas we may prefer gloves that don’t look and feel like ski gloves. Our members are often focused on support for daily tasks, and are willing to trade off some heat for greater dexterity, fashion and comfort.
New discoveries include products from two manufacturers who offer Raynaud’s sufferers warm fingers without the historic trade-off of looking fashionable: The self-heating gloves from FibreHeat™ are stylish, comfortable gloves developed by a team of fashion insiders and technology executives on a mission to bring relief to Raynaud’s sufferers. The 100% merino wool gloves and mittens made by Öjbro Vantfabrik of Sweden have four layers of insulation for warmth and beautiful multi-color designs that are best described as wearable art. These more attractive options may not offer the level of protection offered by gloves powered by external heat sources, but they are excellent choices for daily activities requiring more dexterity than found in a thick ski glove and eliminate the stigma of dressing like Nanook of the North.
When evaluating options for the best gloves for people with Raynaud’s, here are some criteria to keep in mind:
Time Outdoors – Will you be quickly in and out of the car going to the office or the store? Or outdoors for hours cross-country skiing? The level and length of heat required will depend on your planned activities and related amount of time exposed to the cold.
Comfort – A heavier battery will provide longer/higher levels of heat, but may not be comfortable to wear.
Coverage – It can be a lost cause if cold air is allowed to creep into the gap between a coat sleeve and the glove.
Dexterity – Lighter, stretchy materials provide greater ability to control our fingers, but can be a real trade-off for better warmth.
Business Impression – Microwaveable mittens or hefty heated gloves may offer great warmth, but you can’t easily wear them to a business meeting or a client dinner unless you know you’ll take them off before meeting your clients or associates.
Fashion Statement – Some of the warmest gloves (particularly several heated options) have branding written all over them that may say to others “I’m made for the slopes!”
We’ve researched and tested a number of solutions that may provide benefits to fellow Frosties in their day-to-day needs to keep fingers and toes warm, and have included links above to products reviewed in our Product Showcase. Hope you’ll find them useful!
Editor’s Note: While this article was first published in December 2014, we are constantly updating it as new products and information become available.