Free the Powder winter work gloves were designed and tested with the help of ski patrollers in Park City, Utah and ranchers & farmers in Kansas. Special thanks to our testers for doing their best to beat the crap out of our prototype gloves.
We learned a lot from talking to lots of people who work outside in the cold. We learned their likes and dislikes regarding gloves, and we also learned that they have a different set of variables they deem vital.
Winter cold weather work gloves require a unique set of design variables for optimum performance. Those variables include:
1) Toughness: winter weather conditions are brutal on your hands, so obviously they are brutal on your gloves. Almost everyone we talked to who works outside in the winter sacrifices dexterity, grip, and warmth for toughness. To make an even stronger point about toughness, NO glove was tough enough to warrant a high cost. Mostly winter workers choose inexpensive insulated work gloves because no quality gloves could even-come-close to holding up to hours per day of work in the cold and snow.
I myself have spent many, many winters wearing insulated work gloves and they just DO NOT CUT IT for grip and dexterity, so something better is needed. Most cheap gloves are made of pigskin, which has poor grip. That better something has to be tough, to get a working man or woman to spend hard earned money on it.
So we use leather, 1 mm thick leather, with a 1+ mm reinforcement patch that covers all areas of high wear of the palm. The type of leather is also important: properly tanned and treated premium grain cowhide is the most durable leather, with the best combination of grip and toughness. It’s what cattle ranchers use.
2) Grip: For the best grip, the palms of your gloves need to be made of soft, grippy leather that has been tanned specially for that purpose. The surface of your hands need to be free of sweat or dreaded clamminess, so maximum breathability is essential. We also recommend a leather treatment that enhances grip. That is what the primary goal of our own leather balm made of lanolin, beeswax, avocado oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. The best treatment does not make the palms sticky, but pretty darn close
3) Dexterity: Very similar to grip, but more focused on the free movement of your hands. The best dexterity for winter work gloves comes from premium grain, soft, grippy leather that molds to the shape of the hand. That is greatly assisted by utilizing a liner and insulation that is thinner and less lofty, such as Breathefil™ with 3M Thinsulate ®. Dexterity is also assisted by a short-cuff wrist closure with Velcro. The bigger the Velcro patch, the better the ultimate fit.
4) “Waterproof”: Water-resistance is important, but not at the expense of maximum breathability. The water-proofing should come from DWR, durable water repellent that is engineered into the leather and fabrics of the glove. Current technology of water-proof insert membranes puts you on a slippery slope of functionality, which decreases the versatility of the gloves. Avoiding sweat build is most important.
5) Warmth: Obviously it's cold in the winter, but working in the cold makes you very active, so you need a glove with moderate levels of insulation that balances the need for warmth with the equally important need to keep sweat under control.
Free the Powder short-cuff gloves are the perfect cold weather winter work gloves.