Anyone who lives in a cold climate knows that fingers are the first things to go numb when the temperature drops. You’d think then that the importance of a good pair of gloves would be obvious, but they’re often overlooked – considered an afterthought not really worth spending money on.

Gloves might be one of the last things on your shopping list, but a good, high-quality pair will do you right for season after season – particularly if you live somewhere that suffers from Siberian winters like Highsnobiety‘s Berlin HQ does. If you’re fortunate enough to not suffer from hellish, freezing temperatures for months on end, then you’ll probably just need something to keep your fingers warm for a few weeks of the year – or the occasional snowball fight.

Whether you’re looking for a quick fix to keep the weather at bay or something more substantial to last for seasons to come, here are four things to keep in mind when hunting for a new set of gloves.

For more expert consumer tips, take a look at the rest of our Check Before You Buy series.

Know Your Glove Size

Mens Gloves

Yes, there is such a thing as a glove size and yes, that means yet another number for you to remember. But just like your head size and belt size (which is different from your pant size, FYI), knowing your measurements will make the shopping process that much easier.

Dents, which has been making leather gloves since 1777, has a great sizing guide on its website. Men’s glove sizes range from 7-11 ½, and women’s range from 6-8 ½. Like shoe sizes, there’s a slight difference between the two when it comes to converting, but thankfully Dents’ guide eliminates the guesswork.

Gloves can also come in generic S, M, L and XL, too – but again, Dents’ guide will help determine just what size you need. If you’re still in doubt, just get out there and try some on for size.

Your gloves should fit snug but not constricting, and should cover the end of your fingertips without much extra room.

A leather glove should fit your hand like a leather jacket fits your body—snug, but not super tight. You don’t want too much room around your fingers, but you also want to be able to clench a fist comfortably—remember, the skin will stretch a little over time.

Gloves made out of technical fabrics like neoprene will stretch, but you still don’t want them to feel like your hands are being strangled.

Find Gloves to Suit Your Style

Mens Gloves

As with all new wardrobe additions, you should decide exactly what you need from your new purchase before you start dropping your hard-earned cash. If you often wear hoodies, tees, and sweatpants, you’re probably better served with a sportier set of gloves. Likewise, a dressier pair will complement a more tailored wardrobe.

Touchscreen-friendly gloves are readily available at all ends of the market, and are pretty much standard issue considering how much time we spend with our hands glues to our phones these days. More classic versions tend to be old-school in their phone-friendliness – i.e. not at all – although some heritage brands have started incorporating touchscreen technology into their offerings.

Smokers will find that fingerless gloves are particularly helpful when it comes to their habit – it’s tricky to light a cigarette in a pair of mittens, after all. Convertible gloves can strike a balance between being warm and freeing up your fingers, but lose a little bit in the looks department.

If you’re looking for a pair that’ll hold up on the slopes or an impromptu snowball fight, synthetic and water-resistant materials like ripstop or cordura are going to help you a lot more than a wool-acrylic blend or cashmere-lined leather, so keep that in mind too.

Think How Much You Want to Spend

Mens Gloves

Of course, you can find cheap gloves pretty much anywhere – especially at the fast fashion end of the spectrum. Uniqlo offers affordable options which are made from its signature Heattech fabrics, which are also touchscreen compatible. We can’t guarantee they’ll last more than a season or two, though.

Army surplus stores can be great for warm gloves at low prices – especially if you’re after some fingerless models. Heavy-duty leather options from brands like Filson are reasonably priced and built with longtime durability in mind – it doesn’t hurt that their ruggedly handsome appeal only gets better with wear, either.

Of course, high-end brands like Thom Browne, Orley, and WANT Les Essentiels De La Vie offer luxurious gloves with prices to match – often with indulgent details like cashmere linings.

It really comes down to what you need and how much you’re willing to spend – as always, we’d advise investing in something that’ll last for years – just think twice before you leave them in the cab.

Consider Some Statement Pieces

Of course, it wouldn’t be streetwear without some highly coveted options from some of the most talked-about brands in the business. Palace’s FW15 adidas collab included some sporty high-performance gloves, while C.E dropped a pair adorned with suitably wacky graphics, and Supreme released some seasonally-appropriate options in its FW15 The North Face collection.

While we love statement pieces as much as the next publication, it’s worth considering how your new purchase will fit with the rest of your wardrobe – a pair of snow gloves covered with obscure Japanese sci-fi graphics won’t look so hot if you’re forced to wear a suit to work.

For more expert consumer tips, take a look at the rest of our Check Before You Buy series.

Related Shopping Tips

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Words by Alec Leach
Freelance Writer/Editor/Consultant

Alec Leach grew up in Brighton, England, but now lives in Berlin

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