Wondering how to keep your hands warm running in cold weather? We’ve got you covered!
In this article, we’ll be going through the reason behind cold hands and a bunch of different ways to keep your fingers warm while you’re out in frigid weather.
It’s not always as simple as it seems, so keep reading for some rules, tips, and tricks so you never have to struggle with freezing fingers or chilblains in cold weather again!
Why Do My Hands Get Cold While Running?
When the external temperature is cold, your body kicks into a kind of survival mode. It begins to send more blood than usual to the torso, to warm and protect vital organs.
This means that less blood gets to your extremities. Impaired circulation in the hands leads to them feeling cold, and most likely a little stiff. The saying “cold hands, warm heart” is quite literal!
Of course, there’s also a high chance of being exposed to icy air and biting wind. When coupled with a decrease in warm blood flow, the hands can very quickly start to feel abnormally cold.
The easiest solution? Wear running gloves. If that’s not quite enough, we’ll discuss some other options further down.
Why Do Gloves Need to Fit Perfectly?
When wearing poorly-fitting gloves, you leave yourself open to even worse cold-hand problems.
If your gloves are too loose, sneaky breezes can get in the cuffs, keeping your hands cold.
On the other hand, if they’re too tight, they’re going to be a bad mix with your impaired circulation and may lead to numbness or tingling.
And if it’s really cold, you may need to layer gloves, just like you would wearing a baselayer and jacket.
What are the Different Types of Gloves?
1. Glove Liner
Glove liners are thin gloves made from sweat-wicking material.
A glove liner is an excellent idea if you have a pair of gloves you love that are slightly too big for you and you don’t want to get a new pair. The liner just fills in the extra space nicely, creating a more snug fit and keeping your hands warmer.
A glove liner can also function as a lightweight, thin glove in cool spring or fall weather.
2. Full-Finger Gloves
These are your standard gloves. They come in a huge variety, so you may need to do a bit of research before you find exactly the right thing for you.
Generally, they’re made of lightweight materials that are breathable and moisture-wicking but that also keep the cold out. They should be windproof and provide some kind of thermal insulation.
Many full gloves come with touchscreen capabilities, so you can still use your phone without needing to remove your gloves. Anti-slip detailing on the palm is also common, which goes a long way towards preventing flying water bottles.
3. Fingerless Gloves
As their name suggests, these gloves have no fingers to them. Your fingertips are exposed to the cold air and wind, while your palm and wrist are covered and kept warm.
These kinds of gloves can be a good option for those who tend to overheat but still need to keep their hands from freezing. They’re also a great choice for shoulder seasons, when it’s not really cold enough for full-fingered gloves yet.
Mittens don’t cover each finger separately. They have a “finger pouch”, which houses all four fingers in a single covering.
Typically, they’re the warmest of the lot. But they don’t quite offer the same flexibility as those with separate fingers.
You can find combination gloves, which have separate fingers but include a mitten wind-sleeve. The sleeve can be pulled over the fingers in the event that you need extra warmth while out and about.
Other Ways to Keep Your Hands Warm
In many cases, a good pair of gloves is enough to keep the hands warm and protected from freezing external temperatures.
But in some cases, an extra option may be necessary to keep them comfortable and functioning as they should.
Chemical Hand Warmers
Chemical hand warmers are designed to be activated by exposure to air. They’re wrapped in air-tight packaging, and all you need to do is tear it open to start the warming process.
Give the warmer a little shake and stick it inside your pocket. As it warms, you can improve the circulation in your hands by sticking them in the pocket with the warmer.
If you want to stick it inside a glove, you can buy gloves with a dedicated pouch for the warmer so the warmth is right where it needs to be all the time.
But many chemical warmers are a little too big to wear inside a glove. It’s worth considering a warmer and glove combo.
- Requires no external power source
- Versatile and easily portable
- Odorless and silent
- Fairly affordable
- Not reusable (not the most environmentally-friendly!)
USB Hand Warmers
USB hand warmers are usually lightweight and easy to carry with you. They charge in just a few hours, which makes them pretty cost-effective and easy to use.
Just turn them on and they’ll warm up pretty quick. If you’re stuck with a low battery on your phone, you can also use it to recharge your phone!
- Easily portable
- Charges quickly
- Can recharge phone
- Not suitable for wet or snowy weather
How Should You Keep Your Hands Warm As It Gets Colder?
Above 40 Degrees
If the weather is above 40 degrees, you can get away with a light glove. If they’re windproof, that’s usually all you need to prevent the cold from getting to your skin.
30 to 39 degrees
As it gets slightly colder, a lightweight, windproof, softshell glove is a good choice. Something windproof and slightly resistant to moisture will keep the worst of the cold away from your hands.
10 to 29 Degrees
At this temperature, slightly heavier softshell gloves are a better choice. Alternatively, use a lightweight glove underneath a pair of mittens for a double layer of protection.
Below 10 Degrees
When the weather dips below 10 degrees, your best choice is heavy gloves or mittens with excellent windproofing abilities. Add glove liners for added warmth.
Rules for Keeping Your Hands Warm
1. Take Care of Your Core
The better care you take of your core, the happier your body will be. When you’re making an effort to warm your core using your clothing, your body will see less of a need to pump the majority of your blood to your center.
This leaves plenty of warm, oxygen-rich blood going towards your fingers and toes. Layer up on your torso and you’ll most likely find that your hands stay warmer even if your gloves are a little on the lightweight side.
2. Stay Dry
Wet equals cold! Especially if you’re wearing moisture-wicking gear. This kind of technology is designed to bring moisture to the surface so it can evaporate, but it often has a cooling effect as well.
Make an effort to stay dry, and you’ll most likely be much warmer. If you do get wet, try to dry off as fast as possible. This is also where chemical or USB hand warmers come in handy (although if you’re running in wet weather, you shouldn’t take a USB hand warmer with you).
Using a chemical or USB hand warmer to quickly heat up wet hands can effectively bring them back to a healthy temperature so you can carry on safely.
3. Block the Wind
Windproofing is essential. No matter how well-made or tightly woven your knitted glove is, wind can get in. And wind can be the one thing that keeps you cold.
If you want a fleece glove specifically, make sure the one you choose is windproof. If you’ve found a waterproof glove, it’s already also windproof.
Don’t skimp on this! Windproof gloves may be a little more pricey than others, but it’s a small price to pay to stop your hands from freezing when you’re outdoors.
Of course, they’ll also come in handy if you’re camping or having other outdoor adventures.
4. Avoid Tight Clothing
Tight clothing might seem like a good idea in the winter, especially if you’re layering up. But shirts with tight arms or cuffs can actually impair circulation and prevent the blood from pumping adequately to your hands.
This can keep your hands cold and stiff! Choose shirts with loose cuffs and sleeves so your blood can pump easily to your cold hands and warm them up. The same goes for your toes!
5. Keep Moving
Movement is excellent for getting your circulation going and warming up the muscles, even those little ones in your hands and fingers. The more you move, the warmer your hands will be!
You can incorporate some simple warm-up exercise into your winter routine to get the blood flowing nicely to your hands. Arm circles, finger stretches, and wrist prep can all help to start off nice and warm.
If you find your hands getting colder during your run, shake your hands up a little bit so they get a bit more movement going.