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When looking for winter gear as the temperature drops, a pair of gloves is certainly a must-have. There are all types of gloves that could be useful for the purpose of keeping warm — merino wool is a superior fabric for warmth, while synthetic waterproof fabrics work best for activities like snowboarding or skiing. Leather gloves, of course, are one of the most popular materials to use, and for good reason. While they do provide warmth, they're not the warmest fabric by a long shot. So why would you choose leather gloves? The short answer is that they're the best types of gloves for outdoor work, because they can be used all year round and in any type of weather. Leather can indeed handle the cold fairly well, but the best leather gloves are a great pick for a more important reason: they protect your hands while also keeping them dexterous. Additionally, as the weather gets colder, leather still remains a flexible material, so they will provide dexterity in the cold as well as ensure warmth. This is a must when working in cold conditions where you need to be meticulous and accurate in your movements. Additionally, leather is a great pick for gloves because they provide a sturdy grip, which is another plus if you're lugging gear around or stacking up some firewood outside. Finally, leather is fairly water-resistant, so you don't have to worry about your hands getting colder if rain or snow should come your way(just as long as you're not dunking them directly into water).
Leather gloves also provide options: without insulation, they work best in warm or moderately cold temperatures. But add insulation, whether it be cashmere, wool, or other materials, and they can handle extreme winter weather without becoming overly bulky. In fact, some of the gloves on this list have a temperature rating of -30 degrees Fahrenheit. As we said before, leather isn't the warmest fabric — so if you're just looking to stay comfortable while winter camping or hiking, you might want to check out our other glove round-up. But you don't buy a pair of good leather gloves for warmth alone: you buy them to keep your hands flexible and functional as you work outdoors. In fact, you might want to wear gloves outside when it's hot out — because if you're working with dangerous materials, you'll want to protect your hands no matter the temperature. Leather gloves are also a great option for keeping hands safe without adding thick layers or materials that will just make your hands hot and sweaty. Additionally, they can handle the durability that outdoor work gear often requires: the friction, sturdy grip, and puncture-resistance of the material add a layer of protection that other gloves can't provide. So if you plan on spending a lot of time getting your hands dirty in the winter cold (or any type of weather), check out our picks for the best leather gloves below:
1. The Best Option Overall
These Wells Lamont gloves were our top pick because they're truly made to handle the outdoor work that leather gloves work best for. Crafted from 100% grain cowhide, they come outfitted with a leather palm patch to increase grip and durability for all sorts of outdoor jobs. They're abrasion-, water-, and puncture-resistant, with an elastic knit wrist to make them both easy to slip on and to keep the cold from sneaking in at wrist-level. They're insulated to handle more of the cold than just the leather keeps out, and one five-star reviewer writes: "As a New Englander who works a farm, warmth and durability [are] important! These fit the bill on both points." The price is also great for a pair of gloves you won't need to replace every season.
2. The Best 100% Leather Pair Under $20
This is an affordable pair from the company that gets three spots on this list — for under $20, they offer a comfortable fit and the same puncture-, water- and abrasion-resistance that leather is known for. However, these have an elastic cinch at the wrist and are less insulated and thick than our top pick. While that might not make them your choice for extremely cold weather, they are more versatile for year-round use: they'll work well for construction, farm work, gardening, welding, and anything and everything you need to do outside, no matter the temperature outside.
3. The Best Protective Pair for Warm Weather
If you're looking for a pair with a significant amount of stretch, you might want to go for a pair that has leather on the palm and synthetic fabric everywhere else. This pair is made with spandex for additional flexibility, and have neoprene on the fingertips to keep fingers as agile as possible as you work — and they won't provide insulation, which is great if you're buying gloves to protect your hands and not keep them warm. One five-star reviewer wrote: "Plenty of tree trimming and construction jobs and they held up extremely well. I love the fact that they are not stupid thick and not hot. I live in Florida and don't need trapped heat. These are the only gloves I'll ever buy."
4. The Best 100% Leather Pair for Warm Weather
These vented, unlined leather work gloves are a simple, sturdy, and extremely durable pair for any type of weather. They'll provide protection, flexibility, and dexterity in both wet and dry conditions, so these are the gloves you want if you work outside on construction projects, gardening, or other activities that require some protection without extreme insulation. They have an adjustable cuff with a vented wrist, so these are a breathable pair that will fit you perfectly.
5. The Best Leather Work Gloves for Freezing Temperatures
These gloves have a temperature rating of -30 degrees Fahrenheit, so this the pair you'll need if you're working in frigid temperatures. The warmth comes from the heavy, 100g fill in the form of double foam insulation and a fleece lining. The PVC on the palms and fingertips provide a firm grip even in the cold, and the cowhide leather is double-stitched with Kevlar thread to last for years. However, these really work best for the extreme cold — they're bulky and thick, so only consider these if you're working in negative temps.
6. The Best Heavy-Duty Leather Work Gloves
Made for forklift drivers, construction workers, truck drivers, steel plant workers, and other similar occupations, these goatskin gloves will do more than protect your hands from the cold. The Dupont Kevlar lining provide ANSI Level A5 Cut Protection, and are also extremely abrasion- and puncture-resistant. Additionally, the palms are vibration-resistant for more comfort when working with tools — and the leather also prevents oil and other liquids or chemicals from seeping inside. One reviewer writes: "This pair of Superior gloves is by far the best gloves I have ever bought for this job. They are cut, and impact resistant and water and oil resistant. I work 60+ hours a week...these gloves have literally been put through hell and are still holding up."
7. The Best Luxury Pair
We had to give a spot to these Land's End cashmere leather gloves: the cashmere lining makes them luxurious and comfortable to wear, and these gloves have touchscreen capability. That means you'll be able to use your GPS, your smartphone, and other devices while still wearing these gloves. Best of all, they're machine-washable — a spec that many leather gloves don't have, as leather is typically better to spot clean. These are a pricier option, but are a great pick for both outdoor work and comfortable, everyday wear. They're a pair you'll use all throughout the winter for years to come.
8. The Best Gauntlet-Style Gloves
Made with American deerskin leather, these leather gloves are made for things like motorcycle riding —- they offer a sturdy grip and also go up farther on the arm than the other gloves on this list. If you're looking for flexibility as well as protection that goes up to the forearm, this is a solid pick. They're thermal-lined for added warmth, too. One reviewer writes: "The gloves are very soft and flexible with plenty of room to get a snug fit over the sleeves of a riding jacket."
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