Mittens vs. Gloves: Similarities & Differences Between Them

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People often get confused between gloves and mittens and how specifically they are different from one another.

This article focuses explicitly on gloves vs. mittens while explaining their other aspects.

As the year 2022 progresses, we are getting nearer to the snowy winter months. This means everyone needs the proper protection for this weather, right?

We’d love to enjoy the snow, warm cocoa, and fun winter sports comfortably. Well, that’s what we are here for.

This article is written precisely to help the readers get all possible information about gloves and mitts and pick the pair that suits them best!

difference between gloves and mittens

What is the Difference Between Mittens and Gloves?

Basically, a glove is a garment that covers the whole hand. They tend to have an opening for each finger.

Usually, gloves come with a sheath that covers each finger, but if there is an opening for fingers and no sheath for each finger, they are called “fingerless gloves.”

Gloves also come in various types and are often made of different materials. The most common types are fabric gloves- leather and cotton.

Moreover, there are also various other materials of gloves that are used for protecting the hands. Latex, rubber, and plastic gloves have risen drastically during the pandemic.

latex gloves

On the other hand, mittens or mitts are a type of glove that covers the foremost part of the hand, palm, and fist, but they do not have separate openings for each finger.

It is believed that fingers maintain their warmth better when they are in contact with each other. Some mitts have a different opening for the thumb, while others do not.

While wearing mittens, one feels that they are wearing a warm pocket. However, they do restrict one’s hand movements.

The significant difference is the appearance and the way they are designed, followed by the fact that mittens restrict some hand movements while gloves do not.

In order to overcome these, there are also what one calls “hybrids,” which are a combination of gloves and mitts, which enables one to conquer the contrast between them.

Comparison between Gloves and Mittens


When it comes to mobility, gloves are much more preferred over mitts. As gloves cover the entire hand and have separate openings for each finger, they provide fantastic versatility.

Compared to gloves, mittens do not have separate slots for each finger. They usually have an opening for the thumb and the other for the rest of the four fingers.

There are also a few gloves that do not have a thumb opening and have a pocket-like space for your hands.

In brief, gloves provide more mobility than mittens.


In terms of warmth, mittens are preferred more than gloves. As mittens do not have separate openings for the fingers, they tend to keep the hands cozy.

It is said that fingers maintain their warmth better when they are in contact with each other. And since mittens provide that, they tend to keep the hands warmer.

Gloves, on the other hand, have a separate opening for each finger, losing the essence of keeping the fingers packed together.

Even when the glove and the mitten are made of the same material, mittens provide more warmth.

To conclude, when it comes to warmth, mittens are better than gloves.

durable mittens


We can concur with what is more breathable by the inferences above. As we know, mittens are warmer and, thus, do not have mobility for the hand, restricting its movements.

Furthermore, gloves provide mobility but are not that good at providing warmth due to the separate openings for fingers.

Thus, gloves provide more breathability than mittens and are better for your hands as they do not let them sweat and become damp as mittens do.


Gloves have separate finger openings that protect or keep your hand warm by covering each finger independently.

Warm gloves are made from a variety of artificial and natural materials. Leather, wool, and cotton are raw materials, whereas polyester, nylon, neoprene, polyurethane, spandex, and polypropylene are synthetic materials. 

Waterproof gloves have breathable waterproof inserts for added protection. Reinforced palms and fingers provide a better grip and increased durability and abrasion resistance.

Mittens resemble gloves, but they only have one thumb. 

The most common materials used to make mittens are the same as those of gloves: synthetics like polyester, nylon, polyurethane, and neoprene; natural fibers like wool, leather, cotton, and various blends. 

The most vulnerable parts of the mitten are reinforced with leather and various artificial materials. 

This palm and thumb reinforcement allows for a firm grip on ski poles, snow shovels, and ice-climbing tools.

Skiing: Gloves vs. Mittens

While skiing, ski gloves or mitts are used by skiers to protect their hands. A lot of skiers, however, prefer gloves over mittens.

Nevertheless, there are no restrictions on using mittens for skiing. However, skiing with mittens takes longer to get used to, as skiers continuously need to hold the poles. Moreover, mittens are far more helpful when skiing in a cold climate.

Skiers tend to lean more towards mittens because they provide better dexterity and are much more helpful in handling the gear.

skiing gloves and mittens

As skiers have to hold poles to move, gloves are far more equipped in this area as they provide more mobility than mittens.

Moreover, if someone is skiing in a warmer climate, they might want gloves that provide proper waterproofing.

In a nutshell, skiers prefer gloves over mittens.

Snowboarding: Gloves vs. Mittens

In contrast to skiers, snowboarders prefer mittens in colder places. Although they use sometimes use both gloves and mittens, there is no one perfect garment when it comes to snowboarding.

Some snowboarders wear mittens as they do not need the dexterity that skiers do, but they need the warmth that mittens provide.

Moreover, some snowboarders wear gloves as it is easier for them to take off and put on bindings at the start of each run.

Gloves or mittens for snowboarding are often exchangeable for use. It just depends on the location of the snowboarding activity.

If a snowboarder is looking for warmth, then mittens are the ideal option; if they are looking for mobility, gloves are the ones to go for.

The same goes for ice fishing gloves and ice hockey gloves– you need fantastic mobility in both!

snowboarding gloves and mittens

If they are in a warmer area, gloves will be a better fit, and if they are somewhere snow tends to melt frequently, a good waterproofed pair of mittens or gloves will be ideal.

Snow gloves are specifically designed to keep one’s hands warm and dry. They are generally made using a three-layer design, the outer shell of nylon, leather, Kevlar, or other similar material.

To conclude, snowboarders prefer gloves and mittens; it just comes down to what they are looking for.

So, Ultimately, Which is Better- Mittens or Gloves?

In mittens vs. gloves, mittens are great for venturing outside in the cold but aren’t ideal for everyday tasks like cooking or cleaning.

Gloves are better for such tasks but aren’t as warm as mittens. It all comes down to personal preference.

Nonetheless, gloves and mittens share many characteristics. For example, the materials most commonly used in both types of handwear are nearly the same. 

Furthermore, their primary function is to protect hands from direct skin contact with cold, snow, and water, thereby reducing the harmful effects of exposure to low temperatures.

In cold weather, your hands will freeze if you do not wear proper handwear, inhibiting you from focusing on your daily tasks. 

So while you understand the primary difference between them, please remember that there is no right or wrong answer. 

As I said above, it all comes down to the personal choice between mittens vs. gloves. 

So take whatever you prefer and enjoy your winter!

Final Words

Gloves and mitts can be used interchangeably, but a person chooses one over the other due to mobility, breathability, warmth, etc.

As mentioned above, gloves and mittens serve almost the same purpose. They keep one’s hands warm and protect one from any damage.

It is said that mittens are better than gloves when providing warmth, but gloves are preferable for better hand movements.

Ultimately, a person can choose depending on their needs and personal preferences.

You can also check out various glove brands like Burton, Black Diamond, etc. to review their suitability for frigid weather and winter sports.

Stay warm!

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