The best warm gloves vary, depending on the person wearing the gloves and what he or she will be doing while wearing them. Heavy ski gloves, for example, are quite warm and perfect for skiers and snowboarders, but they may be less suitable for horseback riders or people who are working outside. There are a few things to consider when evaluating gloves which will help people choose the best gloves for their needs.
A few traits are common to all warm gloves. The first is the presence of waterproofing, so that the gloves do not get wet from ice, snow, and liquids. If the gloves get wet, they can get cold, and their insulating properties will be greatly reduced. Good gloves should also have a wicking liner that pulls moisture away from the hand, keeping it dry.
In addition to waterproofing, a solid pair of gloves should also have some form of insulation, either synthetic or natural. Natural fibers like down and wool make great insulators, as do some synthetics. Many gloves designed for warmth are bulky, as air makes a great insulator when combined with another insulating material.
Synthetics tend to be preferable for the outer layer of the glove. The best warm gloves are often made with proprietary synthetic materials Kevlar® or GORE-TEX® and the liners may be synthetic as well with materials like Thinsulate™ or they may be made with natural materials like Thermasilk®, made from specially handled and treated silk. The gloves should have at least three layers: an outer layer, and insulating layer, and a liner.
For people engaging in tasks that need some coordination, like riding a horse or chopping wood, the best gloves will allow a free range of motion for the hand. Some may have fingertips that slip off for fine tasks. For situations in which the hands need to be warm, but not particularly adept, warm mittens or bulky gloves will work perfectly well, keeping the hands snug and warm so that the fingers do not experience extreme cold.
Many reviews of individual products can be found online, and people can certainly reference them when looking for warm gloves. Visiting an outdoor store to try on gloves in person and get advice from staff is highly recommended, so that people can see how gloves feel and determine whether or not they will work for their purposes.