Which leather gloves are best?
Humans have long used leather for its durability, but in the 1900s, it went from being simply utilitarian to a fashion statement. These days, we have a wide variety of durable and protective fabrics, but few are as luxurious and stylish as leather.
Before choosing a pair of leather gloves, it is essential to understand the different types of leather. Some, such as the sheepskin Candor and Class men’s cashmere lined gloves, are supple and buttery smooth, making them ideal for casual and dress gloves. Others, such as cowhide, tend to be tougher and better suited to rugged work gloves.
What to know before you buy leather gloves
Not all leather comes from cows, nor does it all have the same properties. The most commonly used leathers in gloves are cowhide, goatskin, deerskin, lambskin and sheepskin.
- Cowhide is considered the most durable and affordable. It is also the thickest and least supple. Calfskin, which is from young cows, is generally of higher quality and more pliable than standard cowhide.
- Goatskin is also quite durable but thinner and more supple than cowskin. It, too, is considered one of the more affordable types of leather.
- Like cowhide and goatskin, deerskin is very tough, yet it still manages to remain supple. It does, however, tend to have a coarse appearance.
- Sheepskin is less durable than any of the above options. It has a thin structure and a more buttery smooth feel, making it a good choice for tight-fitting gloves.
- Lambskin feels the most luxurious of all the leather types most commonly used in gloves. It is very thin and supple, so it molds to and moves with the body. However, it is the least durable. Gloves made from it are usually some of the most expensive too.
Leather gloves can be broadly classified into three main types: dress gloves, casual gloves and work gloves.
- Dress gloves usually come in dark colors and will have the most fashionable appearance. If you need a stylish pair of gloves, these are what you want. They work great for commuting to work or evenings out. They are made with a focus on style and comfort rather than durability or functionality. That said, they can still serve the intended purpose of keeping your hands warm.
- Casual gloves are designed with a focus on functionality yet still keeping style in mind. They come in various colors, from light to dark tones, and can be full-fingered or half-fingered. Casual gloves also tend to be available with more decorative embellishments than dress gloves, such as prominent stitching, snaps, zippers or color-contrasting fourchettes.
- Work gloves are built entirely around functionality, often with little to no mind paid to their appearance. These are incredibly hard-wearing and are often made from rough grain, split-leather. They are usually looser than dress or casual gloves and can help protect your hands from sharp or hot objects.
Features to look for in quality leather gloves
Leather gloves may be lined or unlined. Lined gloves provide more warmth, which makes them a better choice for freezing climates. Those who live in milder temperatures or are just looking for a pair of driving gloves and don’t need much insulation will want to opt for unlined gloves.
We are never very far from our mobile devices these days, so choosing a pair of gloves that enables you to use them rather than hinders you makes sense. Touchscreen-compatible gloves either contain a conductive fiber in the fingertips or are dipped in a conductive solution during manufacturing so your phone or tablet can sense them.
If you’ll be subjecting your leather gloves to repetitive stress or abrasion at particular points, choosing a pair that features strategic reinforcement in those areas will help ensure you get the longest service life from them. Common reinforcement points are the palms of the hands and between the thumb and palm.
Ventilation is most often found in driving gloves, and sports gloves intended more for comfort and hand protection than warmth. The ventilation may consist of small perforations throughout, well-placed slits or large holes over the knuckles.
Leather gloves may stay securely in place simply through the fit, or they may have some form of closure at the wrist. Snaps and hook-and-loop closures are the most common types, with the former being a more elegant solution than the latter. You can also find options with clip buckles or button-and-loop closures.
How much can you expect to spend on leather gloves
Leather gloves vary greatly in price depending on the construction methods, the quality of the leather and the brand name. On the low end of the price spectrum, you can find decent leather gloves for $20-$40. On the upper end, you can spend $200 or more.
Leather gloves FAQ
Do leather gloves require any maintenance?
A. While not a necessity, if you want to keep your gloves in tip-top shape for as long as possible, it is a good idea to condition them periodically with a leather conditioner. This ensures their natural oils don’t dry out, which can lead to cracking.
How do I clean my leather gloves?
A. Leather gloves should never be put in the washing machine. Instead, you can use a damp cloth to lather them up with saddlesoap or another purpose-made leather cleaner when they are dirty. Then use a clean damp cloth to remove the soap or rinse them very briefly under cold running water. Afterward, hang them up to air dry. To help them retain their shape and flexibility, you can periodically put them on and move your fingers around for a minute or so during the drying process.
What are the best leather gloves to buy?
Top leather gloves
What you need to know: A luxurious option made from buttery smooth sheepskin and a cozy cashmere liner, these gloves are for the refined gentleman who wants to stay warm while making a fashion statement.
What you’ll love: They feature eye-catching embroidery and are available in three colors. Plus, their pique stitching will stay tight through plenty of use and age.
What you should consider: The leather is delicate and requires a bit more care than some other options.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top leather gloves for the money
What you need to know: These casual driving gloves have a sharp, sporty look paired with an unlined construction so your hands won’t get hot and sweaty while driving.
What you’ll love: They have hand-cut knuckle holes to ensure you get maximum flexibility to grab the wheel, and the snap-button closure straps make them easy to get on and off.
What you should consider: The fit is inconsistent between pairs of the same size.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These highly stylish women’s gloves are made of premium lambskin and come with your choice of a cashmere or fleece lining.
What you’ll love: They are touchscreen compatible, so you can use your phone without having to remove them. Plus, they have some sleek decorative accents without being overly gaudy.
What you should consider: The manufacturer recommends professional cleaning only.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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