Why Do Runners Wear Gloves? Everything You Need to Know


Running gloves may seem like a simple accessory, but they play a significant role in enhancing a runner’s comfort, performance, and overall experience.

While not every runner wears gloves, those who do often have compelling reasons.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll delve into the various motivations and benefits behind wearing running gloves.


Why Do Runners Wear Gloves?

Temperature Regulation

One of the primary reasons runners wear gloves is to regulate their hand temperature. When running in cold or inclement weather, maintaining warm hands is essential to prevent discomfort, numbness, or even frostbite.

Running gloves provide insulation and protect the hands from the biting cold, helping runners stay warm and comfortable.


Moisture Management

Sweaty hands can be a nuisance for runners, leading to discomfort and potential chafing. Running gloves made from moisture-wicking materials help manage perspiration, keeping the hands dry.

This feature is especially beneficial during intense workouts or in warm conditions.


Grip and Traction

Some running gloves come with textured palms or grip-enhancing materials, providing a more secure hold on handheld water bottles, smartphones, or other equipment.

This added grip is particularly advantageous during long-distance races or trail running, where a firm grasp is essential.


Protection from the Elements

Apart from cold weather, running gloves also offer protection from various weather elements. They shield the hands from wind, rain, and snow, allowing runners to maintain their focus and stride even in adverse conditions.

Enhanced Dexterity

Certain running gloves are designed with touchscreen-compatible materials on the fingertips, enabling runners to use their smartphones or smartwatches without removing the gloves.

This feature is highly convenient for adjusting music, tracking progress, or staying in touch with others during a run.


Injury Prevention

Injury prevention is a crucial aspect of running. Some runners with pre-existing hand injuries or sensitivities may wear gloves to provide additional support and reduce the risk of further damage.

For example, those prone to blisters may use gloves to minimize friction.

Increased Visibility

In low-light or dark conditions, some running gloves feature reflective elements that enhance a runner’s visibility to motorists and other pedestrians. This extra safety measure can be particularly crucial for early morning or evening runners.



Aesthetic Appeal

Running gloves come in a variety of colors and styles, allowing runners to express their personal preferences and fashion sense. Many runners wear gloves for the added aesthetic appeal they bring to their running attire.

No, let’s talk about what you do when it gets truly Arctic; we’re talking frostbite conditions.


My Favorite Gloves for Winter Running

Traditional glove liners like SmartWools are just not going to hack it anymore. They’re too thin and they can’t keep you warm.

What do I do?

I go to a mitten.

I actually put that SmartWool glove liner underneath a thin little mitten cover and that’s because that traps the heat, and instead of each finger trying to heat itself individually, you’re benefiting from all the fingers sharing the warmth, keeping it in underneath this little windproof liner.

Unfortunately, the Brooks Utopia is no longer available. Instead, you can get Tracksmith mittens with a little bit of merino wool.

Another one that you can get, and it doesn’t have the windproof lining unfortunately, is just a SmartWool knit mitten.

On most days, it’s enough to trap in that heat and keep you warm, and if you pair it with that glove liner from SmartWool, you’re going to have tons of heat for most conditions.

When it gets down around zero, I go to something like the Arc’teryx Venta Mitten. This has Gore-Tex Infinium liner in it and it’s a little bit of a brushed interior as well.

Oftentimes, I wear it without any glove underneath, but if you pair it with a glove, it’s really toasty in that case.

The last thing I want to say is big insulated mittens or gloves are heavy. They get wet, they get soaked with sweat, and they get stinky.

Think like hockey player gear kind of stinky.

You can’t turn those inside out easily to allow them to air out and you’re constantly washing them and then having to let them dry takes forever.

So, I don’t recommend those. I recommend just getting a lightweight mitten that you can put over that lightweight glove and you can run outdoors all year long.


Curious to learn more about the running shoes that propel David Goggins to greatness? Dive deeper into the world of his footwear choices by checking out that article as well.

Running Gloves – FAQs

Should you wear running gloves?

Whether runners should wear running gloves or not depends on various factors, including weather conditions, personal comfort, and specific needs. Running gloves can provide benefits such as hand warmth, moisture management, enhanced grip, and protection from the elements. Typically, runners opt for running gloves when the temperature falls below the mid-40s Fahrenheit, which is approximately equivalent to 5-6 degrees Celsius.


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Are gloves or mittens better for running?

Mittens are often favored by runners in cold weather because they provide better hand warmth and insulation compared to traditional gloves. The design of mittens keeps the fingers together, reducing heat loss and enhancing overall comfort in chilly conditions.

Should running gloves be tight?

Running gloves should fit snugly but not be overly tight. A slightly snug fit helps maintain warmth and dexterity without restricting hand movement or circulation.

Are fleece gloves good for running?

Fleece gloves can be suitable for running in cold weather, as they offer warmth and moisture-wicking properties. However, their suitability may depend on the specific weather conditions and personal preferences.

Are merino gloves good for running?

Merino gloves can be excellent for running, as they provide warmth, moisture-wicking, and odor-resistance. Their natural properties make them a popular choice for cold-weather running.

Are Lululemon running gloves good?

Lululemon running gloves are generally well-regarded for their quality, comfort, and functionality. Many runners find them to be a good choice for their running needs, but individual preferences may vary.


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Are weighted gloves good for running?

Weighted gloves are not typically recommended for running. They can alter running mechanics and increase the risk of injury. It’s important to consult a fitness professional before using them in a running routine.

Before we wrap things up, these are some great tips on winter running and layering



Running gloves serve a multifaceted purpose, offering runners protection, comfort, and functionality. While not all runners choose to wear them, those who do often find them to be a valuable addition to their running gear.

Whether it’s to combat cold weather, manage moisture, or ensure a secure grip, running gloves have become an integral part of the runner’s toolkit, enhancing the overall running experience.

So, next time you see a runner donning gloves, remember that there’s more to it than meets the eye, and the choice to wear them is driven by a combination of practical and personal reasons.

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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