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Why Do Gloves Make My Hands Colder? – 4 Main Reasons

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

why do gloves make my hands colder

Do your hands feel cold even in thick gloves? Do your fingers suffer from numbness in just mild temperatures? Don’t rush switching to new gloves. You need to identify the root of your problem to stop the annoying sensations.

So, why do gloves make my hands colder? There are four possible causes:

Reasons Why Gloves Make My Hands Colder


1. Your gloves are wet


You don’t want to wear wet gloves when working in the cold as moisture actively draws heat away from your body.

This issue usually happens to snow shovelers, offshore oil rig workers, and ski instructors. When working outdoor, you should wear waterproof thermal gloves. Such gloves won’t become wet or let moisture slip through easily.

However, avoid those with plastic linings, which are unbreathable and cause your hands to sweat. The sweat will, in turn, make your hands even colder.

The most efficient gloves should allow good air circulation and repel water excellently. Materials like Polyester and Merino wool will keep your fingers dry and happy.

2. Your hands need time to adjust to the gloves


Gloves have the same temperatures as the environment. In subzero conditions, you will feel like touching a piece of ice when you first put on the gloves. This is normal.

The gloves need at least five minutes to adjust to your body’s temperatures. You might notice the same freezing feeling when you wear woolly socks or earmuffs.

The trick is to rub your hands together to warm them up before putting on gloves. If you often feel cold on your fingertips, try hanging your winter gloves near the home heat vent. They will be dry and warm when you need them.

3. You wear low-quality or poorly-fitted gloves


Many types of winter gloves don’t keep hands warm. For example, cotton gloves soak up moisture and have holes in the fabrics. These tiny holes allow cold air to slip through and freeze your hands. The best materials for insulated gloves are fleece and wool.

Another issue might be tight gloves. Such handwear limits your blood circulation. Many types of materials shrink when you take care of them incorrectly. So, your favorite gloves might not be as well-fitted as they used to be.

Remember that you can’t keep hands warm with poor circulation. Fortunately, you can stretch leather with heat, leather conditioners, or shoe stretchers.

4. You might have a health condition


If your hands occasionally feel freezing, it is a sign of poor blood circulation. You can warm your hands up by rubbing them together, sitting near the fireplace, or inserting chemical hand warmers inside your gloves.

But if your hands often feel numb and change colors, you might have a more serious health condition. Health issues relating to cold hands include:

  • Iron deficiency anemia: When you don’t consume enough iron, your body lacks healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. As a result, oxygen isn’t delivered to your hands and feet properly, leaving them vulnerable to the cold.
  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism happens when your thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones. This slows down your metabolism; thus, your body needs more time to warm up.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon: If the stinging sensation alleviates after a few minutes by itself, you might have Raynaud’s phenomenon. It causes your blood vessels to temporarily narrow. In more severe cases, a Raynaud attack can last for hours.
  • Peripheral artery disease: Blockages in blood vessels might occur in adults over 50 years old, smokers, and diabetes patients. These blockages reduce the amount of blood flow to your hands, leading to peripheral artery disease.
  • Anxiety: Do you notice that your hands often feel cold when you are anxious or nervous? Anxiety constricts the blood flow to your extremities and causes your hands to sweat. You should take a few deep breaths to see if the numbness reduces.



1. Do mittens keep my hands warmer than gloves?

When made with the same materials, mittens are warmer than gloves. It is because they keep your fingers close together, allowing them to share and maintain their warmth.

When my fingertips are cold, I always wear mittens instead of gloves. Though they are less dexterous, they keep my fingers cozy even in freezing weather.

2. How to keep hands warm without gloves?

When gloves make your hands colder, you might need to omit them. Try this procedure to warm up your hands:

  • Quickly rub your palms and backs of the hands together
  • Press your palms against each other and hold for 10 to 20 seconds
  • Hook your fingers together and slightly pull in opposite directions
  • Stretch your fingers wide and shake to relax them

Besides, you should avoid tobacco products, caffeinated drinks, and alcoholic beverages.

3. When to seek medical attention?

Finger numbness is common and usually alleviates when you get to a warmer place. But if you experience one of the symptoms below, consider visiting a doctor.

  • Pain that happens many times a day and lasts for a few days.
  • Your skin color changes to white, blue, or purplish.
  • Your skin feels super tight and uncomfortable.
  • Tingling or burning sensations happen when you manage to resume the blood flow.
  • Your nails change their appearance.


Though having cold hands is a common experience, you should never neglect the symptoms. It’s crucial to figure out your issue and seek proper treatment.

We hope our answer to “Why do gloves make my hands colder?” helps you find a wise solution to your problem. If you notice a friend having similar health conditions, don’t hesitate to share this article. Thank you for your time!

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