How to Keep your Hands Warm While Running
If you’re like me, one of the biggest challenges in dressing for winter, is figuring out how to keep your hands warm while running. Cold fingers are absolutely the worst!
I’ve never had frostbite, but felt on the verge several times. Usually this happens when I take my gloves off mid run to look at my phone, grab some water, or zip a pesky zipper. If you can leave them on, usually, you’ll be in good shape.
Last winter I was doing 14 miles around the lakes with some friends. It was below zero. We stopped mid run to take some picture, documenting our heroics. I had to take everything off my hands, and immediately regretted it. When we were done, I could barely hold the key to start the car. Later, I had to run my fingers under cold water, then slowly switch to warm before I could feel them again. Not fun.
Below are tips that should help you keep your hand warm while running this winter.
Why do Your Hands Get Cold?
First, it’s important to know why your hands (and feet), get so cold. The feet and hands tend to be the coldest parts of the body because they are the furthest from the heart. Blood doesn’t circulate as easily, and therefore they can be the coldest.
If you are someone who naturally has poor circulation, you may find your hands get colder than the average person. Moving your fingers, flapping your arms will help. Tension is also a cause of poor circulation. While there are several reasons and causes for this, taking deep breaths is a little thing you can do to help get the blood flowing.
In the much the same way that the layering system works for the rest of your body, it also works for your hands. Here are a few tips.
There are a ton of these hand warmer products on the market. I’ve only used the Hot Hands brand, and thought they worked decent. My hands got a little too warm and I started sweating. I spent more time than necessary adjusting them – taking out, putting in – it got to be annoying. These are probably most helpful on days when it’s well below zero.
You can also find a plethora of battery powered hand warming devices. These will definitely keep your hands warm while running, but may cause you to overheat. They also tend to be a bit bulky. Probably best only for ice fishing, or polar exploration.
In my experience, hand warmers are great for those insanely cold runs (when you probably shouldn’t be running anyway), but otherwise, aren’t very helpful. I always sweat too much. Give them a try and see how you like them.
Mittens vs. Gloves
9 times out of 10, your hands will be warmer in mittens than gloves. You have probably known that since grade school. Because your fingers are together, they act like a group of penguins, huddling together for warmth.
Gloves are obviously great because you can still grab stuff. This is why I think the best options are something that combines the warmth of mittens with the dexterity of gloves.
Combo mittens, with liner gloves will prepare you for just about anything winter may hurl your way.
Keep your Hands Warm While Running with these Glove and Mitten Recommendations!
I thought it would be helpful to hear what others are using. Below are suggestions from current and former members of Team USA Minnesota, as well as a handful of our authors, for keeping your hands warm while running.
Get our complete FREE winter running gear guide with more suggestions from the pros!
What I use
On most runs, I can get away with just a liner as mentioned above. When it dips below 30, I switch over to something like these Under Armour ColdGear Tech Glove. On really windy days, or when it gets into the teens, I layer some wind mittens on top. This 2 in 1 systems works great.
On the coldest of cold days, I wear mittens like you might see a kid wearing at recess. The Gordini Polar Mitts are super warm, but unfortunately make my hands sweat.
Mittens are the clear winner as the temperature dips below 20°. When the thermometer bottoms out below 0°, I like to double up: gloves with mittens on top. My favorite mittens are the Saucony Ulti-Mitt.
Uses the Brooks Utopia 3-in-1 Mitten. He says,
Pro: Very lightweight and fits well to the hand. Also comes with a mitten cover for colder days. Con: Not ideal for anything in the low teens or below, especially wind chill under zero unless combined with more layers and thicker windbreaker shell.
Heather uses the Asics PR Shelter Mitt. She says,
My mits are another versatile winter piece because there are two pockets, so to speak to put your hands. One places your fingers closer to the outside air and is meshy for when my hands get hot, the other is deeper inside the mitten and it has another protective fleece layer to keep my hands warm, usually necessary at the very beginning of every winter run until I warm up!
Dani takes a more unconventional approach. Her favorite gloves are wool mittens from Fleet Farm.
They always keep my hands warm, and a pair of gloves fits perfectly underneath them.
I have gotten by this winter pretty well running and biking in the Brooks Utopia 3-in-1 (now the Adapt Glove). The liner gloves leave me able to manipulate my phone or watch when need be, the waterproof/windproof shell mittens keep me covered up nicely on the coldest days (with room to spare for hand warmer packets if need be), and the extra reflective accents are a nice touch. As a bonus, look hard enough and you can find them for a great price!
Joseph has used two different pairs this winter.
I use two pairs of the Manzella Men’s Hatchback Glove/Mitt. They are great because you can take the mitten part down once you warm up – so that is why they are ‘hatchback’ – they have been all I have needed all winter.
I love that these liners are so thin against my skin and the gloves are a female fit – other liner/glove combos I’ve tried are too bulky and seem to bunch when I run. When worn alone, the liner keeps me warm for runs over 20′ and they’re long so the liner comes up to my mid-wrist fitting under the sleeves of a jacket or run top creating a nice wind/cold barrier.
Claire uses a variety of things to keep her hands warm. She says,
When it’s warmer than 30 degrees, those cheap stretchy gloves from Target or the dollar store work great. Between 20 and 30 degrees, An old thin C9 pair from target do the trick. Between 10 and 20 degrees: Nike Storm Fit 2.0. When it’s really, really cold, A roomy fleece pair I sewed up myself!
How do You Keep Your Hands Warm?
There are so many different ways to keep your hands warm while running in the cold, Minnesota winter. I know guys who throw on a pair of tube socks over everything, thinking that little extra layer will help. Whatever works I guess.
What have you found (be it specific products or insider tricks), to keep those digits warm? Share below.