Premium grade neoprene gloves. At 5mm these gloves are designed to keep your hands warm in the very coldest of waters.
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Neoprene gloves buyers guide
Whether you’re surfing, diving, or kayaking, a pair of neoprene gloves will bring you a lot more comfort in the water.
Often a full wetsuit just doesn’t cut it. Your sensitive hands are left exposed, and when the water is really cold, your fingers will start to freeze up. This is when neoprene gloves become a lifesaver. Wetsuit gloves allow you to enjoy warm fingers and better grip in the water. They also help to protect your hands against things like sharp rocks or coral.
If you’ve ever struggled with icy fingers while surfing, then a pair of wetsuit gloves is the answer. Follow this guide for everything you need to know about neoprene gloves, to help you find the perfect pair for your water activity.
What are neoprene gloves?
Neoprene gloves, or wetsuit gloves, are really just an extension of your wetsuit over your hands and fingers. As you can guess, these are gloves made from wetsuit material (neoprene). They keep your hands comfortable and warm in cold water while helping to prevent rash and providing protection at the same time.
Neoprene gloves come in a variety of thicknesses and styles. They can be used for surfing, diving, kayaking, wakeboarding, and basically any other watersport.
Neoprene gloves work by extending the insulation and coverage of your wetsuit over your hands. A very thin film of water is trapped between the neoprene and the skin, which the body quickly brings up to temperature. Neoprene offers insulation against the cold water, and it traps this heat in.
The thicker the neoprene, the more insulation you get, so the warmer the glove will be. When finding the best surfing gloves, you want them to be a good thickness for warmth, without being too thick and inflexible.
History of neoprene
There was an increasing demand for rubber back in the 1920s, which resulted in the price of rubber steadily rising. This lead to a search for synthetic rubber products. In 1930, Wallace Carothers, a chemist in DuPont’s research group, produced a rubber-like substance in an experiment. He called his discovery Duprene.
Because of its unique properties, Duprene became a popular material for many industrial uses. After refining the product and figuring out how to manufacture it on a large scale, Duprene became a common industrial material, mostly for insulation. In 1937, DuPont discontinued the trade name Duprene and opted for the more commonly used “neoprene”.
Neoprene wetsuits were invented in the early 1950s. There are two claims to how the first wetsuit came about. One was from Hugh Bradner, a Californian physicist who discovered the concept of neoprene acting as a heat insulation material in water. This was in 1951.
The other story is that Jack O'Neill was looking for a way to warm up his daily bodysurfing routine and eventually came across neoprene as a solution. He started making wetsuit vests in his garage, and the rest is history.
As neoprene wetsuits became more advanced and accessible, neoprene gloves started to appear. Wetsuit gloves were invented for keeping the hand and fingers warm in seriously cold conditions while offering the body complete protection. Neoprene gloves were mostly used by divers and soon became popular as surfing gloves.
What to look for when buying neoprene gloves
There are a lot of things to consider when buying surf gloves. You need to make sure that the gloves offer just the right amount of comfort, warmth, and flexibility.
With so many different surf gloves available, it can be tricky to choose the best ones for your needs. Here are some of the main considerations to make when you buy neoprene gloves.
Warm or Cold Water?
The biggest consideration to make when choosing neoprene gloves is the water temperature you’ll be wearing them in. Neoprene gloves vary in thickness, with gloves usually ranging from 1mm to 5mm in thickness.
The thicker the glove, the more insulation it will provide and the warmer it will be to wear. Just remember that thicker gloves will also restrict your finger movements. So, if you’re using the gloves in particularly cold conditions, then you will need an extra thick pair, but if you need more movement in your fingers, go for a thinner pair.
The thickness of the gloves should also be chosen based on the activity you plan on doing. If you will be using the gloves for something like kayaking or wakeboarding, where your fingers aren’t continuously in the water, you can get away with a thinner pair. This will be more comfortable.
If you’re using neoprene gloves for diving or surfing, when your hands will spend more time in the water, you’ll probably want to get a thicker pair.
The exception to this is if you need your fingers for fine work or using certain tools. If finger movement is essential, then rather get a thinner pair despite the cold.
Let’s speak a little bit more about the use of your fingers while wearing neoprene gloves. Even if you wear the thickest gloves available, you should still be able to stretch all of your fingers comfortably. So, make sure that the gloves are the right size for your hands.
If you’re looking for surfing gloves, then you’ll want gloves that provide grip in the palm and not just the fingers. The best surf gloves should allow you to roll your hand into a fist, which gives you good grip and strength.
So when you look for neoprene gloves, consider the thickness but also consider the flexibility and size of the glove. Even if the gloves are as thick as possible, you should still have enough movement in your hands for the water activity you’re doing.
Neoprene gloves are usually found in thicknesses between 1mm to 5mm. This range of thickness gives you the right level of comfort, flexibility, and warmth. Sure, you could find thicker gloves, but these will be too restricting. Thinner gloves won’t offer enough warmth.
If you’re surfing or diving in waters below 12°C, then you should go for a 5mm neoprene glove. In waters warmer than this, a 3mm glove is usually a good choice. This gives you just the right blend of warmth and flexibility. If you surf or dive in warm waters, but you just want to wear neoprene gloves for their grip or protection, then you can choose a 1mm pair.
Different neoprene gloves have different types and levels of grip. Some gloves have textured rubber grip pads on the palms and fingertips, while others are just wetsuit gloves without any grip. Both are good options, but it just depends on how you’re going to use them. ‘
You won’t need grip if you just plan on swimming, but if you’re going to wear the glove while you paddle or dive, then you will probably want some kind of group on them. For surfing, having some grip on the palms is generally a good idea.
Try to choose a glove with a lightly textured inner surface for an all-around grip that isn’t too restricting. This will be sufficient for most activities.
Style of glove
Wetsuit gloves are not all made equal. While most neoprene gloves will just resemble a regular 5-fingered glove, some have unique designs. For example, you can get webbed gloves and mitten-style gloves.
Webbed and mitten gloves can be great for surfing because they give that extra bit of paddle power. However, you won’t have as much finger movement.
If you need to use your fingers or aren’t sure about which style of gloves to choose, then getting a regular 5-fingered glove is best.
Why should you buy neoprene gloves
Like wetsuit boots, neoprene gloves are great things for any surfer or water sports enthusiast to own. The obvious reason why you should get a pair of neoprene gloves is to keep your hands and fingers warm. The fingers are incredibly sensitive to cold water, and they can quickly freeze up. Frozen fingers aren’t any fun while you’re surfing. Warm fingers will offer a way more enjoyable experience in the water.
Even if the water temperature isn’t a major issue, neoprene gloves offer protection and grip. This can be a major benefit if you’re surfing over reefs or rocks, or collect things while diving. Gloves will keep your hands safe and comfortable for longer sessions in the water.
What are neoprene gloves used for?
Neoprene gloves are used for keeping the hands and fingers warm while surfing, diving, swimming, or for any other water activity. They also add a layer of protection and grip while in the water.
Can wetsuit gloves protect me from shark bites?
No, neoprene won’t stand a chance against a shark's powerful bite. However, there are some wetsuits out there that claim to deter sharks.
What water temperature are neoprene gloves used for?
Neoprene gloves are a good idea for water temperatures 18°C and lower, although most people only wear gloves when the water gets to around 12°C. The colder the water, the thicker the glove.