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Glove Categorisation


Ever tried to buy gloves for sport or leisure and been disappointed?  It's hard to see what you're getting on-line and the detail is "usually" sketchy and inaccurate in many cases.

Well, we agree, which is why we've created this page to try and categorise gloves for you so you are hopefully, better informed.

We see gloves falling into 7 main categories and we stress, this is our interpretation not anything the industry has created.  We categorise as follows:

1.       Fashion

2.       Liner Gloves

3.       Liner PLUS

4.       Active Form Fitted

5.       Dual Layer Form Fitted

6.       Full Gloves

7.       Heavy Duty/Protection

Each of our gloves is displayed with a number indicator on the site that is designed to help you with the categorisation of that glove.

So what do you need to know about gloves at the highest level?  Well strangely, you may be very surprised to hear that gloves in most cases are the most expensive item a manufacturer makes but is one that they are compelled to charge relatively little for.

So why does it cost so much to manufacture gloves?  Quite simply....machine time.  The clothing industry is driven by how much time is spent on construction and gloves are fiddly.  Fingers and thumbs separate finger gussets multiple layers etc etc.  All of this adds up to high production costs.

The exception to this is if the manufacture has access to a knitting machine that can produce gloves as a single construction process that do not require additional machine time.  In this case, your "knitted" gloves made on a single machine run, can be relatively low cost.  This technique is very evident in the Fashion Glove market and you'll find knitted gloves of this nature in every market stall across the world

But because the items are "small" customers expect to pay little for them when in fact it should be the other way round.  So the end result is most brands effectively supplement their gloves with products from elsewhere in their ranges.

But all you want is warm hands and a pair of cheap market stall gloves rarely does the job.  As a race, we strive to keep our extremities warm and hands are the most vulnerable.  If you are going to get frost bite (we don't advocate this by the way) then the fingers are always vulnerable.  But let's explain each of our categorisations for you.

1.       Fashion Gloves

So firstly, you are rarely likely to see these on Baselayer's web site but that's not to say some of our brands don't do some occasionally.  So what constitutes a Fashion Glove in our view?

Well ignoring your high street fashion store leather(ette) style gloves, what we call a Fashion Glove is usually a knitted style wool or more often, Acrylic glove that kind of looks like your socks if that makes sense.

Almost certainly not a tech friendly structure so no smart phone use is almost assured.

2.       Liner Gloves

Pretty much as it says on the packet, the Liner Glove serves a very specific purpose.  In sport particularly, the Liner Glove is very popular.  It's a single layer fabric made from Wool, Acrylic or a Poly derived fibre or a combination of two fibres and are either a knitted item or a cut & sewn construction.

If knitted, it can be seam free as it may be constructed on a specialist machine but most often the Liner Glove is a two piece glove consisting of the palm and back sewn together with a seam running all around the hand and fingers so you will have "edges" at the finger tips and between the fingers.

The fabric is thin which is why they are usually only two part construction as you don't need "gussets" between the fingers to create finger pockets.  This thin design is deliberate but they are designed to be worn in conjunction with other more substantial gloves hence "Liner" Gloves.

That said many people will wear a Liner Glove on its own when running in winter for example, as they take some of the wind chill off and they are good for wiping sweat off the face etc.

Some brands use tech fibre to allow phone use with them on but increasingly this is being discarded as people simply don't use phones with gloves on as it's simply too fiddly.

3.       Liner PLUS

So what on earth is a Liner PLUS? Well this is our own interpretation of the attempt by brands to meet the gap between the Liner and the next level which we shall come to shortly.  A Liner PLUS glove we see as being ostensibly the same core construction as a pure Liner Glove, but with some additional features.

Most often made of a Poly derived fabric and sometimes Merino Wool, brands tend to take their Liner Glove as the base design and perhaps add a "sticky" palm print of silicone that helps the wearer pick things up, hold a ball or a cup with greater security for example.

They may also add independent finger gussets to create better finger pockets and may include a longer wrist cuff as well as some reflective detailing for low light running as these are also popular with runners.

This level of glove is very popular with footballers too as they are light enough to be worn during a game and if it has a silicone printed palm, they can take throw ins easily enough.

The negatives here are that where the brand has created a silicone palm, the silicone nearly always comes off over time so you can often end up with a Liner Glove anyway, but they are good whilst these features last.  A Liner PLUS category glove can usually readily be worn as a Liner Glove too but do remember the silicone palm may grab onto the inside of any gloves worn over the top.  Not a major problem but just be aware.

4.       Active Form Fitted

Ostensibly, this is usually a "Hybrid" Liner glove.  Most often constructed using a Poly derived fibre the Form Fitted gloves are the most popular all round use gloves for sport but are too thick for use as a Liner Glove making them gloves in their own right.  Form Fitted means they are as closely shaped to the hand as is possible.

They are usually a multi-layered cut & sew design with a palm and back plus finger gussets.  Additionally, the brands may change the fabric on the thumb and forefinger to a kind of toweling effect fabric that is useful for wiping sweat and other nasty drips from the face and nose area....we're sure you get the drift!

Almost always with a printed silicone palm and reflective detailing, the Active Form Fitted glove us probably the most popular glove category with sports people because they fill so many roles but expect to pay more as these are considered as Warmer in most cases due to fabric density plus they have a lot more technical features and thus.....machine time in construction.

5.       Dual Layer Form Fitted Gloves

Now we're getting nearer the real glove sector.  We classify a number of gloves as a Level 5 because they are a Hybrid version of the Active Form Fitted Gloves.

You will usually find these gloves having two layers of fabric and sometimes three.  Brands will usually take their raw Liner Glove design then maybe add a protective wind resistant layer to the back of the glove and even possibly a thin rain resistant Nylon layer over that depending on the glove's primary purpose.

On the palm, it may have a silicone print but often the palm will have another thinner patchwork of higher grip fabric either all over the palm of strategically placed over certain areas and may also carry silicone printing too.

Reflective detail is nearly always present here and these are usually very popular with cyclists because they are more resistant on the back of the hand to wind and rain which is a God send on the bike.  They are almost always Storm Treated for rain resistance as well which the Active Form Fitted options are not always.

But importantly these are STILL Form Fitted.  The brands try to make this classification of glove as low-impact as possible so they can be used for all manner of sports from running, cycling, football and hiking as well.

These are NOT though a Ski Glove, that's a whole different ball game which we'll come to.  You'd also rarely if ever wear a Liner Glove with these as they are too close fitting to accommodate a Liner Glove as well.

6.       Full Glove

A Full Glove is a glove that is designed for a very specific purpose such as Ski/Board, Climbing or as a Leisure piece.  This type of glove you can usually wear a Liner Glove with as well and many people do, especially Skiers where it's perfect to have a Ski glove then take it off and still have some protection against the extreme elements.

Unlikely to be worn for sports such as Football or Running as they are usually way too heavy.  But Ski Gloves can and usually do, fall into this category.

Don't expect to be able to pick up things and certainly work your smart phone.....fat fingers are the order of the day here.

7.       Heavy Duty

Rarely ever on our radar to be fair as this level of glove is highly specialist and not usually required across the sports and outdoor business sector.

But these are probably the pinnacle of the glove world and full of tech and multiple layers.  These are very often bespoke gloves for a very specific function.

Usually full of protection with the use of multiple fabrics and usually at the top end of the pricing spectrum.