If you’ve recently purchased a pair of high end mittens or 3-finger gloves, you may have found a surprise in the form of individual finger slots in the liner inside.
These slots, also known as finger dividers or finger bays, have made their way into many pinnacle level mittens from brands like Hestra and Black Diamond, especially models targeted at outdoor professionals and avid snowsports enthusiasts, like the Hestra Freeride CZone or Fall Line mittens and 3-finger gloves. But if you find yourself asking why they put a standard glove liner inside of a mitten, you’re not alone.
There are two main reasons for these finger slots, and they’re compelling enough to make even the most dyed-in-the-wool fans of traditional mittens reconsider their position.
The Merits of Finger Slots
The big benefit of finger slots is that they contribute to a more precise grip than you typically get with mittens, and that's a big advantage if you're grasping a ladder, an ice axe, or ski poles.
Basically, if you make a fist in a regular mitten, the tip of the mitten tends to pull away from your finger tip, which creates extra space in the tip of the mitten, and can contribute to fabric bunching in palm. The finger slots allow the shell of the mitten to move with your hand, which gives you dexterity that's much closer to a glove, with the undeniable warmth that a mitten provides.
And there’s another upside—enhanced moisture management.
By placing moisture-wicking material between your fingers, more of your sweat is transported away from your skin, which keeps your hands warmer throughout the day.
And for mittens designed to spend long days outside in cold places, that’s an obvious benefit.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
We get questions from plenty of people asking why their mittens have finger slots, and some of those questions come from individuals who are unpleasantly surprised when their new mittens arrive in the mail. While it might take some getting used to, it could actually be a feature you’ll learn to love, at least once you adjust to a new feel.
We’ve also heard the claim that, “if I wanted gloves, I’d buy gloves.” But mittens with finger slots are still mittens, which means that they’re still warmer than comparable gloves.
That’s because mittens keep your fingers contained within the same environment inside the mitten’s shell. Your fingers can share warmth more effectively because mittens have less surface area exposed to cold air than gloves, which means there's less chance for the air inside your mittens to cool off. This is true whether or not your mittens have fingers slots on the inside.
The finger slots might feel strange if you were expecting traditional mittens, but it doesn’t reduce the overall warmth, even though your fingers aren’t actually touching. If anything, finger slots will keep your hands drier, which means they’ll stay warmer for longer.
Whether you’re a certified evangelist for finger slots, or you’re still unconvinced, our first hand experience has shown that the claims of dexterity and sweat management hold up in the real world.
So if you’re on the fence, we’d recommend giving them a chance before making up your mind. We think you’ll like what you find.
Campman is an outdoor retail store located in Salt Lake City, Utah, that specializes in gear and equipment for camping, skiing, backpacking, climbing, and everything in between. We understand that the difference between a bad memory and the adventure of a lifetime can come down to the gear you take with you when you head outdoors, and we want our customers to have the best experiences possible. When it comes to getting outside, we get it, and we’ll get you the gear you need to get there.
Questions? Feel free to contact us by phone at (801) 999-8117 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.