A winter wardrobe isn’t complete with a great pair of gloves. Warmth, of course, is a priority. But you also need a pair of gloves and/or mittens that’s comfortable, durable, and flexible.
A lot of knit gloves are made with acrylic yarn, which is a synthetic material. These synthetics are not great for human health or the environment in the long run. They are fossil fuel products which can contain chemicals that are potentially toxic to human and environmental health. Although you’re not likely to get sick from just wearing the gloves, the way these types of synthetic products are produced can lead to toxic chemicals being dumped into the air and waterways, harming factory workers and surrounding communities.
And then there is the end of the gloves’ life to consider, too. Synthetic fabrics like polyester are not biodegradable; they simply shed into smaller and smaller microplastic pieces, which also then end up all over our waterways, in our soil, in our food, and in our bodies.
This is a big reason why more people are choosing to incorporate more natural and organic textiles into their wardrobes. It may be pretty much impossible to completely get rid of synthetic fabrics from our closets, and so we do what we can… And the good news is that choosing natural or organic the next time you need a new pair of gloves is a small and relatively easy thing you can do because there are plenty of great brands on the market!
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Cover image credit: Naadam
Types of Wool Gloves
Most (but not all) of our recommended brands use natural wool for their gloves. Different types of wool have varying pros and cons. Merino wool, which comes from a specific kind of sheep, is softer and lighter weight than most other types of sheep’s wool.
Cashmere comes from the undercoat of a certain kind of goat that lives in the Himalayas. It’s softer, finer, and more luxurious compared to most other types of wool, but also tends to be more expensive and less durable.
Alpaca wool is the best of both worlds: it’s soft and lightweight, but also very durable and temperature-regulating. It’s also relatively rare, so it can be more expensive.
Last but not least, recycled wool of various types is a great option because it keeps materials out of landfills and reduces the amount of virgin material needed to be sourced from animals.
When possible, look for brands using Climate Beneficial Wool, which has been verified as regenerative by Fibershed, and Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) wool, which ensures a “standard that addresses the welfare of sheep and the land they graze on.”
Organic Cotton & Hemp Gloves
If you don’t like wool or would prefer not to buy animal-derived products, a couple of the brands below also use natural and eco-friendly materials like organic cotton and hemp. Although not quite as warm or durable, these are really great non-toxic, plant-based, and vegan alternatives to wool.
Where to Find Natural and Organic Wool, Cashmere, and Cotton Winter Gloves
Responsibly sourced wool and organic cotton are great options for winter gloves that are good for you and better for the planet. Here are some of our favorite cozy, high-quality brands:
Quince’s super-soft gloves are made from Grade A Mongolian cashmere and come in several different solid colors. They’re also some of the most affordable cashmere gloves you’ll find!
Quince has several ethical and sustainable initiatives in place to make sure their cashmere is sourced in a responsible way. You can read more about cashmere sourcing and case in their Cashmere 101 Guide.
Most of their gloves are sized for women. They also have other winter accessories like hats, scarves, and more.
This UK-based Etsy shop offers several different kind of knit handwarmers, gloves, and mittens that come in beautiful solid colors. Each pair is hand knit out of 100% fair trade sheep wool.
They also carry other wool felt products like slippers, bags, scarves, beanies, and more. Most of their sizes are for adults.
Smartwool makes some warm but lightweight winter gloves that are made from 100% natural merino wool. This is a great option for hiking and other outdoor activities.
(Some of their gloves are made with synthetic fabrics too, though, so make sure to check before purchasing.)
Nadaam offers sustainable and ethically made gloves made from natural and responsibly sourced cashmere that come in a wide variety of gorgeous solid colors for men and women.
They too offer other winter necessities like scarves and wraps.
For a more luxurious option, Theory’s gloves/mitten combo are knit with 100% soft, plush cashmere in a ribbed construction. They come in Black, Ash, and Beige. They have a longer wrist and a fold-back flap & button to make tasks like texting easier!
Kotn’s long fingerless hand warmers are made using BCI cotton (which is kind of in between conventional and organic cotton). They’re ethically made in Portugal using certified OEKO-TEX® non-toxic dyes.
Available in Black, Almond, and Walnut, these gloves are meant to be unisex and available in one adult size.
Kotn also has beanies, scarves, and more.
Available on Etys, these gloves are handmade in the U.S.A. out of alpaca wool that’s responsibly sourced from the U.S. They offer a few different types of gloves, including fingerless/fold-over, hand warmers, mittens, and more. They have options for both kids and adults.
(Some of their gloves do contain some recycled synthetic materials, too.)
Rawganique is a clothing, accessories, and home goods brand that takes non-toxic manufacturing very seriously. Their gloves are made in the U.S.A. out of organic cotton and hemp and are completely free from toxic dyes or other toxic chemicals.
They carry both fingered gloves and mittens that are available in unisex adult sizes.
The next time you’re in the market for new winter gloves, consider checking out the options from the above brands, which are lighter on the planet and all the people living on it!
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