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Cold Weather Ultimate – Should I Wear Gloves?

All over the world ultimate is played by hundreds of thousands of players in warm sunny climates, on green grassy fields with a gentle breeze in the air. However, for many of these players, for half the year, the sun hides behind clouds, the green grass turns white and icy and the gentle breeze is enough to freeze water. So, the question becomes…if you’re going to play ultimate in the frozen white tundra (places like Canada, parts of the US, Northern Europe, etc..) should you wear gloves when you play or not?

For me, this question comes down to a few factors. Namely, why would you want to wear gloves? Obviously to keep your hands warm. Ok but what about grip when throwing? What about having really bulky gloves on your hands? And what about your hands hurting from catching a disc in the cold weather?

Well, no matter the weather, I would recommend throwing with nothing on your hands. However, in some cases this isn’t really ideal as it’s just too cold (although if you’re playing in weather so cold that a disc can break in half or even shatter, then you probably aren’t worried about having perfect flick hucks. Just saying).

In the case where a glove is necessary, I have 4 types of gloves that I would recommend checking out. They all have their pros and cons but really the best thing to do is try them out. See what you like. Obviously you want a combination of low bulk, warmth and grip. Some people care about having a bit of padding too on the palms/fingers which can help protect your hands but might take away from the grip.

Lookfly ultimate gloves – these are the only gloves made specifically for ultimate (the first 3 fingers are exposed while the last 2 are kept warm so you still get a good grip on the disc). They look pretty thin so maybe not the warmest:
http://lookfly.co.uk/uk/lookfly-ultimate-gloves.html

Football receiver gloves – great for grip and low bulk. Warmth? Meh…(I googled “football receiver gloves”):
http://www.dickssportinggoods./com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=693982

Biking gloves – good for warmth and padding and grip. Bulk…sort of bulky. (I searched “bike gloves”):
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/SearchResults.aspx?Search=glove

Winter sports gloves – great for warmth, not bad for grip (I use these for disc golf although I almost always throw with the glove off and put it back on to keep my hand warm. Not so easy to do in ultimate though). A bit bulky depending on the style (I searched “cross country skiing gloves”):
http://www.orscrosscountryskisdirect.com/sporthill-leather-nordic-ski-gloves.html

If you’ve used gloves playing in the cold, let me know what you recommend. And if you have any recommendations you’d like to share with the readers, add them in the comments below!

Written by Ultimate Rob

Rob McLeod is a disc sports competitor, a 13 time World Record holder (including 6 Guinness World Records), 10-time World Champion, 2 time Quadruped title holder and currently holds the Canadian Distance Record. He created ultimaterob.com in 2009.



13 comments
McCArch
McCArch

What I find works for me better than gloves is long underwear or athletic tops that have a thumbhole. keeping the sleeve over part of my hand seems to work just as well at keeping me warm as gloves do...

robmcleod
robmcleod moderator

@McCArch I can see that although it might affect your catching slightly?


MPhelps
MPhelps

I wear UnderArmor baseball batting gloves while playing outdoors in the winter in New Hampshire (four hours south of Montreal). The leather is thin enough and vented through the finger tips, meaning that I can feel the disc as if I were not wearing gloves. Additionally, the gloves aren't as "sticky" as wide receivers gloves; they don't affect my throws. My hands and fingers remain warm and dry while playing in quite cold and wet conditions. That said, once I stop playing, the gloves provide little warmth.

DarrenClark
DarrenClark

I know people who swear by mechanic's gloves.  Also, some people prefer baseball batting gloves, as their texture is very similar to that of skin, having less impact on your throws.  I prefer to use "arm warmers" and keep my hands bare.  If it's super cold and I'm just trowing around, I'll use gloves occasionally, but still maintain that they are for pussies.

 

mcm2
mcm2

I ordered several pair of the lookfly glove and they where very cheaply made. One pair the stitch goes across my thumb print so it interferes with backhands. Another the stitching was falling off upon delivery. The third the thumb busted out after 3 weeks of use. Also the sizing seemed way off the thumbs are super small so the chart said i was between a medium and large, but wound up needing a XXL, which barely fits and I don't have big hands.

dhill
dhill

I think much depends on your anatomy. I switch to gloves quite early in the season, otherwise I would drop a substantial percentage of passes and I would have bruises all over my hands. I know people that don't need gloves even when it's freezing cold.

 

My cheap amateur choice is Castorama work gloves http://odkrywca.pl/forum_pics/picsforum23/lapawice.jpg . I don't know, if you can get something like this outside Poland. They are very similar to light bicycle downhill gloves, actually I also use them for commuting. They are very durable and as comfortable as typical bike-gloves for 5 times the price. They cost ~5Euro, when I bought them, but as the printing press goes on it gets more expensive.

Blaise
Blaise

In cold weather I play with fingerless bike gloves. They look a bit like those ones:

http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=61203

 

The palm is in leather and they are a bit better than my hands when it rains to catch discs. I like the fact they are fingerless because I have the same feelings for throws. 

 

I think youn don't need thick warm gloves. You're normally moving a lot when you play ultimate and when it's very cold the most important is to keep your body warm. I use thermal clothes when I play in icy condition and if my body is kept warm, my hands are normally not too cold. Then, thin fingerless gloves give you a good extra protection.

 

Overall, I like them in winter and cold rain weather because plaing with very cold hands is a pain.  

maziltov
maziltov

How about the Buzz Bullets / Gaia / Club Ultimate gloves? I hear they are better than the Lookfly gloves. 

http://skydmagazine.com/2011/02/product-review-gaia-ultimate-glove/

 

With the Lookfly gloves, personally I haven't noticed the cold fingers vs warm fingers conundrum. The extra covering seems enough to keep all my fingers adequately warm. I think they definitely help in situations where your fingers are stiffening up too much to work properly, but I'm yet to be convinced they're a good idea for constant wear. They also help a little in drizzle, but they became completely slick when soaked through in heavier rain (not good!).

 

In a particularly cold game last winter, an interesting thing @Jase de Puit and I (and others) noticed was that the glove-wearing people on our team were significantly more successful in catching and throwing than the non-glove-wearers. Your mileage may vary!

Jason de Puit
Jason de Puit

Hey Rob (and others),

 

I own a pair of the lookfly gloves and have tested them a few times. Playing in Tasmania, Australia can get very wet and cold so gloves are becoming increasingly popular.

 

Firstly, the gloves only have two fingers cut out. Whilst this is a reasonable idea I find the effect to be that you notice how cold your exposed fingertips are more than how warm your covered hands are. I also think Lookfly should offer you to choose which glove you want to have the cutouts on. I don't need cutouts on my left hand so would have appreciated having full fingers on my "off" hand.

 

Aside from that, they are very thin but do help to keep my hands warmer. In some conditions I have had to keep my hands in my arm-pits, or constantly blow on them to keep them warm. The gloves mean I don't have to do this as often. Being thin means that catching is fine. The palms have some sticky stuff on them which helps but I'm not sure how long it will last.

 

In the wet the gloves soak through readily and you lose any advantage of warmth. However, in showers the gloves can be useful to assist in drying the disc a bit before throwing.

 

Overall they're not revolutionary, but nor are they expensive. I think I will continue to use them but in a crucial game I'd be tempted to leave them off.

 

Cheers

- Jase

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