Being cold outdoors is uncomfortable for everyone, but it’s downright brutal for the 15-30 million people who suffer from Raynaud’s syndrome. The hands and feet are particularly sensitive to cold, but those two areas don’t generally benefit from the layering techniques popular with clothing for the torso and legs. So, when I was first approached with the opportunity to review a pair of AGloves Sport touchscreen gloves, I jumped at the chance. After all, they were pitched as gloves designed with Raynaud’s in mind.
I’ve only recently begun venturing out into the cold, but I’ve never shied away from telling people I have Raynaud’s. It’s not like it’s contagious, and at least 15 million other potential outdoorsmen and women suffer from it too, so there’s clearly nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, the PR reps who first talked to me about the AGloves Sport touchscreen gloves were thrilled to learn I had Raynaud’s, because they did too. And they were incredibly enthusiastic about the gloves’ ability to keep their seemingly always-cold hands warm.
When your hands are always cold, the temptation is to bundle them up in heavily insulated skiing gloves to keep them warm. The problem with that approach is that it keeps you from being able to use a smartphone, iPod or tablet because there’s no way for the capacitive sensors to feel any input from your fingers.
The AGloves were the first gloves to incorporate silver into the fabric to help transmit the electrical current from your gloved fingers to a touchscreen. In that regard they work flawlessly, even through those Zagg screen protectors that occasionally fail to recognize glove-free fingertip swipes. While several other glove makers now keep capacitive needs in mind, it’s still a feather in AGloves’ cap that their AGloves Sport touchscreen gloves were first to market.
With several other glove manufacturers using silver or other current-transmitting materials, the AGloves enticed me strictly because of the Raynaud’s-solving pitch. Unfortunately, their protection against the cold isn’t nearly as strong as their capacitive touchscreen tech.
The AGloves Sport touchscreen gloves are thin, as you can tell from the photo above. This was likely required to keep the finger-to-touchscreen functionality intact, though it’s easy to envision a thicker glove that thins out at the fingertips. Still, the main body of the gloves kept the palms and backs of my hands surprisingly warm in spite of their thinness. But the palms and backs of my hands aren’t normally what get cold. That honor goes to the fingertips, as shown in this picture, which makes it all the more disappointing that the fingertips are these gloves’ primary misstep.
These gloves have the touchscreen thing down pat. They do a good job keeping the palms warm on a hike or during everyday activities (they’re definitely not made for the snow). But after wearing the AGloves Sport touchscreen gloves for just five minutes, my fingertips began getting cold. I wasn’t doing anything extreme, either; just walking along a simple Forest Park trail on a Fall day. After about eight minutes, the cold began radiating up the sides of my fingers, almost as if the silver-lined material had wrapped my fingers like a sandwich and left the sides completely exposed.
That sensation was about the last thing I expected after receiving such an enthusiastic response to Raynaud’s from the PR reps. Did the gloves keep my hands warmer than if I’d not worn anything? Of course. Did they let me use my smartphone while wearing them? Yes, they did. But did the AGloves Sport touchscreen gloves inspire me to stick with them for the long haul? No. I appreciate that they were, at least in theory, designed with Raynaud’s in mind. But I’m going back to the drawing board now to find gloves that will keep my hands warm through thick and thin while still supporting smartphone use. After all, if Raynaud’s isn’t a handicap, the gloves we choose to wear shouldn’t be a handicap either to engaging in everyday activities like using a touchscreen.
AGloves Sport Touchscreen Gloves
- They look fashionable
- Silver thread makes using smartphones a breeze
- It's hard to beat the price tag
- Thin enough to be a liner
- They simply don't offer any warmth
- Even as a liner, they don't deliver much insulation