If you've been sailing for years you probably know what kind of sailing gloves you like - the same ones you bought the last 20 times! But for those who are newer to sailing it can be hard to know what type of gloves you should go for. Here is our quick guide to choosing the right gloves.
Warm or cold? Are you a fair weather sailor who sticks to the summer months or do you sail right through the winter? Do you sail in the subtropical Scilly Isles or the more bracing climes of the north coast of Scotland? Do you feel the cold or do you think wetsuits are for wimps?
If you're at all worried about getting too chilly your best bet is winter gloves. Our Ora winter gloves are made from 3mm neoprene like a wetsuit, and so will trap a layer of warm air/water next to your skin keeping your hands warmer for longer. Bear in mind though that neoprene is thicker and less flexible than the amara fabric of our summer gloves, so it's harder to do fiddly jobs like untying knots or doing up shackles with your gloves on. Or if you are just concerned about feeling the cold on exposed areas, our Ora full finger gloves protect all your fingers and thumbs.
Feel or protection? Like many brands, we offer three styles of gloves: full finger, "long/short", and short finger.
The short fingered gloves will give you the best feel and flexibility. They will enable you to do fiddly jobs while sailing like untying knots, and also allow you fingertip feel on sheets and lines when not under high load. The downside is they leave your fingertips exposed which can lead to rope burns and blisters if you're not careful, especially in windier weather or higher load boats like keelboats and yachts.
Long finger gloves offer the opposite pros and cons. They protect the whole of your hands from the ropes and the elements, but the barrier between you and the controls can limit your feel for the boat and the sails.
Long/short gloves are very popular because they offer a compromise: more protection than short finger styles but the ability to feel the sheets when you need to.
Ultimately it is very much a personal preference and all three styles are more or less equally popular with our customers. We would advise you to think about whether you care more about protecting your hands from high sheet loads or fine feel on the controls and choose accordingly.
Materials: back in the day all sailing gloves used to be made of real leather. They were heavy, expanded a lot when wet, shrank a lot and went stiff when dry, and weren't much good for gripping ropes. Leather is also not very environmentally friendly or ethically sound. That's why most modern sailing gloves are made from a range of synthetic alternatives that offer trade offs between flexibility, durability, grip, and ease of use.
Like many premium brands, our summer glove styles are made primarily from amara, a synthetic leather alternative that is soft, flexible and comfortable but wears very well and is easy to care for. They are reinforced with our synthetic "OraGrip" fabric across the high load palm areas to improve grip and longevity. To increase flexibility and comfort we've used panels of spandex-type high stretch fabric across the back of the hand and base of the thumb. Lastly we use a neoprene and velcro cuff to keep them secure on your hands. We worked hard designing our gloves to make them comfortable, grippy, and durable.
Which size? Measure your hand around the palm and our handy (!) size guide will help you choose a size. If you're on the cusp between two sizes, how to choose depends on whether you like a snug or a looser fit. Our gloves are designed to be quite fitted to your hands as we feel this gives the best feel and grip. But if you prefer a more relaxed feel choose a size up. And don't worry, if when your gloves arrive you don't like the fit, drop us a line and we'll swap them for a larger or smaller size free of charge with our no quibble returns policy.
Whatever style and size you choose, we'd recommend you look for a good quality amara summer gloves with good reinforcement in the high wear areas and good stretch panels built in so they are comfortable, flexible, and will last.
We hope this will help you choose the right sailing gloves for you. If you have any queries feel free to drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org