Believe it or not, you can find some cheap running gloves. In looking for a good pair of gloves I could use to run with during the winter, I quickly realized that prices were all over the place.
I could spend some serious cash and buy some cold weather running gloves for around $30, or I could spend around $10 and get some running gloves that would suit me just fine.
How do you decide which gloves to get? Do you need to spend tons of money? Are cheap running gloves going to last?
It started around October last year when I would go out for my morning run that I found that my hands would get really cold, and wouldn't really warm up. I'd go out about 5:30 or 6:00 wearing a pair of my best running shorts, and within a couple of minutes of running, my legs would be warmed up, my upper body would be warm, and even my feet (without socks, mind you) would not feel the cold.
However, my hands would still be numb and continue that way for the rest of the run. And my form was bad enough without trying to warm up my hands by shoving them in my armpits while I'm running down the street. (Not that it matters, I guess, since hardly anyone is out at that time of the morning.)
But still. Nobody likes to have cold hands, including me.
So what to do?
Well, first thing I did was to try out a pair of winter cycling gloves that my wife had bought me for Christmas a couple of years previously. These are some thick fingered gloves that are fairly bulky, and needless to say, they didn't work very well for running. For one thing, the lowest temperature it gets for running is usually in the 30s, and sometimes down to the 20s.
While this can get cold sometimes, it was never cold enough to warrant the thick cycling gloves, and my hands would get all sweaty and uncomfortable. With cycling gloves, you need something that will combat the wind hitting your hands as they grip the handlebars and your barreling down the road trying to keep from getting run over by a runaway schoolbus.
But running is different. You normally don't run fast enough to have to deal with the same amount of wind hitting your hands, so you don't really need something that thick.
So those cycling gloves of mine weren't going to work very well as running gloves.
Next I tried raiding the winter hats and gloves bucket that is stashed in the hallway closet. My kids throw all their winter gear in there (along with what they borrow -- and never return -- from my wife). I thought I could find some cheap running gloves that would work for my morning runs, but since I have fingers like celery (long and green), none of the gloves really fit. I did find a pair of those super small but stretchy gloves. You know, the ones that look like they wouldn't fit a child, but then are supposed to stretch out long enough to fit Andre the Giant? But even those were too small.
What to do?
Lucky for me, the answer came relatively quickly. I had to go to Walmart a few days later to pick up something, I can't remember what, but I ended up walking through the men's workwear clothing section to see if they had anything that would work for keeping my hands warm during my morning runs.
And they did!
They actually had a bunch of different pairs of gloves that probably would have worked just fine, but I ended up settling on a pair of those brown/black cotton jersey gloves you can find anywhere practically. They were just over a dollar for a pair. Yeah, a dollar.
I was a bit skeptical at first, but thought that for a buck, I could easily try them out. And with Walmart's awesome return policy, if they didn't work out, I could just return them and try out a pair of the more expensive work gloves.
So, yeah, I bought a pair and tried them out the next morning. And ever since, I've used them for my go-to pair of gloves when I go running. I think they're great.
Are they stylish? No.
Do they have a cool Nike symbol on them? No.
Do they have any funky insulation material? No.
Do they keep my hands warm while I run? Yes.
And at just the right temperature so that my hands don't get uncomfortably warm, as well. I've had these cheap running gloves now for about two years and they've held up great. I can easily wash them without worrying if they will shrink, or if the material will get ruined, because, hey, they're just cotton.
Another big plus that cotton gloves like these have over the competition is that when my nose starts to run during those cold winter mornings, I can actually wipe my nose with the gloves and clear away some of the snot that is dripping down my face into my mouth. Try doing that with those slick insulate gloves. You just smear snot everywhere without clearing any away from your face. Nasty? Yes. But these gloves keep the nastiness factor way down because they're' made from cotton.
So if you need some cheap running gloves for the winter, and you don't mind spending about a buck or two for a pair that will last you at least a couple of years, check them out next time you head to your favorite big box store.
They might not make you the most stylish runner on the block, but at least you won't be the one with snot smeared halfway across your cheek.