Your choice of diving gloves will depend on what you use them for – as this will determine your priorities in terms of warmth, fit and comfort, durability, and dexterity. For example, cold water Scuba diving gloves are designed for use in water temperatures of 35oF to 70oF but you should not make the mistake of thinking that because you are diving in warmer waters, that you do not need gloves at all! Warm water Scuba diving gloves, are intended for use in warmer waters up to 85oF and will provide vital protection for your hands when wreck diving, etc.
The three main types available are:-
1. Cold Water Scuba Diving Gloves – On land, on a cold day, hands without gloves are the first part of the body to get cold. It is the same in the underwater environment. Cold water gloves will keep your hands warm enough to swim, hold and use equipment, make any necessary adjustments to your gear and check diving gauges.
Look for gloves with robust construction, warm linings, and water-resistant seams.
2. Warm Water Scuba Diving Gloves – These are designed with your protection in mind and because they do not need to provide much warmth. Warm water gloves are usually less than 2mm thick.
Look for neoprene and Lycra construction gloves for the maximum range of movement for jobs where you need to be dextrous or more protective materials such as synthetic suede, or even Kevlar dive gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges and surfaces when wreck or reef diving.
3. Surf and Swim Gloves – Not strictly diving gloves, but used in a variety of water sports, Surf gloves are available for cold and warm water surfing and are different from dive gloves with palms designed to provide maximum traction and grip on a wet and slippery surfboard. Swim gloves do not need the textured palm for traction but do have to web between the fingers to help build strength, stamina, and speed.
Look for variations with the fingertips exposed for touch sensitivity, or webbing between the fingers for greater swim speed.
Our Top Tips When Choosing Diving Gloves
- For very cold water diving situations, look for standard diving mitts or three-fingered mitts as these help your hands to stay warmer as they provide greater skin-to-skin contact. These come in thicknesses up to 7mm.
- Reinforcement at the wrists will help to keep more water out, thus helping your hands to stay warm for longer these gloves are designed without wrist straps that make them more difficult to put on so whether you choose these or not is down to personal preference.
- Choose diving gloves that are long enough to tuck inside the cuffs of your wetsuit. This will help to keep them in place and prevent them from letting in water.
- Finding the perfect fit in a diving glove can be a matter of trial and error, a bit like choosing the perfect pair of jeans! Remember that if you choose gloves that are really tight, this will put additional pressure on the seams and let in more water. If the gloves are too large, more water transfer happens.
- For situations where you need more strength and grip, grabbing rocks when exiting the sea on a rocky shore or climbing up a rusty dive ladder, choosing the more expensive, but more durable titanium reinforced, or Kevlar gloves can be a wise investment.
- The degree of dexterity offered by the diving gloves you choose is important. You will need to clear water from your mask, check gauges, adjust straps, and so on. You may need to write on an underwater writing slate and communicate with your diving buddy. Greater dexterity does seem to come at the expense of greater warmth, with 5- fingered gloves offering the greatest dexterity, standard mitts the greatest warmth and three-fingered mitts, the best compromise in cold water situations.
Care And Storage of Diving Gloves
Once you have found the best diving gloves for your needs, you will want to take good care of them.
- Soak them in fresh water after each dive in the same way you look after your wetsuit.
- Using wetsuit shampoo occasionally will thoroughly remove dirt and bacteria.
- Dry them in the fresh air if possible, away from direct sunlight.
- If you do need to dry them indoors, lay flat on a drying rack.
- Once dry, store your wetsuit gloves flat in a cool dry place to prevent breaking or cracking of the neoprene.
Cared for this way, a good pair of diving gloves should last you a few years.