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The Winter Glove Solution for Wheelchair Users - Erik Kondo

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

Wheelchair user pushing over a frozen snow bank.
Atlas thermo gloves

The question of what are the best gloves to wear in the winter for a wheelchair user is quite common. Typically, people suggest many expensive options that only address one aspect of the myriad issues involved. Here a list of winter glove considerations for wheelchair users:

  • Warmth – For cold days and very cold days.

  • Waterproof – For wet and slushy slow.

  • Grippy – In order to create friction for gripping a snow caked wheelchair hand rim/wheel.

  • Flexibility – In order to be able to physically squeeze the wheelchair hand rim/wheel.

  • Durability – So it doesn’t fall apart after one season of use.

  • Not expensive – Who wants to spend a lot of money on gloves that are likely to get ripped up, lost, misplaced, or stolen?

  • Variability – The “best” glove depends upon the specific weather.

The need for variability is often not considered. A warm thick waterproof glove that is required for very cold snowy days is overkill for just cold, but dry days. For wheelchair users, gloves are like footwear for a walking person. Typically, people want to wear the minimum footwear as possible for convenience and comfort. Heavy gloves are like heavy boots. Yes, they keep you warm and dry. But they are awkward to wear. You want to take them off as soon as you can.

A problem that is similar to boots, is that the wheelchair user will want to immediately remove his or her gloves upon going inside. Carrying around wet/snowy/dirty/sandy/salty gloves makes a mess. Usually, it is best to leave them on the floor by a heater, so they can dry. But if your gloves are expensive, you don’t want to just leave them somewhere for fear of them getting stolen when you are out and about.

Given all of the above considerations, here is my suggested solution. There is NO one glove that meets all these requirements. A wheelchair user needs a number of different gloves (like different footwear) depending upon the specific weather. Also, having multiple gloves provides the ability to switch gloves when they get wet which happens very quickly in wet snowy conditions. Having multiple gloves seems expensive, unless you buy cheap ones. Here are the gloves I use:

  • Atlas Fit Gloves - About $4 per glove for cool wet days.

  • Atlas Therma Fit Gloves for cold dry days for about $4 per glove

  • Atlas Vinylove Insulated Gloves - For about $17 per glove for very cold and wet days.

These gloves are all available online and at many local hardware stores.

The solution for me is to have a lot of these gloves lying around. You can buy them by the case and get them even cheaper. I keep them in my house, in my garage, in my car, in my wife’s car, in the exterior net pocket of my knapsack. They are so inexpensive, I don’t care if I lose them. When one glove gets wet, I put on another. When a glove gets a hole in it. I throw it away. I have found these gloves to be quite durable.

For about $50, you can have a multiple glove solution that should last several years for Fall, Winter, and Spring.

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