When it comes to gloves, many men think they are all the same, when in fact they are not. Just like with a suit – take a look at $100 vs. $1000 Suit and $500 vs $5000 Suit – gloves are hugely different. The materials, the fit, the details and the level of workmanship can be like night and day. Therefore, we created a guide highlighting the differences between a $30 pair of gloves and a $300 pair of gloves.
Even if you normally prefer to read a guide, we strongly suggest to watch the video because certain aspects such as the details and especially the fit become much clearer when watching the video.
- Why should you spend $150, $200, or $300 on a pair of gloves when you can get something seemingly the same for just $30?
- What exactly is the difference between a quality pair of gloves and a cheap pair of gloves?
I already have tons of quality gloves in my collection, so we went out and bought two pairs of men’s gloves on sale from a department store to compare them in person. You may not think there’s a huge difference, but in fact, there is. You can break down the differences in leather, cut & fit lining, and quality & detailing.
Leather: Cheap = Stiff & Short-Lived ; Expensive = Soft & Durable
First, let’s look at the leather of $30 gloves. The first thing I noticed, the tag just said 100% leather with polyester lining. The problem is, you don’t know what animal the leather comes from. For gloves, you want specific leathers that are stretchy so when you move, they adapt to your hand, and they always look elegant and comfortable.
Obviously, there are some leathers that are not suited to gloves such as cow leathers, or horse leathers, versus lamb leathers, peccary leathers, hair sheep leathers are excellent for gloves. With cheap gloves, you can’t tell what it is but by moving your fist, if it’s very stiff, hard, and uncomfortable, it’s likely not a quality leather.
What do you expect from something that’s marked down to $30?
The leather is likely pigment coated, and it will age very poorly ad show very bad wrinkles over time. It’s simply of a lower quality, and you just get the dye on top. Others may be a little better because it’s not pigment coated but it would still feel very stiff, and I won’t have much confidence in the longevity of it.
Regarding leather colors, there’s not much choice. Usually, it’s about black, dark brown, medium brown, various shades of tan, but that’s about it. Quality gloves come in chamois yellow, gray, red, green, blue, you name it, these colors are out there, and they’re very elegant and unique.
Quality Gloves Are Made Of Quality Leathers
Also with quality gloves, you’ll always know what kind of leather they’re made of. For example, we have lamb nappa gloves that are extremely soft, and once you touch them, you see the difference between a more expensive $160 pair of gloves and the cheap ones. We also offer nice lamb suede leathers, that are just as soft with a velvety feel and have a wonderful touch and look. It’s not something you’ll find on an inexpensive pair of gloves.
The best leather in the market is peccary leather, it comes from an animal in Peru, and it’s very durable and gets softer over time. It develops a nice patina so the longer you have them, the more elegant they’d look. The downside is, the leather is a lot more expensive than $30, but it’s an investment in your wardrobe and the cost per wear can be much lower than a $30 pair of gloves.
Glove Linings: One Size Fits It All vs. Made To Fit
Cheap Gloves = Cheap Lining
Cheap gloves will have a polyester lining or something with nylon, sometimes it’s fleece, but generally, it’s rather bulky, and your hands are much more likely to sweat in them. Also, when you’re inside the gloves, you can feel the thick seams of the lining in the leather, and they create pressure points which make them less comfortable to wear.
Quality Gloves = Lining Made Exactly For That Glove Size
On the other hand, a quality pair of men’s dress gloves, will always have a natural lining that could be wool, could be cashmere, or alpaca. The advantage of cashmere is that it is much softer than wool, it’s about as warm. Alpaca is slightly less soft but a lot warmer because the fiber is hollow and has air and insulates better.
On top of that, the sizing of the liner is matched exactly to the gloves and therefore, you don’t get any thick seams, the glove looks elegant, and it feels comfortable when you wear it. To learn more about the intricacies about glove linings, please check out our in-depth men’s dress glove guide.
Cut & Fit: Bulky vs. Fits Like A Glove
Arguably, the most important point about wearing gloves is the proper cut and tight fit. You’re probably familiar with the saying “It fits like a glove.” and that means it fits like a bespoke suit that is close to your body and there’s no excess material.
The quality glove will be quite elegant, on the other hand, the cheap glove will look bulky and boxy. This was exactly the size for me, it only came in three sizes. For the cheap glove, my fingers are just about there, could be slightly longer. On my palm, there’s a lot of excess material. As I wear the glove, this is getting bigger and bigger and it just looks very inelegant. Also when I move my fingers, I can just feel that I have tension points even though it’s wide because the cut is not sophisticated and not thought through. If you’re lucky, you find them in three sizes; small, medium, and large, sometimes in extra large but that’s about it.
For quality gloves, usually, the cuts are a little more refined. The finger length is adjusted to the width of the palm and therefore, you get a glove the fits tightly and looks elegant. Quality gloves also come in half sizes, usually, a seven like this glove from Fort Belvedere, so you find a perfect fit no matter whether you have large hands or small hands. Quality gloves also look more elegant because they are narrow around your wrist, they are not too long, there’s not excess bunching material. On the cheaper gloves, they’re all loose so you have a lot of cold air coming in and it makes you feel cold.
Quality gloves are generally hand cut by an experienced cutter. They cut around issues in the leather such as marks or bug bites. With cheaper gloves, that’s not the case, you just get whatever there is and usually they a grain corrected leather so it’s just not as soft and not as stretchy anymore.
It’s All In The Details
With a quality pair of gloves, you also get a lot of detailing such as contrast piping, you get hand-woven elements, or you have green piping and a button closure. It’s not something you’ll ever find on cheaper $30 gloves. As a matter of fact, cheap detailing such as this Calvin Klein mark on the outside of the glove, or that cheap stitching are not very elegant.
One thing that you’ll find in most quality gloves is the so-called quirks which are these little things in between your fingers. It’s like a triangular diamond, and it enables to have extra material there, so your finger movement is much easier and more comfortable. On cheaper gloves, you will never find that, and that’s why it’s much harder, and they don’t feel as comfortable when you use them, when you drive, or when you do anything with them.
So quality gloves not only look much better, they also feel a lot better and you won’t regret it and you’ll know immediately what I’m talking about once you put your hands in one.
Summary: It Pays To Invest In Quality Gloves
Cheap gloves are all machine-sewn, they have boring colors, they are usually bulky, and they have little tags on them, the leather’s inferior, and they smell.
On the other hand, quality gloves can either be machine-sewn or hand-sewn like, you can have a contrast stitching, you can have a tone in tone stitching, but it’s always of the highest quality. It has a warm natural lining,it has interesting details such as the buttons, the lining, or the hand woven accents. To make a pair of gloves like this, it takes several hours, sometimes six, sometimes eight, versus a cheap machine pair of gloves can be sewn in less than thirty minutes.
Now for a lot of men, the $30 pair of gloves may seem like a bargain upfront but in reality when you add up costs and costs per wear, the quality pair beats them any day. To be fair, there are uses for inexpensive gloves such as shoveling the snow or pumping gas but once you invest in a good pair of gloves, you can just use your old ones for these activities and just skip those altogether because they’re uncomfortable after all. I guarantee you, once you put on quality gloves that fit you, that have an unusual color, compliments will come your way very quickly.