Wherever you are in the world, it’s no secret that winter produces the best swell.
Here in the U.S, depending on where you live, chasing winter swells means being surf-ready with cold water gear isn’t just recommended, it’s a must.
That’s why we’ve collected together a selection of the best surfing gloves found online so that all men, women, and children can keep warm and find that winter surfing stoke.
Like everything that Patagonia touches, their Yulex surf glove range, simply put, is a cut above the rest. A natural rubber derived from trees, Yulex is slowly becoming the industry standard in sustainable wetsuit gear, and guess who’s leading the charge?
Patagonia has reduced the synthetic neoprene percentage across their entire wetsuit range to make way for a more sustainable future of keeping surfers warm.
Their R3 glove is made up of 85% Yulex and 15% synthetic rubber by polymer and comes with 100% externally taped seams to keep the water out, and your hands warm.
The textured palm grip will give you more confidence in your surfing ability, and make it easier to pop up without the worry of your hand slipping.
The R3 is the ideal surf glove for water temperatures between 48°F – 55°F to suit Northern California in the wintertime.
Fairtrade certified, made of recycled materials wherever possible, at the forefront of sustainable surfwear – yeh, you could say Patagonia’s R3 Yulex glove is a conscious choice to wear.
- 85% Yulex rubber – sustainable, natural rubber
- Suits 48° – 55° Fahrenheit waters – good for Californian winter
- 100% externally taped seams – good at keeping water out
Calling all East Coast and Great Lakes surfers who like to score waves in the winter, we have officially found your glove. Quiksilver’s 5 Marathon Sessions mittens are designed for the most frigid of waters where keeping warm is key to survival.
At 5mm thick, these “lobster claw” mittens will allow you to keep the feeling in your fingers in 40°F waters. Lobster claws are a cool type of mitten as they split the middle finger with the index to allow more dexterity while keeping your less used fingers huddled together like penguins for warmth.
From a construction standpoint, these gloves mix it with the best of them, being made of StretchFlight neoprene to bring the heat without sacrificing flexibility.
Although they may not be made of Yulex, these mittens have their own sustainability story in that they are made of recycled neoprene taken from scrap rubber tires.
The GBS (glued and blind stitched) internal seams act as a final layer of defense against dreaded water flushing. Quiksilver has endeavored to make their gloves as eco-friendly as possible, and has used non-toxic water-based glues to help this along.
This is a heat-focused lobster claw mitten to keep surfers comfortable in the coldest of climates, and for that, we salute it.
- Lobster claw design – good for dexterity and warmth in cold water
- Internal GBS seams – purposed for keeping water out
- 5mm thick – designed for extremely cold water
- Too warm for spring conditions – specialist winter glove only
- Fit is for men only – sorry ladies
O’Neill’s Psycho Tech 1.5mm glove has an anatomical fit to offer the greatest dexterity of any glove on the market. At just 1.5mm thick, this glove will offer a “glove-less” feeling, and is ideal for taking the edge off moderately cold water.
Think spring conditions in Northern California and the more temperate parts of the East Coast, and this glove will deliver.
The windproof skin is great at retaining internal warmth and repelling cold offshore winds on chilly mornings. This is a premium surf glove that, with many sizes, can be slipped on and worn by men, and women, just the same.
The TechnoButter Firewall technology will act as a final layer of defense against chilly water seeping through and ruining your morning surf, and subsequently your day.
Tacky grip on the palm side, a fluid seam weld, and an O’ring cuff seal to lock out water – this is a high-functioning, technically advanced surf glove for which the high price reflects.
- Anatomical fit – molds to hand like it was made to fit (which it is)
- Tacky palm grip – extra grip for quick take-offs
- O’Ring seal – helps lock out water on the cuff
- Unisex – good for men, women, and children in small sizes
- Not sustainable
- 1.5mm – not suitable for the mid-winter in most cold water surfing climates
By releasing gear that looks good and wears better, Vissla has cemented itself within the top-echelon of the wetsuit industry of today.
This rapid rise to the top is an impressive feat considering they were founded in 2013, and most big-name surf brands have been in the game since the 60s.
However, it is this youthfulness that has helped them reach such a respectable place, as well as their products, of course.
The 7 Seas 3mm glove is a very cool glove that features matt-finish neoprene for a rugged look without years of wear and tear.
The unmistakable pale aqua of the Vissla logo is purposefully small and considered across the top side of the wrist. This helps to give the glove a low-key aesthetic while representing the brand in a tasteful way.
Not only does the exterior of the glove look the part, but it has also been designed to resist wind – blending function with form is what Vissla is all about.
A full inner thermal lining has been built into the glove, and, with water-tight cuffs, this 3mm pair can handle water down around the 48°F mark.
Impressive to look at, impressive to wear, if you were ever doubting the credentials of the new kid on the block “Vissla”, now is the time to stop.
- Stylized simple aesthetic – suited to the style masters out there
- Watertight cuffs – reduces water flushing
- Full inner thermal lining – helps maintain hand warmth
- Unisex – a good fit for all
So good is O’Neill’s Psycho Tech that we’ve decided to feature it once more in the 5mm Lobster Claw (you can thank us later).
This premium glove comes with the aforementioned Psycho Tech features like the latest Techno Butter Firewall with wind-proof smooth skin, and an O-ring seal of water-repelling approval.
A bonus of O’Neill’s 5mm Lobster Claw, as well as having tacky silicone grip across the entire palm and hand, is the additional panel across each wrist for extra grip.
This is perfect for when you’re floundering around in the surf after a wipeout and need to grab your board in a hurry (which is typically a lot of the time).
The only thing to note is that these extra-toasty claws are made for men specifically, which is a shame, but that’s how O’Neill has chosen to play it. However, with a size chart that ranges from 2XS up to XL, at least they’ve accounted for adolescent surfers when sizing this glove.
Sure, a 5mm Lobster Claw is considered excessive for California in the wintertime. But, for the foolhardy and brave folk up in Maine, Canada, and the Great Lakes, this is exactly the kind of kit that’s going to see their hands through the bitter winter freeze.
- Wind-proof smooth skin – eliminates wind chill
- Silicone grip across hand and wrist – great for board control
- Large sizing scale – a good fit for adolescent boys as well
- Constructed for men/ boys specifically
In light of O’Neill’s 5mm lobster claw being all about the men, we thought it was only fair to showcase a 7mm mitten for all the cold water heroines out there.
Patagonia’s R5 Yulex mitt is a super warming affair that’s designed to protect women’s hands in water temperatures as low as 32°F – 38°F, and yes that is the freezing temp.
Just because they can handle the most frigid of waters that this world is known to serve frozen, doesn’t mean you have to be surfing in them to wear this glove.
These thickened mitts are the ideal glove for any woman who tends to feel the cold more than her surfing buddies. It’s true, some people are prone to feeling the freeze more than others, and the R5 is here to at least help the ladies out.
Not only does this mitt have the credentials to withstand arctic circle surfing, but Patagonia’s sustainable mission statement has been built into its construction too.
A premium, forward-thinking mitten for the women who like to feel warm and inspired by what they wear.
- 7mm thick neoprene – can handle the coldest water on earth
- Constructed of Yulex rubber – the natural choice
- Built for a perfect women’s fit
- 7mm thick neoprene will hinder performance if not needed
Is there anything cuter than seeing a toddler shred the little stories of their local beach with a smile from ear to ear? We don’t think so either!
So, to make sure the next generation of surfers who aren’t gifted with year-round warm water can still surf through the winter, Xcel has brought out a toddler surf glove range.
Coming in a bunch of toddler-specific sizes, the Infiniti 3mm is perfect for scoring epic sessions in the Californian wintertime.
Don’t let the winter put your child off getting surf-stoked, adorn their hands in a pair of Infiniti’s and let them join in on the fun all year long. Just because these gloves are made for tiny little toddler hands, doesn’t mean their construction game is tiny.
Bringing the premium feel in a big way, the Infiniti comes with GBS seams, quick-dry fibers, grip palms, reinforced taped stress points, and has been constructed from Thermo Lite Infrared neoprene.
Purposed for water in the 49°F – 55°F temperature range, these gloves are going to help your child progress in the magical sport of surfing all winter long.
- Toddler sizes – keeping the next generation warm
- GBS seams – market-leading seam design to keep water out
- 3mm thick – ideal for California winter
- Reinforced tape at stress points – durable by design
- Your toddler is likely to grow out of them after one season
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Water Temperature In A Californian Winter?
With a staggering 840 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline to its name, California is the jewel in the crown of American surfing.
However, with such a large expanse of coastline, water temperatures can vary quite significantly between Northern and Southern California (especially in the wintertime).
In the middle of winter, expect the ocean temp to drop to around 50°F anywhere north of San Francisco.
Known for its pleasantly warm winters, Southern Californian waters typically stay above 60°F in the winter, meaning gloves would be considered excessive in surfing hot spots like San Clemente.
What Thickness Do Surf Gloves Usually Come In?
You see, the thing about surfing gloves is that one thickness doesn’t fit all. The standard thicknesses of surf gloves that suit most of the world’s water temperatures are 2mm, 3mm, and 5mm.
You can also find 1.5mm gloves that help to take the edge off surfing conditions, and there are even 7mm gloves to handle extreme winter conditions. These are the two ends of the thickness spectrum where surf gloves are concerned.
So, if your fingers are still feeling the cold in 7mm of neoprene, then it may be time to re-think your geographical location for the benefit of your surfing life.
Coldwater surfing can be a very rewarding experience, allowing you to escape the crowds and seek out a new frontier of “the surfer’s paradise”.
However, without adequate gear, surfing in cold water can turn south and become an off-putting endeavor quicker than you’d like to know.
The surf gloves listed above are some of the best in the business at keeping hands warm, and surfers stoked – we hope you found your perfect pair.