A wheelchair massively enhances accessibility for its user. If you are a wheelchair user, in all likelihood, you would have forgotten for good how life was like, without a wheelchair. The kind of convenience that a mobility aid like an electric wheelchair adds to your life is unparalleled. You can once again embrace freedom and travel around and enjoy the world. Indeed, for electric wheelchair users, the joystick is almost their magic wand! Having said that, both manual and electric wheelchair users will do well to have a good pair of gloves to keep them warm during the winter months.
Gloves for Wheelchair Users
When it comes to the best gloves for wheelchair users, our top choice is Seibertron Original Multi-function Gloves. But different people have different usage requirements. So here, we have reviewed some of the best winter gloves that are available in the market. We expect this article to be helpful to you to eventually make a decision on which pair of gloves to invest in.
What to consider when buying winter gloves for wheelchair
Well, first and foremost, the pair of gloves should protect you from the cold. Depending on how cold it gets where you live, you should be able to lay your hands on a pair, which is rightly suited for that weather. An important consideration while choosing a pair of gloves for wheelchairs is the padding in the glove. Unless you are using a power wheelchair, it is also a good idea to select gloves with sufficient padding. This will save your hands from any injury and wear out from long periods of manually operating the wheelchair.
Another consideration, should be good grip. Depending on your wheelchair, you would either be using the joystick or having a continuous grip on the wheels. In both these cases, and especially for manual wheelchair users, it is of paramount importance that your gloves have sufficient grip.
Next comes flexibility and comfort. Your pair of gloves should be like your second skin. They must let you perform all hand functions with ease and not be made of rigid material, so that you partially lose out on finger functions. Also, all of us have come across gloves which lead to sweating of palms if worn for moderately long time. This should be avoided as much as possible, by ensuring that the gloves are made up of breathable material.
You also might want to consider gloves that allow you to operate your smartphone while you are on your wheelchair. Gloves that allow you to use your smartphone (or other touch screen devices) either come with touch sensitive finger tips or the ability to open up one or multiple fingers while keeping the glove on.
Distinguishing features of winter gloves
There are a few features by which you can distinguish gloves and these features have their own pros and cons. Which glove feature is better suited to you really depends on the type of weather and your typical usage of wheelchair.
Full fingered or open fingered gloves
This feature really is a toss up between the kind of flexibility you would want to retain with gloves on, versus the kind of cold weather you operate your wheelchair in. If you are located in a region where winters are characterized by sub-zero temperatures, it is likely that you will have to go with full fingered gloves. Open finger gloves do allow you to operate your touch screen device, which can be a consideration for some.
Material of the gloves
Gloves can be made up of a range of materials including leather, suede or lycra. If it snows often in your area in the winter, you better buy a leather pair, rather than a lycra pair as lycra is not waterproof. Conversely, if it does not snow much or you are a kind of person who does not like to venture out on a snowy day, lycra may be the right material for you as it is more flexible than leather and helps you retain better use of fingers.
Padding on the palm of the gloves
Well, this is an easy decision to make basis your wheelchair is powered or not. If its a manual wheelchair, you will be better off with more padding to avoid injury to hands. On the other hand, if you ride a power wheelchair, normal padding should be sufficient for you. In fact, more padding may prohibit optimal use of the joystick.
Read on for reviews of some of the best products available in the market. Hopefully, these will help you take a more informed decision on which pair of gloves to buy.
This product is made of synthetic leather and equipped with touchscreen on all fingers. This is a lightweight glove meant for a range of outdoor activities including operating a wheelchair.
- Touchscreen equipped on all the finger-tips will help you operate mobile phones without taking off gloves.
- Water resistant gloves, suitable for snowy or rainy weather
- Retains maximum finger flexibility
- Can be used for multiple activities
- You may not be comfortable with the thermal plastic rubber closure on the wrist.
- Slightly on the thinner side and may not be great in extreme cold.
This product, primarily made for cycling also does a good job for operating wheelchairs. Good value for money, this pair of gloves has extra raised grips made of silicone, on the index and middle finger for better hold.
- Good fit and durable
- Padding on the knuckles for protection
- Air mesh fabric on the back of the hand lets air to circulate and does not lead to palm sweating even after long periods of use
- Good grip
- Suede palm material may soak water in snowy weather and gloves may become uncomfortable to stay in
The gloves are made up of synthetic leather and are adjustable in two areas through Velcro: one on the base of the hand, on the wrist, and the other just below the knuckles.
- Great customizable fit with dual adjusting Velcro straps
- Good for cold winters as well
- Machine wash possible
- Good for multiple activities, apart from operating wheelchair
- Good grip
- Suitable for sub-zero winters as well
- Finger flexibility may be compromised a bit due to the thickness of the material of the gloves leading to discomfort from long periods of use
- Palm protection could have better, no extra padding on the inner side
Primarily meant for a gym workout, this glove is a basic product for which the utility to price ratio is high. These gloves are available in 4 colors and are liked by both genders.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Value for money
- Light to medium padding on palm will save hands from callous formation
- Good warranty scheme: 1 year replacement guarantee for manufacturing defects
- Half finger gloves, so not suitable for very cold weather
- No extra grip
The product boasts of LiquiCell technology which enhances the comfort of the user. Grip pads on the palm are present for improved grip on the wheelchair tires.
- LiquiCell technology adds to comfort during long periods of use and friction with wheelchair tires
- Separate thumb material for sweat removal
- Good retention of finger flexibility
- Parts of the glove, made of terry cloth and lycra may not be waterproof, leading to discomfort in snowy or rainy weather
- May wear out faster if you are pushing your wheelchair for long
This is a unisex half finger genuine leather gloves that is more suited for moderately cold weather and are good for you if you are riding a manual wheelchair or power wheelchair. The product comes with adjustable leather wrist straps.
- Adjustable leather straps on knuckles help you get a better fit
- All leather and water resistant
- Comfortable as well as sturdy enough to be used for manually operate wheelchairs
- Not suitable for harsh winters as these are half finger gloves
Final Verdict – Best Gloves for Wheelchair Users
The top 3 on the list are our outright favorites, when it comes to best gloves for wheelchair users. Of course, your choice will depend on your unique circumstances.
When it comes to suitability of gloves for operating a wheelchair, I would recommend that you should look at long periods of use to decide on which features are important for you. For example, a pair of gloves may be comfortable to wear for a short while, but when used for a long time it may lead to discomfort. Discomfort may be because of the material the glove is made of or due to the inner lining of stitches that may press against your palm or fingers. Also, extra palm padding is almost always a good idea, especially if you use your manual wheelchair yourself.
So, take your pick and invest wisely, keeping in mind that this is a small investment for your comfort, especially in cold winters.