When winter is just around the corner and the cold starts to bite at our hands, it’s time for gloves to make an appearance again. But with such a large selection to choose from, buying a pair is no easy task, even for the most fashion-aware women. Nevertheless, there are two types of gloves that swarm the shelves every single winter. Suede and leather gloves (together with their faux counterparts) have become the most characteristic women’s accessories during the cold months. Both materials have a luxurious look and succeed in making a stylish impression on the runway, but which one works best on the streets? To answer this question, let’s look at how these two types of gloves compare in some key areas.
What you should focus on when choosing winter gloves is the degree of insulation they can offer you. And when it comes to winter wear, leather is unparalleled – that’s why you see so many leather gloves on sale. Leather has a thick construction which prevents your body heat from escaping. Truth is, gloves themselves don’t generate warmth. Whether or not they provide good insulation depends on how well they retain the heat on the inside and leather does that unbelievably well. Moreover, leather is 100% waterproof – a good advantage in your snowball fights.
Suede by definition is a type of leather. While leather is made out of the exterior surface of an animal’s hide, suede is derived from its underside. That’s why many people refer to it as “inside out” leather. Its incredibly soft and smooth feel cannot be matched by regular leather. However, suede doesn’t come even close to the thermal protection leather offers. That’s why this material is mostly used as a thin layer, lining the inside of leather gloves. Moreover, gloves completely made out of suede tend to soak in water which leaves your hands wet and cold. But if poor insulation is the price you’re willing to pay for owning a more softer handshake, so be it.
If you have ever owned a leather coat or any kind of leather clothing for that matter, you probably know that it requires little to no maintenance. Because it does not absorb stains and odours, there’s no need to expose leather to rough cleaning chemicals which beside cleaning can quickly wear out a material. Actually, genuine high-quality leather only needs to be occasionally wiped.
Suede, on the other hand, because of its nap is incredibly difficult to maintain. Cleaning stains out of it will require a lot of scrubbing. Not to mention that this material absorbs odours and can quickly stink up if not washed after several wears. Plus, regularly handling things with your suede gloves (and you most certainly will) is going to quickly leave them in a bad state.
A good pair of gloves is the one that lasts for several seasons. And you know what? – Leather is historically famous for its durability. Don’t trust me? Take a look at how well this 5 500 year-old leather shoe is preserved. And with today’s advances in leather manufacturing, longevity is more than guaranteed. Centuries from now some future archaeologist could discover your leather glove. How cool is that? Just don’t let the relatively high price tag dissuade you, leather gloves have the advantage of lasting longer than their money’s worth. Alternatively, you can always find a nice pair of leather gloves on sale. And don’t worry that they are last season, leather is a trend that never goes out of style!
As for suede, I’m not so convinced about its durability. Although it’s resistant to scratches, suede is split grain with inherently less tensile strength than leather. And since it does not resist moisture well, the wetness from the obligatory winter rain or snow is bound to make these gloves deteriorate quickly.