When workers head outside in cold weather, they know they're likely to face challenging working conditions, including cold hands, affecting the job's performance. Once temperatures fall below 32 degrees, it's even more critical to prepare for extreme temperatures by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. This protection only comes when you choose PPE made with high-quality material. The last point is essential, as no one wants to show up ready to work on a cold day only to find their gloves' lining is not performing as anticipated.
To ensure they are purchasing high-quality, warm, comfortable PPE, laborers from almost all industries turn to MCR Safety work gloves with Thinsulate™ insulated liners. Thinsulate™-lined gloves are a must when working outdoors in cold temperatures as they protect against frostbite, numbness, and sensitivity to cold.
In cold weather environments, Thinsulate™ traps warm temperatures better than any other lining on the market.
Thinsulate™ is a trademarked brand of synthetic fiber thermal Insulation made by 3M. Its name comes from the combination of the words "thin" and "insulate," and over the years, Thinsulate™ has taken the place of down feathers and other insulating materials used to increase warmth in clothing. Thinsulate™ has been used in garments made for the U.S. Army since the mid-1980s. When Thinsulate™ technology is used in work gloves, they keep a worker's hands warm and comfortable.
This article will explore this technology and show you some of our top-selling winter work gloves utilizing this unique lining.
What Is Thinsulate?
Thin and lightweight, Thinsulate™ fibers are made of polyethylene terephthalate or a mixture of polyethylene terephthalate/polypropylene. The Insulation created by weaving these fibers together is used in boots, work gloves, and outerwear. According to 3M, Thinsulate™ is manufactured in seven different insulation formulas used in a variety of PPE products. We break down each type below:
- Original (Type G/KL) – known as the workhorse of all formulas produced, it is warm yet lightweight. Here are some of the core attributes of the Type G/KL:
* Offers superior warmth
Is soft and breathable, so you remain comfortable
Is effective in both dry and wet weather conditions
Fibers absorb less than 1% of their weight in water and dry easily
Is certified free of harmful substances to Oeko-Tex Standard 100
- Flame-Resistant Insulation – designed mostly for the utility and oil and gas industries, this formula incorporates flame-resistant fibers to protect against unplanned or accidental flames, heat, or electrical arc.
- Featherless Insulation – replaces natural down with loose-fill Insulation that mimics the look and feel of down, performing exceptionally well in wet conditions.
- Water-Resistant Insulation – made with hydrophobic fibers, this formula offers improved water resistance, keeping wearers warm, comfortable, and dry without unnecessary weight.
- Stretch Insulation – is designed to stretch a full 40% and move with you, providing excellent dexterity.
We don't use all of the insulation types explained above in our products, but we want to make sure you're aware that they exist. At MCR Safety, we use the original types (G/KL and C) as the primary types of Insulation in our work gloves.
The Technology—How It Keeps You Warm
Resisting water, while also allowing one's skin to breathe, Thinsulate™ is the go-to choice for those seeking protection against cold and wet environments. The moisture-resistant microfiber construction of Thinsulate™ traps more warmth in less space than other types of Insulation. Its fibers are about ten times smaller than other similar material. The fibers are also compacted into insulated cloth, resulting in higher levels of warmth and offering reliable and comfortable protection from the cold.
When exposed to water, Thinsulate™ retains its original structure, unlike other loft materials. With Thinsulate™ gloves available, there's no reason to wear bulky work gloves that inhibit movement.
The measurement of GSM refers to the grams per square meter and is used to measure the thickness and weight of Insulation found in gloves. The higher the gram weight, the more it insulates and the warmer you are. The higher the wearer's activity level, however, the more blood circulates into extremities, requiring less Insulation. Our gloves are designed to minimize sweaty hands.
For our extreme winter gloves, like our 983, we use 200 GSM fabric lining. For our moderate winter gloves, 100 GSM is often used. The lower number equates to more insufficient protection from cold conditions. However, with a thicker GSM, users begin to lose dexterity. Neither scenario is ideal, which means it's imperative to find the right balance.
Thinsulate™ Range: 40 GSM to 800 GSM
|GSM (grams per square meter)
||-30°F and colder
Often, finding the ideal balance of thickness and warmth leads users down the path of asking what temperature rating the glove protects against when working outside.
For those looking for insulation temperature ratings, 3M does not provide exact warmth ratings or temperature limits on its products, saying it is impossible to do so with reasonable accuracy because insulating properties vary with circumstances. For those engaged in intense work activities, a lower gram thickness may be necessary because your body produces natural heat that can become trapped within the glove.
Because it is challenging to simulate every outdoor application, MCR Safety turns to science. Clo lab testing explained on our Insulation page provides users with greater insight into glove warmth and a general reference to a product's specific warming capabilities. As defined by BusinessDictionary.com, Clo is the measurement of Insulation needed to provide warmth based on the resting temperature. We use Clo testing to assess where a glove belongs based on its Clo lab test scores.
MCR Safety Work Gloves
We offer a wide variety of gloves featuring Thinuslate™. Below, we highlight some of our most popular-selling styles, incorporating this widely used Insulation.
Camo Waterproof and Impact
MCR Safety MO200 ForceFlex® Mechanics Gloves with Shadow Grass® Blades® Camo Palm are reinforced with D3O® and TPR back-of-hand protection and fully insulated with 100 GSM Thinsulate™ and a water/windproof bladder.
MCR Safety 3313T Leather Drivers Insulated Work Gloves feature top-grain buffalo hide and are lined with 100 GSM Thinsulate® to help keep hands warm.
MCR Safety 32013T Leather Drivers Insulated Work Gloves feature CV grade cowhide with a 100 GSM Thinsulate™ insulated liner.
Welding and Impact Protection
MCR Safety 48406T features premium grain goatskin lined with 100 GSM Thinsulate™ for protection in cold environments.
Waterproof Winter Gloves
The last thing you want to happen in cold weather is to get your hands wet. The three gloves shown below provide wearers with waterproof protection. Each one is lined with a waterproof/windproof bladder to keep the cold wind and water off your skin.
981 – Moderate Temperatures – Black MAXGrid material, 100g Thinsulate™, black snow/water-resistant back-of-hand, Hipora-lined waterproof bladder, inner elastic cuff.
980 – Moderate Temperatures - Black MAXGrid material palm, 100g Thinsulate™, hi-vis orange snow/water-resistant back-of-hand, Hipora-lined waterproof bladder, inner elastic cuff If you require cut-resistance, the 982 is made with the same features as the 980 and also provides ANSI A6 cut protection.
983 – Extreme Temperatures - Black MAXGrid material fabric palm, 200g Thinsulate™, hi-vis orange snow/water-resistant back-of-hand, Hipora-lined waterproof bladder, inner elastic cuff
Women's Work Gloves
We know how challenging it can be to find smaller sized gloves, which is why we have devoted an entire page to the subject of Women's PPE and Correct Sizing. As a general rule of thumb, any of our medium-size glove selections with Insulation should be suitable for a woman's hand.
We also have created a sizing guide, which will help you know your correct sizing.
Insulation Page and ThermoSock®
As you have probably experienced shopping in retail stores, there are off-brand products that claim to work as well as high-end products but are offered at a lower price point. You'll often notice product tags with a callout that says, "Compare specs to brand X."
Let's be clear: nothing comes close to Thinsulate™ technology. However, some insulating materials do perform well in cold environments and don't cost as much.
We brand a lining called ThermoSock®, which is made with a high loft matte fiber. MCR Safety's ThermoSock® lining offers extreme temperature protection via multi-layer technology combined with using body heat to warm the cold air before it reaches your skin. ThermoSock® is ultra-soft, fast-drying, and highly compressible – the perfect recipe for use as glove insulation.
You will also find high-performing Clo-tested gloves with a ThermoSock® lining highlighted on our Insulation page. And all of this comes with discounted cost savings. Here is a link to all of our ThermoSock®-lined gloves.
Who makes Thinsulate™ gloves?
Where can I buy Thinsulate™ leather gloves?
- MCR Safety sells its gloves through distributors worldwide, from small local companies to large industrial distributors. If you're looking for a one-off purchase, we encourage you to search for any specific part number online to directly purchase your glove. Otherwise, leave us a note, and we will have a local company begin stocking the glove you are interested in purchasing.
How do I wash Thinsulate™ gloves?
- The great thing about something that traps heat can also be a weakness when trapping odor. To get rid of any foul smell that may begin to emanate from your Thinsulate™-lined gloves, you'll need to follow the manufacturer's washing instructions. We recommend reading this technical PDF that summarizes the washing and cleaning of this material.
MCR Safety - Keeping People Warm
At MCR Safety, we know hard work doesn't stop when the weather turns cold. For those who face these conditions every day, Thinsulate™ gloves may be the perfect PPE. Recognized as one of the leading materials for Insulation, Thinsulate™ keeps hands warm in extreme temperatures.
We welcome any comments, feedback, or suggestions for how we can best protect people at work.
For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it’s on the shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. It’s all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.