Frigid Digits

By Simone Slykhous

August 5, 2013 5 min read

In this world of constant Internet interaction, never-ending updates and continuous check-ins, no one wants to be slowed down, not even by nature. Yet the harsh cold and bitter wind that arrive with the first sign of fall can make this steady stream of communication harder to maintain. This is especially true with the burgeoning world of touch-screen phones, tablets and other electrostatic-screen devices that force people to use their hands (or more likely their thumbs and forefingers) to keep them running.

Luckily, you no longer need to choose between frozen fingers and funny Facebook posts. Touch-screen gloves are becoming increasingly available and popular.

Even fashion mavens don't have to sacrifice style for function. Echo Touch gloves, from mSoft, come in a variety of colors, ranging from camel to cheetah. With additions of ruffles, zippers, bows and different knit patterns, these gloves, ranging from $40 to $90, allow you to express your individuality while wrapped up like the little brother from "A Christmas Story."

According to Michael Oryl of, you need to be careful when using gloves that don't provide a lot of grip. "You really need two hands," says Oryl. "Gloves on a slick device are really difficult. This makes it dangerous if you're holding an expensive phone." This can be especially true for people using some of the less expensive pairs of touch screen-capable gloves.

Although, less expensive does not always mean less useful. Agloves retail for $18, are unisex and only come in black. However, as they are knitted with silver-coated nylon fibers, every finger retains conductivity -- perfect for using with tablets. Target and similar big-box stores sell some touch-screen gloves for less than $10. If you are prone to losing your gloves, these inexpensive pairs might come in handy. (Pun intended.)

Not everyone who is interested in touch-screen gloves is looking for an easy way to comment on Nana's Facebook post about spaghetti sauce while enjoying the nippy winter air. For people with tough jobs who still need to stay in contact, such as state highway patrol motorcycle officers, strong and sturdy riding gloves are a must. Finding these thicker, abrasive-resistant gloves that can be used with electrostatic-screen devices can be a challenge. Touch-screen elk-skin roper gloves from Aero Design retail for about $60. Their durability allows you to continue with your job while exposed to the elements.

If none of those options sounds right for you, there is still hope. As the old adage goes, when you want something done right, do it yourself. For people blessed with the DIY gene, making your own touch-screen gloves is easier than you think. The way that smartphones, tablets and ATMs work is by responding to the static electricity in your fingertips. Typical gloves and mittens block the electricity from reaching the touch screen. With only a couple of stitches, you can easily make your favorite pair of gloves compatible.

According to Steve Hoefer of Grathio Labs, all you need is "a needle, conductive thread and some scissors. Oh, and you'll need a glove." Sewing between three and five close-set stitches on the exposed side of the glove while keeping it about 1/4 inch in diameter has been proved to be the most efficient. Anything less and your touch screen might not recognize your touch. Anything more and your accuracy will fly out the window into the cold winter air. Yet you should "feel free to be messy on the inside of the glove. The more thread you have inside the better contact your finger will make with the conductive thread," says Hoefer. If you're making the gloves yourself, you can also pick and choose which fingers to make compatible.

If money is tight, your DIY skills are minimal and the weather isn't too frosty, you could also take scissors to a pair of gloves you already own and snip off the fingertips. Tell your friends and family that you are experimenting with '80s trends, and enjoy another game of "Candy Crush."

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