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I wear mittens in the winter months and generally have cold hands. I would generally say that my hands are 'okay', not warm and comfortable, but not painfully cold or numb.

The same goes for my feet, my feet generally perspire some while biking, yet they're not hot either. The only areas that are hot are around my legs, arm pits, chest, and back, and head.

Why would my hands (and feet) be lightly sweating even though they're not hot? I wear an inner glove so that I can wash them separately from the mittens and keep my hands relatively clean.

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  • This may depend on material gloves and socks/shoes are made of. Some cheaper synthetic versions do not conduct air well enough, so just usual amount of perspiration does not evaporate well.
    – nightrider
    Commented Dec 23, 2023 at 8:57
  • I’ve always wondered how much “selective“ sweating the human body can actually do or if we start producing sweat everywhere on the body if the core temperature gets too high.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 24, 2023 at 13:42

2 Answers 2

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Your hands (and feet) always sweat a little, especially when exercising. Wrapped up in non-breathable gloves (and shoes/socks) they will become damp. How much sweating is very individual. Sweating is related to core temperature, if you are too warm you will sweat, however riding at a cooler core temperature will affect the blood flow to the extremities and possible cause your hands to be colder.

If it is bothering you, quality, highly breathable gloves might be a big help. Keep in mind evaporation means cooling, and you may need thicker insulation to keep your hands warm enough. Note that breathability of fabric varies quite a lot (factor of 10) - if you have 'Breathable Gloves" already, they may not breath enough.

If your current solution is working well enough, no need to change it.

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You reversed cause and effect. Your hands are cold because they are wet.

Sweating by itself is a good thing. It means you're working out hard. The problem then is how to get rid of sweat. Omitting this means shivering down the road, or at least unduly losing heat.

The details you provided suggest you're making one of two mistakes, or both:

  • the inner glove is made from cotton rather than from material that pulls moisture away from your skin such as polyester or wool.
  • the outer glove is too heavy for your level of workout.
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  • I'm really questioning why my hands are sweating in the first place. My legs and head I can understand, those are warm and depending on how hard I'm exerting, hot.
    – John Doe
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 18:41

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