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Understanding Cold Weather Glove EN511 Standards

school of safety supplies | Posted: 11/17/2021

There are so many things that make our country wonderful, from the people to the poutine. But what’s the one thing everyone always seems to think of when they hear “Canada?” That’s right, the cold! Luckily here at, we carry a range of cold weather gloves so you can stay toasty warm all winter long.  

The main standard that measures the level of cold resistance in a glove is EN 511. EN 511 measures a glove’s ability to perform under extreme cold weather conditions. These standards have three major factors that determine the level of protection your glove will offer. But how do you know what these factors are or what they mean? Well, just look at the label!

Understanding Cold Weather Standards

EN 511 Glove Standards
EN 511 Glove Standards

The label for EN 511 is a shield and snowflake symbol, with a three-number series either above or below it. These number series are resistance to convective cold, resistance to contact cold, and permeability by water.

The first number shows resistance to convective cold, from a performance level of 0 to 4. Convective cold is the chill in the air—literally! This is the kind of cold that you might not notice right away, but it can definitely do some damage to your digits. Convection is the process of losing heat through the movement of air or water on the skin. To test a glove’s resistance to convective cold, the glove is placed on an electrically heated mannequin hand. This hand measures the amount of power required to maintain a temperature of 30°C and 35°C in a controlled environmental chamber. The chamber is then cooled to 20°C below the temperature of the heated hand and a constant airflow is applied to the glove and hand. The more power required to keep the hand at a steady temperature, the lower the thermal insulation rating of the glove.

The second number shows resistance to contact cold, from a performance level of 0 to 4. Contact cold represents conduction—the process of losing heat through physical contact with another object, like the cold handle on your truck door in the middle of winter. Contact cold is measured by placing a glove sample between two metal plates, which are at different temperatures. This allows the tester to measure the temperature drop, or thermal resistance, of the glove material.

The third number shows how permeable a glove is to water. That is, how much water will get through the material. This is either a level 0, which is water penetration after 5 minutes or a 1, which is no water penetration after 5 minutes.

Reminder: The higher these performance levels are for contact and convection cold resistance,
the better the insulating capacity of the glove.

Iconic Insulation AKA 3M™ Thinsulate™

EN 511 Glove Standards

Of course, we can’t talk about cold-weather gloves without talking about the big name in insulation—Thinsulate™. Thinsulate was launched by 3M in 1978, right around the time when puffy jackets were all the rage. Initially introduced in apparel accessories, this insulation quickly became one of the world’s most recognized brands in outerwear, footwear, and accessories.

The secret to Thinsulate lies in the extremely fine microfibers, many times smaller than the typical polyester fibers, which provide more surface area in the same amount of space. This greater surface area allows the fibers to trap more air which will keep in the more radiant heat from the wearer, helping to create a warmer garment!

But the biggest bonus to Thinsulate is its ability to allow moisture to evaporate through the outer membrane. That means this material dries quickly and resists water absorption! When compared to standard glove insulation in a water submersion test, the Thinsulate brand insulation absorbs less than 1% of its weight in water, while the other insulation… well, let’s just say it won’t be drying out any time soon.

We’ve got plenty of gloves, both with and without Thinsulate lining. So, no matter how frigid our Canadian winters get, here at, we’ve got you, and your hands, covered. But if you need any assistance picking out a winter glove feel free to contact us here. And make sure to subscribe to our email list so you can keep up to date with our latest offers, flyers, new products, and giveaways here at!

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