Why are my Enluva Gloves shrinking?!

03rd May 2024 By Jim

Enluva gloves are a popular choice among cold water divers, known for their exceptional dexterity and warmth, they’re perfect for wearing underneath drysuit dry gloves. However, one common concern raised by divers is the potential for the gloves to shrink, especially when exposed to water. Seems a bit counter-intuitive for a scuba diving product, right?! There’s no way any diver can prevent leaks on every dive – not to mention just accidentally getting them wet messing around on surface intervals or packing up your kit bag. WHY make them from a material that’s going to shrink if they get wet??

Well, in this blog post, I’ll dive into the reasons behind this issue, explore strategies to mitigate the problem and help decide if the product is good enough to risk a shrink! (You can also watch a video all about it on our YouTube channel)


Wool Shrinkage: The Root Cause

Enluva gloves shrink if they get wet because they’re made from 100% sheep’s wool. While wool is a fantastic insulator and moisture-wicking fabric (making it perfect for keeping you toasty during a dive), it can be prone to shrinkage when it gets wet or if you don’t follow the care instructions correctly. The wool fibers can tighten when exposed to moisture, leading to a significant reduction in the glove’s size.


Mitigating the Shrinkage

The manufacturers of Enluva gloves haven’t stuck their heads in the sand about this problem. I spoke with them and they said “We’ve designed them in such a way that shrinkage should be minimal.” Well, while this might be the case… I’ve still completely shrunk mine to an unusable size. I know it can happen!


Diver wearing Enluva gloves under their drysuit dry gloves


Proper Care and Maintenance OF ENLUVA GLOVES

To minimise the risk of shrinking, make sure you’re happy with your dryglove set-up. I know that we can never fully rule out the risk of a leak or flood when we’re drysuit diving – but if you’re testing dry gloves for the first time, or you’ve been messing around with the system, I probably wouldn’t wear your Enluva wool gloves just in case. 

I also try not to wear them when I’m in between dives, fiddling with my wet gear or when I’m packing up my kit. I know it’s not ideal, especially when it’s baltic on the surface, but to stop the shrink, I’ll switch into a different pair of gloves and keep my Enluva’s somewhere dry during a surface interval.

When it comes to washing the gloves, divers should follow wool washing guidelines and use specialised wool-friendly detergents, such as Woolite. Additionally, it’s crucial to reshape the gloves by hand while they’re drying to maintain their original size and fit.


Dealing with Fully Soaked Gloves

If you do get a full flood, try not to let them dry out before you get home. You can keep reshaping them until you get back to base and then wash them properly like I’ve described above. 


Benefits Outweigh the Drawbacks

Despite the potential for shrinkage, I honestly think the Enluva gloves are fantastic.

There are other options for dryglove liners, and while they’re all nice and warm, I’ve always found that they’re really bulky and give me sausage fingers. The key feature of any diving glove is to have a good range of motion so you can perform whatever tasks you need to underwater.

In terms of dexterity, warmth, and versatility I don’t think there’s anything that comes close to these Enluva wool gloves. I wear mine on every dive and add in the Enluva silk glove liners too when the water is a bit nippier. 

And if you do end up shrinking them…. just give them to your buddy who’s got smaller hands! 😉





James is a PADI Staff Instructor and self-confessed kit nerd. He's literally like a walking product catalogue. If you're looking for a piece of gear, but you're not sure where to start, give James a shout. He will find out exactly what you need, what problems you're currently experiencing and everything you hope to achieve and turn it into a solution... It's amazing! He's been diving for 15 years and an instructor for over a decade. He adores sidemount diving, we can't remember the last time we saw him in a single tank set up outside of the training tank!