Bernie sparked a mitten craze; here’s how to find a similar look

A viral photo of the Vermont senator seems to be causing an increase in mitten sales.
Black knit wool mittens with white Nordic designs.

Hestra's Nordic Wool Mittens are one option for retailers who want to offer products similar to Sanders' look. Courtesy.

Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States Wednesday, but the historic ceremony was arguably upstaged by one man and his knitted mittens.

An already-iconic photo captured Senator Bernie Sanders at the inauguration, sitting cross-legged in a folding chair and sporting a pair of hand-knitted mittens. The image, taken by Connecticut photographer Brendan Smialowski, caught fire on social media almost immediately. Since Wednesday, Sanders and his mittens have reigned supreme on the Internet. I opened Twitter this morning, two days after the inauguration, and scrolled past three Bernies in thirty seconds.

The real star of the photo, however, seems to be the mittens. The woman who made them, Vermont teacher Jen Ellis, received so many requests for mittens she had to announce on Twitter that she has no more mittens to sell. Etsy shops are quickly selling out of hand-knitted mittens. Even large-scale handwear suppliers like Hestra have noticed an uptick in demand.

“We have had accounts reach out and say, ‘Hey, with this inauguration and with Bernie Sanders and all of the social media [buzz] that has spurred from that, do you have inventory that we can bring in?” Hestra marketing manager Drew Eakins said. “We’re seeing interest at the point of purchase.”

For retailers looking to tap into the knit-mittens trend, there are a few supplier options. We’ve highlighted a few, and given each supplier’s closest product to Sanders’ look:


Black knit wool mittens with white Nordic designs.

“Hestra… only does one thing, which is make gloves,” Eakins said. Headquartered in Sweden, the glove and mitten manufacturer has been producing handwear for more than 80 years. Hestra has easily the widest product selection on this list, though most of their mittens are polyester or leather. The supplier does have several knit-wool options, including the Basic Wool, Nordic Wool, and Fryken mitts.

Looks like Bernie’s: Nordic Wool Mitt ($60)


Untitled design (2)

The Icelandic apparel company has a narrower selection than Hestra overall, but for retailers looking for knit-wool mittens specifically, Icewear provides plenty of options. The majority of Icewear’s mittens are wool, and many sport Nordic designs similar to the stylings on Sanders’ mitts. Icewear also exhibits a range of knit styles – from chunky patterning to tight knitting.

Looks like Bernie’s: Vík Wool Mittens ($21) 

Overall, these loose-knit mittens were the closest to Bernie’s pair that we found.


Untitled design (1)

The high-end outdoor apparel company has a comparatively limited handwear selection—the manufacturer sells only one pair of mittens, wool or otherwise. That being said, the mittens are made with 100% Mackinaw Wool, and receive 5/5 stars on Filson’s website.

Looks like Bernie’s: Mackinaw Wool Mittens ($125)


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