This Is Why Most Disney Characters Wear Gloves

This go-to accessory was helpful in more ways than one.

Mickey Mouse Film and TelevisionMoviestore/REX/Shutterstock

Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Pinocchio, and more Disney characters all have one accessory in common—gloves. Although there are many surprising facts about Disney’s most famous characters, putting gloves on animation characters is actually a pretty logical move.

The short answer as to why so many characters wear gloves is that animation is an intensive process. It takes time and precision to create the characters you know and love. Animators wanted to make their job a touch easier and faster with a few techniques and hacks. One of these strategies was using round edges instead of angles, according to Vox. So this also meant simplifying features, such as hands, to make the animation process quicker.

Still, in the age of black and white cartoons, separating characters’ round-edge hands from their black bodies was hard. Gloves were an easy way to make their hands stand out. In fact, Walt Disney might have been the first to put gloves on his characters in The Opry House, starring Mickey Mouse, per Vox. Once animation moved away from black and white, Mickey and his pals kept their signature white gloves. Thankfully they never made the list of things not allowed in Disney movies.

Besides keeping the animation simple, Walt Disney told his biographer, Bob Thomas, that the gloves exist for another reason: to humanize the mouse. “We didn’t want him to have mouse hands because he was supposed to be more human,” Disney told Thomas in 1957, according to the New York Times. “So we gave him gloves. Five fingers seemed like too much on such a little figure, so we took away one. That was just one less finger to animate.” All this nostalgic Disney talk makes us want to go back and look at these 18 vintage photos of Mickey Mouse.

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Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest who previously wrote for INSIDER, the Food Network, POPSUGAR, Well + Good, Westchester Magazine, and more. There's also a 90 percent chance Emily is drinking tea right now, but when she's not writing away about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.