A gauntlet is a type of glove constructed of hardened leather or metal plates which protected the hand and wrist. It was primarily worn by a combatant in Europe between the early fourteenth and nineteenth centuries. Beginning in the eleventh century, European soldiers and knights relied on chain mail for protection. In the twelfth century, chain mail shirts with longer, narrower sleeves replaced the original design, many of which had chain mail mittens. These attached at the lower edge of the sleeve, protected the wearer's hands from cuts and lacerations during combat. Unfortunately, these did not protect against crushing blows. In the early fourteenth century, armorers began to design fully articulated plate armor: which protected the body from blows. From this, the development of hand protection in the form of gauntlets made of overlapping plates of steel was developed. These were created both in the fingerless "mitten" style as well as the fully fingered "glove" style (which though still ungainly and less comfortable in cold weather, permitted full use of all of the fingers).