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Your ski gloves or mittens are one of the most important parts of your ski kit. Hands and especially your wrists, get cold real fast if left uncovered. Colds hands can quickly lead to a cold core, and other nasties such as frostbite and hypothermia (in extreme cases!). So, it’s important that you choose the correct gloves or mittens to suit your style of skiing, your size and of course, pick a design that you love.
Best Ski Gloves
Black Diamond Mercury Mitts
Best Ski Mittens
Burton GORE-TEX Touchscreen Mittens
Best Touchscreen Ski Gloves/Mittens
Women's Burton GORE-TEX Glove + Gore warm technology
Best Women's Ski Gloves
Best Ski Gloves for Cold Hands
Glove and mitten design has come a long way since the days of old and you now have a vast choice of outer shells, insulation and inner gloves. Navigating your way through this can sometimes be confusing, which insulation is better, what outer shells performs better in colder temperatures, what’s better gloves or mittens? If you’ve got questions like this (and more besides) head on down to our Buyer’s Guide for more information (just after the reviews.) There we’ll give you more information on how gloves and mittens are constructed, the fabrics used plus advice to help you choose the perfect (or pairs, because one pair is never enough right?)
A decent pair of gloves or mittens is definitely worth investing in, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break the bank. There are some well-priced gloves and mittens out there which won’t break the bank but really perform well. So, don’t think you have to spend big bucks for good gloves. And remember, if you look after your gloves or mittens - wash, dry, treat them and store them correctly - a good pair should last you from season to season.
If you are choosing gloves or mittens for toddlers and children there’s information within our Buyer’s Guide or check out our separate article dedicated to just kids gloves.
Now, read on for our pick of the best ski gloves and mittens.
Best Ski Gloves - Arc'teryx Fission
These high quality winter sport gloves are made by the Canadian outdoor clothing company Arc’teryx. The gloves feature both Primaloft® insulation and GORE-TEXⓇ protection to keep your hands dry and warm.
Thanks to its improved breathability, the GORE-TEX XCRⓇ (extended comfort range) provides superior comfort levels over existing GORE-TEXⓇ fabrics. Which makes these gloves ideal for those who find their hands sweat a lot. And may be especially good for Nordic skiers where sweaty palms are more likely due to the intense nature of the sport.
PrimaloftⓇ are considered one of the leaders in insulation materials, especially for gloves. Just like GORE-TEXⓇ their products are used by many ski glove manufacturers. The Arc’teryx Fission features PrimaloftⓇ Gold (the highest rated PrimaloftⓇ insulation) on the fingers and palms and Silver for the back of the hand giving excellent insulation for warm and comfortable gloves.
An excellent pair of all-round gloves which thanks to the use of GORE-TEX XCRⓇ offers a breathable, waterproof and highly dexterous pair of gloves.
These aren't the warmest gloves on the market. If you are looking to ski in the extreme cold then you’d be better suited with a pair of warmer gloves such as the Black Diamond Guide Gloves.
Best Ski Mittens - Black diamond mercury
The Black Diamond Mercury are a prime example of an excellent pair of mittens. These mittens features a removable liner which includes 340g of PrimaloftⓇ Gold insulation, a waterproof insert and a Kevlar stitched leather palm. Because of this, these mittens are excellent for those skiing in colder temperatures or who just want a superior pair of mittens that offer excellent heat retention and warmth.
The Mercury Mitts have 340g of PrimaloftⓇ Gold insulation in their liners. All in all that adds up to warm hands, in fact Black Diamond say these mittens have a temperature range of -29/-12 ºC (-20/10 ºF).
An excellent pair of mittens which excel in the cold thanks to their PrimaloftⓇ Gold insulation. In addition these pair of mittens are very durable thanks to their goat leather palm which is stitched with Kevlar.
Although these mittens are warm they don’t offer a great deal of dexterity.
Best Touch Screen Ski Gloves/Mittens - Burton GORE-TEX Touchscreen Mittens
There’s no doubt that more and more of us are taking our tech when we hit the slopes. And whether that’s a tablet or mobile phone you’ll either have to remove your glove to operate it or look for gloves which are touch screen compatible. Thankfully there’s now a good range of gloves which will provide both the warmth and protection you need along with the ability to text and take photos all without getting cold hands.
The team at Burton eats, sleeps and breathes the outdoors whether that’s creating the kit or testing it to the extremes. Ensuring that everything that comes out of Burton's is both innovative and built to the highest quality.
In this design they’ve encompassed not only the warmth and protection factors of an excellent mitt but combined that with the ability to use touchscreen tech producing a well-designed all round pair of mittens.
This mitten with removable liner, has been produced with:
- DRYRIDE™ 2-layer fabric.
- Thermacore™ Insulation.
- A brushed microfiber fixed lining and
- A removable DRYRIDE Thermex™ liner.
Making these well-insulated mittens both wind and waterproof, ideal for long days on the slopes even in extreme conditions.
The removable liner allows you to better sustain your ideal warmth giving you freedom and flexibility - ‘Wear just the liner when shovelling, just the shell in sloppy spring conditions, or combine the two for total midwinter warmth and comfort.’ It also means you can quickly remove a mitten to adjust equipment etc. without exposing your uncovered hands to frigid temperatures.
Plus you can quickly dry the liner overnight so your mittens are good to go for another day on the slopes in the morning.
Screen GrabⓇ synthetic palm lets you use your tech while stilling keeping your mittens on.
After a long day they aren’t as waterproof as would have expected.
Cuffs could be a little longer to give more protection against seeping cold air.
Best Women’s Ski Gloves - Burton GORE-TEX Gloves - Women's
Burton needs little introduction and I doubt their appearance in this best ski glove article comes with much surprise. These gloves come in a variety of colors and designs and are both touchscreen compatible and weatherproof.
GORE-TEXⓇ Glove + Gore warm technology
Burton’s use of GORE TEXⓇ means these gloves are waterproof, windproof, and breathable.
Screen Grab® Toughgrip™
The synthetic leather Screen GrabⓇ Touchgrip™ is present on all the fingers and thumb enabling you to use a touchscreen device with ease. Keeping you connected without the need to expose your hands to the cold.
Those looking for something a bit different to the usual black or grey often seen in gloves should definitely consider a pair of Burton gloves or mittens.Burton produce a great range of designs, patterns and colors so there’s bound to be a style and color to suit everyone. The addition of the touchscreen capabilities brings these gloves into the 21st century and are perfect for those wanting to stay connected.
Perhaps the biggest issue with these gloves is that the liner is not touchscreen compatible.
Best Ski Gloves for Cold Hands - Black Diamond Guide
Black Diamond have successfully been contributing to the lives of countless climbers, skiers and outdoor enthusiasts since 1957. Their equipment and gear have evolved and expanded thanks to the spirit of adventure and innovation present in all their staff.
The Black Diamond Guide gloves are professional-grade ski gloves offering some of the warmest protection available for extreme temperatures. Watch this short clip to learn more about these gloves -
Not Just Waterproof - Weatherproof
The Diamond Guide Gloves claim to be 100% waterproof which isn’t surprising when you understand what’s gone into their construction:
- GORE TEX™ insert with Plus Warm Technology.
- Nylon shell.
- Goat leather palms.
There’s been a great deal of attention to detail in the creation and production of these gloves with regard to the durability and the understanding of the wear that these gloves will no doubt receive. There’s foam padding across the knuckles for impact protection along with goat leather palms and an abrasion resistant nylon shell.
These gloves are work horses built to be used daily with no loss of functionality or dexterity as the day fades into evening and as the years fade into each other.
With 170g of PrimaloftⓇ Gold and 100g boiled wool fleece lining these gloves are good to go in temperatures down to -29/-120C (-20/100F).
With the careful attention to detail and solid performance, there is little to dispute with these gloves, if you are looking for a pair of high-quality gloves capable of keeping you warm in extreme temperatures and environments, these may well be an excellent choice.
There is nothing worse than being on the slopes and having to curtail a good days skiing because your hands are cold, or your fingers have gone numb. Gloves or mittens are an essential piece of kit and choosing the right pair ensures protection and warmth and lets you ski for longer.
To get the best pair of gloves or mittens, you need to consider not only the climate and environment but also the style of skiing you enjoy. For example, if you’re predominantly a cross-country skier, you’ll want a pair of gloves with a good breathable liner because you’ll likely sweat more on your palms because of the intensity of the sport.
If you’re a beginner or newbie skier, it can be tempting to grab the cheapest pair of gloves or mittens you can find, but keep in mind that your gloves need to fit well, be comfortable, waterproof and breathable. Especially since you’ll no doubt be falling over a fair bit and your hands will be in the snow more than an experienced skier. Choose wisely and you’ll be able to enjoy your time on snow, if not you could end up coming off the slopes earlier than you expected, and that could cost you valuable lesson time.
A good pair of gloves should provide an excellent barrier against the wet, wind and cold whilst being dexterous enough to handle your equipment. Read on for an in-depth guide to choosing the perfect pair of ski gloves or mittens. Don’t want to read the whole article, no worries – dip in and out using the contents list here -
Types of Gloves and Mittens
There are several styles of gloves and mittens, what you choose will depend on the climate, your style of skiing, comfort, preference of fit and look. And how compatible they are with your other clothing – both your base, mid and outer layers. And – your budget. There are two basic fits:
- Under the Cuff, short-cuffed gloves which, as the name suggests, fit beneath the cuff of your jacket. They offer a secure fit with a less bulky profile.
- Gauntlet style gloves and mittens are longer and designed to be worn over your jacket, they’re bulkier but offer more protection from the elements.
Ski gloves and mittens are usually constructed with three elements:
- Outer Layer which forms the outer shell and provides the waterproof barrier and protection.
- Insulation which lies between the outer layer and the liner and provides the warmth of the gloves or mittens.
- The liner which absorbs moisture from sweaty hands and ensures your hands remain dry. This may be a part of the actual glove or mitten or be removable. Removable liners offer more versatility allowing you to determine both the level of warmth and the fit.
Outer Layer Materials
They make gloves and mittens from a wide range of materials which will offer different degrees of warmth and protection depending on the climate and your discipline. The fabrics are waterproof and should provide protection against the cold and wind.
- Leather is a popular choice for gloves as it is hard-wearing, supple, waterproof, and with the proper treatment, long-lasting. Typically made from cowhide or goatskin they offer a durable, more natural feel that is more pliable than Nylon and some other synthetic materials. They will require special treatment such as Atsko’s Sno Seal to keep their waterproof qualities but look after a decent pair of leather gloves or mittens and they’ll last you for years. However, leather will only withstand a certain amount of wet before it will become soaked through so if you are planning on being in wet conditions a synthetic glove or mitten may be a better choice.
- Leather and synthetics are often combined to provide a glove or mitten with the best attributes from both materials. The outer layer will be a more water-resistant synthetic such as Nylon while the palms will be leather for superior grip and fluid movement.
- Nylon provides flexible and easy to care for outer fabric.
- GORE-TEXⓇ has been used as a waterproof, windproof and breathable component to gloves and mittens for years and has a reputation for innovative products used by millions worldwide.
The insulation in your gloves or mittens works by both reflecting your hand's radiant heat and by trapping air. Often insulation can be bulky and thus impinge on dexterity, so this is something you want to take into consideration when looking at gloves and mittens. There are several materials used to insulate gloves and mittens including
PrimaloftⓇ sets a high standard for insulation. This well-respected and forward- thinking company creates insulation for outdoor garments such as jackets, gloves and mittens. It offers lightweight, breathable and durable insulation while not compromising on dexterity or performance. PrimaloftⓇ is available in three series – Gold, Silver and Black (the two most commonly used in gloves and mittens are Gold and Silver.Gold ‘Modelled after our highest performing synthetic insulation, Primaloft® Gold -insulation – 55% PCR boasts the ultimate in warmth-to-weight thermal efficiency with an environmental conscience.’Silver ‘A high-performance insulation with the full spectrum of features to brave the elements.’
3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation is used across a wide range of outdoor gear including gloves and mittens. It comes in a range of weights, profiles and styles and is a warm synthetic form of insulation.
Down is the soft plumage from the undersides of geese or ducks which when provides a warm and breathable form of insulation.
Glove and Mitten Liners
Purchasing separate liners for your gloves or mittens allows you to select the best combination of dexterity and warmth for a truly custom fit and feel. The most commonly used materials used are:
Merino Wool a firm favourite and often used in base layers, Merino wool is soft, breathable, comfortable and warm. Because of its natural qualities, it is warmer than synthetic materials and is useful across a broad range of temperatures.
Silk because of its lightweight thin profile, this is another popular choice though its best suited to moderate temperatures. Because of its delicate nature, contact with Velcro closures etc can damage silk easily.
In addition, consider glove liners with added Lycra for stretch and Neoprene cuffs to keep the cold and icy winds out. A growing number of glove and mitten liners are touchscreen-friendly too which is great if you’ve always got your tech to hand. But don’t forget to use your wrist leash! A glove dropping to the snow from your chairlift will really ruin your day on the slopes – and it happens, often!
It’s crucial that you think about the fit of your liner with your outer glove or mitten. Select a loose liner and you’ll get cold fingers from cold air circulation and it could also impact your dexterity. A liner that is too tight will also affect your dexterity, impeding the amount of movement to the fingers and thumbs.
Consider too the amount of insulation your gloves or mittens have and pick a liner that compliments and works with that. Above all, you need liners that are breathable, wick away moisture, offer superior comfort and don’t impede your dexterity.
The cuffs or gaiters on gloves and mittens are vital for keeping snow, wind and cold out of your hands and keeping your wrists protected. The wrists have little protection and their exposure to the elements will result in your quickly becoming cold. Typically, you’ll see gloves and mittens with either short cuffs, designed to wear beneath your jacket creating a seal and securing in the warmth. And a gauntlet glove or mitten style, worn on the outside of your jacket. When tighten cuffs should provide a tight seal whereby snow is less likely to penetrate inside your layers and make you cold.
Your glove or mitten cuffs need to be compatible with your other ski clothing, for example, your base layer to ensure that they fit together to offer the best protection against the elements. Base layers and jackets with thumb loops ensure you have no gaps between your jacket and gloves.One of the most important features on cuffs are the closures, often called cuff cinches. These are usually either:
Velcro which is simple to open and close and offers a tight and secure closure.
Draw-string which is again simple to operate but can be tricky with the bulkier gloves or mittens.
Good cinch straps are essential to keep the wind chill and vitally, any snow out! You should easily be able to do up and undo your cinch straps one-handed.
Present on most gloves and mittens, grips on the palms and sometimes fingers allow for greater dexterity to handle equipment such as poles. Typically, materials used are:
Leather offers a superior grip is waterproof and hard-wearing.
Silicone which is commonly used on park gloves because of its great grip.
Rubber offers a long-lasting grip on the glove or mitten and is waterproof.
PU Leather a synthetic leather, tends to be softer than natural leather and offers a good grip, a great choice for those who still want the qualities of leather but don’t want natural leather products.
Do I Really Need Wrist Leashes?
Wrist leashes are simple wrist straps with a bungee cord attached to your ski gloves or mittens. And while people find them annoying and will never wear them, you should. Thousands of gloves and mittens are dropped off ski lifts every year. And since most drop in the no-ski zones below, you can say goodbye to the glove or mitten you spent a hundred bucks on! Don’t think it’ll ever happen to you, think again! It’s real, easy to drop a glove while you’re adjusting equipment or trying to take that amazing photo with your camera while gliding up the mountain on a lift. Ask any Liftie and they’ll have plenty of stories about lost gloves, skis, phones and plenty more stuff that gets dropped off lifts every season.
What Other Features Should I Look For?
Along with those mentioned above, there are other features you may wish to look out for when selecting the perfect pair of ski gloves or mittens.
Goggle/Nose Wiper is a suede panel on the thumb and index finger specially created to allow you to de-fog without damaging your precious lens.
Touchscreen Compatible fingers on either the actual glove or on the liner, either way, this is a great feature to look for if you want to use your tech while on the slopes. If you’re really into your tech, there are gloves with in-built buttons which link directly to your mobile phone controls – but expect to pay a premium for this type of tech.
Retaining Clips/Loops allow you to clip together your gloves or mittens so they stay together. Essential for young children who are notorious for losing one glove or mitten!
Pockets usually a zipped compartment on the back of gloves or mittens are ideal for storing your lift pass, money or a disposable heat pack.
Protection is seen on many gloves and mittens in the shape of reinforced material across the back of the hands and knuckles to provide additional protection where you are most likely to impact. Look at the fingertips, palms and thumbs, these abrasion hotspots should also have protection.
How Do I Know What Size Will Fit?
Correctly fitting gloves or mittens will ensure your hands not only stay dry and warm but that you get the most range of movement and dexterity, essential for handling and adjusting your equipment. Your gloves should fit snugly but still allow you to make a fist and not restrict the movement of your fingers. The best way to get a good fit is to know your:
Hand circumference, with an open palm measure around your hand just under the knuckles but don’t include your thumb. This’ll be easiest with a flexible tape measure but if you don’t have one don’t worry, use a piece of string instead and measure the string using a ruler.
Hand length, with an open palm measure from where your wrist meets your hand to the top of your middle finger.
Finger length, measure your middle finger from where it meets your hand (the root) to the tip of the finger.
As different manufacturers have different sizes, knowing these measurements should help you get a great fitting pair of gloves or mittens. Sizing will range from between 6-10 as a hand circumference measurement or between sizes S-XL. Check with the individual manufacturer’s sizing guidelines for the exact nature of their sizing.
Look out for higher-end gloves such as the Burton AK GORE-TEXⓇ Clutch Glove which offers a ‘pre-curved fit’ which promises to be more ergonomic and natural fit based on the hands natural shape.
If you are planning to purchase glove liners, go up a glove size so there’s room to comfortably fit the liner inside.
What’s Better Gloves or Mittens?
This is tricky as it depends what type of skiing, you’re into, preference and how much you feel the cold.
Mittens are usually warmer, having all the fingers together in the same space creates more heat than the separate finger design of a glove. However, they aren’t as dexterous as gloves making holding equipment such as poles, or using tech such as your phone, more difficult. But don’t fear – if you like the design of a mitten but want the functionality of a glove there are options.
You could opt for a hybrid such as a lobster mitten which leaves your thumb and forefinger in the gloved portion with the remaining fingers together in a mitten. You get more freedom of movement and dexterity plus the warmth of a mitten. The lobsters a great choice if you love using tech on the slopes as you don’t have to remove your mittens to answer the phone or take great shots of the action.
Other options include mittens which zip open revealing a split-fingered lining beneath again a great choice for those into their tech and for equipment adjustments, etc. But unless the liner is thick, you probably won’t want your hands out of your mittens for long.Finally, look out for mittens with a split-fingered lining beneath the outer layer. You’ll still get the superior warmth of a mitten but with slightly more dexterity.
Harder to pull on
Easier to pull on and remove
Easier to use with tech.
Harder to use with tech.
2016 NorAm Title Winner snowboarder Cole Johnson states that for him ‘I only wear mittens, gloves don’t cut it.’ So, it really is up to you, whatever feels comfortable and will give the warmth you need, is okay.
Are Skiing Gloves and Mittens Unisex?
You can get ski gloves and mittens designed specifically for women. Most manufacturers create male and female versions of their top styles to cater for the different size and fit of a woman's hand. But a lot of female skiers will wear a pair of gloves or mittens created for men. It really depends on the style of glove or mitten you like, and whether it’s available in your size.
Heated Gloves & Mittens
If you really feel the cold, have poor circulation or just love toasty warm hands, consider getting a pair of heated ski gloves or mittens. Most are battery powered with the battery pack sliding into a pocket on the back of your hand. Batteries are replaced or recharged using an outlet or via USB.
You can always opt for disposable hand warmers if you fancy toasty hands without the bulk of a battery pack. These smalls packs are widely available and will usually last a good few hours. Either pop them into your gloves or mittens or in the top pocket on the back of your gloves or mittens.
Children’s Gloves & Mittens
Choosing a great pair of gloves or mittens for your children is the same as choosing your own but here are a few additional things consider:
- Children have a smaller body mass so will get colder faster than adults so having a warm pair of mittens or gloves is essential.
- Mittens are usually easier for them to get on and off especially if they are less than eight or nine years old. If you think this might be an issue, check-out gloves and mittens with zippers.
- They are more likely to fall over and be playing with the snow so ensure any gloves or mittens you choose have good cuffs and cinch straps to prevent snow from getting in and making their hands wet. And finally.
- Make sure the gloves or mittens have wrist leashes and that they use them! Nothing will end a great day on the slopes faster than tiny cold, wet hands.
Your brand-new pair of gloves or mittens will need a period of breaking in to get them supple and ready for the slopes so they may feel bulky and stiff at first. Once you’ve worn them for a while, they should become softer and more supple.
Ski Glove Care
To learn more about how to care for your new gloves or mittens, read our articles:
Pipe or Spring Gloves
These thinner, un-insulated and low-profile gloves are ideal for hitting the slopes and parks during the warmer spring months. Because of their silicone palms and fingers, they are also popular with freestylers hitting the pipes.
Apres Gloves or Mittens
When you come off the slopes and head out for dinner or drinks at the bar, you’ll still need a decent pair of gloves or mittens to protect against the cold and wet conditions. But wearing your bulky ski gloves or mittens probably isn’t a great idea. So, it’s a good idea to have a second pair, something with a lower-profile and better dexterity will work better when you’re off the slopes.
As you can see there’s a lot to the humble ski glove or mitten, choose the right pair, or two, or three as some people do, and you’ll provide excellent temperature control and protection for your hands. Your skiing equipment is an investment in your enjoyment of the sport and your safety.
But don’t worry, whatever your skiing style and personal taste, you’ll find a great pair of gloves or mittens here to suit your budget. So, kick back and have some fun. And don’t forget to wear your leash!