Wet and cold hands when skiing can make even the toughest of humans want to whinge. That's why you need to ensure that you've bought the best ski gloves for your individual needs. Need warmth, dexterity or a bit of both? We've got you covered.
We've been busy people, spending countless hours researching exactly what makes a good ski glove, from the materials used on the shell to the intricacies of the the inner lining.
We've even looked at whether mittens could be better than the traditional finger glove, leather vs. synthetics, and the best waterproof materials. Below, you'll find our reviews on the season's best gloves for skiing and vital information on how to pick a good pair for you.
Best Ski Gloves - Our Top 5 Picks
Plus 5 more 'runner up' reviews below.
Top for Warmth
Storm Trooper II
Best Budget Glove
Hestra Vertical Cut Freeride Review
Best Overall Pick
Our editor’s choice for the best ski glove is Hestra’s Vertical Cut Freeride leather glove. Hestra has long been the go-to manufacturer for seasoned skiers. We’ve chosen this one, out of their impressive product line, as our top pick because it sports incredible dexterity as well as being highly durable and warm.
It is a leather glove made from goatskin which is our preferred choice because it offers a decent amount of flexibility for hand and finger movement yet also withstands the test of time. Often when you celebrate the dexterity of a glove, it comes with the understanding that it won’t be as warm. We can happily say that’s not the case with this one!
The Hestra Vertical Cut Freeride has been lined with a soft brushed fleece which significantly helps to provide you with extra warmth. More importantly, the insulation has been designed to retain its warmth, even if it gets wet. That’s not to say that they’re the warmest you can buy but they’ll definitely do for most cold conditions. Furthermore, for the majority of people, the level of dexterity these gloves provide will outweigh this.
As well as using soft goatskin (on the black and grey models), the back of the hands have a Cordura panel which helps to improve flexibility for your fingers. This makes it exceptional for handling ski poles along with anything else that requires extra freedom of movement. Other colors of gloves use cowhide which suggests that it will be slightly tougher and less dextrous but there shouldn’t be much of a noticeable difference, if any.
As with most leather products, it takes a few uses for it to properly break in to maximum comfort. However, we feel we’d be doing the product an injustice by saying that it needs a break-in time - it is comfortable straight away.
The Freeride provides excellent water resistance but in order to maintain it, you’ll need to re-treat the leather once or twice per season which is more than the average glove needs. Should you treat it properly, the glove will keep you warm in tough wintry conditions.
The Velcro closure Neoprene cuff makes fitting the gloves on your hands a breeze and offers a tight barrier against snow creeping its way in. Finally, you will find this glove will avoid wear and tear far better than others due to the reinforced leather construction.
Black Diamond Guide Review
Best Warm Glove
If you are skiing in extremely cold climates, summiting super high mountains or your hands get particularly cold on the slopes, then these are the gloves for you. This Black Diamond Guide has taken the top spot for us when it comes to warmth. The reason they’re not up there with Hestra’s Freeride? These are suited for extremely cold conditions and therefor lack the same dexterity, suiting a smaller range of people.
One of the reasons this model is so good for weather protection is the Gore-Tex insert and reinforced goatskin leather shell. The liner is a combination of Primaloft One (a branded insulation) and boiled wool. Similar to the fleece of the Freeride gloves, the wool on the inside of the Black Diamond Guide provides a super soft and comfortable feel to your hands, keeping them nice and warm.
Sometimes with warm gloves, you can expect them to be clammy. However, the fleece used on the palm in this product wicks moisture away from the skin, stopping the you from becoming overly sweaty and damp. Additionally, it actually dries incredibly quickly - more so than wool.
With all of this insulation and reinforced leather comes poor dexterity and it certainly is noticeable with the Guide model. Our thoughts? Choose this if you’re happy to give up dexterity for the added warmth. It’s still likely just more dextrous than a mitten and, in fact, just as warm as many of the entry-level and middle-of-the-range ones.
When you first put these on, they’re going to be incredibly stiff because of the tough and thick materials used. Allow a decent amount of break-in time of 10 or even more days before they become much more comfortable.
Aside from warmth, one of the main selling points of the Guide is the durability. They’ve really been built to last and due to the fact they’ve been designed for extreme conditions, they’re one of the most robust on the market.
Finally, let’s take a look at waterproofing. Gore-Tex has been used as well as a impressively water resistant leather, making them a good choice if you need a good water resistant glove. This, along with the sheer warmth of the product, make it an excellent choice.
Black Diamond Legend Review
Another solid product from Black Diamond is their Legend glove - the perfect high-end all-rounder, offering decent warmth and durability. It’s a leather under-the-cuff style glove which has been built to last. This is evident in its thick goatskin construction and reinforcement on the areas which are more susceptible to abrasion.
One of the downsides to this model being so robust is that it takes a little longer to break in than others. That said, you’ll only need to wait a handful of sessions for them to loosen up and feel more comfortable.
Gloves which have been built to withstand the test of time usually also hold up well in the test of warmth. This is true for the Legend which is surprisingly warm as far as single-layered gloves go. EVA foam padding has been used on the back of the palm for waterproofing but it doubles up, adding plenty of warmth to the product.
Also on the back of the palm, there is 170g of Primaloft Gold insulation and on the palm, there is 133g of Primaloft Gold insulation. Primaloft is known to boast an excellent warmth-weight ratio, meaning it won’t feel bulky for how warm it keeps you. Moreover, it’s breathable which prevents you from getting clammy - one sure fire way of feeling the cold.
With all the talk of warmth, you’d think we’re about to tell you about the poor dexterity? Wrong. This product was chosen as an all-rounder for good reason. At first, the gloves will feel relatively stiff but they’ll soon soften up enough to become dextrous. In fact, it often outperforms some of the more expensive models on dexterity.
Where this glove really wins is how waterproof it is with one of the key advantages being how little you need to maintain it. If you’re skiing in super wet or stormy conditions, these should definitely be on your radar. A combination of a Gore-Tex insert and DWR (Durable Water Repellency) finished leather makes these superior when it comes to waterproofing.
Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex Review
Switching back to Hestra, we’ve got the Army Leather GTX model which, as you could guess by the name, is one tough product. It’s another fantastic all-rounder but it’s real strength is displayed in its durability, outweighing most other gloves on the market. It’s expensive, however, given the strength of the glove, you’ll get your money’s worth out of it.
Not only is it durable but it will also keep you warm on the slopes. In fact, when it comes to warmth, it’s hot on the heels of the Black Diamond Guide which won our ‘best warm glove’ ranking. This glove performs best around the 0F temperature - if you’re going to be in stormy and colder climates, the Guide is better suited to you.
We love the fleece lining, making it comfortable on the hand as well as offering a warm feel. More importantly, rather than just having a warm feel, the fleece actually helps to heat up your hand quickly.
In terms of waterproofing, the Army Leather GTX has a Gore-Tex insert along with a highly water-resistant goatskin leather. This is one of the best waterproof ski gloves that we’ve reviewed. The upper section has been constructed with a breathable, windproof, and waterproof material called Hestra Flextron. It’s not too dissimilar to Black Diamond’s Guide on the waterproof front either.
This glove also has some extra features which we like, such as a removable wrist leash and a loop so that you can hang them up to dry after a day’s skiing. You’ll need that, too - the fixed liner means that it will take slightly longer to dry out than ones with a removable liner.
The downside? It has to be the price tag. We’d be happier to see the price come down marginally but for us, the durability carries the weight of a hefty price tag.
Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II Review
Best Budget Ski Glove under $100
Not everyone wants to spend $100+ on a pair of gloves, especially those who are only on the slopes a couple of times each season. Without a doubt, the Storm Trooper II is one of the best value for money skiing gloves you can buy if you’re looking for a pair under $100. They provide good warmth and excellent weather protection.
Although it’s a single-layered glove, it is surprisingly warm, most suitable for single digit temperatures. They struggle under 0F, so keep this in mind if you know you’re going to face particularly cold conditions. One feature we love about them is the heater pack pocket meaning if you’re prone to feeling the cold more than others, you can slot in a heater pack.
They provide ample dexterity for most basic tasks but will struggle the more complex it is i.e. handling a camera, fiddling with zippers etc. You’re not going to achieve the same amount of dexterity as some of the more costly models but for the price, it's hard to complain.
The waterproofing is excellent due to the Gore-Tex insert and it isn’t far behind some of the more expensive products in our reviews. Against gloves within the same price range, they’re far better at keeping you dry which is a major influencing factor in us choosing them as a the ‘best budget’ ski gloves. We’d say that if you’re someone who doesn’t feel the cold too much, these gloves will be ideal simply on the strength how weatherproof they are.
We’re pleased to see that even after multiple uses, they maintain water resistance remarkably well. Moreover, although they aren’t the warmest gloves, the insulation will also hold well over the seasons, so it’s not like you’re buying a cheap which you’ll need to replace each year - you will get good use out of them.
Why pick the Storm Trooper II? It’s a solid pair at a very reasonable price. If warmth isn’t at the top of your priority list but durability and water resistance are, these won’t let you down any time soon.
Outdoor Research Revolution Review
Value Pick Under $100
There are hundreds and hundreds of good gloves for skiing under the $100 threshold which means it is much harder to see which ones are real value picks. For us, the Revolution model from Outdoor Research is worth paying attention to, along with the Storm Trooper model we reviewed above.
If you’re looking for a solid all-rounder without forking out a small fortune, the Revolution should be on your radar. It is a well-insulated, weatherproof ski glove set to do good by any budget buyer or weekend warrior looking for a cheaper deal. OR is a reputable brand so it’s no surprise that one of the key strengths of the product is its warmth. It features OR’s own EnduraLoft on the back of the hand, palm and gauntlet (333g, 200g, and 133g respectively) which is more insulation than most at this price range. It is also on a par with many gloves above the $100 mark, making it a steal for those who warmth is a priority.
Another feature we love about the product, contributing to its warmth, is the fleece lining which makes the gloves easy to put on and heats up your hand quickly. The polyester fleece is super soft to the touch which helps if your hands are wet when you’re putting them on.
For a glove with so much insulation, you’d be surprised to hear that it offers ample dexterity. The flexibility provided is good for basic tasks like putting on your skiing equipment like boots, zippers, goggles etc. That said, it is a sub $100 glove and there is a noticeable difference between this and some of the more expensive gloves we’ve reviewed which allow you perform more complex tasks like handling cameras and phones.
OR’s Ventia Dry is the waterproof insert of choice for this model, along with a nylon shell and leather palm which is also water resistant. For gloves in the $60-80 range, this one performs better than most when it comes to protecting you against the weather but, understandably, cracks will begin to show in extremely wet and wild conditions. One of the downsides to opting for a cheaper model is that the waterproofing won’t last nearly as long as the high-end products available.
The palm is made from goatskin leather, our leather of choice, making it a durable option without having to compromise on flexibility. At this price range, you’ll tend to find a lot of synthetic gloves which don’t quite offer the same longevity, resulting in you having to replace it sooner.
Why pick the Revolution? If you’re budget-conscious and skiing in moderate temperatures then this glove is for you. Skiing in colder conditions? Consider biting the bullet and go for a more expensive model.
Black Diamond Mercury Mitts Review
Top Mitten and Warm Pick
Another product from Black Diamond is the Mercury mitten which boasts incredible warmth and good water resistance. To be expected, as with most mittens, is relatively poor dexterity, simply because your fingers aren’t free. That said, where warmth is a priority, dexterity becomes less important and the mitten still allows you to perform simple tasks.
The Mercury mitt uses 340g of PrimaLoft Gold, a high-quality insulation, and a high-loft fleece lining. In terms of warmth, it really is hard to beat these mittens and we’d go as far as to say that they’re among the warmest of all the gloves and mittens we’ve reviewed, although others do come close. For most people’s purposes, these will handle the majority of cold skiing climates you’ll come across.
Since it is a mitten, it doesn’t provide as much dexterity as some would hope. If dexterity is really important to you, we’d suggest going for the Black Diamond Guide instead. However, if warmth is at the top of your priorities and you’re willing to spend $100-130, look no further. In order to compensate for the lack of dexterity, Black Diamond have included a removable ‘split finger’ liner which is still warm on its own and offers more dexterity than wearing the entire mitten.
In addition to warmth, the mitt performs well regarding water resistance. The outer shell itself will fend off reasonably wet snow. Unfortunately the leather on the palm doesn’t hold up so well and will eventually soak through given enough exposure to the wet. If you want to avoid this, we’d recommend using the removable liner as well because this is made with a waterproof material.
Due to the fact that the leather on the palm fairs poorly in wet conditions, you’ll need to treat it more regularly in order to maintain it as much as possible - roughly 3 or 4 times per season.
At this price range, we’d expect the mitten to be durable and that it is. The leather palm (goatskin) has been sewn with Kevlar, which is a highly quality propriety fabric known its impressive strength. If you use these mittens a lot, you should expect to notice a slight decline in its warmth but that’s to be expected of most gloves.
The additional features of gloves and mittens are usually an afterthought but for the Mercury, they’re actually something worthy of mention. The liner is removable which means that it is much easier to dry it after a day of wet skiing. They’ve also designed the outer part of the glove to be easy to dry as it sports a small loop, allowing you to hang it up. For improved warmth and keeping your hands dry, wrist and gauntlet cinch strap. This works wonders in keeping snow out of your mitts. Finally, there is softer material on the back of the thumb which can be used as a nose wipe or for cleaning your goggles.
All in all, this is a mitten for those who really feel the cold or if you’re skiing in single digit temperatures and just below.
Hestra Winter Fall Line Review
Devilishly Dextrous and Durable
For the more fashion conscious among us, the Winter Fall Line gloves will certainly catch your eye. The model is a beautiful under-the-cuff leather design which does more than win points for style. They’re dextrous and durable but possibly not the warmest choice.
On Amazon, there are six color options available - off-white, brown, cork, tan, forrest green, and navy blue. However, there’s a reason Hestra keeps grabbing our attention other than for beautiful design. They’re solid gloves and built to last. Durability is a point of pride for the Fall Line model, being one of the toughest on the market. At a price of up to $150, you’d certainly hope so, too.
They'll not only last throughout the seasons but they’ll also withstand a decent amount of rough play from handling equipment to the expected falls. Why? We’ve got to put it down to the cowhide leather construction.
Naturally, we expected that since they’re made from cowhide (a notoriously stiff leather) that they wouldn’t be so dextrous. Thankfully, our initial thoughts were wrong. Once you go through the break in period, the leather becomes supple and they’re fantastic for both basic tasks and more complex motor skills like operating zippers and devices.
Recommendation: people report that they run a half size small, so to get the best fit for dexterity, take this into consideration, although they do loosen up once worn in.
Unfortunately, the trade-off with the Fall Line is losing warmth for dexterity. Now, if dexterity is greatly important to you and warmth not so much, then this obviously isn’t as unfortunate. They come with less insulation than other models and are thinner which is what we can attribute the dexterity to but it does mean you’ll feel a nip on cold, cold days. We’d recommend these gloves for those skiing between 10-20F or lower if you know you don’t feel the cold as much.
Now, we’re not saying that they aren’t warm at all - they are. The fleece lining gives them a super cozy feel and great for putting on if you have damp hands. Where it lacks in insulation, this makes up for it.
Moreover, so long as you remember to retreat the leather a couple of times per season, they’ll protect you from most bad weather. If you forget to do this, you will notice a deterioration in how dry they’ll keep you from season to season.
You should get these gloves if you aren’t going to be facing extremely cold temperatures and if dexterity and durability are more important to you than warmth. They’re a solid pair and you’ll get your money’s worth if look after them.
Burton Gore-Tex Review
Waterproof and Budget-Conscious
The Burton Gore-tex is another fantastic value pick, ideally suited to those who don’t want to stretch the budget beyond the $100 threshold. There are some really nice features with this glove as well as decent water resistance and warmth. Overall, it’s a really solid buy for the price range of around the $70 mark.
Unlike most of the other gloves we have reviewed, this is a primarily synthetic construction, apart from the palm which is made from a tough grip leather material. They’ve feature a removable liner which helps to improve the warmth without having to pack it with too much insulation. On warmer day, this allows remove the outer shell and just use the liner. Additionally, the Gore-Tex insert certainly helps to improve the heat retention.
Not only does the Gore-Tex help for warmth, it also does what it is known for and that’s keeping you dry. For a glove within this price range, it actually performs surprisingly well for water resistance. This will will keep you dry even in stormy and freezing conditions, far better than others at the same price.
The main pain point of the Burton Gore-Tex is the dexterity. Unfortunately, much of the construction was focussed on water resistance and warmth that they don’t excel for perform intricate tasks. They’re still do-able but you’ll definitely feel a bit bulky and clumsy compared to many of the other models we’ve reviewed.
Again, durability is nothing more than average for what you can expect at this price range. You will begin to see signs of wear and tear within the season in terms of water resistance and warmth which is a pain if you’re looking for a pair to last some time.
Aside from the fundamentals, the outer shell is compatible with touchscreen phones which could outweigh the fact that they don’t perform as well on some of the other key performance metrics.
North Face Montana Mitt Review
Excellent Budget Waterproof Mitten
Our final review is from North Face with their Montana mitten, an impressive performer across the board at a very reasonable price. At around $70, this is one of the best ski mittens under $100 that we’ve seen so far. As far as mittens go, the model is highly dextrous and water resistant as well as providing respectable warmth.
For a mitten, they’re not as warm as you’d expect and certainly not as warm as some of the more expensive gloves we’ve reviewed. For the price, though, we find it hard to complain too much because you get what you pay for. That said, where they might let you down in insulation, the water resistance is definitely something to boast about and some would say that it’s an equally important factor in keeping you warm.
The level of water resistance these mittens provide is without a doubt their strongest quality. This can be attributed to the waterproof membrane inside the glove which actually covers the mitten in its entirety - something you'd don’t often see, especially for $70. Moreover, the outer shell carries its weight, too, beating many of the more expensive models.
The waterproofing holds up well after multiple runs but being a cheaper mitten, the construction will show signs of wear and tear earlier than if you were to opt for something like Hestra’s Fall Line. More specifically, it’s the leather palm which just doesn’t feel as tough as you might like.
Keeper leashes and elastic wrist seals along with how water proof they are is why these mittens should be on your radar. Need something durable? You should consider stretching the budget as these might not make the cut for you. Overall, they’re high quality mitten which are surely set to keep you dry in wet storms but they’ll need some looking after.
What You Should Know Before You Purchase
You could be forgiven for thinking that buying ski gloves is an easy decision. Before you jump ahead and hit the ‘buy’ button, there are a few important aspects you should consider.
It is tempting to rush a purchase, going for either the cheapest or most expensive pair you see. We recommend you take your time to read through our guide - a small bit of time investment now will lead to a happier skier later while on the slopes.
We’re not necessarily guaranteeing we’ll save you money but we do aim that you’ll come away with gloves you’re happy with. Ones which will keep you warm for an entire day on the slopes, yet also provide you with whatever else you require, be it dexterity, durability or simply a nose wipe!
Gloves vs. Mittens (Pros and Cons)
Ahh, the age-old question of gloves vs. mittens. Many people confuse this as being a question of warmth vs. dexterity but there’s more to it than just that. Of course, as a general rule, you can put a safe bet on mittens being warmer because your fingers share one space rather than being separated.
Conversely, on average, it is true to assume that that gloves will provide more dexterity. This is super handy for simple tasks like taking something out of your pocket or adjusting straps, zips, and fastenings. Like anything, rules are made to be broken and we suggest you look into the construct of each glove as this will give you a truer indicator of the warmth/dexterity they will provide.
When you take a closer look at all of the gloves, you may notice that there isn’t such a hard and fast rule. Although standard gloves can provide more dexterity, they are also capable of being just as warm as some of the top quality mittens on the market.
Our opinion? If you need to frequently handle gear (poles, pockets, goggles, phone etc.) then you should opt for gloves. If finger dexterity isn’t on the top of your list but warmth is, then mittens are for you and can still provide good grip for ski poles. However, keep in mind that it very much depends how each glove is made.
Your choice isn’t limited to gloves or mittens. Many glove manufacturers now make 3-in-1 or lobster style ski gloves. 3-in-1 gloves involve having an inner shell glove (or mitten) and an outer shell glove (or mitten). This means that you can take off the top layer and still benefit from dexterity without being too exposed to the cold. Our top tip: you can actually make your own 3-in-1 by buying different shells and liners.
The lobster style glove is half glove-half mitten. In this style, your index finger and thumb are as a traditional glove style and the middle, ring, and pinkie fingers are as a mitten. This is excellent if you need warmth but still want some dexterity for accessing equipment.
Shell Material - Leather or Synthetics?
The more common type of outer shell material you’ll see on the slopes for gloves and mittens is a synthetic fabric. As well as synthetics, many glove manufacturers use leather. Truth be told, it isn’t always a question of one over the other - a big percentage of the most popular ski gloves utilize a combination of the two materials.
The material used on your ski gloves plays a big role in your comfort, warmth, and dexterity which is why this is a crucial part in the decision making process.
The synthetics you’ll see on the top glove brands will usually be made from nylon and polyester. This is by far the most common type of shell you’ll notice on gloves across the market. High-end, good quality synthetics should be flexible (for dexterity) yet tough enough to withstand cold and windy winter conditions.
At the lower end of the market, synthetic shell materials tend to less pliable and will feel somewhat clumsy or uncomfortable on your hands and fingers. More so, cheaper synthetics aren’t as resistant to the wet compared to high-quality materials like the Arc'teryx Lithic. As a general rule, decent synthetics normally outweigh leather when it comes to waterproofing and breathability.
One of the major advantages in using leather for gloves is that they’re highly durable and form-fitting. Leather doesn’t feel as bulky on your fingers as synthetics do and it usually leads to a glove with greater dexterity and flexibility.
The drawback? Leather doesn’t hold up nearly as well to moisture and damp conditions compared to synthetics, like nylon. Granted, if the leather is treated, it will withstand a certain amount of exposure to the wet. Soon enough though, water will soak through and it’s going to feel uncomfortable.
There are three types of leathers you can find on ski gloves:
- Deerskin is usually a shiny yellow color, dextrous, and soft but not as tough as others
- Goatskin isn’t quite as soft and flexible but it is a little bit tougher than deerskin - a happy medium
- Cowhide is known to be the toughest leather used for gloves but as a result, dexterity and comfort suffer
The Best of Both Worlds
Since leather can offer advantages that synthetics can’t (and vice versa) then it makes sense to combine the two materials. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to find synthetics used on the back of the hand and leather used on the palm and fingers. Leather is tougher, therefore it is placed on areas which are more susceptible to abrasion. Our top tip - watch out for the quality of stitching on this type glove as it can often be a weak point.
Membrane - Best for Waterproofing and Breathability?
A glove can have the best insulation and outer shell in the world but if it isn’t waterproof and/or breathable, you’re going to get uncomfortable quickly. The membrane of a glove is found between the shell and insulation.
The material used here determines how waterproof the ski gloves are going to be when exposed to snow or rain. Warning - the most waterproof material isn’t necessarily the best! You want to pick a glove that stops the wet coming in but is ‘breathable’ enough to let perspiration out.
This is where people who go cheap suffer. Yes, you can get a decent waterproof glove for $50-100 but as soon as you start sweating, the moisture is not going to be able to escape.
Gore-Tex is known to be the best material for waterproof breathability in ski gloves. Plenty of people don’t really look much beyond Gore-Text but there are other branded options on the market - The North Face has HyVent and Marmot has MemBrain, for example. Both of these are good and if going cheaper is more important than having the most waterproof/breathable gloves, then this they’re excellent alternatives.
Other good waterproof breathable fabrics to look out for are: eVent, Polartec NeoShell, Polartec Power Shield Pro, H2NO, and Pertex Shield, to name just a few. Other membranes are made from materials such as WINDSTOPPER. This is made from a ePTFE membrane which is breathable and stops the wind but isn’t actually designed to be waterproof.
Leather gloves are a bit guiltier on skipping the Gore-Tex membrane. In fact, they’re often only coated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) which keeps light moisture away but can’t handle anything more than moderate dampness.
Our advice if you’re a weekend warrior or only ski infrequently? There’s no real need to splash out on top-of-the-range gloves. Granted, entry-level ski gloves won’t provide the same quality but for the time you spend out on the slopes, they’ll do the job.
The level of insulation you require will depend on how cold it is where you are and how badly you feel the cold. Obviously, if you’re skiing in warmer conditions or are someone who is always warm when others are cold, you won’t need nearly as much insulation. Conversely, if you’re constantly cold or in a cold environment, you’re going to need greater insulation.
The warmth, in part, is dictated by the outer shell material and waterproofing. The layer of insulation also plays a huge role. Take note - thicker insulation doesn’t always equate to more warmth. You need to look for insulation which is breathable, as well as being able to keep the heat in.
There are two main kinds of material used for ski glove insulation:
Although the more expensive option, down is renowned for being the better insulator. Furthermore, it’s light, durable, and breathable - all qualities you want in a decent pair of ski gloves to keep your hands warm. Among other benefits, down’s loft lasts longer than that of synthetic material which will see the gloves lasting longer.
The downside? Down is a pain once wet and it loses its ability to insulate at this point. That’s usually why you won’t see it as often in gloves and mittens compared to synthetics. Spending a lot of time in a cold, dry climate? Go for down.
If you’re on a budget or want an insulator which will keep you warm in wet conditions, choose a synthetic insulator. Synthetic insulation dries faster than down which helps to prevent that nasty chill when you get wet.
Unfortunately, synthetic insulators don’t compress as much as down and aren’t as warm for how much they weigh. This leads to a bulkier, heavier glove which won’t necessarily keep you as warm. It also doesn’t retain its loft as well, meaning the warmth from a synthetic insulator will deteriorate faster. Need a cheaper option which can handle a damper environment? Pick synthetics.
Lining and Warmth - Should You Double Up?
There is a solid argument to be had for choosing gloves with a double/removable lining. However, as with anything in life, there is a trade-off to be had. Double-layered gloves are usually warmer but the main advantage is the adaptability to different temperatures.
If you begin to get too warm or are skiing on a warm dat, you can just wear the shell. Alternatively, if it’s cold or you’re feeling the winter breeze a bit more, doubling up will help to protect your hands.
Unfortunately, two-layered gloves are bulkier and you lack the same dexterity, which is the main drawback to doubling up. Keep this in mind if there’s a pair of double-layered gloves which isn’t removable.
Cuff Style - Gauntlet or Undercuff?
The material at your wrist is known as the cuff of the glove and there are two main considerations - gauntlet style or undercuff. Your choice should primarily be based on personal comfort preference but you should also consider the type of activity.
The gauntlet style sports a longer cuff which has fabric that extends beyond your jacket’s cuff. This makes it much easier to take your gloves on and off because access to the fastener is outside your jacket. What’s more, this style is usually slightly warmer because there is more insulation and the draw cord can helps to keep the heat in.
One of the main reasons people don’t like the gauntlet style is because rain or snow can trickle down your jacket and into the cuff of the glove. You’ll get away with it on nice, dry days but anything wetter or wild conditions and you might regret this style. Additionally, because there is more material around the wrist, your movement might be restricted.
Like the name suggests, the undercuff style of glove goes underneath the sleeve of your jacket. As you can imagine, they’re more fiddly to put on and take off which is quickly becomes a pain if you need to do this often. Another pain point is if your jacket sleeves ride up when you’re stretching or reaching, for example.
However, your hands stay drier in bad conditions because there is no easy way for rain or snow to sneak in under the cuff. Going to be constantly taking your gloves off and back on again? Choose a gauntlet-styled glove. Want to avoid rain and snow sneaking, be less bulky, and greater mobility? Opt for an undercuff style.
Since leather is more durable, it is primarily used on the palms of gloves, even if the glove is otherwise made from synthetics. Some gloves, of course, do sport synthetic materials on the palm but they tend to be more prone to wear and tear since the that part of the glove will suffer the most abrasion. Not only does leather provide good resistance to abrasion but it also offers the wearer better grip on poles, for example.
Like we mentioned earlier, one of the best leathers to look out for is goat skin. It offers a happy-medium between flexibility and durability, even if it is a little more costly. Furthermore, if you’re someone who will be constantly using the gloves throughout the season, it is worth the extra effort to treat and retreat the leather to make it last longer.
When you’re choosing good ski gloves, one of the biggest trade-offs is dexterity vs. warmth. At this point, you need to decide which aspect is more important to you. Usually, unless you’re willing to really stretch your budget, it can be hard to find a glove with both good dexterity and warmth.
As a general rule, the more insulation that is used in a glove, the less wriggle room there is. The average resort skier can get away with more warmth and less dexterity, although it does come down to you as an individual. Our advice? Choose warmth over flexibility unless you know that you dexterity is very important to you and you can handle colder gloves.
Above, we have gone into depth on some of the most important ‘buying considerations’ before forking out for high-end ski gloves. In our opinion, they’re the ‘must have’ features of any good ski glove or mitten. Aside from the fundamentals, here are some of the optional extras to keep an eye on.
Many would argue that a nose wipe should be classed as one of the basic necessities for ski gloves. There’s no denying that cold weather + a breeze = a runny nose. On top of the streaming nose, it’s not all that easy to get the handkerchief or tissues out while you’re speeding down the slopes, especially with gloves on.
Many gloves have a piece of fabric, designed for runny noses, on the forefinger or thumb. They’re super handy for giving your nose a quick wipe and they’re made soft enough to not cause any irritation.
A wrist cinch is essentially a draw cord system, usually found on gauntlet style gloves, allowing you to tighten the entrance of your glove. Note, it doesn't tighten the wrist section - that’s usually a wrist strap. This is particularly useful to stop water or snow from making its way down your glove and it will also increase the warmth. In a way, it’s not dissimilar to how powder skirts work on a ski jacket.
A zip pocket is most often used for disposable hand warmers which you can put in for particularly chilly days or if you generally need them. Alternatively, they can also act like a vent for a warmer day.
The need for gloves to work with touchscreen phones is increasing since it is rare these days to find someone without a touchscreen. It’s a handy idea if you want to quickly snap a picture or make a call without having to take your gloves off. You will usually find this feature on thinner gloves or liners, rather than the traditional thick ski glove.