The Best Ski Gloves and Mittens for Men

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We would regularly ski with a backpack full of ski gloves, switching them out every run or two, even while touring in the backcountry we did our best to pit these gloves head-to-head and put them to the test.
Credit: Ian Nicholson
What is the best ski glove and mitten choice for skiing and snowboarding? In this review, we tested 20 top ski gloves over the past three seasons, doing everything from riding chairs all over the Western U.S. to backcountry touring in the Cascades, the Wasatch and Alaska. We also pushed these competitors to their limits in the backcountry, on heli's and snowmobile skiing while working as part of the Snow Safety Team for Tailgate Alaska in Alaska's Chugach Range. We helped identify the best all-around product, the best model for more moderate climates (above 15F), the best cold weather option (below 15F), and the best value. We awarded our Top Pick and Editors' Choice for each of these categories for both gloves and mittens. Dozens of testers provided valuable input and analysis for this review.

Read the full review below >

Review by: ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab

Top Ranked Ski Gloves - Men's

Displaying 1 - 5 of 20 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Arc'teryx Alpha SV Glove
Arc'teryx Alpha SV Glove
Read the Review
Black Diamond Guide
Black Diamond Guide
Read the Review
Outdoor Research Northback Sensor
Outdoor Research Northback Sensor
Read the Review
Black Diamond Mercury Mitt
Black Diamond Mercury Mitt
Read the Review
Outdoor Research Southback
Outdoor Research Southback
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award  Editors' Choice Award   
Street Price Varies $222 - $275
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Pros Waterproof, extremely dexterous, very breathable, quick to drySuper warm, very toughTouch screen sensitive, very water proof, warm, pretty dexterousWarmest product in our review, bomer shell, nice extra featuresAwesome fit, very dexterious, Nice features
Cons Very expensiveNot very dexterous, super stiff and take a while to break inRun smaller and narrower than most other gloves we testedPoor Dexterity, liner packs out a little quicker than other options we testedDWR doesn't hold up as long
Best Uses Alpine climbing, ice climbing, back country and resort skiing or snowboardingCold weather climbing and skiing, works well for ice climbing belay, high altitude mountaineeringResort skiing and snowboarding, backcountry skiing and snowboarding, cold weather anything when you want touch screen sensitivtyGreat for cold weather skiing and snowboarding, for folks whose hands get cold easily, or as a belay gloveResort oriented skiers and snowboarders who ride in temps down to around 10-15F, wet conditions
Date Reviewed Oct 23, 2013Oct 22, 2013Oct 20, 2013Jan 17, 2015Sep 25, 2013
Weighted Scores Arc'teryx Alpha SV Glove Black Diamond Guide Outdoor Research Northback Sensor Black Diamond Mercury Mitt Outdoor Research Southback
Dexterity - 20%
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8
Warmth - 25%
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Water Resistance - 25%
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Durability - 10%
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Features - 20%
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Product Specs Arc'teryx Alpha SV Glove Black Diamond Guide Outdoor Research Northback Sensor Black Diamond Mercury Mitt Outdoor Research Southback
Waterproof Material Gore-tex Pro Shell Gore-Tex XCR Gore-tex Shell: Pertex Shield, Liner: BDry Gore-Tex
Insulation Type Polartec Wind Pro Primaloft 1, Wool & 100g Fleece Enduraloft 340 g Primaloft Gold and high-loft fleece EnduraLoft, 265g on back of hand, 133g on palm
Palm Material Lezanova leather (Goatskin leather) Goatskin Leather Goatskin Leather Goatskin Leather Goatskin Leather
Double or Single Glove Double Double Single Double Single
OGL Weight (pair) 10.5 oz 17 oz 11 oz 14 oz 9 oz
Gaunlet or Cuff Length Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet
Nose Wipe? No Yes Yes Yes yes


OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review



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We would regularly ski with a backpack full of ski gloves, switching them out every run or two, even while touring in the backcountry we did our best to pit these gloves head-to-head and put them to the test.
Credit: Ian Nicholson
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There are several good ski gloves depending how cold it is where you ski or snowboard, how wet it is, or your possible needs as far as dexterity, durability, and ease of use. Below we reported our findings after testing more than 20 pairs of gloves and mittens. Here Gear Tester Ian Nicholson comparing gloves and switching them out every lap. Duffy region BC.
Credit: Joshua Cole

The Best Ski and Snowboard Glove Review


Gloves and mittens are often the only thing that protects our hands from winter's bite and we ask a lot of them. We want them to be totally waterproof and warm but without being too bulky or cumbersome. Really we want them to completely protect us without feeling like we are even wearing them. So what is the best option for skiing and snowboarding? Or for backcountry touring? Colder weather? For over three years we compared these challengers head-to-head and tested them in the field. We broke the testing down into five categories to help determine which is the best product for which applications.

See our Buying Advice Article for information on materials, types of gloves, features, and other things to look for.
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We tested all these ski gloves both individually as well as side-by-side from California to Alaska, from borderline rain to epic pow, to spring corn, to provide the best test results for you. Here Ryan O'Connell ripping up "The School" Thompson Pass, AK.
Credit: Eric Dalzell

The Age Old Debate: Gloves or Mittens


This seems to be the age-old debate among winter time enthusiasts, gloves for their dexterity or mittens for their warmth? While those two statements are generally true statements, it isn't quite as hard and fast as it might seem. For example the warmest gloves in our review like the Black Diamond Guide and the Hestra Heli are comparable or maybe even marginally warmer than the lightest weight mittens we tested like the North Face Montana Mitt. On the flip side, the Montana Mitt offers about the same dexterity as those two super warm gloves as a result of their thick but high quality insulation. There are also hybrid options, that nearly split the difference like the Hestra Army Leather 3-Finger Mitt which features a independent index or "trigger finger" resulting in an option that is nearly as warm as most mittens and close in dexterity to several gloves.

Criteria for Evaluation


Below we describe the specific criteria by which we evaluated each contender.

Dexterity


In the dexterity category of our tests we performed a series of side-by-side tasks, including buckling ski boots, unlocking a car door with average sized car keys, tying running shoes, attaching a lift ticket to a jacket, zipping a jacket, taking a photo with a point-and-shoot camera and writing our name. To help as a tie breaker, those gloves with which we could write more legibly, scored higher. We also compared each during real world use, often changing them multiple times a day. In the end the Arc'teryx Alpha SV along with the Rab Guide Gloves were both strong favorites. The Mountain Hardwear Jalapeno wasn't too far behind and was the last option that we would consider dexterous enough to recommend for ice climbing. Scoring a little behind the Jalapeno was the Outdoor Research Magnate, which performed well in all of our tasks and could be used to write fairly legibly but wasn't quite dexterous enough for technical climbing.
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Tester Ian Nicholson tests ski glove dexterity and palm material durability on the Haute route while lowering a skier down the Col Du Chardonnet, Chamonix France.
Credit: Ian Nicholson
With gloves it is often a case of dexterity versus warmth, because as you add more insulation (i.e. bulk) you loose sensitivity and in turn dexterity. This is where the Arc'teryx Alpha SV really stood out. Arc'teryx implemented several new technologies both in the design and also in the style and techniques used during construction. They managed to reduce bulk and eliminate unnecessary material in order to maximize dexterity but maintain a high level of warmth.
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Ian Nicholson tested ski glove dexterity in freezing cold temperatures in the low teens while recording snow pit data while working as part of the snow safety team for Talkgate Alaska at Thompson Pass, AK.
Credit: Ryan O'Connell

Mitten Dexterity


We preformed the same set of tasks mentioned above with mittens as well as gloves. After our side-by-side testing we thought the two most dexterous mittens were the Hestra Army Leather 3-Finger because of its obvious trigger finger advantage, but for any task where having a "third" digit wasn't high priority, we found the North Face Montana Mitt to be right there with it. Despite not have a trigger finger or an internal index finger slot, the Montana mitt excelled at nearly every task basically because it is just designed well, fit most of our testers well, and doesn't have to much insulation on the inside of the hand. The elastic band fit nicely around our wrist, increasing feel, and enabled us to do almost any basic task. The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt wasn't very dexterous at all despite featuring an optional trigger finger. The reason it is optional is the internal mitten is sewn wide enough so that you can keep all four of your fingers together if you want.

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We used a two minute submersion in a bucket of water as one factor to comparing ski gloves and mitten different levels of water resistance side-by-side. We used our ratings in conjunction with real world wet, sometimes rainy skiing in Washington's Snoqualmie Pass.
Credit: Ian Nicholson
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Here we are testing The North Face Montana Mitt in our two minute "bucket of water" test. The Montana mitt was our top scoring mitten for water resistance.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Waterproofness


For our waterproof tests, besides extensive use over a wet winter in the Pacific Northwest, we also performed a series of side-by-side tests. For one minute we held all of the gloves in a bucket of water, all the way in, fingers down, with one inch before the cuff sticking out to compare water resistance. In the end we had several that performed well, but the Arc'teryx Alpha SV still proved to score a little above the rest. Arc'teryx, using a Gore-Tex pro-shell, chose a design that is sewn more like a hard shell jacket rather than the typical oversized Gore-Tex insert crammed into an outer layer of leather and nylon. There are also fewer seams on the Alpha SV and thus fewer places to leak and less thread that can absorb water. Even the leather reinforcement, which is laminated on instead of sewn, reduces seams and leak points. In the end the Alpha SV proved to be the most water resistant of any glove we tested, even after over 40 days of hard use.
Nothing like skinning up hill in dumping snow to test the the breathab...
Nothing like skinning up hill in dumping snow to test the the breathability and weather resistance of each ski glove. We took into account both real world comparisons as well as our "bucket of water" test when reviewing each gloves water resistance, Wasatch UT.
Credit: Ian Nicholson
The Outdoor Research Magnate, and the Black Diamond Rebel are a close second in water resistance tests. Both proved incredibly weather resistant and performed fantastically in both our bucket of water test and in real world applications. Just behind those two contenders were the Outdoor Research Northback Sensor and Outdoor Research Southback along with the Black Diamond Legend, North Face Montana Mitt and Black Diamond Squad, which also did remarkably well. We would easily recommend any of these products for resort skiing or snowboarding, even during the wettest of winter storms.

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Eric Dalzell on an evening ski of the Odessey on a surprisingly cold afternoon; around 8F, comparing the warmth of each ski glove, Valdez, AK
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Warmth


Testing overall warmth is not as easy as it might seem. There are many outside factors contributing to the comparison, like your body's core temperature, how much you've eaten and how long ago. Possibly the most challenging: a tester might have already been standing around in the cold. We did our very best to give you the most accurate data in the warmth category by a group of us standing around a ski area parking lot, trading pairs for five minutes at a time. We also spent over 100 days skiing and snowboarding, always with a backpack full of contenders, changing them all day long.
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Ian Nicholson freezing and side-by-side testing relative ski glove warmth in Mt Rainier National park.
Credit: Dallas Glass
In the end, the warmest glove we tested was the Black Diamond Guide, which helped make it our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick for colder climates. Tester Ian Nicholson used them to summit Denali, never changing into his mittens on a day with a high of -38F and summiting in -42F. He also summited Aconcagua in them in -25F. The next warmest contender was the Hestra Heli and while it wasn't as warm, it was a little bit more dexterous and the leather much softer, allowing more freedom of movement for our hands. These are the two best options for New England or Upper Mountain West skiers and snowboarders or simply for folks whose hands get cold easily but don't want to wear mittens. We think most average people could use them for resort skiing down to around 0F but not much below. For those on a budget the DaKine Scout for an amazing $50 is a darn good option for above average warmth, though it is still nowhere near as warm as the Guide or the Heli.

Mitten Warmth
It was a tough decision on what is truly the warmest mitt in our review. In the end we found the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt to be a little warmer and than the Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski Mitts. The Hestra Army Leather 3-Finger Mitts were warm, but certainly a step down compared with the first two formentioned gloves.
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Part of any glove or mittens warmth comes from keeping your hands dry in a wide range of conditions; both from the elements, and allowing moisture to escape by a glove or mittens overall breathability. Skiing below the infamous Matterhorn, Switzerland.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Durability


We measured this not only during our own use, punishing these products over hundreds of days during the past two seasons, but also from valuable input from dozens of other users and OutdoorGearLab friends. We think the toughest contestants are the Mountain Hardwear Jalapeno, Black Diamond Legend, Black Diamond Rebel and the Outdoor Research Magnate, all with their beefy leather outers. Being very near as durable are the Black Diamond Guide and the Arc'teryx Alpha SV; both of were in solid shape even after 40+ days of use. The Rab Guide and the Black Diamond Squad are also tough, but not quite as tough as the contenders listed above.

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Chris Marshall airs it out while skiing in the Duffy near Pemberton BC, while providing valuable feedback to the OutdoorGearLab team.
Credit: Joshua Cole

Features and Ease of Use


The features and ease of use category includes interesting and different features that would help you to use your gloves. We compared features like how they kept snow out and how easy they were to tighten and loosen. We also gave higher marks for wrist leashes (a.k.a. idiot/keeper leashes). While these might seem a little dorky and old school for some, once others use them they won't give them up. Leashes add peace of mind while taking them off on the chair lift. You would be amazed at how many gloves are found every spring under chairlifts. We also compared features like nose wipes and how easy they were to take on and off.
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The touch screen sensitive thumb and index finger on the Outdoor Research Northback Sensor Glove.
Credit: Ian Nicholson
The model that that really stood out for features was the OR Northback Sensor, which sports a touch screen sensitive thumb and index finger that worked even better than a normal finger. This means you don't have to take them off to answer your smart phone, take a photo, update your Facebook status or check the latest reviews on OutdoorGearLab.com. We used the Northback Sensor in pretty cold temps as well as dumping snow and regardless of conditions it worked unbelievable well.

Other Accessories


All skiers can agree that keeping your eye protected can be just as important as keeping your hands protected. We recommend products like the Oakley Airbrake and the Spy Targa 3 which offered great protection while still being extremely comfortable. Check out The Best Ski Goggles Review for a more in-depth look of all the googles we tested.
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Michael Horst skiing the Cham chutes near Whistler BC glove review
Credit: Ian Nicholson

And the Overall Winners Are…


Editors' Choice Award Gloves: Arc'teryx Alpha SV


The Arc'teryx Alpha SV Gloves
The Arc'teryx Alpha SV Gloves
Credit: Arc'teryx
The Arc'teryx Alpha SV Glove was our OutdoorGearLab Editors' Choice because it scored near or at the top in every category and was far better than most of the products we tested in dexterity and waterproofness. When it comes to the dexterity of the Alpha SV, no other glove is even close when you consider its level of warmth and that it features a removable liner. The articulation and the feel that these gloves provide is amazing; you can easily ice climb in them. Arc'teryx achieved this incredible level of dexterity by constructing them more like a traditional hard shell jacket rather than your typical design with a Gore-Tex insert. Arc'teryx also implemented a three-lobe pattern to better mimic the shape of your fingers instead of the traditional box pattern design. On the shell, the Alpha SV uses a Gore-Tex Proshell material and revolutionary thin seam tape while the liner is a removable Gore fleece material that features a similar pattern and extremely low bulk stitching. It's really this construction that gives it the level of water resistance, sensitivity and dexterity that it has. The fingers and palm are covered entirely in a durable goatskin leather that has very little break in time. Even after a full winter of skiing and a summer of mountaineering they are still going strong. While the Alpha SV is likely the most awesome design we tested, it is also by far and away the most expensive. At $300 these gloves are over $125 more expensive than the next closest competitor. Lastly, don't buy them because you think you are getting a really, really warm glove. While the Alpha SV's are above average in warmth, there are other less expensive products that are a fair amount warmer, such as the BD Guide. With the Alpha SV you are paying for an extremely dexterous and sensitive product that is pretty warm with fantastic water resistance and durability.

Best Buy Award Gloves: Outdoor Research Revolution


Outdoor Research Revolution Glove
Outdoor Research Revolution Glove
Credit: Outdoor Research
The new winner of our OutdoorGearLab Best Buy Award is the Outdoor Research Revolution Glove because it uses near the most insulation of any glove under $100, has the same fit which our testers found to be very dexterous. As dexterous as OR's $85-$100 gloves. The Revolution is also the best priced glove we tested to feature a goatskin leather palm that proved durable even after a season of heavy use. We also loved many of its small features like warm fleece lining that not only felt warm as soon as we put the gloves on but also made getting wet hands into the glove easier. We still really like the previous years winner the Outdoor Research Southback because it uses Gore-Tex instead of the Revolution's proprietary Ventia Dry fabric, though it does feature marginally less insulation. If you were willing to spend $85 on a glove we do think the Southback is a better glove but not a lot better and overall we feel the Revolution is the "best value" because it's a pretty darn awesome glove for nearly all condition resort skiing and snowboarding at an awesome price.

Top Pick Award for More Moderate Climates Gloves: Outdoor Research Northback Sensor


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Outdoor Research Northback Sensor Gloves
Credit: Outdoor Research
The Outdoor Research Northback Sensor was our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick for more moderate temperatures because it scored high in every category. Though it was a tough call between the Northback Sensor and the Black Diamond Rebel, in the end the Northback edged out the Rebel because it was a little warmer and had a few nicer features, including but certainly not limited to its obvious touch screen capability. Over all the Northback was one of the more dexterous designs we tested with excellent freedom of movement once they were broken in,(they were quite stiff at first) though they weren't as subtle as other gloves we tested right off the shelf including the Rebel.
The Northback Sensor was one of the top performers in waterproofness with a Gore-Tex liner and very water-resistant leather. The Northback was surprisingly warm, especially considering it's a single layer design construction using a cozy fleece lining and Primaloft for insulation. The Black Diamond Legend which was warmer, was also in the running but didn't perform quite as well as either the Rebel or the Northback.

Top Pick for Colder Climates Gloves: Black Diamond Guide


Black Diamond Guide Glove
Black Diamond Guide Glove
Credit: Black Diamond
The Black Diamond Guide was the warmest non-mitt we tested, making it a perfect option for cold weather skiing, snowboarding and mountaineering. Tester Ian Nicholson wore them to the summit of Denali on a day with a daytime high of -38F and he summited in -42F. We think the glove is comparable in warmth to both the Hestra Army Leather 3-Finger as well as The North Face Montana Mitt. The Guide features removable liners, making drying them a breeze. The molded EVA foam padding on the knuckles and fingers adds protection and warmth. They are also super tough; easily among the the most durable gloves in our review. The Hestra Heli was a not-too-distant second in the battle for the best model for colder climates. Although the Heli wasn't nearly as warm, it was a touch more dexterous than the BD Guide. The Guide was a little tougher and a lot more waterproof than the Heli.

Editors' Choice Best Mitten: Black Diamond Mercury Mitt


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Black Diamond Mercury Mitts
Credit: Black Diamond
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt wins our OutdoorGearLab Editors' Choice award for best overall mitten because it was the straight up warmest product we tested. The Mercury was very water resistant and offers pretty dang bomber construction. The Mercury Mitt also offers several additional nice features like its optional internal index finger slot and a hanging loop for quicker drying or to hang off a harness while climbing. The Mercury's complex liner built with 340g PrimaLoft, a fleece lining and is covered with BDry waterproof fabric, is WARM. It's only downside, we do feel like the Mercury Mitt packed out a little quicker after a few seasons of heavy use, quicker than the more basic, but apparently longer lasting fleece liner of the Hestra models. The Mercury preforms pretty well in warmer closer-to-freezing temperatures but isn't as water resistant as the North Face Montana Mitt.

Best Buy Mitten: The North Face Montana Mitt


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The North Face Montana Mitt
Credit: The North Face
The North Face Montana Mitt is our Best Buy because we feel its the best blend of warmth, weather resistance and dexterity all for an amazing $70 price. We feel there are few mittens that are close in price than can match the Montana Mitt in these categories. In fact, the Montana Mitt was one of our top overall scorers for water resistance during our side-by-side "bucket of water" testing and we thought it was by far the most dexterous classic mitten design.

The Runners Up



Second Highest Rated Mitten: Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski Mitt


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Army Leather Heli Ski Mitt
Credit: Hestra
The Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski Mitt is an awesome mitten that is super warm and surprisingly dexterous considering how much insulation it offers. We think the Hestra Army Leather Heli Mitt is a fantastic mitten that just barely missed out on being our overall Editors' Choice award winner for two reasons. One: its leather palm just wasn't as water resistant as the Black Diamond Mercury's and we found it needed to be retreated more often. Two: it is warm, the second warmest product in our review, but also wasn't quite as warm as the Mercury. We did think the Army Leather Heli is more dexterous than the Mercury and we thought its more basic fleece liner lasted longer and took longer to pack out than other gloves and mittens that had lighter but less durable PrimaLoft or similar synthetic insulation.

Great for Dexterity: Hestra Army Leather 3-Finger Mitt


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Hestra Army Leather 3-Finger
Credit: Hestra
The Hestra Army Leather 3-Finger Mitt was our OutdoorGearLab Top Pick because of its unique "trigger finger" design. We thought the 3-Finger Mitt is best for people who live in colder climates like Montana, Alberta, or New England that need a warmer option than most gloves can provide but hate the lack of dexterity, or clumsy feel that mittens often create. The 3-Finger is warm enough to hang in most of those fridged climates but certainly feels less clumsy and more glove like.


Also check out our Ski and Snowboard Gear Dream List and The Best Women's Ski Glove Review.

Ian Nicholson
Helpful Buying Tips
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 How to Choose Ski Gloves

by Ian Nicholson