The Best Women's Ski Gloves Review

Click to enlarge
Ski touring in Washington with the extremely dexterous and Editors' Choice winning Arc'teryx Beta AR gloves.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett
Choosing the perfect ski glove for women can be a tall order when you take into account the different styles available, the different branches of skiing and snowboarding, and ultimately the different needs each woman demands of her product. At OutdoorGearLab, we have reviewed five of the top women's ski gloves in some of the most demanding environments, while evaluating for dexterity, waterproofness, warmth, durability, and features. Each ski glove endured the same extensive rounds of testing in the damp spring climate of the North Cascades in Washington as well as on bitter cold winter days in the Bridger mountain range of Montana. Our testers are women who demanded certain features and function out of each pair, whether they were snowmobiling to Washington Pass for a 6000' day of ski touring, or a spending full day of lift-riding on a -20F degree day at Bridger Mountain. For more detailed information on how to choose the perfect ski glove for what you need, check out our Buying Advice article.

Read the full review below >

Review by: ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab

Top Ranked Ski Gloves - Women's Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Arc'teryx Beta AR Glove - Women's
Arc'teryx Beta AR Glove - Women's
Read the Review
Outdoor Research Arete - Women's
Outdoor Research Arete - Women's
Read the Review
Black Diamond Guide - Women's
Black Diamond Guide - Women's
Read the Review
Marmot Randonnee Glove - Women's
Marmot Randonnee Glove - Women's
Read the Review
Outdoor Research Southback - Women's
Outdoor Research Southback - Women's
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  Top Pick Award     
Street Price $235
Compare at 4 sellers
Varies $62 - $71
Compare at 4 sellers
$170
Compare at 2 sellers
Varies $75 - $100
Compare at 5 sellers
Varies $59 - $85
Compare at 4 sellers
Overall Score 
100
0
90
100
0
87
100
0
83
100
0
78
100
0
74
Editors' Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating Be the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate it
Pros Durable palm, waterproof shell material, incredible dexterityWaterproof shell, multi-use liner, amazing grip, great price!Designed to keep your hand warm in -20F temperature, removable linerWarm, easy to pull on and off, grippy palmFunctional fit, dexterous, low-profile design
Cons Lacks a nose wipe, liner material is not particularly durableCuff is too large, no good cinching around the wrist, fleece lined shellBulky, difficult to get liner back into gloveNo removable liner, shell absorbs waterNo removable liner, shell absorbs water
Best Uses Ski touring, splitboarding, ice climbing, fly fishingSki touring, splitboarding, ice climbing, fly fishingSki touring, splitboarding, skiing in bounds, winter campingSkiing & Snowboarding in-bounds, ski-touringSkiing & Snowboarding in-bounds
Date Reviewed Apr 25, 2014Apr 25, 2014Apr 23, 2014Apr 25, 2014Apr 24, 2014
Weighted Scores Arc'teryx Beta AR Glove - Women's Outdoor Research Arete - Women's Black Diamond Guide - Women's Marmot Randonnee Glove - Women's Outdoor Research Southback - Women's
Dexterity - 20%
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
Warmth - 25%
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Water Resistance - 25%
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Durability - 10%
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Features - 20%
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
Product Specs Arc'teryx Beta AR Glove - Women's Outdoor Research Arete - Women's Black Diamond Guide - Women's Marmot Randonnee Glove - Women's Outdoor Research Southback - Women's
Waterproof Material N80p-X GORE-TEX® Pro 3L GORE-TEX® 100% nylon insert // 100% nylon oxford shell outer mixed with dobby nylon shel Gore-tex Gore-Tex GORE-TEX® insert // 100% nylon woven outer
Insulation removable fleece liner removable 100% polyester fleece liner as well as fleece lined shell removable fleece liner Thermal R -> DriClime 3- dimensional wicking lining Endura Loft insulation
Liner Material Polartec® Thermal Pro® Tweed & Polartec® Wind Pro® High Loft 100% polyester fleece 142g PrimaLoft liner N/A N/A
Palm Material Leather Nylon leather leather leather
Double or Single Glove? double double double single single
Weight (per pair) 7.2 oz 7.1 oz 10.1 oz 7.2 oz 6.5 oz
Gauntlet or cuff length Cuff Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Cuff
Nose Wipe? no yes yes yes yes

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


  • Review Photos
  • Editors' Choice Winners
  • All Reviewed Products

Mittens vs. Gloves: Addressing the Age Old Question
Many women suffer from what we deem "Cold Hand Syndrome" during the winter season, turning typically fun winter activities into suffer fests.  As a result, women tend to waffle between mittens and gloves, trying to seek out the best option to prevent their fingers from going numb. Our testers are these women who have tried both options, noting the trade-offs involved in each method.

Mittens are typically warmer than gloves since less surface area is exposed to the elements, and fingers stay warmer when kept together through body-heat.  However, gloves provide significantly more dexterity.  In most cases, you may have to take mittens off to perform tasks that gloves can do without any issue.   But, you may need to get a more heavily insulated glove to perform as well in the warmth category as a thinner mitten.  Ultimately, your hands stay warmer if you don't need to take your protective layer off.

Criteria for Evaluation
In the winter months of our test period, our testers spent nearly every evening and weekend out in the damp cold of the Cascades or the bitter, dry cold of Bozeman. Gloves are an integral piece of gear, even though sometimes they seem like an afterthought to the correct shell or pant for your outing. Ultimately, dexterity and full use of your fingers and hands is key to being able to not only enjoy your winter activity but to actually participate in it. With cold or frozen fingers, basic functions such as zipping up your jacket or ripping skins becomes nearly impossible. Below we discuss what features make an excellent, high-performance glove to make playing in the snow easier and even more enjoyable.

Click to enlarge
We critically evaluated five top pairs of women's gloves and their liners (L to R): OR Southback, OR Arete, Marmot Randonee, Arc'teryx Beta AR, Black Diamond Guide.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett

Warmth
Warmth and water resistance are the two most important, protective features of gloves. The idea of warmth is not limited to the ability of the glove to keep you comfortable in incredibly cold situations, but also the ability for you to regulate heat and prevent your hands from becoming sweaty when you are working hard. One of the hardest things to recover from while skiing is having a wet glove liner. When it becomes cold, the liner becomes stiff and transmits the cold temperatures to your fingers. A way that glove manufacturers have addressed the need to regulate heat is by creating a removable liner with a comfortable shell. The Outdoor Research Arete - Women's glove has the most comfortable shell and liner combination. The liner in the Arete is incredibly breathable, allowing for moisture to wick away from your skin and through the liner. By removing the liner, you are able to comfortably regulate your heat by relying on the shell of the Arete. Furthermore, the shell has a micro-fleece liner, which aids in avoiding chafing or blisters during active use of your hands.

Click to enlarge
The author on the summit of Mt. Baker while testing the OR Arete Glove and its liner.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett

Thick ski gloves, such as the Black Diamond Guide - Women's, are rated for keeping you warm in temperatures ranging from -20F to 10F and keep hands warm in extreme cold. However, this ski glove becomes incredibly uncomfortable in temperatures exceeding 20F because it is so thick, and hands become sweaty.

In order to test the warmth and comfort of the ski gloves, we tested them on the chairlifts of Bridger Bowl on a -20F day. Each glove needed a little help, as -20F is pretty excessive when it comes to a chill factor. In order to not lose complete feeling in our fingers, we would swap out hand warmers throughout the day of testing. Gloves that come with the ability to place hand warmers into either zipper pouches or pockets of the glove allow for another successful way of regulating heat. If your glove does not have a pocket for a hand warmer, it is possible to place the pouch between the liner & the shell of the glove. The only ski glove that we tested that did not come with a hand warmer pouch or a removable liner was the Marmot Randonee Glove.

Click to enlarge
In order to enjoy a day like this in the mountains, you need to make sure you have the best gloves on your hands to keep you warm and dry! Here we test gloves on Mt. Shuksan.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett

Water Resistance
Having a water resistant ski glove goes hand-in-hand with keeping your fingers warm. All five of the gloves we tested come with waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex integrated into the shell of the glove. Gore-Tex materials have pores that are smaller than the size of a water droplets but larger than the size of water vapor, making it impossible for water to pass through the membrane and come inside, but still allowing for water vapor and heat to transfer from the inside out. This goes back to our conversation on heat-regulation above.

A waterproof glove that is also breathable will be significantly more comfortable. For our test, we took the gloves out for a day of incredibly damp ski touring at Washington Pass in the heart of the North Cascades, Washington. This allowed each tester to properly assess the waterproofness of the outer shell material of the gloves while also exerting energy during the approach. The day threw out intense bursts of sunlight followed by 30 m.p.h. wind gusts peppered with snow, sleet, and rain at the lower elevations. The gloves that truly shined on this day were those that had removable liners, so the liner could be worn on its own while skinning up-hill, and then the shell could be thrown on in a pinch. The Arc'teryx Beta AR Glove - Women's took the prize for waterproofness on our soggy ski touring day. The warmth of the inner liner coupled with the completley waterproof the Gore-Tex shell made for a comfortable day of skiing.

Click to enlarge
Using a 3-Layer Gore-Tex shell, the Beta AR was the most waterproof glove tested.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett

Dexterity
The ability to use your fingers while still in a glove is quite important, otherwise you could just wear mittens. If you ever have to take your glove off in order to perform an everyday task, your glove is failing you. The best glove should keep you warm while not hampering your ability to zip up your coat, start your car, pull your lift-ticket out of your pocket, rip your skins, and change your boots to ski mode from walk mode. In order to fully test the dexterity of the gloves, we ran them through the gambit of various winter activities and performed all of the above tasks. We found the OR Arete Glove to be the most dexterous. The grippy nylon material on the palm and fingers of the glove allowed it to grab onto things well. The Arc'teryx Beta AR came in a close second in dexterity, but there was one instance where a tester was unable to gain purchase on the pull tab to remove her skins from her skis. Another tester was close by who was wearing the Arete, and was able to remove the skins easily. The glove that struggled in dexterity was the Black Diamond Guide Glove due to its very thick liner and bulky feel, which made delicate tasks difficult.

Click to enlarge
When ski mountaineering, such approaching the summit of Eldorado like seen here, a glove is needed that is warm but dexterous enough to adjust buckles on a harness, hold onto an ice-axe, and use a rope if needed.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett

Features
Many gloves have bells and whistles that make them more useful and more comfortable. We think the most important feature is having removable liners, especially ones that have textured fingers or palms for added grip. Removable liners make the gloves more versatile for different weather conditions and essentially provides the user with two pairs in one. The gloves in this review that have removable liners are the Arc'teryx Beta AR, Outdoor Research Arete, and Black Diamond Guide.

Click to enlarge
An easy to use cinching mechanism on the OR Southback cuff keeps snow out and your hands warm.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett

Other beneficial features are:
  • Softer material on the thumb for a nose wipe.
  • A hard piece of plastic or other material on the index finger that can be used for cleaning goggle lenses.

  • Cinch cords that attach to your wrist, preventing losing your glove at an inopportune time.

  • A small pouch or zippered pocket to place a hand-warmer for those extra cold days.

  • A small buckle or clasp that allows you to keep your gloves together as a pair when you are storing them.

  • Easy to cinch and release cuff, with a large enough mechanism that can be used when gloves are on.

  • An easy pull-on strap located in the cuff of the glove. This is incredibly useful when you already have one glove on, and just need a tad bit more help.

A bonus feature that is found on the OR Arete Glove is a small piece of webbing located on the tip of the finger. Ice climbers commented that when they hang their glove on their harness from the cuff, snow and ice can fill the glove. Outdoor Research fixed this issue with a piece of webbing that allows the glove to be attached to the harness by the tip of the finger instead of the cuff.

Click to enlarge
Loops on the tips of the fingers allow ice climbers to clip the glove from the finger to the harness; preventing snow from falling into the cuff of the glove.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett

Durability
It's a bummer to go out and spend money on an expensive new pair of gloves that disintegrates after one season. Each glove we tested endured thirty plus hours of intense use in different climates to ensure that our scoring was not only fair but reflected what a glove would look like after a full season of use. After just twenty hours, the lining of the Marmot Randonnee began to pack out and wear was beginning to show on the palm. The Outdoor Research Southback - Women's faired longer then the Randonnee, but the liner also became packed out after just a few days. When the liner becomes packed out, the loft is reduced, as well as the glove's ability to keep your fingers as warm. Of all the gloves tested, the Arc'teryx Beta AR withstood driving a snowmobile for over 30 miles, three days of eight-plus hours of ski touring, multiple days of riding lifts, shoveling driveways, and constant wrenching on a snowboard or split board the best. The leather palm keeps the exterior of the glove intact and the fluffy liner continued to keep our hands warm. We also think the burly, leather-palmed BD Guide glove will last a number of seasons before needing to be replaced.

Editors' Choice Award: Arc'teryx Beta AR
Click to enlarge
Wearing the Beta AR while approaching ski lines by snowmobile. This dexterous glove makes operating heavy machinery easy and comfortable.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett

With its waterproof Gore-Tex shell, durable leather palm, and removable liner, the Arc'teryx Beta AR Glove - Women's is hands-down the best glove we tested. It offers excellent dexterity and the two separate pieces allow for more versatility and use in a wide range of weather conditions. We miss having a nose-wipe patch on these gloves, but ultimately love how warm, dry, and dexterous this glove is. It is enough to make a dedicated mitten-wearer switch over to gloves!

Best Buy Award: Outdoor Research Arete
Click to enlarge
With a nylon palm, the OR Arete was one of the more dexterous gloves we tested. We love the soft nose wipe on the thumb.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett

Scoring highest in the features and dexterity categories, the Outdoor Research Arete - Women's came in a very close second behind our Editors' Choice glove. This glove can be used for just about any winter activity and the inner liner is our favorite out of all of the gloves tested, functioning well on its own. The nylon palm is less durable than full leather palms, but we find it allows for a secure grip. For only $89.00, we think this comfortable glove is an excellent deal.

Top Pick Award for Extreme Warmth: Black Diamond Guide
Click to enlarge
So burly, they look as if they could save you in a bar fight. The Black Diamond Guide Glove will protect you up to -20F as well as against any other force that may come in contact with your fist.
Credit: Stephanie Bennett

Do you suffer from cold hand syndrome even in 30F degree weather? The extra-warm Black Diamond Guide - Women's is rated to perform best at temperatures from -20F to 15F, but works well for women with notoriously cold fingers. With a removable, waterproof wool and Primaloft liner, you have the option to wear either the shell or liner on its own in warmer conditions, or wear them both together when the mercury drops. The downside to the extra warmth and thickness is that these bulky gloves are stiff and less dexterous than some of the thinner models, however, if you plan to be out in the cold for extended periods of time, they are worth it.

Stephanie Bennett
Buying Advice
How we Test
Helpful Buying Tips
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Subscribe to our Newsletter