Seeking the best ski gloves for your 2020 snow adventures? We've tested 60+ pairs in the last 8 years, most recently pitting 20 top mittens and gloves for skiing and snowboarding against each other. Our experts took these models on snow for rigorous examination. The trial grounds are the same places you'll use your gloves — ski resorts, backcountry laps, cross-country, on snowmobiles, and on ski mountaineering missions, spanning across the US, Canada, and Europe. We also put them through controlled temperature and water resistance tests. Our assessments are based on the areas of performance you care about.Related: Best Ski Gloves for Women
Best Ski Gloves of 2020
Best Overall Ski Gloves
Arc'teryx Fission SV
The Arc'teryx Fission SV is the all-around highest performing glove in our review. Other gloves are better at specific tasks, but nothing performs as well across the board. If we could have only one glove for skiing and snowboarding, this model would be it. We would throw this pair in our packs just in case other gloves failed to protect us during testing on cold and wet days. This glove particularly excels in weather resistance and warmth. Both qualities are excellent and come without compromise to the model's weight, dexterity, or durability. The Fission SV was impenetrable to water during our submersion test. It kept us warm with synthetic yet breathable insulation during the coldest days in the mountains, from ski resorts to ski mountaineering missions.
If we had to name a few disadvantages, we would mention that the wrist cinch strap could be improved to provide better security. Our testers found the glove to run a bit big. We recommend purchasing one size down from your regular glove size unless you plan to wear a thin liner inside the glove. We recommend the Fission SV for most skiers and riders who demand the utmost in weather resistance, warmth, and dexterity. They are also perfect for other winter pursuits like ice climbing, ski mountaineering, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cold urban travel.
Read review: Arc'teryx Fission SV
Best Overall Ski Mittens
Black Diamond Mercury Mitt
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt is the best overall mitten in our test group. It proved to be the most weather resistant mitten, coupled with decent dexterity. It is unquestionably the warmest mittens we tested. The Mercury performed very well for its weather resistance in real-world use and our side-by-side testings and offered bomber construction. We liked the additional features like its optional internal index finger slot for improved dexterity and the hanging loop for quicker drying or to hang from a harness while climbing. We loved that this mitt comes with an insulated liner, which is much more dexterous than the shell.
The Mercury's elaborate liner is built with 340g of PrimaLoft, has a fleece lining, is covered with BDry waterproof fabric, and is WARM. The only downside of the Mercury Mitt is that it seemed to pack out a little faster than other models we tested. Overall, these mitts might be the best bet for folks who tend to run cold.
Read review: Black Diamond Mercury Mitt
Best Bang for your Buck
Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II
Ski gloves come and go, but the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II has been around for a long time, and we hope it stays that way. Our testers are continually impressed by how well this glove can hang with the big dogs while costing significantly less. This glove is more than capable of meeting the needs of the average resort skier. It has a lot of leather for the price, boosting its longevity into multiple ski seasons. It's also very waterproof — we never experienced cold or wet hands in these gloves.
While these gloves are warm enough for most days at the ski resort, they can't compare to other well-insulated or heated models. They pack insulation around the fingertips, which hinders dexterity for general tasks and rules out fine motor skills, like opening small zippers or searching for items in pockets. We'd recommend a more dexterous glove for users with more refined dexterity needs, like on-snow professionals or parents. Still, for the price, these shortcomings are minor, and we would recommend these gloves to anyone who needs high-performance gloves at a bargain price.
Read review: Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II
Best for Warmth
Black Diamond Guide
The Black Diamond Guide is the warmest non-mitt and non-heated model we tested, making it a perfect option for cold-weather snowboarding, skiing, and mountaineering. Tester Ian Nicholson wore them during a summit of Denali on a day with a daytime high of -38F. He summited in -42F and has used this glove on ten Denali trips since. We think the glove is warmer than several price-pointed mittens on the market. The Guide features removable liners, which makes drying them a breeze, while the molded EVA foam padding on the knuckles and fingers adds protection and warmth. They are also super sturdy and easily among the most durable gloves we reviewed.
While they can still perform many tasks, it's obvious that these gloves aren't as dexterous as most gloves out there. There's too much thick leather and insulation, which make the gloves super warm and water-resistant, but get in the way of fine motor skills. Also, the inner liner isn't that refined — it's nothing special, although we appreciate the versatility that this double glove provides. Despite the above points, we had few gripes with this glove. The BD Guide gloves are deservingly popular due to their cold-weather performance.
Read review: Black Diamond Guide
Best for Touring
Outdoor Research Alti
The Outdoor Research Alti Glove wins our favorite for touring in the backcountry, either with a splitboard or skis. We found that this double glove excelled in a wide variety of temperatures and was warm enough when the weather deteriorated. The interior liner proved to be a usable standalone glove, and when combined with the outer, it created an impenetrable fortress of digit protection. The outer shell can be worn alone to provide a waterproof barrier when additional warmth is not needed, like during avalanche assessments or building snow shelters. The ability to separate the liner from the shell promotes quick drying by increasing the glove's exposed surface area.
The main drawback of these gloves is the lack of dexterity for general tasks. While we like this glove for a full day of touring, we are tentative to solely rely on this glove if there was a lot of rope work is involved. We expect that the friction from the rope could tear through the liner. If you tour more than you ride the gondola, these gloves will likely suit you best.
Read review: Outdoor Research Alti Glove
Best Heated Gloves
Hestra Power Heater Glove
Heated gloves are taking the market by storm. Their popularity has led to rapid technological advancement. This year, the Hestra Power Heater Gloves is our favorite heated glove due to their high performance across our metrics. Even when the heat is off, they are still warm. The refined design and high-quality materials allow this glove to exhibit impressive weather resistance, substantial durability, and superb dexterity. The heating element produces enough warmth to keep your hands toasty for the first chair on cold mornings. When the heat is off, the heating element is unnoticeable.
The only flaw here is that other heated gloves in our comparison produce more heat. They accomplish this by including heavier batteries, making those models feel like wrecking balls compared to this Hestra model. If you are looking for the warmest heated glove on the market, check out the OR Capstone. You'll sacrifice dexterity and versatility for more heating power. For most skiers looking for a warming boost on cold days and early mornings, the Hestra Power Heater Glove is the recommended choice.
Read Review: Hestra Power Heater Glove
Why You Should Trust Us
OutdoorGearLab Review Editors Jeff Dobronyi, Ian Nicholson, and Jeff Rogers combined their extensive collective experience in skiing, mountaineering, and cold weather travel to bring you a comprehensive review of the best ski gloves and mittens out there. Jeff Dobronyi is a backcountry ski guide and a mountain guide in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He takes skiers on powder safaris and ski mountaineering trips around the globe. Ian is also a mountain guide and teaches avalanche education courses and contributes to the Northwest Avalanche Center. Ski mountaineer Jeff Rogers brings additional experience to the team. He's got several 6000-meter ski descents on his resume, including Denali and peaks in Bolivia. Travis Poulin also contributed to the testing of these gloves. He resides in Steamboat Springs, CO, and makes bamboo ski poles by hand. He is an avid backcountry skier, mountaineer, and climber who bags high peaks regularly.
To find the best ski gloves and mitts available, we started by digging deep into the market. After extensive research of high quality and popular gloves, we purchased the most intriguing models and sent them to our expert testers. Then we thoroughly used and evaluated each pair and scored them in key performance metrics. We tested warmth by riding chairlifts and skiing in the Cascades, Alps, Wasatch, British Columbia, Jackson Hole, and Northeast US, as well as working in the field with avalanche and snow conditions assessment teams. We tested dexterity by peeling and sticking lift tickets to our jackets, writing notes with the gloves on, buckling boots, and unlocking car doors. We also tested water resistance by dunking the gloves in a bucket of water for two minutes and comparing the results.
Related: How We Tested Ski Gloves
Analysis and Test Results
As consumers and humans, we have high expectations of our gloves. Gloves and mittens create a haven for our hands and protect them from the harsh winter bite. We rely on them to keep our sensitive fingers shelter and warm from the elements while resort riding or touring. We do not want them to be too bulky or cumbersome, yet we do not want to sacrifice weather resistance or warmth. If our gloves can perform in all conditions and be versatile across many outdoor sport disciplines, even better. Our expectations of specific award winners are to excel in a light backcountry ski tour and provide the dexterity, durability, and warmth to summit aColorado 14er on a near zero day.
Related: Buying Advice for Ski Gloves
All of the gloves featured in this review are great products that stand above the vast majority of the market offerings. A low score in our review doesn't mean that the glove is unworthy of your attention. We had to be picky to find the best of the best. All scores are relative to the other products reviewed, and each performance metric is weighted relative to its general importance, which produces an overall score out of a possible 100 points.
We take note of how well a product performs in comparison to cheaper or more expensive options. In theory, the less expensive products in a category would score the lowest, and the most expensive ones would score the highest. In reality, many products perform better or worse than the price leads us to expect. We bought several promising, affordable gloves, and the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II impressed us the most. It covers the bases better than any model in its price range. It kept testers' hands warm and dry and has displayed excellent durability.
In general, the less expensive gloves have less of a focus on durability and dexterity in their materials and construction. When treated properly, real leather should last longer than synthetic fabrics, especially in high-use areas like the palms and fingertips. Genuine leather is also more expensive, which means you'll have to pay more for higher quality gloves. Warmth is usually correlated with price, as more insulation makes a glove more expensive. Water resistance has some variety and can be sufficient without using expensive Gore-Tex membranes. In general, the Gore-Tex gloves proved more weatherproof in our tests than the less expensive alternatives. It takes skilled garment designers to put all of the components together in a warm, waterproof, and durable glove without sacrificing dexterity. We were impressed by the Arc'teryx Fission SV because it combines all of the performance attributes into a comfortable and streamlined glove that is a pleasure to wear.
The warmest gloves on the market have battery-powered internal heating devices, which are nice for early mornings on the slopes and during the winter's coldest days. These gloves are universally more expensive than even the most pricy unheated model.
Every skier and rider demands a different level of warmth from their gloves or mittens. Some people run cold and are always taking breaks to warm up their hands. Other people can ski all day wearing no more than leather work gloves. Skiers and riders in wetter climates, like the rainy Pacific Northwest or Atlantic Northeast, need gloves that will repel water and remain breathable on warmer days. In contrast, skiers in the drier, colder climates, like the Rocky Mountains, need a lot of warmth for below-zero temperatures.
We spent over 100 days skiing and snowboarding in these gloves with a backpack full of contenders, cycling through them all day. Testers also wore different gloves on each hand during the same runs and chairlift rides to do a true side by side warmth comparison. We tested palm insulation by holding ice axes and ski poles on cold ski tours.
Except for the heated gloves (more on that below), the warmest glove we tested was the Black Diamond Guide. Tester Ian Nicholson used them to summit two mountains over 20,000 ft above sea level and never changed into his mittens, despite summit temperatures as low as -42F. The next warmest contender is the Outdoor Research Alti Glove. While only slightly less warm, they have been worn by tester Jeff Rogers on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire with an ambient temperature of -38F and 70mph winds, resulting in a -80F windchill. He still has his fingers. The Gordini Storm Trooper II and the Fission SValso provided enough warmth for the mountains' coldest days. On the other hand, the REI Guide Insulated seemed to have little more warming capabilities than your average leather work glove.
This one was pretty easy to determine. We found the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt to be the top dog by a wide margin. The Montana Mitt from The North Face is extremely waterproof and warmer than every unheated glove option (although it's very close with the BD Guide), but it's not as warm as the Mercury Mitt.
Heated Glove Warmth
Many manufacturers now offer gloves that produce heat internally, instead of solely retaining your hand's natural warmth. We tested the Black Diamond Solano, Outdoor Research StormTracker, Outdoor Research Capstone, and the Hestra Power Heater. Each glove has three heat settings. Usually, the lowest setting lasted all day, while the highest setting consistently drained the batteries within a couple of hours during our tests. These gloves were able to take our testers' hands from numb to warm in a matter of minutes at the press of a button. For the Capstone and the Solano, some of our testers preferred to blast them on high for a few minutes and then turn them off to save battery power. We usually left the thin StormTracker gloves and Hestra Power Heaters on low heat for the entire day.
Our testers agreed that the Capstone is the warmest of the heated models, both with and without the heating element turned on. It also has a wrist cinch that helps seal heat inside the glove. The Solano is a touch thinner and less warm without the electricity turned on. The StormTracker comes in at a lower price but lacks durability and insulation, and is especially cold when the batteries die. The thin softshell construction makes them lightweight and dexterous but does not make up for the lack of warmth.
The Hestra Power Heater Glove is the only heated glove to integrate a heating system into an otherwise excellent product seamlessly. Our testers reached for the Hestra Power Heaters almost as much as the Fission SV, even when they forgot to charge the batteries overnight. They are dexterous, water-resistant, durable, and comfortable; the heating element is just the cherry on top. They don't get as hot as the Capstone or the Solano, but the highest setting in the Hestra gloves will bring your hands back from the edge of freezing without a problem, while the low setting will keep them pleasantly warm all day long.
To test dexterity, we skied in the gloves all day and attempted to perform every necessary task without removing them. We also performed objective tests by doing a series of side-by-side tasks to make clear distinctions between products. These tasks included reaching into pockets for car keys, attaching lift tickets to pockets, using zippers, adjusting goggles on a helmet, tying the laces on winter boots, tying climbing knots with rope, and writing legibly with a pen on paper.
The REI Guide Insulated easily wins the dexterity category with its thin fingers and little insulation. The glove also lacks a waterproof membrane or effective insulation, making them relatively useless for most days at the ski area. However, for those who need a dexterous glove for milder conditions, such as ski instructors, backcountry skiers, or ski patrollers, these are a great choice as a second, lighter, inexpensive glove. The Outdoor Research Adrenaline and Hestra Fall Line also provide excellent dexterity and slightly more insulation. We were impressed by the dexterity of the relatively warm Black Diamond Legend, but the supple leather on the fingers and palm wore out quickly. The Fission SV is close behind, with great dexterity and none of the aforementioned downsides. That balance is a significant reason why the Fission SV was our top choice overall.
Among the heated gloves, the Hestra Power Heater and the OR Stormtracker offer good dexterity, while the BD Solano and the OR Capstone are too bulky to perform most tasks. That said, the Capstone has well-tailored fingers that impressed us but had two heavy batteries per hand that made the glove feel unwieldy and clumsy.
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt isn't very dexterous at all, despite featuring an internal trigger finger on its liner. The trigger finger is optional, as the inner mitten is sewn wide enough to keep all four fingers together, should you opt to do so. While this design was nice in theory, it did add a fair amount of bulk to the mitten. Among the mitts, The North Face Montana is the most dextrous. If you need the warmth of a mitten, but don't want a heated option and require some dexterity, the BD Guide Glove is almost as warm as a mitten.
In some climates, like the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast, water is encountered regularly. In others, like the Rocky Mountains, dry snow is the norm. We wore each glove in wet weather in Washington and British Columbia and tested for water resistance using a 2-minute submersion test in a water bucket. The best gloves kept all liquid water out of the interior chamber and resisted soaking in the outer shell fabric. The worst performers soaked through quickly and lack an adequate waterproof membrane.
The Fission SV is the most water-resistant glove in our review. Its softshell exterior and sturdy leather easily repelled occasional water droplets, and the Gore-Tex membrane prevented any water from penetrating the interior of the glove. A large gauntlet and cinch cord further sealed out the elements. We were also impressed by the weather resistance of the OR Alti and Black Diamond Guide. The Montana and Mercury mitts also performed well during water resistance testing and kept water out completely.
Some products in our review did not succeed in keeping water out of the glove. The REI Guide Insulated soaked through quickly despite being treated with a leather balm and had no waterproof membrane to prevent water from entering the hand chamber. The OR Adrenaline is a good glove in general, but failed to keep water out. The Oven Mitt and the Flylow Ridge are constructed of susceptible leather without a waterproof membrane.
Of the heated gloves, both the BD Solano and the OR Capstone kept water out entirely. The Hestra Power Heater also remained dry with an excellent leather treatment. The OR Stormtracker was a lot less water-resistant.
We measured durability based on our experiences with each model. We punished these products during the testing period with daily and prolonged use over multiple ski seasons. We also utilized valuable input from dozens of other users and OutdoorGearLab friends.
Continually, we find that the toughest contestants are made by Hestra. Their craftsmanship, high-quality materials, and design continue to impress us, model after model. Other impressive models include the Black Diamond Guide, Marmot Ultimate, and Fission SV. All have a beefy leather exterior and stood up to whatever our testing team threw at them. Regarding the budget-friendly options, the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II provides impressive longevity.
Some gloves wore out quickly during our testing. The REI Guide Insulated showed significant wear and tear on the leather palm after only a few days of use, and the internal liner developed a hole in one of the fingers early on. We were also disappointed in the durability of the Black Diamond Legend, which has incredibly supple palm leather, but wore down and developed holes quickly. This was a bummer because if the leather were a bit more durable, the Legend would be a top contender.
One key factor to consider here is the manufacturer's warranty. Outdoor Research has a lifetime warranty on all their gloves. Essentially, you're getting two pairs for every one you order from them. Black Diamond, Arc'teryx, and REI also have friendly warranty programs to protect your investment.
Ski gloves come with a set of features that augment the performance of the glove and also make your day more convenient and comfortable on the ski hill. We inspected and used all of the features on each glove to get a good idea of which had a robust set of tools and which were bare-bones. We compared features such as gauntlet or cuff closures, wrist cinches, nose wipes, wrist leashes, clips, and heating elements. We also noted if the gloves came with liners.
The Mercury Mitt impressed us with its set of well-designed features like a wrist cinch, nose wipe, and internal trigger-finger liner, which adds to the glove's dexterity. We also liked the set of features found on the very similar BD Guide and OR Alti. Surprisingly, the Storm Trooper II also packs a full set of features, including a nose wipe, wrist cinch, thoughtful gantlet, and clips.
Phones are an essential tool in our daily life, and the glove market has recognized its necessity by providing touchscreen-compatible gloves. The liners of the Outdoor Research Highcamp and Dakine Titan are touchscreen compatible. New to the tech-friendly game is The North Face Montana Etip Mitt. The touchscreen-compatible thumb allowed for flawless smartphone use, which is rare for a mitten. All of these models have a touchscreen sensitive thumb and index finger that worked even better than a normal finger (especially when it is cold out). This means you don't have to take your gloves off to answer your smartphone, take a photo, push play on your favorite playlist, or update your social media.
The market is saturated with a variety of options to choose from when searching for gloves or mittens. To be worthy, they should be warm, weatherproof, and provide dexterity for complex tasks. We combed through the best gloves on the market and considered a variety of options for all budgets and climates. We hope that our review lays out the options and makes your decision an easy one.
— Ian Nicholson, Jeff Dobronyi, Jeff Rogers, and Travis Poulin