The Best Ski Gloves and Mittens for Women
Best Overall Women's Ski Glove
Arc'teryx Fission SV Glove
This ski glove has received a whole new make-over providing more warmth than it's had in the past. Offering versatile application in both the backcountry and at the resort, this single-construction glove offers a breathable construction in a lofty glove, filled with PrimaLoft Gold and Silver insulation. When slipping your hand inside, it feels silky smooth and warm, almost resembling the feel of down. The shell is completely waterproof and durable. The most stand-out feature is the dexterity of the glove. The construction is thin enough, with materials that are quite flexible, allowing you to perform fine motor tasks without feeling like your fingers are wrapped up in pillows. This is the most dexterous glove tested, assuming you can get the fit right.
The price tag is quite high, but if you can afford it, you're buying the best ski glove out there. The single glove construction is nice for resort skiing, but it'd be nice to be able to remove the liner for a little more versatility. Probably the biggest caveat for the ladies is the unisex sizing. Relative to our hands, the sizing is large. Our main tester regularly wears a size Medium and needed to size down to a Small. The fit is a little wider than a normal women's glove, and if you have extra small hands, even the extra small unisex size probably won't fit. Aside from that, it's still our favorite.
Read review: Arc'teryx Fission SV Glove
Best Overall Women's Ski Mitt
Black Diamond Mercury Mitt - Women's
Do you prefer mitts to gloves or have really cold hands? Built for both the recreational skier or professional in the field, these offer amazing durability and warmth all season long. The thinner construction at the palm, in addition to the split-finger liner, allows you to grasp items, perform transitions, dig snow pits, and zip up your jacket with more ease than all the mittens tested. The liner is water-resistant and totally useable on its own if you want a more breathable option. While it is marketed for use just the downhill, using it on its own makes for a warm, but breathable glove when hiking uphill. The price is just right too.
While we appreciate the split-finger design of the liner, many women may not find it a need if they are simply skiing at the resort. Plus, the index finger, since it is isolated from the rest, can get cold on super cold days. The tips of the gloves, to increase dexterity, do not have a whole lot of insulation in them. Also, many resort-going women prefer a mitten that has leashes, to avoid losing it off the lift. Unfortunately, it does not come with these, so you may have to get creative and fashion your own. Aside from those downsides, this is one of the most professional and high-quality mittens we've tested, earning it our most prestigious award for being the mitts we would recommend to the vast majority of our friends.
Read Review: Black Diamond Mercury Mitt - Women's
Best Bang for the Buck
The Dakine Camino ski glove comes at a great price. Constructed with a Nylon shell and leather palm, it offers excellent dexterity as the fingers are quite mobile, with the insulation packed strategically towards the back of the glove. The main glove contains all the insulation and comes with a thin synthetic liner to enhance warmth on super cold days. The thinner construction offers good breathability, offering some functionality as both a backcountry touring and resort glove. If you're looking for a glove that'll do the trick this winter at a reasonable price, this is our best recommendation. When choosing a glove for warmer winter weather, this is one that we commonly went for.
With a lower price comes some trade-offs. It is not completely protective in super wet conditions (though it suffices for most). Also, it's not the warmest pair out there and is best for those ladies who sweat a lot or don't need a huge amount of insulative warmth. Also, the fit with the included liner is a bit tight. If you know you'll be typically using the liner, be sure to size up to ensure good dexterity in this low-priced contender. Still, this glove performs adequately, and even looks good, at a digestible price.
Read review: Dakine Camino
Best for Backcountry Adventures
Outdoor Research Arete - Women's
As a Top Pick for Backcountry Adventures, the Outdoor Research Arete double-glove is water-resistant and quite breathable. Built to keep you warm, it's designed to breathe as you move uphill. It features a breathable yet protective Gore-Tex shell and a lightweight (100-g) fleece liner. As a result of its thinner construct, it also offers an amazing level of dexterity, allowing you to rip off skins and fiddle with your skis without having to take off your ski gloves. It also has a slew of great features. It's best for hiking in the backcountry, but not a good option for resort skiing or sitting on a cold chair lift. Also, use it for winter running, cross-country skiing, or exploring the winter world with a pair of snowshoes.
Why is it not great for the resort? It's not warm. You'll find yourself freezing in cold weather as this glove is built for breathability and those that move and sweat. It's built as an alpine glove, doing best while climbing or moving fast across snowy terrain. If you do decide to buy it, be sure to size up or try it on as the fit feels quite small.
Read review: Outdoor Research Arete - Women's
Notable on a Very Tight Budget
Kinco Pigskin Leather
At OutdoorGearLab, we care about all ski gurus, even those with only pennies in their pockets. Many of the gloves tested aren't the best option for those on a tight budget. The Kinco Pigskin, however, offers a cheap ski glove alternative and is a long-lived favorite amongst ski guides, ski patrols, and ski bums alike. When taken care of regularly, it can last for years! The leather breathes well enough while offering sufficient warmth for aerobic days on the mountain. Because of its bigger fit, you can add a small liner to enhance this warmth. This is a favorite amongst backcountry skiers that are out almost every day.
In comparison to the rest, it's not as warmth and the leather (and cloth exterior) is susceptible to water absorption. That said, it has been used by many professionals in the industry because of its low price and on-par performance. Even though it doesn't perform at the same level as other gloves in this review, it gets the job done. If you're looking to spend the absolute minimum on a pair of gloves, check out the all-leather pigskin Kinco brand gloves, best for any penny pincher looking for a great deal. If you're tough, these will work.
Read review: Kinco Pigskin Leather - Women's
Notable for Cold Expedition Travel
Outdoor Research Alti Mitt - Women's
Built to take on the coldest weather in the world, this is the mitt you'd want if you're heading out on a big expedition to ice-cold places. Loaded with loads of PrimaLoft Gold insulation, this is the warmest mitt we've tested. Its extra-long gauntlet keeps out snow while the shell offers a breathable design to transfer moisture out of the glove. We love that you can remove the shell on warmer days, just to use the liner, or take the liners out to simply use the shell. This mitten is for the ladies that run the coldest and require a bomber mitten throughout the coldest months of the year. If you live in a place where temperatures hover in the negative double digits, this is the mitten for you.
Given the ample warmth of this mitten, we've found it useful only on the coldest days of the year. While the mitts are quite versatile in function, we'd prefer a mitt like the Black Diamond Mercury for everyday resort skiing as it's not as large or bulky feeling. Given its huge design, it completely lacks dexterity, and the fit is huge, even though it is a women's specific fit. That said, you can add even more liners underneath the provided interior glove if you require even more warmth.
Read Review: Outdoor Research Alti Mitt - Women's
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is brought to you by Senior Review Editor Amber King. Originally hailing from the cold north of Canada, Amber moved to the states in 2011 and landed in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. She has a healthy appreciation for warm hands in cold conditions, and you can bet she's packing a good pair of ski gloves on her backcountry splitboard missions. She gets out for at least 100 days in the winter, playing at the Telluride Ski Resort and backcountry splitboarding locally on Red Mountain Pass, just South of Ouray, CO. Amber holds B.Sc and B.Ed degrees and is hard at work designing and providing outdoor educational programming for local schools as her day job. Other pursuits of hers include ultramarathons, rock climbing, and pack-rafting.
This review started with plenty of research into the ski glove and mitten market to decide which ones to include. After an initial cut of over 80 models was identified, we selected 12 of the best pairs to test in the field and lab. We used them for several months skiing and snowboarding in wet climates, dry ones, skinning, riding lifts, and playing in the backcountry. We employed lab tests for warmth retention and water resistance, which involved putting the gloves in a freezer with a temperature sensor and complete submersion in water, respectively.
Related: How We Tested Ski Gloves for Women
Analysis and Test Results
Our testers spent weekends and evenings resort and backcountry skiing in the high mountains of Colorado and parts of Canada, as well as cross-country skiing, winter running, and even ice climbing on crystallized waterfalls. Ultimately, warmth and weather protection is the key to enjoying your winter activity and motivating to get out for the goods. A good pair of ski gloves or mitts will help keep your hands warm while you carve your way down powder runs at the resort or while descending sweet couloirs in far off-lands. Below we provide a comprehensive overview of the performance of gloves and mitts we've tested across the areas of warmth, water resistance, dexterity, durability, and its features.
A glove that'll keep your pockets padded is a huge consideration. Our Best Buy Award winner, the Dakine Camino, stands out as one of the lowest-priced, with the performance that'll work for most resort days that don't get too cold or wet. Its breathable design extends use to backcountry touring as well. While it has great overall performance, it's not that warm, and its water resistance is sub-par. The Burton Deluxe Gore-Tex is another high-value option with better resistance to the weather and overall construction, though it comes at a higher cost. One of the warmest ski gloves tested is the Gordini Down III, which is loaded with down insulation. While it's about the same price as the Deluxe Gore-Tex, its not as dexterous. Of the mitts, the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt is the least expensive and is also our top-scoring mitten, making it a high-value product. Check out any of these if a good deal is what you seek.
Skiing at the ski resort or crushing couloirs in the backcountry requires a glove or mitt that will keep your hands warm, whether you're working up a sweat or hanging out on a chairlift. A solid option will not only provide ample amounts of high-quality insulation that stays warm when wet and breathes well to wick away moisture when you sweat. Both these metrics work together to keep you warm when the temperatures plummet.
In our testing regime, we took each pair of mitts and gloves to several resorts and hiked uphill for hours. Conditions ranged from warm and sunny to cold and blustery. When assessing warmth and breathability, we first looked at the anatomy of the glove, noting insulative features and points of ventilation. We also looked at how well the liners wicked away sweat to keep the skin dry, for warmth all day long. We also performed objective tests that involved sticking each pair into the freezer and measuring the temperature change. These tests helped us assess which ski gloves and mitts were the warmest, and which simply didn't perform.
If your hands run cold and need something that'll keep them toasty all day long, a mitten is by far a better option than a glove. The big trade-off is dexterity, but if you're simply sitting on a chairlift and just need to be able to hold your ski poles, a mitten will work just fine. Those built with two gloves offer more dexterity than those with a single glove construction, and all options are warmer than any of the ski gloves tested.
When looking at warmth, the winner is the Outdoor Research Alti Mitt. It features to most stacked PrimaLoft Gold insulation (340-gram in liner, 170-gram in a shell) built to take on 8000-meter peaks. The Dakine Tundra Mitt is filled with down insulation and synthetic PrimaLoft (with a single glove construction that also offers ample amounts of warmth. It's about as warm as the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt, filled with 340-grams of PrimaLoft Gold. Of these three, the Alti Mitt proves to be the most breathable, followed by the Mercury Mitt, with the Tundra Mitt offering the least amount of breathability.
A stand-out difference between the Mercury Mitt and the rest is the liner. This liner has a split-finger design that isolates the index finger from the rest of the hand. This helps to improve dexterity, but our testers found the finger to get cold on super icy resort days. If you want a mitten with a full mitten liner, the Hestra Heli-Mitt is our second choice for resort skiing. However, if you like the split-finger, but don't always want to use it, then don't. Slip it in with the rest of your fingers if it gets really cold outside. As a result of the Mercury's all-around awesome performance, both in the liner and it's full construction, it wins our top honors. It's not too overkill like the Alti Mitt for resort skiing and it's also the most dexterous of any mitt tested, which we'll talk about later.
Gloves aren't as warm as mittens simply because the fingers are not articulated together. Women that choose a glove probably do so for increased dexterity with the tradeoff of warmth. While there are warm gloves out there, don't expect them to score as high as mittens in this metric.
The warmest ski gloves that we've tested so far are the Gordini Gore-Tex Down III, Arc'teryx Fission SV, and the Black Diamond Guide. Part of the warmth of a glove comes in the ability for your fingers to move to generate warmth while you sit still. This Gore-Tex Down III glove is stacked with insulation, which made our fingers feel more confined than thinner but warm gloves like the Fission SV. As long as you get the fit right, the Down III offers great warmth, and there is an option insert for a chemical hand-warmer packet. The single-liner glove is loaded with 600-pile goose-down and tested down to zero degree weather. We love that the Fission has so much warmth for the dexterity it also provides. We couldn't believe these gloves would keep our fingers warm when we unboxed them, but we were wrong. The Fission SV does as good a job of keeping fingers warm as any gloves we've come across.
We also like the Black Diamond Guide that offers 170-grams of Primaloft Insulation. In its construction, the insulation is packed around the back of the hand and the cuff, resulting in one of the warmest glove models we've had the pleasure of testing so far.
Even though these three gloves offers ample warmth, none of them have a double-glove construction. Most of the other gloves tested feature this construction, which has better versatility and the option for enhanced breathability. For example, the Burton Gore-Tex Deluxe Glove has a thin liner that helps to wick moisture for its nylon construction is surprisingly warm. The Dakine Camino has a removable liner but is not meant for the coldest of days. It has a thinner, more breathable construction that does well in the backcountry, but for sitting still in cold weather, you might find the need for a hand warmer or extra layer of insulation.
Water-resistance goes hand-in-hand with warmth. A product that gets wet and cold after a few hours is simply useless. It's important to find a ski glove or mitt that protects from the elements. When testing water resistance, we performed field and home tests. We wore each in sub-zero temperatures, made snow angels, and dug snow pits. We skied at the resort and snowboarded down mountains through both wet and dry climates. To verify our subjective field tests, we weighed them, put them in a sink of water, squeezed 100 times, and observed to see which ones absorbed a lot of water, and which ones leaked. While you wouldn't normally put your hand in puddles at the resort, this helps us determine the limits of each glove and mitt's construction.
During our tests, the gloves and mitts that do best in our tests are constructed from Gore-Tex or use a Gore-Tex insert. Leather is quite waterproof but requires constant care. Even with this in place, our leather gloves eventually saturated after super wet days in the field. If your hands are going to be in the snow, opt for Gore-Tex instead of leather. Nylon will eventually absorb and stretch, so be sure you know your materials and look at what each is made from.
In the face of severe and horrible weather, the construction of mittens like the Dakine Tundra and Outdoor Research Alti Mitt does the best in the entire review. The Alti Mitt is made of 2.5-layer of Gore-Tex and a Leather Palm, which absorbed the least amount of water in our tests (0.4-oz), and did the best in the field. The Tundra is made from similar materials and has a similar level of performance. We've been testing these mitts for over a year now, and they still offer the same amount of weather resistance it did when we got it out of the package. On super long wet days, the leather palm can saturate, but proper treatment of the leather can avoid that.
The Mercury Mitt, provides complete water protection on both the hill and in our tests, only absorbing 2.5-oz of water. The Pertex shield and Goretex are quite waterproof, offering all the water resistance you'd need on the hill. It's much more water-resistant than the Heli-Mitt but not as good as the Alti Mitt.
The Hestra Heli-Mitt also offers great water resistance out of the package, but it breaks down after a few seasons of use. It is constructed of a Triton three-layer fabric that does saturate eventually, and during our squeeze tests, it leaked water through the seams. In the field, though, it managed to stay relatively dry and offered great protection at the resort during both wet and dry days. It just needs upkeep.
The Arc'teryx Fission SV and Black Diamond Guide both offer awesome weather protection. The Guide is constructed mostly of leather and woven nylon, while the Fission is lighter, made with Arc'teryx's proprietary material Fortius 1.0 (nylon and elastane), infused with Gore-tex insert and a leather palm. When digging snow pits with both the Guide and Fission SV, both provided sufficient protection. Both eventually had nylon materials saturate in the snow after a few months of use, but neither had the moisture penetrate to the interior of both. Both are great options for wet weather, with the Fission holding a little less water in its fabric than the Guide.
The Outdoor Research Arete is a full-nylon glove that did well in our water tests, but not so good in our field tests. Nylon absorbs water and stretches out, thus absorbing more water over time. While it only absorbed 1.55 oz of water in this test, using it all day in wet weather, this liner begins to saturate, resulting in cold hands. The Gore-Tex insert it uses provides additional protection, but it is far from waterproof.
The Burton Deluxe Gore-Tex and Gordini Down III also do well in wet weather. Both are constructed with a Nylon shell and Gore-Tex insert, and both offer decent protection. In our water tests, the Deluxe didn't leak at all. The Down III allowed a little bit of water penetration at the fingertips by the end of the test. This observation was further showcased when we saw the Down III saturate much more quickly than the Deluxe when digging pits and playing in the snow. Of the high-value option out there, the Burton Deluxe offers the best protection for a low price.
Having dexterity in a ski glove or mitt simply means that you can perform simple tasks like zipping up zippers or transitioning without having to take off your gloves. If you're a professional in the field, this is important, and for all, it means better overall warmth. You don't risk losing your glove on a chair lift, and you stay warmer by simply keeping your glove on. To test this metric, we slipped each on, evaluated its materials and construction, and tried to perform simple tasks. Those with a gloved construction and thinner in design offers better mobility and do best.
If you care about dexterity, buy a ski glove. The best performers in this category are gloves with a thinner design and flexible materials. The best performer is the Arc'teryx Fission SV as the most dexterous of the bunch. Even though it's warm, the insulation in the fingers and on the palm is not very bulky, and you can feel what you're doing. The materials are soft, supple, and flexible, which adds to the mobility of this glove. No other glove comes close to its fluid motion. It's important to note this glove has a unisex fit, so be sure to size down and consult the fit chart.
The ultra-thin design of both the OR Arete and REI Gauntlet gloves both offer great dexterity. Both have very thin insulation, thus making it easier to grab objects easily; they're just less warm. The Dakine Camino is a thicker glove, but has less insulation in the fingers, which increases mobility, similar to the Burton Deluxe. All of these offer suitable mobility for most actions you'll perform at a resort or in the backcountry. We could easily do transitions and perform fine tasks in the backcountry with ease. The Kinco Pigskin (if you get the right fit) has thicker construction in the fingers, but the leather is pretty flexible, allowing you to easily grip your pole, open your backpack, and adjust bindings without too much trouble.Mittens
Mittens are less dexterous and earn quite low points in this category. Simply because, in most designs, the fingers are locked together, and you can't use your index finger without a swath of material getting in the way.
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt fixes this problem by adding a split-finger liner that allows you the choice to use your index finger independently, as you would in a glove, or the mitt. When using it with the shell, we found this mitt still wasn't as dexterous as the top performers, but it was about as dexterous as the least-mobile glove, the Gordini Down III. This Mitt has quite a specific and narrow fit, with all the insulation loaded at the back of the hand to make it thinner in the front, so professionals and recreationists that prefer to use a mitten on the hill have more dexterity than normal.
Thinner mittens like the Hestra Heli-Mitt also have a surprising amount of dexterity for a mitten, but it can't perform the same fine tasks as the Mercury Mitt. The Heli Mitt has a very thin leather shell and compressible liner that allows you to grab items. The rest of the mitts performed poorly in this metric with the thicker Dakine Tundra and OR Alti Mitt offering next to no dexterity.
It's a bummer to go out and spend money on an expensive pair of ski gloves that disintegrate after one season. Each model we tested endured double-digit hours of intense use in warm and dry climates to ensure that our scoring was not only fair but reflected what a glove would look like after a full season. We also washed each liner to see which bounced back and which didn't — reflecting which would lose warmth after just a few big days out. We also consulted online reviews to see their feedback, just to see if we missed anything.
The models with goatskin leather outers, such as the Arc'teryx Fission SV and Black Diamond Mercury Mitt have the most durable shells as opposed to those constructed of nylon, like the Outdoor Research Arete. These gloves with a leather palm offer far more durable over time but require maintenance. Those that incorporate Gore-Tex into the external construction are also quite durable. For example; the Outdoor Research Alti Mitt offers both a leather palm and Gore-Tex construction, which leads to impressive longevity.
Liners are also important when considering durability. A liner that packs out and doesn't retain warmth isn't necessarily the best investment. For those with hi-pile liners, you can expect this to happen, though some wear out faster than others. Since we've been at this game for the last several years, we have the experience to comment on it. For example; the Hestra Heli-Mitt will eventually pack out, but it took about three years of hard use (100+ ski days a year!) before we felt the need to finally replace it.
You can expect both the Black Diamond Guide Glove and Mercury Mitt to pack out and lose warmth after a season of intense use. One of our testers worked at a ski resort, and her liners totally packed out, and these gloves are no longer nearly as warm as they started. While we haven't had the time with the Mercury Mitt yet, it's made of the same materials, and online reviewers that have used them for multiple seasons report this issue. The Arc'teryx Fission glove has been very durable and has continued to work well even after a few years of use, so it's another impressive glove, that despite its high price, is a great investment. In this area, do your research. This will help you determine which gloves will offer the best value in terms of long-term use.
We also consider features that you might be looking for. Removable leashes, snot wipes, mini google wipers, and more. Below, we outline the gloves and mitts with the features that you might seek.
Removable liners make gloves versatile for different conditions. Typically skiers find this feature helpful in the backcountry, or if you plan on being more aerobic with your skis. Removable liners can be changed out for thicker or thinner options. The products featuring a removable liner in this review include the Hestra Heli Mitt, Burton Gore-Tex Deluxe, Outdoor Research Arete. The OR Alti Mitt, Black Diamond Guide Glove, and Black Diamond Mercury Mitt all feature water-resistant liners that can be used on their own as a secondary glove or mitt.
Nose and Goggle Wipe
This is a softer material on the thumb that some skiers might find helpful to wipe their nose or goggles. Products with a nose wipe include the Burton Gore-Tex Deluxe, the Outdoor Research Arete , Gordini Gore-Tex Down III, Guide, Mercury Mitt, and the Dakine Camino. The Camino has a nose wipe on one thumb and a goggle wipe on the other, which we appreciate. A nice touch!
Leashes attach to your wrist, which prevents that dreaded moment when you drop your ski glove off the lift. Most are removable. All gloves in this review featured this option except the Kinco Pigskin Leather Gloves, Mercury Mitt, and Guide Glove. While it takes a little effort, it isn't that hard to fashion one's own leashes.
This is a small pouch or zippered pocket to place a hand-warmer for extra cold days. Products include the Gordini Gore-Tex Down III, Dakine Camino, OR Arete (in the liner), and the Burton Gore-Tex Deluxe.
Cinch and Release Cuff
A cinch and release cuff with a large enough mechanism that can be used with gloves on. All products have this feature except the Kinco Pigskin Gloves and Dakine Tundra Mitt.
These are located on the finger so climbers can attach gloves to the harness without snow or ice getting inside. Products include Arc'teryx Fission Glove, Black Diamond Guide, Black Diamond Mercury Mitt, and Outdoor Research Arete. These gloves are also great for ice climbing or moving in the alpine with a harness.
Touch Screen Compatibility
None of the outer gloves have touch screen compatibility, which is sad given how technology-driven our society is. However, some products have a touch-screen compatible liner, so you don't have to have off the entire glove. Products include the Burton Gore-Tex Deluxe and the Dakine Camino.
Of all the products tested, the Dakine Camino and Burton Deluxe gloves have the most features. Stacked with touchscreen compatibility, handwarmer pockets, a double-glove construction and more, it's meant to keep you prepared and happy on the slopes. The Camino features the most of the two, with an added goggle wipe to win!
When you're set on spending a day on the snow, it's important to find a pair of ski gloves or mittens that work for you. The first choice is whether or not you prefer a glove or a mitt. The next is determining which is right for you. With many options on the market, we help treat your choice paralysis by simply finding the best and testing them. We hope our hands-on research and feedback has helped you find a great pair of gloves or mitts to slay the powder this upcoming season.
— Amber King