Looking for the best winter ski gloves and mittens? After perusing over 70 different options, we settled on a gauntlet of 12 to test. Seeking adventure from Colorado to Canada (and everywhere between), we tested in snow ranging from dry and warm to wet and cold. We smashed through walls of ice, gripping our ice axes for purchase. We skinned up snow-ladened landscapes, sometimes in raging winter storms. We walked around town and skated on iced-over rivers in double-digit negatives. And, of course, we hit the ski resorts, testing each pair head-to-head. With a lot of "brrs" muttered under our breath and plethora of adventures that pushed the limits of each product, we provide you with our best recommendations for a solid pair of winter ski gloves and mittens this season. Take a peek at what'll keep your hands warm as the snow begins to fall.
The Best Ski Gloves and Mittens for Women
|Price||$189.00 at REI||$170 List||$198.95 at Backcountry|
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|$80.99 at Amazon||$73.46 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Warm, breathable, lightweight, great dexterity, versatile||Super warm, removable liner, durable construction, weather resistant liner||Super warm, water-resistant liner, insulated shell, incredibly versatile, weather-proof||Fantastic warmth, good dexterity, durable goatskin palm, super affordable price||Hand warmer pocket in liner, long gauntlet, double glove construction, great price, carabiner loop, versatile|
|Cons||Expensive, limited sizing||Bulky, difficult to get liner back into glove, expensive||Expensive||Few features, less breathable construct||Not warm, lacks durability, no wrist adjustment, tight fit, not recommended for the resort|
|Bottom Line||This Editors' Choice stands out for its fantastic balance of warmth and breathability, perfect for skiing the resort or exploring in the backcountry.||A classic workhorse glove designed to keep hands warm and comfortable all day long.||A mitten that offers a superior level of warmth, protection, and versatility.||This Best Buy Award winner is perfect for any lady seeking an affordable and cozy glove that offers superior warmth and dexterity.||This Top Pick for Backcountry Adventures will surely breathe and perform during any winter aerobic sport.|
|Rating Categories||Arc'teryx Fission||Guide||Alti Mitt||Gore-Tex Down III Women's||Arete|
|Warmth And Breathability (25%)|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||Arc'teryx Fission||Guide||Alti Mitt||Gore-Tex Down III Women's||Arete|
|Waterproof Material||Gore-Tex XCR waterproof insert||GORE-TEX waterproof insert||GORE-TEX 2.5 Layer/Leather palm||Gore-Tex waterproof/windproof membrane||Gore-Tex waterproof/windproof membrane|
|Insulation Type||PrimaLoft insulation||170 g PrimaLoft® Gold insulation||PrimaLoft® Gold Insulation 170g in shell, 340g in liner||600-fill of 70% goose down 30% waterfowl feathers on back of hand, Megaloft on palm side||Radiant Fleece (100-grams)|
|Palm Material||Leather||Goat leather||Pittards® Armortan® leather||Goat skin (leather)||AlpenGrip Synthetic material|
The inexorable change of the seasons is coming! At OutdoorGearLab we strive to provide a continually updated review, which means adding in new ski glove and mitten options! In this rendition, we tested three new contenders, with the Outdoor Research Alti Mitt stealing the show and winning the Editors' Choice for mittens award! This double-gloved contender isn't only warm but provides functionality that beats out the competition. Read on to learn more.
Best Overall Women's Ski Glove
Arc'teryx Fission - Women's
Beating back the competition in versatility and comfort at the resort and in the backcountry, this unisex ski glove stands out for its balance of warmth and water resistance. Constructed with a GORE-TEX XCR waterproof insert, it protects from moisture while offering unbeatable breathability. The insulation is incisively placed allowing for a nice balance of dexterity and warmth. The long gauntlet fits over jackets, and the one-pull adjustment system makes it easy to take the glove on and off. Use the leashes while you ski at the resort, or keep it on while you skin up the steep sides of a mountain.
The only caveat is its price and relative level of warmth. Retailing for $189 this is the most expensive contender and many people can't afford to unload this kind of cash on a pair of gloves. While durability is immaculate, the best buy winner might be a better choice if you're low on cash. Warmth is decent, however, we can't recommend this glove for the coldest days of winter where you are just simply sitting around on a chair left. Wear it at the resort or while building a snowman on most days of winter. It'll wick away sweat, keep you warm, and provide unbeatable dexterity.
Read review: Arc'teryx Fission Glove - Women's
Best Overall Women's Ski Mitt
Outdoor Research Alti Mitt - Women's
Welcome the coldest winter days with this super roasty toasty mitten. Loaded with 340-grams of PrimaLoft Gold in the liner, and 170-grams in the shell, it will insulate during any polar vortex. The Gore-Tex and leather shell offer great water resistance that lasts throughout the day, while the hydrophobic insulation stays warm…even when wet. The shell materials are breathable and this mitt can be worn as just a liner or shell. This provides a ventilation option that extends its use through a wider range of temperatures. It's fit to go with you while snowshoeing in the snow or shivering on a summit.
While warmth and protection are prioritized in its construction, it lacks in dexterity. The price is also steep, cashing in at $200. While this mitt offers features and versatility unmatched by the competition, it might be worth paying for it if you are seeking a warm mitt built for tall summits, cold weather, and versatile functionality.
Read Review: Outdoor Research Alti Mitt - Women's
Best Bang for the Buck
Gordini Gore-Tex Down III Women's
Searching for a glove that balances a low sticker price with near Editor's Choice level performance? At just $90, we are happy to report that this glove totally crushes it in the value category. Outfitted with a combination of Gore-tex and leather, it provides fantastical weather resistance and warmth. It fits true to size and the dexterity is heavenly, while the interior is soft and plush. Inside, 600-fill goose down keeps our fingers the warmest of any glove tested.
While this is a warm glove, it doesn't breathe as well as other options out there. As a result, we'd recommend keeping this on for days where you're not going to be busting a sweat. While it's not the most stylish either, it certainly performs for the price. Don't be afraid to wear this awesome glove on the ski hill during the cold months.
Read review: Gordini Gore-Tex Down III - Women's
Best 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 are upwards of $90 to $200, which isn'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 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.
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 between $14 - $28 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
Top Pick for Backcountry Adventures
Outdoor Research Arete - Women's
As a Top Pick for Backcountry Adventures, this lightweight and ultra water-resistant glove will keep your hands free of sweat and moisture while you bust your butt uphill. Built with a breathable yet protective Gore-Tex shell and a lightweight (100-g) fleece liner, it is water resistant and offers impeccable breathability. 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 gloves. It also has a slew of great features.
While this Top Pick is awesome for any endeavor that requires a breathable and protective glove, it is not warm. Don't buy this product if you seek ample warmth. Instead, wear this option if you need a solid protector for aerobic winter activities like ice climbing or hiking uphill in cool to cold weather.
Read review: Outdoor Research Arete - Women's
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 some ice climbing. A ski mitten or glove is an integral piece of gear, even though it may seem like an afterthought to the correct women's hardshell or women's ski pant for you. Ultimately, warmth and weather protection is the key to enjoying your winter activity and wanting to do it. With cold or frozen fingers, zipping up your jacket or buckling your helmet becomes nearly impossible.
However, a product with better dexterity and sound insulation will allow you to keep your gloves on, avoiding cold digits when the temps dip. We discuss the characteristics that make an excellent, high-performance glove or mitt, and how all the products compare to one another. In this review, we tested five key metrics — Warmth, Water Resistance, Dexterity, Features, and Durability — to evaluate each contender.
When considering your next purchase, it's important to look at the price and performance as a melded metric (aka value). Of the ski gloves and mitts tested, there are a few contenders that stand out for those who need a good pair on a budget. The Kinco Pigskin Leather is a bare-bones option that can be purchased for as little as $18 (and even less with sales online!). While it doesn't offer huge performance advantages, it certainly holds it's own in the mountains. Our Best Buy winner, the Gordini Gore-Tex Down III retails for about $90 and offers high-end performance at a much lower price. Others, while they are not denoted as winners, are also worth mentioning. This includes the Burton Gore-Tex glove ($70 retail) and the REI Gauntlet Glove (also $70). Between the two, the Burton provides better performance and more warmth, but the REI Gauntlet offers a better fit and dexterity. Regardless of what you chose, be sure to consider the price and proportional level of performance.
Warmth & Breathability
Skiing at the ski resort or crushing couloirs in the backcountry both require 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 effectively 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 gloves and mitts were the warmest, and which simply didn't perform.
Of the products tested, the Outdoor Research Alti Mitten is the warmest option by far. It's stacked with over 300-grams of super toasty insulation that is built to take on 8000-meter peaks. In comparison, the Dakine Tundra Mitt also offers ample warmth in the form of down fill, but doesn't provide a whole lot of versatility as observed with the Alti Mitten. If you're hitting the slopes, both of these options are our top recommendations for shivering on a cold, slow ski lift.
While both of the above options are super warm, neither are as breathable as the Hestra Heli-Mitt. Even though this mitt isn't as stacked with insulation, it provides ample warmth throughout the day and keeps your hands dry from the inside out. The Alti Mitt has, by comparison, has the affinity to offer better adaptability with its two glove construction, having a superior removable liner. When we needed to vent heat, but wanted some protection, we simply pulled off the shell and wore the liner. As a result, this Editors' Choice winner offers both warmth and breathability, adding to its overall versatility outdoors.
If you seek a warm pair of gloves, the Gordini Gore-Tex Down III is the best in class. This single-liner glove is loaded with 600-pile goose-down and tested all the way down to zero degree weather. Like many of the gloves reviewed, it features a higher density fill on the back of the hand (where it's needed most), and less on the palm (for better dexterity). In addition to material warmth, this glove thermoregulates well. The polyester fleece liner wicked moisture, which helps the down retain heat. It also includes a zippered pocket for inserting a hand warmer if necessary. This is the glove to buy if you need a glove that is warm and affordable. It's a perfect fit for ski bunnies that want to keep their paws warm on cold days. 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 tested.
Even though the Gore-Tex Down III and Guide offers ample warmth, neither have a double-glove construction. Most of the other gloves tested (except the Kinco Pigskin Leather and Arc'teryx Fission Glove) feature this construction which has better versatility and the option for enhanced breathability. For example, the Burton Gore-Tex Glove has a thin liner that helps to wick moisture. On colder days, you can switch this thin liner out for a thicker option for better overall insulation.
The Lobster Claw
If you seek warmth like a mitt but the dexterity of a glove, the Hestra Heli Three Finger - Women's is where it's at! Even though this contender is not as toasty as the Hestra Heli-Mitt, it is warmer than most of the gloves in this review and features a versatile double glove construction. On the inside, it has a liner with five fingers that fit into a three-finger shell making it a great option for both the resort and backcountry. When hiking uphill, simply remove the liners and use just the bare bones shell. At the resort, wear it all day long. The FiberFill insulation does a great job wicking away moisture which adds to its overall warmth. The leather outer provides nice water resistance. This construction provides the best of both worlds.
Water resistance goes hand-in-hand with warmth. A product that gets wet after just a few hours (leading to cold hands) is simply useless. So it's important to find a glove or mitt that both wicks away moisture at the liner level and protects from the elements. When testing water resistance, we performed different field and home tests. We wore each in sub-zero temperatures, made snow angles 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 threw each into the freezer and dunked them under water to truly highlight performance differences.
Contenders with Gore-Tex inserts or outers did best in water resistance. Leather performed well too, but after hours in the snow, they absorbed water and didn't keep hands as dry as Gore-Tex contenders. Those constructed of synthetic materials and polyesters didn't do nearly as well. Below, we outline key recommendations for different types of climates that you might encounter while skiing or snowboarding.
In nasty weather, Gore-Tex inserts and construction is the way to go. Our favorites are the Arc'teryx Fission Glove, Outdoor Research Alti Mitt, Outdoor Research Arete and Dakine Tundra Mitt. These inserts keep hands dry while maintaining breathability and reducing bulk. They have a porous semi-permeable membrane that allows water vapor out (because the molecules are smaller in size) but doesn't allow water droplets in (because the molecules are larger in size).
Both products are able to wick water well throughout the day and don't absorb a lot of water in our "lab" tests. Additionally, these products don't leak. The OR Arete features a stiff Gore-Tex shell, while the Arc'teryx Fission uses a Gore-Tex XCR textile that is more comfortable and dexterous. They differ in palm material. The Arete uses a less durable Alpen Grip Synthetic material, whereas the Fission uses a bomber leather palm that can stand up to hours of tumultuous abrasion.
If you're looking for a water-resistant mitten, the Dakine Tundra and OR Alti Mitt are top choices. The Tundra held the least amount of water and kept us toasty warm during long, cold, wet days at the resort. The Alti Mitt offers two layers of weather resistance. The outer shell of its two-gloved construction is made of a Gore-Tex outer that is incredibly water-proof. In addition, the inner glove offers a unique water-resistant shell that is both breathable and weather resistant. Both are great mitten options for wet weather.
Leather gloves are recommended for dry climates. Even with full leather treatment, gloves like the Swany Legend II Mitt leaked at the zipper seam after just five squeezes and absorbed moisture after a few hours on wet days. The same pattern emerged for the Kinco Pigskin Leather Gloves. In our squeeze tests, the water instantly absorbed through the breathable nylon fabric at the back of the glove, soaking the glove after the test. We left these gloves at home until dry weather was in the forecast. If you're looking for a ski glove/mitt that offers full water resistance in both wet and dry climates, check out the ski glove Editors' Choice winner, the Arc'teryx Fission Glove or the OR Alti Mitt for the best performance in this metric, along with the BD Guide and OR Arete.
Dexterity equates to skill in using the hands and body. Whether you're in the backcountry or tackling the resort slopes, dexterity is a bonus. In some cases (depending on what you're doing), it's of the utmost importance. Ideally, a glove or mitt with good dexterity will keep you warmer if you don't have to take them off to perform simple tasks like fiddling with your bindings.
To test the products' dexterities, we ran each through a gamut of simple tasks, like clipping buckles, pulling skins, and tying bows with our shoelaces. A few key characteristics resulted in better dexterity. First is obvious - is the model a mitten or a glove? Gloves provide better dexterity because you can use your fingers. In mitts, dexterity is hindered because your fingers can't move independently. Second, is the thickness of the glove. Thicker construction results in less dexterity and vice versa. Lastly is the fit. A glove that is too large or small will impede the ability to move your fingers effectively. For women, a slimmer, female-specific fit typically provides more dexterity than a glove/mitt with a floppier, wider fit.
Of all the gloves and mittens tested, the Arc'teryx Fission Glove is the most dexterous. Even though it's warm, the insulation in the fingers and on the palm is not very bulky. As a result, we can feel objects intimately and perform fine tasks. It should be noted that this glove is a unisex glove. In comparison, the Outdoor Research Arete glove offers great dexterity by having next to no finger insulation. The outer Gore-Tex shell is thicker than the Fission glove, making it a touch less dexterous.
If you're looking for a blend of both a mitten and a glove, see the Swany Legend and the Hestra Heli Three-Finger. Both models offer more dexterity than a mitten and more warmth than a glove. The Swany features a leather outer that zips up on the side. If you want to achieve more dexterity but don't want to take your glove off, just unzip the side to expose gloved fingers. This unique feature made for an excellent mitten-glove hybrid during backcountry missions and warm resort days. The Hestra Heli Three Finger is similar in that it's a mitt-glove hybrid. Inside of the lobster claw shell, is a five-finger insert that provides more dexterity than the Hestra Heli Mitt and Dakine Tundra Mitt. However, it wasn't as dexterous as the unzipped Swany Legend.
Many of these products have bells and whistles that make them more versatile and comfortable. Look at all the features below that you might be interested in while finding in your new pair of gloves or mittens.
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 ski. 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, Hestra Three Finger, Burton Gore-Tex, Outdoor Research Arete. The OR Alti Mitt offer enhanced features here as the liner is water resistant, unlike any other option we tested. It's also the warmest liner tested.
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, Outdoor Research Arete, Gordini Gore-Tex Down III, and BD Guide.Leashes
Leashes attach to your wrist, which prevents that dreaded moment when you drop your glove off the lift. Most are removable. All gloves in this review featured this option except the Kinco Pigskin Leather Gloves, Swany Legend II Mitt, Gordini Gore-Tex Down III.
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, Swany Legend II Mitt and Burton Gore-Tex Down III.
Cinch and Release Cuff
A cinch and release cuff with a large enough mechanism that can be used with gloves on. Products include all 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, Outdoor Research Arete.
Touch Screen Compatibility
When hanging out on the chairlift, it sure is nice to be able to text without taking your gloves off. Products include Swany Legend II Mitt and Burton Gore-Tex (just the liners for both).
Of all the products tested, the Burton Gore-Tex glove had the most features. Stacked with touchscreen compatibility, hand warmer pockets, a double-glove construction and more, it's meant to keep you prepared and happy on the slopes. The Outdoor Research Arete comes second, lacking touch-screen compatibility and the hand warmer pockets. On the other end of the spectrum is the Kinco Pigskin Leather Gloves that have little to no features for the true minimalist. If you want to see a full list of features, be sure to check out the comparison chart above.
Durability and Construction
It's a bummer to go out and spend money on an expensive pair of gloves that disintegrates after one season. Each model we tested endured 60-plus 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.
The models with goatskin leather outers were far more durable than those with Nubuck or hair sheep leather. The reinforced synthetics used in the Outdoor Research Arete are by far the least durable; we noted scratches and wear after just one or two times of use. The most durable outer is the Arc'teryx Fission Glove, followed by the Black Diamond Guide and Hestra gloves and mitts — showing little to no wear after our testing period.
We took note of the stitching patterns and construction of the gloves in our assessment. The Arc'teryx Fission features well-crafted seams that are leak-resistant. The Hestras are also well constructed, with some minor leakage occurred at some of the seams. The Burton Gore-Tex Gloves is better constructed than we originally thought, but the stitching pattern isn't as tight as the Hestra or Arc'teryx gloves.
Liners are also important when considering durability. You want a product like the Hestra Heli Mitt that has a liner that will retain its warmth through multiple uses (doesn't pack out) and after washing. When the liner becomes packed out, the loft is reduced, as well as its warmth. We are disappointed with a few products, specifically the Outdoor Research Arete, as the insulation packed out after just a couple of months of use.
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. A good product will provide you with protection from the elements so all you have to worry about is having fun. With a plethora of choices on the shelves and online, the search for the perfect glove can seem daunting. Here at OutdoorGearLab, we want you to find the best ski gloves or mittens for you. Happy hunting!
— Amber King