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 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 of 2020
Best Ski Gloves of 2020
Best Overall Ski Gloves
Arc'teryx Fission SV
Our experts find the Arc'teryx Fission SV to be the all-around highest performing glove among all models we tested. 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 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 our favorite mitten in our test group. It proved to be the most weather resistant mitten, coupled with decent dexterity (for a pair of mitts). Plus, it's incredibly warm. The Mercury performed very well for its weather resistance in real-world use and our side-by-side testings and offered bomber construction. We like 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 didn't experience cold or wet hands in these gloves.
While these gloves are warm enough for most days at the ski resort, they aren't the warmest model we tested. They also 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 for high-performance gloves at a bargain price.
Read review: Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II
Best for Warmth
Black Diamond Guide
Our test team calls the Black Diamond Guide the warmest non-heated glove in our line-up, making it a stellar 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 burly, and among the most durable gloves we reviewed.
While they can still perform many tasks, 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 is 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 for us 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 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 very well.
Read review: Outdoor Research Alti Glove
Best Heated Gloves
Hestra Power Heater Glove
Heated gloves are rising quickly in popularity. Their popularity has led to 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 almost unnoticeable.
The only flaw here is that other heated gloves in our comparison produce more heat. Those gloves accomplish this by including bigger and heavier batteries, making them feel like hand weights 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 our recommended choice.
Read Review: Hestra Power Heater Glove
Why You Should Trust Us
OutdoorGearLab Review Editor and AMGA Certified Ski Guide Jeff Dobronyi leads our test team for this comparative review.
Jeff is a backcountry ski guide, leading skiers on powder safaris worldwide to the best resorts, sidecountry freeride runs, and backcountry ski tours. He logs over 150 days on skis each year and needs gloves that will keep his hands warm, and that will keep water out. He goes through a few pairs of gloves each season and knows which gloves will last and which will fall apart after a few weeks. From rappelling into steep couloirs to digging snowpits and helping skiers climb out of deep powder, Jeff's gloves take a beating.
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 and snowboarding 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, 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 the 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 14,000-foot mountain on a near-zero Fahrenheit 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.
Every skier has a budget, and although we strive to test gear without regard for price, we also make a note of products that score above or below what we think is reasonable, given their price. While many of the best gloves are also the most expensive, there are a few options that provide excellent performance at a lower price than similar products. 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 keeps our 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 can be achieved without using expensive Gore-Tex membranes, although in general, 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. However, you'll pay for this performance. 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 Etip Futurelight 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 are able to take our 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 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 OR Capstone is 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 Etip Futurelight 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 OR Capstone and Hestra Power Heater keeps water out entirely. The OR Stormtracker is a lot less water-resistant due to a softshell outer fabric.
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 Hestra makes the most formidable contestants. Their craft, 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 glove's performance and 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 their necessity by providing touchscreen-compatible gloves. The liners of the Outdoor Research Highcamp and Dakines Titan are touchscreen compatible, and The North Face Montana Etip Futurelight Mitt allowed for flawless smartphone use, which is rare for a mitten. 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.
With so many ski gloves and mittens on the market, it can be daunting to try to find the best pair for your needs. Our expert testers sorted through the field and tested the best of the best. They assessed each pair's strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to easily find the best glove or mitten for your preferences and your budget. From light and dexterous gloves for warm spring days to heavily-insulated options for the coldest winter ski trips, there is something in this review for everyone. Happy shopping, and we'll see you on the slopes.
— Ian Nicholson, Jeff Dobronyi, Jeff Rogers, and Travis Poulin