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. The fruits of our labor are the top recommendations to keep your fingers warm, mobile, and dry, even within your budget.
The Best Ski Gloves and Mittens 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, taking home the Editors' Choice. 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. In fact, we always threw this pair in the pack in case other gloves failed to protect us during testing on cold and wet days. The main benefits of this glove are its warmth and water resistance, which are both excellent, without compromising dexterity, weight, or durability. The Fission SV was impenetrable to water during our submersion test, and kept us warm with synthetic yet breathable insulation on 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 could be better secured with a cinch strap and that the glove tends to run a bit big. One size down from your normal glove size would be our recommendation unless you plan to wear a thin liner inside the glove as well. We recommend the Fission SV for most skiers and riders who demand the utmost in warmth, weather resistance, and dexterity. They are also perfect for other winter pursuits like ski mountaineering, ice climbing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cold urban travel.
Read review: Arc'teryx Fission SV
Best Overall Ski Mittens
Black Diamond Mercury Mitt
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt wins our OutdoorGearLab Editors' Choice Award for the best overall mitten because it proved to be the most weather resistant mitten, coupled with respectable dexterity and it was the straight-up warmest product we tested. The Mercury performed very well for its weather resistance both in real-world use and in our side-by-side testings, offered bomber construction, and some additional features, like its optional internal index finger slot for improved dexterity and a 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, a fleece lining, is covered with BDry waterproof fabric, and is WARM. Its only downside is that we do feel like the Mercury Mitt packed out a little quicker after a few seasons of heavy use. Among the mitts we tested, these have some of the least durability when worn in its warmest configuration (both liner and shell). Overall, folks who want mittens tend to run cold, and these mitts will do darn near everything to keep that from being an issue.
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 hangs with the big dogs while costing half the price (or even less!). It will absolutely serve the needs of the average resort skier, and for a better price than any other we've found, earning it our Best Buy Award. 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 and 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 limits dexterity to general tasks and rules out fine motor skills like opening small zippers or searching for items in pockets. For users who have more refined dexterity needs, like on-snow professionals or parents, we'd recommend a more dexterous glove. 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 tested, making it a perfect option for cold-weather skiing, snowboarding, and mountaineering. Tester Ian Nicholson wore them to the summit of Denali on a day with a daytime high of -38F, and he summited in -42F and has since used this glove on ten Denali Trips. 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, easily among the most durable gloves reviewed.
While they can still perform many tasks, it's obvious that these gloves simply aren't as dexterous as most gloves out there. There's just too much thick leather and insulation (the things that make it super warm and water-resistant) that get in the way of fine motor skills. Also, the inner liner isn't all that refined — it's nothing special, although we appreciate the versatility that this double glove provides. Other than that, there's little to bark about here. These gloves are mega popular, as they should be, for being beasts in cold weather.
Read review: Black Diamond Guide
Best for Touring
Outdoor Research Alti
The Outdoor Research Alti Glove wins our Top Pick Award for touring in the backcountry, either with skis or a splitboard. We found that this double glove excelled in a wide variety of temperatures and was warm enough for when the weather deteriorates. The interior liner proved to be a usable standalone glove, and when combined with the outer, it creates an impenetrable fortress of digit protection in any weather. We also found that when doing avalanche assessments and building different snow structures, the outer alone could be worn and provide a nice Gore-Tex barrier between yourself and the elements. This also allows the glove to dry very quickly, doubling the surface area of the glove when separating the inner and outer.
The main drawback of these gloves is dexterity. While many of our testers had no problem using these gloves during a full day of touring, we would be hesitant to bring this glove alone if there was a lot of rope work involved, which would easily shred the inner. If you tour more than you ride the gondola, these gloves will suit you best.
Read review: Outdoor Research Alti Glove
Best Heated Gloves
Hestra Power Heater Glove
Heated gloves are becoming more and more popular, and the technology is advancing rapidly. This year, the Hestra Power Heater Gloves take our Top Pick award for Heated Gloves due to their high performance across the board, even when the heat is turned off. They feature great dexterity, solid weather resistance, and bomb-proof durability, as well as a refined design and high-quality materials from Hestra. The heating element produces enough warmth to keep your hands toasty for first chair on cold mornings, and when the heat is turned off, the heating element is unnoticeable.
The only flaw here is that other heated gloves in our comparison produce more heat. They do so by including much heavier batteries, which make those gloves 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, in addition to teaching avalanche education courses and contributing 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, making bamboo ski poles by hand. He is an avid backcountry skier, mountaineer, and climber bagging high peaks throughout the west.
Finding the best ski gloves and mitts available started with digging deep into the market. We looked at over 100 different models before deciding to purchase and test the ones discussed here. Then, we thoroughly tested each pair, scoring them in key performance metrics. Of course, we tested warmth, riding chairlifts, and skiing in the Cascades, Alps, Wasatch, British Columbia, Jackson Hole, and Northeast US, as well as working in the field with the Northwest Avalanche Center. We tested dexterity, peeling and sticking lift tickets to our jackets and pants with the gloves on, as well as writing, buckling boots, and unlocking car doors. We also tested water resistance, dunking the gloves in a bucket of water for two minutes, and comparing the results. Finally, we kept a close eye on the durability of each model over multiple seasons of use.
Related: How We Tested Ski Gloves
Analysis and Test Results
Gloves and mittens create a haven for our hands, protecting them from the harsh winter bite. We expect a whole lot from them too; whether we are spending a day skiing glades at the resort or touring above treeline, we rely on them to keep our fragile fingers safe from the elements. We do not want them to be too bulky or cumbersome, yet we do not want to sacrifice weather resistance or warmth. It's also a plus if our gloves can perform in all conditions and be versatile across many disciplines of skiing and other outdoor sports. We expect an award winner to be able to go for a light backcountry ski tour but also have the warmth, dexterity, and durability to summit a 14er in Colorado's high country on a subzero 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 offerings on the market. A low score in our review doesn't mean that the glove is unworthy of your attention. We had to be picky in order 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.
While we never score products on value, we do make a 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 gloves that are very affordable, and in the end, the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II provided the best bang for the buck. It covers the bases better than any model in its price range, keeping testers hands warm and dry and showing great durability.
In general, the less expensive gloves feature less durable and dexterous materials and construction. Real leather, when treated properly, should last longer than synthetic fabrics, especially in the high-use areas of the palms and fingertips. Real leather is also more expensive, meaning that 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 accomplished without using expensive Gore-Tex membranes, but in general, the Gore-Tex gloves proved more weatherproof than the cheaper alternatives. Finally, it takes skilled garment designers to put all of the components together in a glove that is warm, waterproof, and durable, without sacrificing dexterity or making a glove too heavy or bulky. We were impressed by the Editors' Choice Arc'teryx Fission SV because it combined all of the performance attributes into a svelte and comfortable 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 coldest days of the winter. 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 constantly taking breaks to warm up their hands. Other people can ski all day wearing little more than leather work gloves. Skiers and riders in the wet and rainy Pacific Northwest or Atlantic Northeast need gloves that will repel liquid water and remain breathable for warmer days, while skiers in the Rocky Mountains need warmth for below-zero temperatures.
We spent over 100 days skiing and snowboarding in these gloves, always 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 also tested palm insulation through holding ice axes and ski poles on cold ski tours.
Excluding the heated gloves (more on that below), the warmest glove we tested was the Black Diamond Guide. Tester Ian Nicholson used them to summit Denali, never changing into his mittens on a day with a high of -38F, while summiting in -42F. He also summited Aconcagua in them in -25F temperatures. 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 Editors' Choice Fission SV and Best Buy Gordini Storm Trooper II also provide enough warmth for the coldest days in the mountains. 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 still warmer than every unheated glove option (although it's very close with the BD Guide) and extremely waterproof, but it's not as warm as the Mercury Mitt.
Heated Glove Warmth
Many manufacturers now offer gloves that produce heat internally, instead of just retaining your hand's natural warmth. We tested the Outdoor Research Capstone, Black Diamond Solano, Outdoor Research StormTracker, and our Top Pick for a Heated Glove, the Hestra Power Heater. Each glove has three heat settings, and usually, the lowest setting will last all day, while the highest will drain the batteries in a couple of hours. 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. The thin StormTracker gloves and Hestra Power Heaters were usually left on low heat for the duration of the 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 in durability and insulation, and is especially cold with dead batteries. 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. Even when they forgot to charge the batteries overnight, our testers reached for the Hestra Power Heaters almost as much as the Editors' Choice winner. They are dexterous, comfortable, water resistant, and durable, and the heating element is just the cherry on top. They don't get as hot as the Solano or Capstone, but the highest setting in the Hestra gloves will still bring your hands back from the edge of freezing, while the low setting will keep them pleasantly warm all day long.
To test dexterity, we skied all day, attempting to perform every necessary task without removing the gloves. We also tested objectively by performing a series of side-by-side tasks to make clear distinctions between products. These tasks included tying the laces on winter boots, reaching into pockets for car keys, adjusting goggles on a helmet, tying climbing knots with rope, attaching lift tickets to a pocket, zipping jackets and pockets, and writing legibly with a pen on paper.
The REI Guide Insulated easily wins the dexterity category, featuring very thin fingers and little insulation. The glove also lacks a waterproof membrane or effective insulation, which makes these gloves relatively useless for most days at the ski area. However, for those who need a dexterous glove for milder conditions like ski patrollers, ski instructors, or backcountry skiers, these are a good choice as a second, lighter, inexpensive glove. The Hestra Fall Line and Outdoor Research Adrenaline also provide excellent dexterity, with 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 wears out quickly. The Editors' Choice Fission SV isn't close behind, with great dexterity and none of the aforementioned downsides. That balance is a major reason why the Fission SV was our top choice overall.
Among the heated gloves, the OR Stormtracker and Hestra Power Heater both offer good dexterity, while the OR Capstone and BD Solano are too bulky to perform most tasks. That said, the Capstone has well-tailored fingers that impressed us but also features 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 "optional" 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 require some dexterity and don't want a heated option, the BD Guide Glove is almost as warm as a mitten.
In some climates, like the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast, liquid 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 also tested for water resistance using a 2-minute submersion test in a bucket of water. The best gloves kept all liquid water out of the interior chamber and also resisted soaking in the outer shell fabric. The worst performers soaked through quickly and did not feature an adequate waterproof membrane.
The Editors' Choice Fission SV is the most water resistant glove in our review. Its softshell exterior and burly 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 Mercury and Montana mitts also survived our testing well regarding water resistance, keeping the 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 this water from entering the hand chamber. The OR Adrenaline is a good glove in general, but failed to keep water out as well. The Flylow Ridge and Oven Mitt are both made of susceptible leather without a waterproof membrane.
Of the heated gloves, both the OR Capstone and BD Solano kept water out entirely, and the Hestra Power Heater also remained dry with a great leather treatment. The OR Stormtracker was a lot less water resistant.
We measured durability not only during our own use, punishing these products over hundreds of days during the past several winter seasons, but also by using 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. Among the more price-pointed options, we were quite impressed with the longevity of the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II.
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 Best Buy Storm Trooper II also packs a full set of features including a nose wipe, wrist cinch, thoughtful gantlet, and clips.
Today's phones require touchscreen-capable gloves if you intend to operate them with a gloved hand. 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 Instagram story.
The market is saturated with a variety of different options to choose from when searching for gloves or mittens. They must 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