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The Best Ski Gloves and Mittens of 2020

The Hestra Army Leather GTX is one of our favorite all-around gloves for its above-average warmth and superb durability all while keeping respectable dexterity. While it barely missed an award  it's still a fantastic glove.
Tuesday February 11, 2020
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Seeking the best ski gloves for your 2020 snow adventures? We've tested 60+ pairs in the last 8 years, most recently pitting 19 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.

Related: The Best Ski Gloves and Mittens for Women


Top 19 Product Ratings

Displaying 6 - 10 of 19
 
Awards Top Pick Award     
Price $129.95 at Amazon
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$500.00 at Amazon$189.95 at Backcountry
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$154.95 at Amazon
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$41.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score
100
0
72
100
0
79
100
0
74
100
0
72
100
0
66
Star Rating
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Pros WARM, lifetime warranty, basically two gloves in one, super water resistantExtremely warm, weather resistantDexterous for its warmth, inside feels soft and cozy, durable, above average weather resistanceTop-notch dexterity and durability, great for technical descents and rope handling, fantastic feelExtremely water resistant, nice fit, dexterous, extra features, killer price for what you get
Cons Not super dexterous, inner glove not as durableVery expensive, heavy, bulkyExpensive, leather needs to be retreated slightly more than other modelsNot as warm as other models, weather resistance requires more maintenance than other modelsNot as warm as other mittens we tested
Bottom Line Buy this glove if you have ambitions to do a great deal of touring in a variety of conditions.This expensive glove is the warmest we have ever tested.Expensive but durable, this leather all-arounder is cozy and provides sound weather resistance.A favorite of our testers, the Fall Line is versatile and dexterous.A high scorer across the board, this mitt is an excellent value.
Rating Categories Outdoor Research Alti Capstone Heated Sensor Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex Hestra Leather Fall Line Montana Etip Mitt
Warmth (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
8
Dexterity (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
3
Water Resistance (25%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Durability (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Features (10%)  
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Specs Outdoor Research... Capstone Heated... Hestra Army... Hestra Leather... Montana Etip Mitt
Double or Single Glove Double Single Single Single Single
Gaunlet or Cuff? Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet Cuff Gauntlet
Palm Material Alpengrip Goat leather Army Leather (goat leather) Impregnated cowhide aniline Synthetic (polyurethane) leather
Waterproof Material Gore-Tex insert Gore-Tex insert HESTRA Triton three-layer polyamide fabric, leather Leather Gore-Tex insert
Insulation Type Back of hand: 200 g/m2 PrimaLoft HiLoft Silver
Removable liner back of hand: 100 g/m2 PrimaLoft Active insulation
Removable liner palm: 60 g/m2 PrimaLoft Gold
Back of hand: 200 g/m2 PrimaLoft HiLoft Silver
Palm: 133g/m2 EnduraLoft
Fiberfill polyester Foam Back of hand: 250g Heatseeker Eco
Palm: 100g Heatseeker Eco
Nose Wipe? Yes Yes No No Yes

Best Overall Ski Gloves


Arc'teryx Fission SV


81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 25% 6
  • Dexterity - 25% 9
  • Water Resistance - 25% 9
  • Durability - 15% 9
  • Features - 10% 7
Waterproof material: Gore-Tex Insert | Gauntlet or cuff: Gauntlet
Extremely versatile
Fantastic weather resistance
Very warm
Cozy internal fabric
Excellent freedom of movement
Lightweight and very compressible
Not the warmest
On the more expensive side
Could use a wrist cinch

The Arc'teryx Fission SV is the all-around highest performing glove in our review. Other gloves are better at specific tasks, but nothing performs as highly across the board. The bottom line is if we could have only one glove for skiing and snowboarding, this model would be it. Time and time again, the Fission SV would be our go-to glove no matter what the day entailed. Whether we were spending a warm early season day at the resort or expecting to be above treeline all day while ski mountaineering, this glove answered the call admirably. The big benefits of this glove are the packability and dexterity in such a tough package. The Fission SV was also impenetrable to water during our submersion test, letting no moisture in at all. This is a crucial factor in the overall performance of this glove, and another reason it received our highest accolade.

If we had to give this glove a few disadvantages, we would mention that the cuff could be larger, and the sizing chart tends to be on the larger side, so sizing down would be our recommendation unless you plan to wear a thin liner inside the glove as well. The lack of a wrist cinch became an inconvenience for snow and cold air entering the glove. This glove is ideal for the skier who values the ability to pack gloves away in their pack, as well as have a dexterous enough glove to use in multi-sports, such as ice climbing or mountaineering.

Read review: Arc'teryx Fission SV

Best Overall Ski Mittens


Black Diamond Mercury Mitt


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 25% 10
  • Dexterity - 25% 2
  • Water Resistance - 25% 8
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Features - 10% 10
Waterproof material: Shell - Pertex Shield; Liner - BDry | Gauntlet or cuff: Gauntlet
Extremely warm
Bomber shell
Extra features
Price
Comes with an insulated liner
Poor dexterity
The liner can pack out quickly

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


Best Buy Award

$44.01
(35% off)
at Amazon
See It

69
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Dexterity - 25% 4
  • Water Resistance - 25% 8
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Features - 10% 9
Waterproof material: Gore-Tex | Gauntlet or cuff: Gauntlet
Warm enough
Versatile
Bomber construction
Inexpensive
Good weather resistance
Tight fit around the knuckles
Poor dexterity

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


75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Dexterity - 25% 4
  • Water Resistance - 25% 9
  • Durability - 15% 9
  • Features - 10% 9
Waterproof material: Gore-Tex Insert | Gauntlet or cuff: Gauntlet
Extremely warm
Mega tough
Above-average weather resistance
Removable liners help to dry quicker
Our go-to expedition glove
Not dexterous
Stiff and take some time to break in
Consider sizing up if you're in between sizes

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


Top Pick Award

$129.95
(18% off)
at Amazon
See It

72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 25% 7
  • Dexterity - 25% 4
  • Water Resistance - 25% 10
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Features - 10% 9
Waterproof material: Gore-Tex Pro | Gauntlet or cuff: Gauntlet
Excellent weather resistance
Extremely durable synthetic palm
Versatile
Dries quickly
Excellent execution of features
Can be used as two separate gloves
Lacking in dexterity for some tasks

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 Goretex 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


Top Pick Award

$424.95
at Backcountry
See It

80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 25% 8
  • Dexterity - 25% 8
  • Water Resistance - 25% 8
  • Durability - 15% 9
  • Features - 10% 6
Waterproof Material: CZone | Gauntlet or cuff: Hybrid
Excellent fit
Very comfortable
Weather resistant
Good heating system
Awesome dexterity
Could get hotter
Expensive

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


Cold morning laps and the BD Mercury Mitts go hand in hand.
Cold morning laps and the BD Mercury Mitts go hand in hand.

Why You Should Trust Us


OutdoorGearLab Review Editors ,Ian Nicholson and Jeff Rogers combined their extensive collective experience in skiing, mountaineering, and cold weather travel to bring you a solid study of the best ski gloves and mittens out there. Jeff 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 works primarily as a mountain guide and was the youngest person on record to pass his American Mountain Guides Association rock and alpine guide exams. He also holds AIARE Level 3 certification and Level 1 avalanche instructor certification. Ski mountaineer Jeff Rogers brings added ski-specific 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. It all came down to a handful of factors that we decided before doing any testing were the most important things gloves and mitts need to do. 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 water resistance, dunking the gloves in a bucket of water for two minutes, and comparing the results. We also 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. Finally, we kept a close eye on the durability of each model over multiple seasons of use.

Related: How We Tested Ski Gloves

Wetting out in the Legend gloves after relatively few days of employment.
The Guide Glove is the perfect cold weather ski glove or high altitude mountaineering glove. Tester Ian Nicholson has summitted both Denali and Aconcagua in this Glove in temps as cold as -40F (with hand-warmers). Photo: Ian Nicholson and Zach Keskinen both wearing BD Guide Gloves on the Summit of Denali.
Spraying while wearing the Mercury Mitts.

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 provide that barrier to the elements. We do not want them to be too bulky or cumbersome, yet we do not want to sacrifice the weather resistance or warmth. We expect them to disappear under normal tasks yet still be totally bomber in any condition we face. We want our top-rated gloves to 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 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

There are several good ski gloves which are dependent on how cold it is  where you ski  or snowboard  how wet it is  or your possible needs as far as dexterity  durability  and ease of use.
There are several good ski gloves which are dependent on how cold it is, where you ski, or snowboard, how wet it is, or your possible needs as far as dexterity, durability, and ease of use.

To find out which ones truly perform a cut above the rest, we have been buying and testing a lot of ski gloves. Throughout several winters, we compared each competitor side by side and tested them in the field, from resorts to backcountry mountaintops. We broke the testing down into five categories to determine what product is the best choice during specific applications, as well as overall. Note that all scores are relative to the other products reviewed and that each scored performance metric is weighted relative to its general importance.


Value


There are certainly functional and solid performing gloves that fall below the price of several of our award winners. Several years ago, this wasn't the case, and choosing our favorite budget-friendly was very challenging. Since then, budget gloves have been produced that are much warmer, dexterous, and waterproof than their inexpensive predecessors. Rejoice! Even when selecting models for this review, there were scores of affordable models considered. We bought several, and in the end, the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II proved to provide the greatest bang per buck. It covers the bases better than any model in its price range.

Gear reviewer Travis Poulin field testing in North Routt County  Colorado.
Gear reviewer Travis Poulin field testing in North Routt County, Colorado.

One important trade-off in the lower-priced gloves is their durability. A full leather glove's materials cost is higher than synthetic models, but with 1-2 treatments of leather balm a year, you should expect natural leather models to last longer. In this sense, some of the higher-priced gloves are investments that will pay dividends in the future, along with having a superior glove from the get-go. Similarly, more expensive gloves tend to be warmer than their less expensive counterparts. 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.

Warmth


Testing overall warmth is not as easy as it might seem. Many outside factors can contribute to the comparison, including your clothing choices for the day, how well fed and hydrated you are, and the kind of terrain you are riding or skiing. Additionally, each person is different, and our testers ranged from women who have cold hands while sitting inside to skiers who hardly wear more than liners on cold ski days. Though it is a subjective category, we did our best to rate warmth with all of these factors taken into consideration.


To be as objective as possible, we spent over 100 days skiing and snowboarding, 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 cold cans during apres-ski in the parking lots.

Ian Nicholson freezing and side-by-side testing relative ski glove warmth in Mt Rainier National park.
Ian Nicholson freezing and side-by-side testing relative ski glove warmth in Mt Rainier National park.

Excluding the heated gloves when they are powered on (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.

These are the two best options for New England or Northern Rockies skiers and snowboarders or for people who wish to have the dexterity of a glove with as much warmth as they can possibly get before going to a mitten design. These are also an option for people with Raynaud's syndrome. We think the average person could use them for resort skiing down to around 0F but not much colder. For those on a budget, the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II retails for an incredibly low price and is a good option for above-average warmth. While they are not quite as warm as the Black Diamond Guide or the Outdoor Research Alti Glove, it isn't terribly far behind.

Part of any glove or mitten's warmth comes from keeping your hands dry in a wide range of conditions; this includes protection from the elements as well as allowing moisture to escape via the glove or mittens overall breathability. Skiing below the infamous Matterhorn  Switzerland.
Part of any glove or mitten's warmth comes from keeping your hands dry in a wide range of conditions; this includes protection from the elements as well as allowing moisture to escape via the glove or mittens overall breathability. Skiing below the infamous Matterhorn, Switzerland.

Mitten Warmth

This one was pretty easy to determine. We found the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt to be the top dog by a large margin. The Montana Mitt from The North Face is still warmer than pretty much all gloves (although it's very close with the BD Guide) and extremely waterproof, but not as toasty as the Mercury Mitts.

If you frequent cold climates  or your hands just plain get cold easily  mittens are pretty tough to beat in terms of warmth. Not only are mittens warmer but they also help your hands stay warmer for a longer period of time. Their natural heat efficient design lets your hands warm-up quickly.
If you frequent cold climates, or your hands just plain get cold easily, mittens are pretty tough to beat in terms of warmth. Not only are mittens warmer but they also help your hands stay warmer for a longer period of time. Their natural heat efficient design lets your hands warm-up quickly.

Heated Glove Warmth

The gloves we tested that are capable of producing heat, instead of just retaining it from your hands, are 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 recreation.

On a great powder day  looks like this are hard to remove from our faces. Adding to our satisfaction is knowing that we're wearing the hottest heated gloves we've ever tested  the OR Capstone.
On a great powder day, looks like this are hard to remove from our faces. Adding to our satisfaction is knowing that we're wearing the hottest heated gloves we've ever tested, the OR Capstone.

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, but this also made them less bulky and more dexterous. 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 Capstone has a large gauntlet and allows us to easily activate the on/off button
The Capstone has a large gauntlet and allows us to easily activate the on/off button

The Hestra Power Heater Glove is the only heated glove to seamlessly integrate a heating system into an otherwise excellent product. 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. It doesn't get as hot as the other gloves, 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.

The Power Heater Gloves are a great choice for skiers who want just one glove  and also want that glove to provide some heat in cold weather.
The Power Heater Gloves are a great choice for skiers who want just one glove, and also want that glove to provide some heat in cold weather.

Dexterity


In the dexterity category, we performed a series of side-by-side tasks, mostly attempting to replicate real-world activities that people may likely need to accomplish without removing their gloves.


These tasks include buckling ski boots, unlocking a car door with keys (with a clicker/fob and manually), tying shoelaces, attaching a lift ticket to a zippered pocket, zipping a jacket, taking a photo with a point-and-shoot camera, and writing our name with a pencil. If we encountered a tie, gloves that allowed us to write more legibly received a higher score.

The Fission SV gloves proved to be versatile and dexterous in the backcountry.
The Fission SV gloves proved to be versatile and dexterous in the backcountry.

We also compared each contender during real-world use, often changing them multiple times a day. In the end, the Hestra Fall Line Glove is the most dexterous glove we tested along with Arc'teryx Fission SV, which essentially performs the same. Each contender allowed the wearer to be nimble. Tieing a figure 8 knot or setting up a rappel? Not an issue while wearing these gloves.

Dexterity is an obviosuly important attribute of any glove  not only because it is annoying to remove your gloves to complete a given task  but it also likely results in colder hands as you are forced to expose your bare-skin to the elements but also your gloves likely cool off.  Side-by-Side ski glove testing while negotiating a difficult section on the Haute route.
Dexterity is an obviosuly important attribute of any glove, not only because it is annoying to remove your gloves to complete a given task, but it also likely results in colder hands as you are forced to expose your bare-skin to the elements but also your gloves likely cool off. Side-by-Side ski glove testing while negotiating a difficult section on the Haute route.

The Black Diamond Legend isn't too far behind, either. These gloves are dexterous enough for easy-to-moderate ice climbing, mountaineering, or other technical applications where a relatively high level of dexterity is required. The heated OR StormTrooper gloves are by far the most mobile and flexible of the heated gloves. While we couldn't fully get behind them for resort use, we think they could be great for winter bike commuting and single-pitch ice climbs.

Tester Ian Nicholson tests ski glove dexterity and palm material durability on the Haute route while lowering a skier down the Col Du Chardonnet  Chamonix France.
Tester Ian Nicholson tests ski glove dexterity and palm material durability on the Haute route while lowering a skier down the Col Du Chardonnet, Chamonix France.

With gloves, it is often a case of dexterity versus warmth; as you add more insulation (i.e., bulk), you lose sensitivity and, in turn, dexterity. For example, the Hestra Fall Line is extremely dexterous but only offers average warmth. The Arc'teryx Fission SV, however, provides above-average warmth with top-notch dexterity, bucking the trend. This is a huge reason why it's our favorite overall — with sufficient warmth and a great deal of dexterity, these gloves have a huge range of applications. If you're venturing into an extremely cold region, the Black Diamond Guide allows you to have the dexterity of individual fingers with the warmth that surpasses some mittens.

Ian Nicholson tested ski glove dexterity in freezing cold temperatures in the low teens while recording snow pit data while working as part of the snow safety team for Talkgate Alaska (Thompson Pass  AK).
Ian Nicholson tested ski glove dexterity in freezing cold temperatures in the low teens while recording snow pit data while working as part of the snow safety team for Talkgate Alaska (Thompson Pass, AK).

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.

Whether buckling your boots  zipping your jacket  signing the receipt for your lift ticket  or climbing ladders up a cliff over the Pas de Chevre (as Jussi Tahtinen demonstrates here in a pair of Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex)  dexterity is an important consideration when purchasing gloves or mittens.
Whether buckling your boots, zipping your jacket, signing the receipt for your lift ticket, or climbing ladders up a cliff over the Pas de Chevre (as Jussi Tahtinen demonstrates here in a pair of Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex), dexterity is an important consideration when purchasing gloves or mittens.

Water Resistance


In addition to extensive use during a wet winter in the Pacific Northwest and an extremely snowy early ski season in New England, we also performed a series of side-by-side tests.


We held each of the gloves in a bucket of ice water for two minutes; the gloves were submerged, with the fingers pointing down, and with one inch to spare toward the top of the cuff, never fully immersed.

While all the models we tested are typically waterproof  they didn't all perform equally in real-world testing nor in our side-by-side bucket of water tests. We found the models that used an extremely water resistant outer like the Arc'teryx Fission SV performed best.
While all the models we tested are typically waterproof, they didn't all perform equally in real-world testing nor in our side-by-side bucket of water tests. We found the models that used an extremely water resistant outer like the Arc'teryx Fission SV performed best.

The models that kept us the driest the longest all scored in the top half of the competition overall. They were also among the more expensive gloves. Since this is a critical performance area for ski gloves, all our award winner nominations provide excellent water resistance.

Nothing like skinning uphill in dumping snow to test the breathability and weather resistance of each ski glove. We took into account both real world comparisons as well as our "bucket of water" test when reviewing each gloves water resistance. Wasatch UT.
Nothing like skinning uphill in dumping snow to test the breathability and weather resistance of each ski glove. We took into account both real world comparisons as well as our "bucket of water" test when reviewing each gloves water resistance. Wasatch UT.

The Outdoor Research Alti achieves its remarkable weather resistance by using a combination of synthetic materials throughout and a Gore-tex insert. The lack of any leather on the glove results in an extremely water resistant glove that does not need any leather treatment over its life. There is also an absence of seams on the palm. While the Fission SV uses a stretchy, almost softshell-like material, it surprisingly proved to be among the most water resistant outer-layers we tested. The Mercury and Montana mitts survived our testing well regarding water resistance, keeping the water out completely.

Here we are testing the different models during our two minute "bucket of water" test.
Here we are testing the different models during our two minute "bucket of water" test.

Other top-performers in water resistance are the Black Diamond Guide, Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex, and Marmot Ultimate, along with the nearly-equally performing but much less expensive Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II. These are best for wetter, stormier climates like the Pacific Northwest, Western Canada, Japan, Alaska, etc. 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.

Eric Dalzell on an evening ski of the Odessey on a surprisingly cold afternoon; it was around 8F  and we compared the warmth of each ski glove  Valdez  AK.
Eric Dalzell on an evening ski of the Odessey on a surprisingly cold afternoon; it was around 8F, and we compared the warmth of each ski glove, Valdez, AK.


Some models were knocked out immediately by the submersion test including the Flylow Ridge Glove, REI Guide Insulated, Black Diamond Legend, and the Outdoor Research Stormtracker. These gloves all readily absorbed water in our submersion tests, wetting out and becoming heavy. These are not our top recommendations for climates with wet and heavy snow.

Every year  we perform this test. We use a two-minute submersion in a bucket of water as one factor when comparing ski gloves and mittens while measuring levels of water resistance side-by-side. We used our ratings in conjunction with real world wet and sometimes rainy skiing in Washington's Snoqualmie Pass.
Every year, we perform this test. We use a two-minute submersion in a bucket of water as one factor when comparing ski gloves and mittens while measuring levels of water resistance side-by-side. We used our ratings in conjunction with real world wet and sometimes rainy skiing in Washington's Snoqualmie Pass.

Durability


We measured durability not only during our own use, punishing these products over hundreds of days during the past several winter seasons, but also from valuable input from dozens of other users and OutdoorGearLab friends.


We think the toughest contestants are continually from Hestra. The craftmanship and high-quality materials and design continue to impress us, model after model. Other impressive models include the Black Diamond Guide and Marmot Ultimate. 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.

We did our very best to compare the longevity and durability of each of the models presented here. We observed how the shell and exterior of each model resisted wear but also how well the insulation and water resistance held up.
We did our very best to compare the longevity and durability of each of the models presented here. We observed how the shell and exterior of each model resisted wear but also how well the insulation and water resistance held up.

Almost as durable is the Arc'teryx Fission SV. The Fission was in solid shape even after 40+ days of use, though its very lofty insulation packed down slightly quicker than other options (a quality that was shared by the Black Diamond Guide Glove and Outdoor Research Alti Glove).

Chris Marshall airs it out while skiing in the Duffy near Pemberton BC  while providing valuable feedback to the OutdoorGearLab team.
Chris Marshall airs it out while skiing in the Duffy near Pemberton BC, while providing valuable feedback to the OutdoorGearLab team.

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, Hestra, Arc'teryx, and REI all have superior warranty programs to protect your investment.

Features


The features and ease of use categories include interesting and additional features that will help you make the most of your gloves.


We compared features such as how well they kept snow out and how easy they were to tighten and loosen. We also gave higher marks for wrist leashes or keeper leashes. We also made a note when a glove design allowed the operation of various features with a gloved hand. For instance, the one-handed cinch and release on the Outdoor Research Alti gauntlet.

A good nose wipe is always a welcome feature  and these mitts have it.
A good nose wipe is always a welcome feature, and these mitts have it.

The importance of wrist leashes is huge. The capability of taking off your gloves and mittens while on the chair to do a more dexterous task is quite valuable, and we find these to be quite convenient in backcountry settings as well. We also compared features like nose wipes and the ease at which we were able to take the contenders on and off.

The inner glove of the Alti proved to be a great glove on its own. Having a double glove design is a feature we love  especially in the backcountry.
The inner glove of the Alti proved to be a great glove on its own. Having a double glove design is a feature we love, especially in the backcountry.

And of course, today's phones require touchscreen-capable gloves if you intend to keep your hand in them. 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 to hear your favorite playlist, update your Facebook status, or check the latest reviews on OutdoorGearLab.com.

Not only did we present the best overall models for skiing  but we also looked at all the more budget-friendly options currently on the market. Photo: Walking down the Arete du Pain on L'Aiguille du Midi.
Not only did we present the best overall models for skiing, but we also looked at all the more budget-friendly options currently on the market. Photo: Walking down the Arete du Pain on L'Aiguille du Midi.

Conclusion


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 all but disappear on our hands while doing complex tasks. We feel that this review captures the best gloves on the market and does not discount the vast majority of cheaper options while also focusing on higher-end offerings.

Ready...Set...Ride!
Ready...Set...Ride!


Ian Nicholson, Jeff Dobronyi, Jeff Rogers, and Travis Poulin