Nothing can kill a great day on the slopes like cold fingers, so make sure to choose a quality glove or mitten that fits the type of skiing you do most. The options range from gauntlet-style synthetic gloves to undercuff leather designs from powerhouses like Swedish manufacturer Hestra. Below are our picks for the best ski gloves and mittens of 2023, with price points from over $300 down to $36 or less for old-school Kincos. All gloves on this list are either unisex or include a link to the women’s-specific version. For more background information, see our glove comparison table and buying advice below the picks. To complete your kit, check out our articles on the best ski goggles and ski helmets.
Our Team's Ski Glove and Mitten Picks
- Best Overall Ski Glove: Hestra Army Leather Heli
- A Close Second (With Better Waterproofing): Black Diamond Guide
- Best Budget Ski Glove: Gordini GTX Storm Glove
- Best Mitten for Skiing: Black Diamond Mercury Mitten
- Best Heated Ski Mitt: Outdoor Research Prevail Heated GTX Mitts
- Best 3-Finger Ski Glove: Oyuki Pep GTX Trigger Mitt
- Best Glove for Backcountry Skiing: Showa 282 TemRes Glove
Best Overall Ski Glove
1. Hestra Army Leather Heli Glove ($160)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Shell: Polyamide/goat leather
Insulation: G-Loft synthetic & fleece
What we like: Beautifully made, cozy and warm, and good dexterity.
What we don’t: Requires some maintenance to stay waterproof.
Ski professionals the world over have trusted Swedish manufacturer Hestra for decades, and their Army Leather Heli is our top pick. This comfortable and highly functional ski glove has been around for years, but its hybrid leather and synthetic construction remains best in class. The Heli’s premium build quality, warmth, and comfort all stand out at a price that undercuts other high-end ski gloves. For these reasons, we think the Heli is the perfect partner for keeping you warm on the mountain.
As with nearly all Hestra products, the Heli has liberal amounts of leather in its construction. The benefit is that the glove flexes easily and is very durable, but you will occasionally need to reapply a leather conditioner to the palm and fingers to keep moisture at bay (a small sample of Hestra’s Leather Balm is included). Some prefer a glove with a nylon shell for better waterproofing, but we find the simple maintenance to be well worth the effort—even for skiing in the wet snow of the Pacific Northwest. This popular glove has spawned a couple variations, including a mitten for maximum warmth and a 3-finger glove that splits the difference. For a truly waterproof version without removable liners, check out the Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex ($190).
See the Men's Hestra Heli Glove See the Women's Hestra Heli Glove
A Close Second (With Better Waterproofing)
2. Black Diamond Guide Glove ($180)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Insulation: PrimaLoft One (170g) & wool
What we like: Very warm, long-lasting build, and comfortable.
What we don’t: Takes some time to break in; below-average dexterity.
Black Diamond’s Guide glove is legendary among hardcore skiers for its impressive warmth and durability. It’s near the top in terms of hand protection on this list, and unlike the Hestra Heli above, the design is completely waterproof with a Gore-Tex insert. Inside its very tough exterior, Black Diamond uses both PrimaLoft synthetic and thick boiled wool in the removable liner for insulation. If your hands are consistently cold or you ski in frigid conditions, the Guide is hard to beat.
The downside of all this material is that the BD Guide can take some time to break in. And even after a few years of consistent use, ours still lacks the flexibility that you get right out of the box with the Hestra Heli, which is similarly warm (one downside of the Gore-Tex liner). It’s a compromise many are willing to make, however, and the Guide is among the most popular ski gloves on the market. If you run warm or only head out in mild conditions, you can save money by opting for a glove with lighter insulation and better dexterity, such as the Outdoor Research Arete II or Black Diamond Legend below.
See the Black Diamond Guide Glove See the Women's Black Diamond Guide
Best Budget Ski Glove
3. Gordini GTX Storm Glove ($75)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Insulation: Megaloft synthetic
What we like: Standout comfort, warmth, and waterproofing for the price.
What we don’t: Fake leather palm and liner isn’t removable.
If you only get out a handful of times each year or don’t want to blow your ski gear budget on gloves, the Gordini GTX Storm is a winner. You don’t get the premium shell fabric or leather palm of our top picks, but this glove is durable, features premium Gore-Tex waterproofing, and just plain works. In addition, warmth and coziness are surprisingly good considering the $75 price—it’s a step down from the Hestra Heli and Black Diamond Guide, but the difference isn’t substantial and should be plenty for most days on the hill.
Both the GTX Storm and The North Face Montana below are solid options at around $70. The Gordini is a better choice for wet conditions with its top-shelf Gore-Tex membrane, while the TNF tacks on a bit more warmth (and bulk) with decently thick insulation. But it’s hard to beat the quality and fit and finish of the GTX Storm, which is the best budget ski glove we’ve used to date. Its combination of comfort, dexterity, and protection make it a standout in the sub-$100 price range.
See the Men's Gordini GTX Storm See the Women's Gordini GTX Storm
Best Mitten for Skiing
4. Black Diamond Mercury Mitten ($120)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Insulation: PrimaLoft Gold (133 & 170g)
What we like: Warm, tough, and reasonably affordable mitten.
What we don’t: Harder to grip a ski pole.
For keeping your hands as warm as possible, you just can’t beat a mitten design. It may compromise dexterity for skiers trying to grip a ski pole, but by keeping your fingers together, you get extremely efficient warmth (your fingers warm each other). The Black Diamond Mercury is our favorite mitten option for offering the expected bump in warmth without a huge leap in price. It’s also made with 4-way stretch in the shell and includes removable split-finger liners to make it very user friendly.
As with other BD ski gloves we’ve worn, the Mercury has a bomber construction that should hold up to plenty of wear and tear. Really, the only downside is whether or not you’re comfortable wearing a mitten. We still find gloves to be more convenient and effective for skiing—and the Mercury in particular is a bit bulky for handling a pole—but mittens are nevertheless a good option for those prone to getting cold hands. And if you’re willing to compromise a bit of warmth for added dexterity, check out slightly sleeker designs like the Hestra Heli Mittens, Swany X-Cell 2.1 Mitten, and Arc’teryx Fission SV Mitten.
See the Black Diamond Mercury Mitten See the Women's BD Mercury Mitten
Best Heated Ski Mitt
5. Outdoor Research Prevail Heated GTX Mitts ($329)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Insulation: EnduraLoft (133 & 333g) & ALTIHeat system
What we like: Effective battery-powered heater for maximum warmth.
What we don’t: Battery life diminishes on high setting; very expensive.
For sub-zero conditions or skiers who can’t keep their hands warm, a heated mitten may do the trick. Year after year, Outdoor Research is known for having a strong lineup of heated handwear, and we like their Prevail Mitts best. To start, the mitten design gives you an edge in overall warmth by keeping your fingers together, and the built-in battery and heating element give you a rush of heat that a hand warmer just can’t match. Pushing the button on the gauntlet switches between three heat settings (low, medium, and high), and the thick EnduraLoft insulation effectively traps warmth inside. With its removable and rechargeable lithium-on battery (extra sets are available for $50), keeping the mittens powered is simple.
The largest impediment to a battery-powered design like the Outdoor Research Prevail is price. We understand that there’s a lot of technology that goes into keeping the streamlined battery performing in frigid temperatures, but $329 is a lot for a pair of mittens. If you need maximum warmth at all costs, however, the Prevail may be worth a try. For a step down, it’s also worth checking out OR’s more dexterous and affordable Sureshot Heated Softshell Gloves ($259). Outdoor Research is a leader among heated gloves and mittens, but other quality options to consider include Hestra’s Power Heater and Black Diamond’s Solano.
See the Outdoor Research Prevail Heated GTX Mitts
Best 3-Finger Ski Glove
6. Oyuki Pep GTX Trigger Mitt ($150)
Cuff style: Undercuff
Insulation: PrimaLoft Gold (133 & 200g)
What we like: Premium build at a reasonable price.
What we don’t: Split-finger design still can’t match the warmth of a mitten.
Japan-based Oyuki is a newcomer to the U.S. market, but we like what they’ve come up with in the Pep Trigger Mitts. As the “pro” model in their line—freeskier Pep Fujas played a role in its development—the undercuff glove comes with high-quality touches like a full goatskin leather shell, Gore-Tex insert for waterproofing, and warm PrimaLoft insulation (200g on the back and 133g on the palm). And Oyuki nailed the styling with a simplistic aesthetic and fun mountain scape sewn into the padded back of the hand.
In addition to its beautiful design, the Pep also stands out as the top split-finger mitt to make our list for the 2023 season. On paper, this concept makes a lot of sense: by combining a mitten with a dedicated slot for your pointer finger, you get more thermal efficiency than a standard glove while retaining enough dexterity to pinch a zipper or secure a helmet strap. Downsides are that your pointer finger ends up being just as cold as it would be in a glove, and freedom of movement still falls short of a regular five-finger design. For more traditional options from Oyuki, their Sencho collection features both mitten and glove styles.
See the Oyuki Pep Trigger Mitt
Best Glove for Backcountry Skiing
7. Showa 282 TemRes Glove ($23)
Cuff style: Undercuff
Insulation: Acrylic liner
What we like: Waterproof and breathable backcountry-ready glove for $20.
What we don’t: Odd looks and non-adjustable cuff.
Choosing the right backcountry ski glove can be a tricky process, but one model that’s starting to separate itself from the pack is Showa’s 282 TemRes. Don’t let the odd name and $22 price tag fool you: this is a seriously capable glove. It’s extremely waterproof yet surprisingly breathable, has a soft-touch fleecy liner, and is just warm enough to keep you comfortable on the downhill. Plus, the TemRes is quite versatile, and its excellent dexterity and grippy build have made it a popular choice for everything from ice climbing to everyday winter activities.
If you want a waterproof design for touring, the TemRes is pretty hard to beat, although don’t expect to see too many of these blue gloves at your local resort. Most notably, the acrylic insulation isn’t intended for low-output use and sub-freezing days—it’ll run quite cold when you’re sitting on a slow-moving chairlift—and the open cuff at the end can’t be sealed or adjusted (note: Showa’s newer 282-02 model adds a wrist cinch). Durability-wise, we’ve found the thin blue shell to be rather resistant to abrasion, although our palm did tear on a particularly sticky pair of skins. And a final insight on fit: The TemRes is known to run small, so it’s best to go up one size. For a more traditional backcountry option, check out the leather Tour gloves ($85) from Black Diamond.
See the Showa 282 TemRes Glove
Best of the Rest
8. Outdoor Research Carbide Sensor ($115)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Insulation: VerticalX (130 & 200g)
What we like: Desirable mix of price, toughness, and warmth.
What we don’t: Fairly bulky, which impacts dexterity.
Notwithstanding the $329 Prevail Mittens above, Outdoor Research consistently hits a really desirable mix of price and performance. We’ve had a number of their gloves on this list over the years—including the Arete below—and our current favorite from their resort line is the Carbide. For $115, this glove packs a whole lot in: a supple goat leather palm, burly yet stretchy shell, and a healthy dose of warmth (200g synthetic on the back on the hand; 135g along the front). The interior is soft and impressively cozy, and it has a secure feel in general with the large gauntlet closure and tightener at the wrist. It’s true the Carbide doesn’t have a removable liner—the aforementioned Arete does have this feature—but otherwise it checks a lot of boxes for most skiers.
One area where the Carbide comes up a bit short is bulk. This isn’t a low-profile design by any means, and dexterity does suffer as a result. You may find yourself needing to slide them off more often than some of the pricier options like Swany's X-Cell below, and it does make it a little harder to use the touchscreen-friendly fingers. Additionally, we’ve found our Outdoor Research gloves don’t have particularly long lifespans, although there aren’t any notable areas of concern with the Carbide specifically. In fact, its tough bulk is a hallmark of the glove, and one of many reasons we have it ranked so highly here.
See the Men's Outdoor Research Carbide See the Women's Outdoor Research Carbide
9. Dakine Titan Gore-Tex Glove ($80)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Insulation: High-loft (110 & 230g)
What we like: Warm, fully featured, and a great price.
What we don’t: Not as tough or dexterous as the Gordini above.
Year after year, Dakine’s Titan and women’s-specific Sequoia are top sellers among the resort crowd. The logic is simple: they offer no-nonsense warmth, the right combination of features for season-long use, and a great price point. With substantial synthetic fill in the shell and a surprisingly thick removable liner, they’re about as insulated as gloves get in the sub-$100 price range. And Dakine nailed the details with an easy-to-adjust gauntlet closure, zippered pocket on the back of the hand for adding a heat pack, and touchscreen compatibility on the liner.
What’s not to like about the Dakine Titan and Sequoia? They’re priced similarly as the Gordini Storm above and deliver comparable warmth, yet fall a bit short in terms of material quality and dexterity. Their polyester shell is a little more prone to absorbing moisture than Gordini’s burly fabric, and we prefer the grippier palm on the Storm. In addition, the Titan and Sequoia’s thick liner makes it difficult to hold onto small items like a zipper, although it’s still easy to maintain a solid grip on a ski pole. For even more warmth (but even less dexterity), check out the mitten versions of the Titan and Sequoia.
See the Men's Dakine Titan GTX See the Women's Dakine Sequoia GTX
10. Swany X-Cell 2.1 Glove ($170)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Insulation: PrimaLoft Gold synthetic
What we like: The right mix of features for resort use.
What we don’t: Not as beautifully made or warm as the Hestra Heli.
Swany’s X-Cell is not a new glove by any stretch, but its classic design has been lauded over the years for its resort skiing prowess. Made with tough leather covering the back of the hand and a reinforced palm, the dexterous Swany makes it easy grip a zipper pull on a jacket or keep hold of your ski poles at full tilt. The gauntlet on the X-Cell isn’t as simple to operate as the Black Diamond Guide above, but it’s functional and does a fine job sealing out snow and cold gusts of wind.
What pushes the Swany X-Cell down our list? For its $170 MSRP, we give the edge to the Hestra Heli and BD Guide above in warmth, plus the X-Cell’s fixed liner is less adaptable and slower to dry than a removable design. The Swany will certainly do the trick for most ski days, but it’s been around long enough that the price should be dropped to remain competitive (in fact, price actually went up $5 for last season). If you can find it on sale, however, the X-Cell is a fully featured glove for downhill fun.
See the Men's Swany X-Cell 2.1 Glove See the Women's Swany X-Cell 2.1 Glove
11. Outdoor Research Arete II Gore-Tex ($99)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Insulation: EnduraLoft (100g) & merino wool
What we like: A high-quality 3-in-1 design from Outdoor Research.
What we don’t: Lacks the warmth and dexterity of the Carbide above.
The snow in the Pacific Northwest can be wet and heavy, so it’s no surprise that we often turn to Seattle-based Outdoor Research for burly and waterproof ski gloves. Their popular Arete II is a great choice in the $100 price range with a durable nylon shell, proven Gore-Tex insert, 100-gram EnduraLoft insulation, and generous leather palm. It also features a removable merino wool liner, which adds a considerable amount of warmth and is so cozy that we often pair it with other gloves and mittens (depending on conditions). And with a pull tab on the inside cuff, the Arete is easier to get on than most.
How does the Arete II compare to OR’s own Carbide Sensor above? For about $15 more, the Carbide boasts considerably more insulation (130g at the palm and 200g at the back of hand) and has a sleeker design that forgoes a liner and adds a touchscreen-compatible index finger (despite the gloves’ bulk, it actually works most of the time). The linerless construction feels overall more supple, dextrous, and easy to wear, but it does lack the 3-in-1 versatility of the Arete. In the end, we still give the slight edge to the Carbide, but the Arete II isn’t far behind and stands out as another good value from OR.
See the Men's Outdoor Research Arete II GTX See the Women's OR Arete II GTX
12. Flylow Gear Ridge Glove ($55)
Cuff style: Undercuff
Insulation: Spaceloft (100 & 180g)
What we like: Warmer than Kincos and are ready to go out of the box.
What we don’t: Still need treatment after some use.
We hate to say it, but unless you are a true DIYer, these Flylow leather gloves make more sense than the classic Kincos below. Instead of an intense regimen of waxing treatment, Flylow takes that pain away by doing it for you—with two applications of Sno-Seal and three trips to the oven—which helps make up for the added price difference of their glove. The Ridge also features synthetic insulation that’s warmer and won’t pack out as fast as the Kincos.
The Flylow Ridge are great resort and backcountry gloves for anyone on a budget, and they tend to be quite durable and breathable, all things considered. As for downsides, they're not the warmest available, and the lack of a waterproof membrane can be a problem in areas known for consistently wet snow (you’ll want to make sure to refresh the coating if you notice the gloves starting to absorb moisture). But these are minor complaints considering the price. For all the leather work glove skeptics out there: don't knock it until you try it.
See the Flylow Gear Ridge Glove
13. Hestra Fall Line 3-Finger ($165)
Cuff style: Undercuff
Insulation: Foam & synthetic
What we like: Work glove feel and fantastic look.
What we don’t: Not as warm or waterproof.
You won’t find a more beautiful ski glove than the Hestra Fall Line 3-Finger. This all-leather, undercuff design with exposed stitching is a work of art. It’s a great tribute to Hestra’s long history of glove making, and in addition to skiing, the Fall Line 3-Finger and standard glove model are among our favorite options for everyday wear and work in the winter. It’s true that the Fall Line isn’t for everyone as warmth and water resistance fall noticeably short of the Oyuki Pep above (it’s best for mild days or those working up some heat), but you won’t find a better-made mitt. Period.
One small design oversight we’ve noticed is that when we cinch the cuff, there is a fair amount of excess strap hanging off the end. If you don’t have small wrists this shouldn’t be an issue, but the loose strap did occasionally catch on our jacket sleeve and was a minor annoyance. But that did little to dampen our enthusiasm for the Fall Line, and we especially love the removable insulated liner included in the latest version. Added up, the Hestra deftly balances comfort, dexterity, and a premium look and feel, making it one of our favorite premium gloves for dry days at the resort.
See the Hestra Fall Line 3-Finger
14. Flylow Gear Super Mittens ($90)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Shell: Leather, nylon
Insulation: Spaceloft (120 & 280g)
What we like: Great price for a warm and dexterous mitten.
What we don’t: Cheaper build quality and not a standout in waterproofing.
Flylow built their reputation in the glove world around simple leather designs that came pre-coated (and baked) with Sno-Seal, but they’ve stepped up their game with the Super line. Offered in both glove and mitten styles, the Super is substantially warmer and more protective than their Ridge above with 280-gram Spaceloft synthetic insulation along the back of the hand and a waterproof lining. But a lighter 120-gram Spaceloft around the front and flexible pigskin leather combine to offer outstanding dexterity, even in the mitten version (the glove is similarly impressive). At just $90, the Super punches well above its price class in both warmth and all-around comfort.
Compromises are inevitable in keeping costs down, and some of the details on the Super fall short of our top-rated designs above. In particular, the plastic ladder buckle and webbing that cinch around the wrist have a cheap feel and can loosen during the day (it’s an easy fix to re-tighten, however). And you miss out on a proven Gore-Tex liner for trusty, long-term performance in wet conditions. If you prioritize warmth and protection, we think BD’s Mercury Mitt above is a better option, but the Flylow is still quite cozy, has better freedom of movement, and saves you a pretty substantial $30.
See the Flylow Super Mittens
15. Rab Khroma Freeride GTX Glove ($170)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Insulation: PrimaLoft Gold (100 & 133g)
What we like: Supple leather requires no break-in period.
What we don’t: Expensive; not our favorite gauntlet and cuff design.
Rab’s Khroma collection is a great one-stop shop for high-end Gore-Tex ski apparel, and the new Freeride is its latest glove offering. Put simply, the Khroma Freeride GTX is fully first-class with a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, supple leather that requires no break-in period, and a flexible and premium feel that’s reminiscent of Hestras. Stretchy nylon along the back of the hand contributes to comfort, and we can’t get enough of the super-soft, high-loft pile interior. Rab is an underdog in the U.S. market, but with high-quality materials and durable construction, the Khroma is not to be overlooked.
That said, after some early-season testing, we do have a few minor gripes with the Khroma Freeride’s design. For one, the gauntlet opening isn’t super wide, which means it can be difficult to slide the glove over a ski jacket cuff (we don’t have this issue with our Hestra Helis or Black Diamond Guides). Second, the fit is fairly loose at the wrist, and the Freeride lacks a cinch to help seal in warmth. Finally, while the generous insulation goes a long way toward keeping our fingers warm (even in single-digit temperatures), it does translate to compromised dexterity. In the end, we’re inclined to stick with gloves like the aforementioned Heli or BD Guides, but for cold resort days, the Khroma Freeride GTX is another premium option to have on your radar (for $10 less than the Guides).
See the Rab Khroma Freeride GTX Glove
16. The North Face Montana Glove ($65)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Shell: Polyester/synthetic leather
Insulation: Heatseeker Eco (160 & 250g)
What we like: A good-looking and well-priced glove for casual skiers.
What we don’t: Lacks the premium materials found in most ski gloves.
The Montana Gloves from The North Face are a great way to stay warm on a budget. These extremely popular gloves are surprisingly dexterous, featuring a lightweight exterior that is quite flexible and grips objects like zipper pulls or boot buckles pretty well. Further, it’s easy to dial in the fit and seal out the cold with the gauntlet cuff and ladder lock buckle across the back of the hand. And finally, the Montana offers fairly decent levels of warmth, with a high-pile fleece liner, 160-gram insulation along the palm, and heavier 250-gram synthetic along the back of the hand (for comparison’s sake, the OR Carbide Sensor gloves above feature 130g synthetic at the palm and 200g on the back).
But what you don’t get here is premium materials. While the majority of ski gloves on our list feature real-leather palms and Gore-Tex waterproofing, the Montana keeps costs low with a synthetic leather palm and TNF’s in-house DryVent waterproofing. As a result, they won’t withstand the rigors of resort use as well as other designs, including the slightly pricier Gordini GTX Storm above ($75). But the Montana is nevertheless a great value for those who get out a few times a year, especially in mild and dry conditions. For a step up in warmth, check out the Montana Inferno ($90), which features thicker 350-gram insulation on the back of the hand.
See the Men's TNF Montana Glove See the Women's TNF Montana Glove
17. Black Diamond Legend ($150)
Cuff style: Undercuff
Insulation: PrimaLoft Gold (60 & 170g)
What we like: Functional leather/Pertex build, great dexterity.
What we don’t: Leather absorbs moisture and becomes cold.
Black Diamond's Legend appeals to the touring crowd with a low-profile insulated, waterproof, and primarily leather design that fits under the cuffs of a ski jacket. The glove nicely balances protection and weight with high-quality PrimaLoft Gold synthetic fill and a water-resistant Pertex shell along the back of the hand. Finally, fit and finish is a step up from our previous Legend gloves, which were overly stiff and fell short of the premium Hestras above.
Despite the panel of nylon along the back of the hand and a Gore-Tex liner, we've found the Legend's do not excel in wet snow. Through a season of backcountry and resort skiing in British Columbia and Washington State, the leather sections of the glove have wetted out on a number of occasions and become noticeably cold (they do much better on dry snow days). On the plus side, the Legend has a great closure system, which stretches and is easy to secure, and the new-for-2023 version features a neoprene cuff for a great seal at the wrist.
See the Men's Black Diamond Legend See the Women's Black Diamond Legend
18. Burton Gore-Tex Glove ($80)
Cuff style: Gauntlet
Insulation: Thermacore synthetic
What we like: A great value choice for resort skiers.
What we don’t: Not as warm and not as precise a fit.
For resort skiers that don’t want to spend a ton on gloves, the Burton Gore-Tex is a nice choice. This glove does just about everything you need to stay dry and comfortable: it’s reasonably warm (and includes a zippered pocket for slipping in a hand warmer), has a tough build, and a strap along the back of the hand for adjusting the fit. Burton also includes thin liners that are removable and can function independently as a shoulder-season hiking or running glove.
What do you give up by choosing a more affordable glove? For one, many of the options above are warmer and the Burton Gore-Tex can’t compete in freedom of movement. And while we like the inclusion of a liner glove, it doesn’t fit as nicely into the shell as the premium choices like the Hestra Heli and Black Diamond Guide. Finally, what drops the Burton towards the bottom of our list—and below the similarly priced Gordini and Dakine above—is its build quality: the gauntlet closure is prone to loosening and the palm material feels cheap and doesn't grip as well as leather.
See the Men's Burton Gore-Tex Glove See the Women's Burton Gore-Tex Glove
19. Kinco Pigskin Leather Glove ($36)
Cuff style: Undercuff
Insulation: HeatKeep synthetic
What we like: Trusted performance, ultra-low price.
What we don’t: Limited warmth (think hand warmers or liner gloves)
Kinco started the leather ski glove craze in the 1980s, and it wouldn't be a proper list without including them here. To follow in a long line of ski bums and resort employees, simply plunk down the $36 or so bucks these gloves were selling for at press time, buy some Sno-Seal to condition the leather and make it more water-resistant (finish the job with a hair dryer if possible), and ski until your heart's content.
You won't find a more economical glove option than the Kincos, and this system works surprisingly well if the conditions aren't too cold or wet. It's best to step up to a more waterproof design in the wet snow of the Pacific Northwest, but the gloves are a great match for areas with dry snow like Colorado and Utah. Don't forget to grab a PBR at the lodge to complete your get-up, and per tradition, retire them at the end of the season and repeat.
See the Kinco Pigskin Leather Glove
Ski Glove and Mitten Comparison Table
|Hestra Army Leather Heli Glove||$160||Gauntlet||Polyamide/leather||G-Loft synthetic & fleece||Yes|
|Black Diamond Guide Glove||$180||Gauntlet||Nylon/leather||PrimaLoft (170g) & wool||Yes|
|Gordini GTX Storm Glove||$75||Gauntlet||Nylon||Megaloft synthetic||No|
|Black Diamond Mercury Mitten||$120||Gauntlet||Nylon/leather||PrimaLoft Gold (133 & 170g)||Yes|
|OR Prevail Heated GTX Mitts||$329||Gauntlet||Nylon/leather||EnduraLoft (133 & 333g)||Yes|
|Oyuki Pep GTX Trigger Mitt||$150||Undercuff||Leather||PrimaLoft Gold (133 & 200g)||No|
|Showa 282 TemRes||$23||Undercuff||Polyurethane||Acrylic||No|
|Outdoor Research Carbide||$115||Gauntlet||Nylon/leather||VerticalX (130 & 200g)||No|
|Dakine Titan GTX Glove||$80||Gauntlet||Polyester||High-loft (110 & 230g)||Yes|
|Swany X-Cell 2.1||$170||Gauntlet||Leather||PrimaLoft Gold synthetic||No|
|Outdoor Research Arete II GTX||$99||Gauntlet||Nylon||EnduraLoft (100g) & wool||Yes|
|Flylow Gear Ridge||$55||Undercuff||Leather||Spaceloft (100 & 180g)||No|
|Hestra Fall Line 3-Finger||$165||Undercuff||Leather||Foam & synthetic||No|
|Flylow Gear Super Mittens||$90||Gauntlet||Leather/nylon||Spaceloft (120 & 280g)||No|
|Rab Khroma Freeride GTX Glove||$170||Gauntlet||Nylon/leather||PrimaLoft Gold (100 & 133g)||No|
|The North Face Montana Glove||$65||Gauntlet||Polyester/synthetic||Heatseeker (160 & 250g)||No|
|Black Diamond Legend||$150||Undercuff||Nylon/leather||PrimaLoft Gold (60 & 170g)||No|
|Burton Gore-Tex Glove||$80||Gauntlet||Nylon/leather||Thermacore synthetic||Yes|
|Kinco Pigskin Glove||$36||Undercuff||Canvas/leather||HeatKeep synthetic||No|
Ski Glove and Mitten Buying Advice
- Ski Gloves vs. Mittens
- Materials: Leather vs. Synthetic
- Caring For Leather Gloves
- Cuff Length
- Should I Get Gloves with Removable Liners?
- Fit and Sizing
- Additional Ski Glove Features
Ski Gloves vs. Mittens
Ski gloves are the classic choice for resort and backcountry skiing and remain the most popular, but mittens can be a viable alternative. In comparing the two, gloves win by a wide margin in dexterity. If you need to grab a lift pass out of your zippered pocket, good luck pulling that off without removing your mittens. It’s also easier and feels far more natural to retain a good grip on a ski pole or adjust your boots or bindings with gloves. But as we touch on in the “warmth” section below, there’s simply no replacement for a heavily insulated mitten. They offer unbeatable levels of warmth.
A final alternative is the 3-finger glove (also called a trigger or split-finger glove), which attempts to bring together the attributes of glove and mitten designs. In these gloves, the pointer finger and thumb have their own slots while your remaining fingers huddle together for warmth. We don’t often recommend this style (the Hestra Fall Line 3-Finger above is one exception) because we've found that freeing up your pointer finger isn’t a huge difference maker for dexterity, and that finger ends up just as cold as it would be in a standard glove. In this case, it doesn’t truly amount to the best of both worlds.
Materials: Leather vs. Synthetic
Ski gloves and mittens are constructed with two general material types: synthetic and leather. From a glance at the table above, you’ll notice that many gloves utilize both materials, playing to their respective strengths, so this isn’t always a question of exclusivity. But knowing what each material is best for goes a long way in finding the ideal glove.
Leather ski gloves are durable, extremely comfortable, and on occasion cheaper than synthetics. From premium Hestras to budget options like the Flylow Gear Ridge, they have a much more natural feel and are usually more flexible and dexterous than a comparable synthetic. The biggest downside is moisture protection. Leather—and particularly treated leather—is water resistant and can withstand light to moderate wetness. But eventually they will soak through in wet conditions. To stay dry and extend the lifespan of your leather ski gloves, try Sno-Seal or another wax waterproofing treatment.
Synthetic (Nylon and Polyester)
Leather has had a resurgence, but the majority of ski gloves still use a synthetic shell. At the mid-range, including the Outdoor Research Arete II GTX ($99), you’ll find tough but pliant nylon shells that fend off snow, wind, and cold conditions. Cheaper synthetic gloves often use a less flexible polyester shell that doesn’t hold up as well to moisture and can feel bulky. With either type of shell, a waterproof insert often is incorporated between the exterior and insulation. Leather has its advantages, but synthetic gloves offer the highest levels of waterproofing. To get the best of both worlds, many synthetic gloves add leather or synthetic leather on the palm and fingers for grip and dexterity.
If you’re prone to cold fingers like myself, or live in an area with frigid temperatures like the Northeast, you’ve probably found ski glove shopping to be a bit challenging. Most ski gloves under $100 just aren’t warm enough to be comfortable on the chairlift when the temperature dips below about 20°F. In the end, we've found that more expensive gloves like the Black Diamond Guide and Hestra Heli offer the warmth we need. Conversely, if you run warm or ski in mild bluebird conditions, you can save some money with a less insulated glove like the Outdoor Research Arete II or Burton Gore-Tex.
Gloves are insulated in a wide range of ways, from fleece to synthetic fill, so it’s hard to establish exactly how warm a glove will be without trying it on first. Some indications include the weight of the synthetic (listed in grams) as well as the quality. PrimaLoft is the leader for lofty warmth and is popular on many high-end gloves. Some of the warmest designs use a mix of insulation: the Black Diamond Guide has 170-gram PrimaLoft fill as well as plush boiled wool in the lining. For absolute warmth, we turn to mittens, which heat more efficiently by pressing your fingers against one another. Some skiers may miss the control that you get with each finger gripping the ski pole, but it may be worth the tradeoff.
Aside from warmth, waterproofness is the second major factor that can make or break your days on the slopes. And not only does your glove need to keep snow from entering, it needs to let perspiration out from the inside.
Located between the shell material and insulation in a fully waterproof design is a membrane or insert. Gore-Tex offers the best combination of waterproofing and breathability on the market. Cheaper gloves often use a non-Gore-Tex insert of varying names (BD.dry, DryVent, etc.) and degrees of efficiency. Keep in mind that if you choose a cheaper ski glove in the $70 range, you can expect decent waterproofing but it likely won't hold up as well over time or on particularly wet days. Entry-level gloves can be fine for those who ski occasional sessions at the resort, but serious skiers will want a serious glove to stay comfortable throughout the day.
Some gloves forego the Gore-Tex insert and are merely water resistant, which can work in dry climates like Colorado and Utah or if breathability is a priority (one exception is Hestra's Heli, which doesn't include an insert but still has held up well for us in the Pacific Northwest). Usually the shell has a DWR finish and is treated with a water-resistant coating to shed snow. A non-waterproof design like the Hestra Fall Line can work just fine on clear days, and a well-maintained leather glove can definitely do the trick all season long (for more on this topic, see the care section below). But a fully waterproof design is the safer bet for most weekend warriors.
Caring For Leather Gloves
A good number of our favorite ski gloves above include leather in the construction. The natural material is supple and offers excellent dexterity, but it also requires occasional maintenance to avoid absorbing moisture. Most leather gloves come pre-treated, so it’s not something you’ll need to do right away (the Kinco above are one exception). But if you start noticing the material soaking up moisture—also known as “wetting out”—it’s a good indicator that the leather needs some work. Sno-Seal is a beeswax-based solution that is a long-time favorite among skiers. It does require some effort—including baking the glove in an oven—and will darken the leather, but it’s a proven formula that effectively repels moisture. Less involved treatments that still provide good protection include Nikwax’s Waterproofing Wax and Hestra’s Leather Balm. Finally, for gloves with a combination of leather and nylon, we recommend Nikwax’s Glove Proof, which adds a solid water-resistant coating to the outer materials.
In general, warmth and dexterity go hand in hand. A heavily insulated glove like the Black Diamond Guide is bulkier and harder to use for tasks like unbuckling a ski boot or grabbing your phone. In addition, ease of use correlates with style: gloves are significantly more dexterous than mittens, and 3-finger mitts split the difference. A final element is the level of R&D—high-end gloves and mitts are better tailored to fit a hand and have a pre-curved shape for a natural feel.
Individual needs will vary, but dexterity shouldn’t be the top consideration for most resort skiers. Even a very thick glove or mitten is serviceable for gripping a ski pole for downhill use (unzipping a pocket and pulling out your phone without removing your gloves is a different story, however). We look for a good mix of freedom of movement without compromising in warmth and protection, which is why we find a glove like the Hestra Heli just about perfect. It’s when you ski big mountains, venture off trail in harsh conditions, or need added dexterity for handling backcountry or ice tools that’s it becomes worth it to upgrade to an option like the Black Diamond Legend or Arc’teryx Fission SV.
Different skiers prefer different cuff lengths, but there are some concrete concepts that can help make your decision easier. Longer gauntlet-style gloves extend well beyond your wrist covering the cuff of your ski jacket. Generally, they are warmer because they have more insulation and seal out the cold very effectively with a draw cord. They also offer slightly less range of movement in your wrist with more material in the way. Shorter gauntlet-style gloves that barely cover the cuffs on a jacket leave a pathway for moisture to enter in really wet conditions (more on wrist cinches in our features section), but this style is also the easiest to get on and off.
Shorter undercuff gloves tuck into your ski jacket, which requires more work than simply sliding on a gauntlet glove, and they don’t offer quite as much warmth. Also, if your sleeves ride up when you’re reaching forward, say to plant a ski pole, you can expose some skin. On the other hand, they offer more agility with less bulk getting in your way of wrist movement and are easier to ventilate. Many of Hestra's freeride gloves are undercuff, and some backcountry skiers prefer the freedom you get with this style. Gauntlets are popular for maximum protection in deep powder and cold weather (or wet) resort days.
Should I Get Gloves with Removable Liners?
Across all price ranges, you’ll have the choice between gloves that are made with or without removable liners. In general, gloves with removable liners will be slightly warmer but are a little bulkier and less dexterous. For us, the most compelling reason to choose a glove with a liner is that it’s more adaptable to different temperatures. You can wear the shell on a warm spring day and use both (or swap out other liners you may own) for the rest of the season. Another benefit is that it’s easier to dry out the gloves if they happen to get wet by separating the two pieces. And as a bonus, if you get a glove with thin liners (like the Dakine Titan), you can use them for activities like cold-weather running or driving.
Fit and Sizing
A proper-fitting glove helps maximize everything from warmth to dexterity, so it’s worth the time to nail down your ideal size. And while the market isn’t consistent with how they list glove and mitten sizing—you’ll see standard small, medium, and large options as well as numbers-based listings from a brand like Hestra—the good news is that most rely on a simple hand circumference measurement. To get your size, wrap a soft tape measure around the widest point of your hand (typically right behind the knuckles) and match it to the manufacturer’s corresponding range. If you wind up in between sizes, it’s best to go up to avoid pinch points and being overly tight (which compromises both comfort and warmth).
It’s worth noting that relying on your hand circumference isn’t a foolproof process, as the sizing doesn’t account for finger length, so it’s always ideal to try them on before purchasing. But if you need to buy online or just prefer the convenience, following the manufacturer-specific fit guidelines (avoid generic charts) and buying from a reputable ski retailer with a good return policy is a smart way to go.
Additional Ski Glove Features
It's 2023, so why wouldn't you want touch-screen sensitivity on your ski gloves? A number of manufacturers now offer exactly that (including the Burton Gore-Tex and The North Face Montana), so that you can snap photos or videos without taking your gloves off. You'll most often find the technology, however, on thin gloves and liners where it's easier to incorporate, plus the thinner liners are more precise when typing. On some models, only pointer fingers and thumbs are touch-screen compatible. Overall, we consider this a nice feature if a glove you like has it, but not one that we would alter our purchase for.
Gauntlet-style gloves in particular often have a cinch or draw cord to tighten the opening where snow can enter (this differs from a wrist strap, which tightens the glove over the hand and wrist). By pulling the cinch or draw cord, you can effectively prevent moisture from entering your glove in all but the wettest of conditions. Much like a powder skirt on a ski jacket, this can be very effective at tightening down your gear before skiing through the deep stuff.
Wrist leashes—also known as keeper cords or retention straps—are a fairly common feature among resort models as a way to keep you and your gloves together should you take a serious fall. The design is simple: you slide your wrists through the adjustable cuffs (they can be as minimalist as a piece of string), and a strap connects you to the gloves. The main advantage is not leaving them behind if you take a tumble, but the straps also provide security if you remove your gloves while riding the chairlift. It’s certainly not a necessary feature, and some don’t like the extra bulk, but most skiers find the tradeoff worth it for the added peace of mind on the slopes. From our picks above, wrist leashes are included on gauntlet-length designs like the Hestra Heli, Black Diamond Guide, and Gordini Storm.
It's not easy to grab a tissue with your gloves on, so many models feature a soft patch of fabric on the thumb or pointer finger to help with your runny nose. Nose wipes are good in a pinch and the fabric helps to avoid irritation that you might get from doing the same thing with tough shell fabric. Of course, they lose their effectiveness when overused or when the temperature really drops, but they are a nice touch nevertheless.
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