Seeking the best ski gloves for your snow adventures? We have tested 60+ pairs in the last 8 years. For 2021, we pit 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 ski mountaineering missions spanning across the US, Canada, and Europe. We also put them through controlled temperature and water-resistance tests. Our assessments are based on the areas of performance you care about.Related: Best Ski Gloves for Women of 2021
Best Ski Gloves for Men of 2021
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|Pros||Warm, water resistant, durable, dexterous, lightweight and packable||Extremely warm, weather resistant||Excellent dexterity and durability, fairly warm, water resistant||Super warm, extremely tough, great weather resistance, removable liners help them dry quicker, our go-to expedition glove||WARM, lifetime warranty, basically two gloves in one, super water resistant|
|Cons||Expensive, lacks some features||Very expensive, heavy, bulky||Expensive, lacks some nice features||Not very dexterous, take time to break in, if in between sizes you should consider sizing up||Not super dexterous, inner glove not as durable|
|Bottom Line||With top-tier performance across the board, this glove is what we recommend to those seeking the best pair||For the coldest conditions on earth||A weather-resistant and warm glove that retains dexterity, ideal for ski touring||For really cold activities, where giving up some dexterity for some serious warmth is a must, these gloves are hard to beat||The ideal glove for multi-day ski tours and spending a lot of time in the backcountry|
|Rating Categories||Arc'teryx Fission SV||Outdoor Research Ca...||Arc'teryx Sabre||Black Diamond Guide||Outdoor Research Alti|
|Water Resistance (25%)|
|Specs||Arc'teryx Fission SV||Outdoor Research Ca...||Arc'teryx Sabre||Black Diamond Guide||Outdoor Research Alti|
|Double or Single Glove||Single||Single||Single||Double||Double|
|Gaunlet or Cuff?||Gauntlet||Gauntlet||Cuff||Gauntlet||Gauntlet|
|Palm Material||Leather||Goat leather||Leather||Goat leather||Alpengrip|
|Waterproof Material||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex insert||Gore-tex||Gore-Tex insert||Gore-Tex insert|
|Insulation Type||133g Primaloft Gold Eco and 200g Primaloft Silver Eco||Back of hand: 200 g/m2 PrimaLoft HiLoft Silver
Palm: 133g/m2 EnduraLoft
|Primaloft||170g PrimaLoft Gold and 100g boiled wool fleece lining||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
Best Overall Ski Gloves
Arc'teryx Fission SV
The Arc'teryx Fission SV is the all-around highest performing glove in our review. Other gloves might be 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. We would throw this pair in our packs just in case other gloves failed to protect us during testing on cold and wet days. This glove particularly excels in weather resistance and warmth. Both qualities are excellent and come without compromise to the model's weight, dexterity, or durability. The Fission SV was impenetrable to water during our submersion test. It kept us warm with synthetic yet breathable insulation during the coldest days in the mountains, from ski resorts to ski mountaineering missions.
The downsides to this glove are minimal, but we think that the wrist cinch strap could be improved to provide better security. Our testers also found that this glove runs slightly large, and we'd recommend purchasing a size down from your regular glove size unless you plan to wear a thin liner inside the glove. The Fission SV is a great glove for most skiers and riders who demand the utmost in weather resistance, warmth, and dexterity. They are also perfect for other winter pursuits like ice climbing, ski mountaineering, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cold urban travel.
Read review: Arc'teryx Fission SV
Best Overall Ski Mittens
Black Diamond Mercury Mitt
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt is the best overall mitten in our test group. It proved to be the most weather-resistant mitten, coupled with decent dexterity, and it is unquestionably the warmest mitten we tested. The Mercury performed very well for its weather resistance in real-world use and our side-by-side testings and offered bomber construction. We liked the additional features like its optional internal index finger slot for improved dexterity and the hanging loop for quicker drying or to hang from a harness while climbing. We loved that this mitt comes with an insulated liner, which is much more dexterous than the shell.
The Mercury's elaborate liner is built with 340g of PrimaLoft, has a fleece lining, is covered with BDry waterproof fabric, and is seriously warm. The only downside of the Mercury Mitt is that it seemed to pack out a little faster than other models we tested. Overall, these mitts might be the best bet for folks who tend to run cold.
Read review: Black Diamond Mercury Mitt
Best Bang for your Buck
Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II
Ski gloves come and go, but the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II has been around for a long time, and we hope it stays that way. Our testers are continually impressed by how well this glove can hang with the big dogs while costing significantly less. This glove is more than capable of meeting the needs of the average resort skier. It has a lot of leather for the price, boosting its longevity into multiple ski seasons. It's also very waterproof — we never experienced cold or 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 hinders dexterity for general tasks and rules out fine motor skills, like opening small zippers or searching for items in pockets. We'd recommend a more dexterous glove for users with more refined dexterity needs, like on-snow professionals or parents. Still, for the price, these shortcomings are minor, and we would recommend these gloves to anyone who needs high-performance gloves at a bargain price.
Read review: Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II
Best for Backcountry Skiing
The Arc'teryx Sabre is a warm, waterproof, and durable glove that is exceptionally dexterous for the weight. It features enough lightweight synthetic insulation for most cold days, durable yet supple palm leather and a Gore-Tex insert to keep water out, and a velcro cuff closure that fits cleanly beneath a jacket cuff. The glove is lined with a soft furry material, making it feel very cozy and comfortable while integrating smart tailoring and stitching to preserve dexterity. For backcountry skiers who need a glove that will keep them warm and dry without compromising their ability to use their fingers, this glove is perfect.
Still, the glove is not as warm as others in the review, and on days when the temperatures dropped below zero degrees Fahrenheit, we either reached for warmer gloves or had to work hard to keep our fingers warm. The wrist cuff is not as long and protective as the gauntlets on other burly gloves, and there is no nose wipe or zippered pockets. For advanced users who know how to keep their hands warm and who like to wear their gloves inside their jacket cuffs, these are a great choice.
Read review: Arc'teryx Sabre Glove
Best Glove for Warmth
Black Diamond Guide
The Black Diamond Guide is the warmest non-heated glove we tested, making it a perfect option for cold-weather snowboarding, skiing, and mountaineering. Tester Ian Nicholson wore them during a summit of Denali on a day with a daytime high of -38F. He summited in -42F and has used this glove on ten Denali trips since. We think the glove is warmer than several price-pointed mittens on the market. The Guide features removable liners, which makes drying them a breeze, while the molded EVA foam padding on the knuckles and fingers adds protection and warmth. They are also super sturdy and easily among the most durable gloves we reviewed.
While they can still perform many tasks, it's obvious that these gloves aren't as dexterous as most gloves out there. There's too much thick leather and insulation, which make the gloves super warm and water-resistant, but get in the way of fine motor skills. Also, the inner liner isn't that refined. It's nothing special, although we appreciate the versatility that this double glove provides. Despite the above points, we had few gripes with this glove. The BD Guide gloves are deservingly popular due to their cold-weather performance.
Read review: Black Diamond Guide
Why You Should Trust Us
Exum Ski Guide and IFMGA Mountain Guide Jeff Dobronyi leads our test team for this comparative review. Jeff leads skiers on powder safaris worldwide to the best resorts, sidecountry freeride runs, and backcountry ski tours. He logs over 100 days on skis each year and needs gloves that will keep his hands warm and keep water out. He goes through a few pairs of gloves each season and knows which gloves will last and which will fall apart after a few weeks. From rappelling into steep couloirs to digging snowpits and helping skiers climb out of deep powder, Jeff's gloves take a beating.
To find the best ski gloves and mitts available, we started by digging deep into the market. After extensive research of high-quality and popular gloves, we purchased the most intriguing models and sent them to our expert testers. Then we thoroughly used and evaluated each pair and scored them in key performance metrics. We tested warmth by riding chairlifts and skiing in the Cascades, Alps, Wasatch, British Columbia, Jackson Hole, and Northeast US, as well as working in the field with avalanche and snow conditions assessment teams. We tested dexterity by peeling and sticking lift tickets to our jackets, writing notes with the gloves on, buckling boots, and unlocking car doors. We also tested water resistance by dunking the gloves in a bucket of water for two minutes and comparing the results.
Related: How We Tested Ski Gloves
Analysis and Test Results
As consumers, we have high expectations of our gloves. Gloves and mittens create a haven for our hands and protect them from the harsh bite of winter air. We rely on our gloves to keep our sensitive fingers warm and sheltered from the elements while resort riding or touring. We don't want them to be too bulky or cumbersome, yet we don't want to sacrifice weather resistance or warmth. If the gloves can perform in all conditions and be versatile across many outdoor sport disciplines, even better. Our expectations of specific award winners are to excel in a light backcountry ski tour and provide the dexterity, durability, and warmth to summit aColorado 14er on a near-zero Fahrenheit day.
Related: Buying Advice for Ski Gloves
All of the gloves featured in this review are great products that stand above the vast majority of the market offerings. A low score in our review doesn't mean that the glove is unworthy of your attention. We had to be picky to find the best of the best. All scores are relative to the other products reviewed, and each performance metric is weighted relative to its general importance, which produces an overall score.
Every skier has a budget, and although we strive to test gear without regard for price, we also make a note of products that score above or below what we think is reasonable, given their price. While many of the best gloves are also the most expensive, there are a few options that provide excellent performance at a lower price than similar products. We bought several promising, affordable gloves, and the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II impressed us the most. It covers the bases better than any model in its price range. It keeps our hands warm and dry and has displayed excellent durability.
In general, the less expensive gloves have less of a focus on durability and dexterity in their materials and construction. When treated properly, real leather should last longer than synthetic fabrics, especially in high-use areas like the palms and fingertips. Genuine leather is also more expensive, which means you'll have to pay more for higher-quality gloves. Warmth is usually correlated with price, as more insulation makes a glove more expensive. Water resistance can be achieved without using expensive Gore-Tex membranes, although in general, Gore-tex gloves proved more weatherproof in our tests than the less expensive alternatives. It takes skilled garment designers to put all of the components together in a warm, waterproof, and durable glove without sacrificing dexterity. We were impressed by the Arc'teryx Fission SV because it combines all of the performance attributes into a comfortable and streamlined glove that is a pleasure to wear. However, you'll pay for this performance. The warmest gloves on the market have battery-powered internal heating devices, which are nice for early mornings on the slopes and during the winter's coldest days. These gloves are universally more expensive than even the most pricy unheated model.
Every skier and rider demands a different level of warmth from their gloves or mittens. Some people run cold and are always taking breaks to warm up their hands. Other people can ski all day wearing no more than leather work gloves. Skiers and riders in wetter climates, like the rainy Pacific Northwest or Atlantic Northeast, need gloves that will repel water and remain breathable on warmer days. In contrast, skiers in the drier, colder climates, like the Rocky Mountains, need a lot of warmth for below-zero temperatures.
We spent over 100 days skiing and snowboarding in these gloves with a backpack full of contenders, cycling through them all day. Testers also wore different gloves on each hand during the same runs and chairlift rides to do a true side-by-side warmth comparison. We tested palm insulation by holding ice axes and ski poles on cold ski tours.
Except for the heated gloves (more on that below), the warmest glove we tested was the Black Diamond Guide. Tester Ian Nicholson used them to summit two mountains over 20,000 ft above sea level and never changed into his mittens, despite summit temperatures as low as -42F. The next warmest contender is the Outdoor Research Alti Glove. While only slightly less warm, they have been worn by tester Jeff Rogers on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire with an ambient temperature of -38F and 70mph winds, resulting in a -80F windchill. He still has his fingers. The Gordini Storm Trooper II and the Fission SValso provided enough warmth for the mountains' coldest days. On the other hand, the REI Guide Insulated seemed to have little more warming capabilities than your average leather work glove.
This one was pretty easy to determine. We found the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt to be the top dog by a wide margin. The Montana Etip Futurelight Mitt from The North Face is extremely waterproof and warmer than every unheated glove option (although it's very close with the BD Guide), but it's not as warm as the Mercury Mitt.
Heated Glove Warmth
Many manufacturers now offer gloves that produce heat internally instead of solely retaining your hand's natural warmth. We tested the Black Diamond Solano, Outdoor Research StormTracker, and the Outdoor Research Capstone. Each glove has three heat settings. Usually, the lowest setting lasted all day, while the highest setting consistently drained the batteries within a couple of hours during our tests. These gloves are able to take our hands from numb to warm in a matter of minutes at the press of a button. For the Capstone and the Solano, some of our testers preferred to blast them on high for a few minutes and then turn them off to save battery power. We usually left the thin StormTracker gloves on low heat for the entire day.
Our testers agreed that the Capstone is the warmest of the heated models, both with and without the heating element turned on. It also has a wrist cinch that helps seal heat inside the glove. The Solano is a touch thinner and less warm without the electricity turned on. The StormTracker comes in at a lower price but lacks durability and insulation and is especially cold when the batteries die. The thin softshell construction makes them lightweight and dexterous but does not make up for the lack of warmth.
To test dexterity, we skied in the gloves all day and attempted to perform every necessary task without removing them. We also performed objective tests by doing a series of side-by-side tasks to make clear distinctions between products. These tasks included reaching into pockets for car keys, attaching lift tickets to pockets, using zippers, adjusting goggles on a helmet, tying the laces on winter boots, tying climbing knots with rope, and writing legibly with a pen on paper.
The REI Guide Insulated easily wins the dexterity category with its thin fingers and minimal insulation. The glove also lacks a waterproof membrane or effective insulation, making them relatively useless for most days at the ski area. However, for those who need a dexterous glove for milder conditions, such as ski instructors, backcountry skiers, or ski patrollers, these are a great choice as a second, lighter, inexpensive glove. We were blown away by the excellent dexterity of the Arc'teryx Sabre, given the gloves' solid warmth and water resistance. The Hestra Fall Line also provides excellent dexterity and slightly more insulation. We were impressed by the dexterity of the relatively warm Black Diamond Legend, but the supple leather on the fingers and palm wore out quickly. The Fission SV is close behind, with great dexterity and none of the aforementioned downsides. That balance is a significant reason why the Fission SV is our top choice overall.
Among the heated gloves, the OR Stormtracker offer good dexterity, while the OR Capstone is too bulky to perform most tasks. That said, the Capstone has well-tailored fingers that impressed us but had two heavy batteries per hand that made the glove feel unwieldy and clumsy.
The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt lacks dexterity, despite featuring an internal trigger finger on its liner. The trigger finger is optional, as the inner mitten is sewn wide enough to keep all four fingers together, should you opt to do so. While this design was nice in theory, it added a fair amount of bulk to the mitten. Among the mitts, The North Face Montana Etip Futurelight is the most dextrous. If you need the warmth of a mitten but don't want a heated option and require some dexterity, the BD Guide Glove is almost as warm as a mitten.
In some climates, like the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast, water is encountered regularly. In others, like the Rocky Mountains, dry snow is the norm. We wore each glove in wet weather in Washington and British Columbia and tested for water resistance using a 2-minute submersion test in a water bucket. The best gloves kept all liquid water out of the interior chamber and resisted soaking in the outer shell fabric. The worst performers soaked through quickly and lack an adequate waterproof membrane.
The Fission SV is the most water-resistant glove in our review. Its softshell exterior and sturdy leather easily repelled occasional water droplets, and the Gore-Tex membrane prevented any water from penetrating the interior of the glove. A large gauntlet and cinch cord further sealed out the elements. We were also impressed by the weather resistance of the OR Alti and Black Diamond Guide. The Montana and Mercury mitts also performed well during water resistance testing and kept water out completely.
Aside from the fabric itself, water can also enter a glove through the wrist opening. Most gloves in our review feature a large wrist gauntlet with a drawstring closure that overlaps with a jacket's wrist cuff, making a formidable defense against water trying to enter the glove. This gauntlet, as seen on the Mercury Mitt, BD Guide, and Fission SV, among others, can be worn on the outside or the inside of a jacket sleeve.
Of the heated gloves, the OR Capstone kept water out entirely. The OR Stormtracker is a lot less water-resistant due to a softshell outer fabric.
We measured durability based on our experiences with each model. We punished these products during the testing period with daily and prolonged use over multiple ski seasons. We also utilized valuable input from dozens of other users and OutdoorGearLab friends.
We're continually impressed with Hestra's offerings, which feature excellent design and craftsmanship, as well as high-quality materials, model after model. Other impressive models include the Black Diamond Guide, Marmot Ultimate, Fission SV, and Arc'teryx Sabre. All have a beefy leather exterior and stood up to whatever our testing team threw at them. Regarding the budget-friendly options, the Gordini GTX Storm Trooper II provides impressive longevity.
Some gloves wore out quickly during our testing. The REI Guide Insulated showed significant wear and tear on the leather palm after only a few days of use, and the internal liner developed a hole in one of the fingers early on. We were also disappointed in the Black Diamond Legend's durability, 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. Black Diamond, Arc'teryx, and REI also have friendly warranty programs to protect your investment.
Ski gloves come with a set of features that augment the glove's performance and make your day more convenient and comfortable on the ski hill. We inspected and used all of the features on each glove to get a good idea of which had a robust set of tools and which were bare-bones. We compared features such as gauntlet or cuff closures, wrist cinches, nose wipes, wrist leashes, clips, and heating elements. We also noted if the gloves came with liners.
We were impressed with the Mercury Mitt's thoughtful design, including 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 Gordini Storm Trooper II also packs a full set of features, including a nose wipe, wrist cinch, thoughtful gantlet, and clips.
Phones are an essential tool in our daily life, and the glove market has recognized their necessity by providing touchscreen-compatible gloves. The liners of the Outdoor Research Highcamp and Dakines Titan are touchscreen compatible, and The North Face Montana Etip Futurelight Mitt allowed for flawless smartphone use, which is rare for a mitten. This means you don't have to take your gloves off to answer your smartphone, take a photo, push play on your favorite playlist, or update your social media.
With so many ski gloves and mittens on the market, it can be daunting to try to find the best pair for your needs. Our expert testers sorted through the field and tested the best of the best. They assessed each pair's strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to easily find the best glove or mitten for your preferences and your budget. From light and dexterous gloves for warm spring days to heavily insulated options for the coldest winter ski trips, there is something in this review for everyone. Happy shopping, and we'll see you on the slopes.
— Ian Nicholson, Jeff Dobronyi, Jeff Rogers, and Travis Poulin
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