The 10 Best Ski PantsPublished on 06/27/2023 · 10 min readGear up for your next skiing adventure with the right ski pants! Stay dry, warm, and stylish on the slopes with these top-rated recommendations!
Photo by Laura Jin
So, you're gearing up for your next skiing adventure, and you know what's essential for a long day of shredding up the slopes? The right pair of ski pants! Ski pants are a crucial part of your ski gear, providing protection from the elements and ensuring you stay comfortable and warm throughout your day on the slopes.
In this guide, we will go over some of the most important factors to consider when on the hunt for the perfect pair of ski pants. Once we’ve gotten those out of the way, we will jump into our list of the top five ski pants for both men and women. Hopefully this will help you narrow down your hunt for the perfect pair of pants for skiing. Let's get started!
Factors to Consider When Choosing Ski Pants
There are a few factors we should touch on first, so that you have an idea of things to keep in the back of your mind as you look for the perfect pair of ski pants.
Waterproof and Breathable Materials
You want ski pants that can handle whatever weather Mother Nature throws at you. Look for pants made from waterproof materials like Gore-Tex or similar fabrics. These will keep you dry and protected from snow, moisture, and even the occasional fall. If you tend to run warm, or hike a lot during your ski days, opt for pants with breathable properties to allow moisture and sweat to escape, which will keep you comfortable and dry.
Insulation and Warmth
Staying warm is crucial when you're out on the chilly slopes. Ski pants come with various levels of insulation, so consider the temperature and conditions you'll be skiing in. For colder climates, pants with higher insulation—such as those with synthetic or down-filled linings—will keep you cozy. However, for milder conditions or if you’re planning on doing any hiking, lighter insulation is a better option to prevent overheating.
Fit and Comfort
Comfort is key when you're spending long hours on the slopes. Look for ski pants with a relaxed fit that allows for freedom of movement. Consider options with articulated knees or stretch fabrics for enhanced flexibility. Adjustable waistbands or suspenders can help achieve a customized fit, ensuring your pants stay in place throughout your skiing adventures. When trying on your ski pants for the first time, be sure to wear whatever layers you’d wear on a normal ski day. That will ensure, if you do layer under your ski pants, that there is enough room to do so!
Durability and Reinforcement
Skiing can be demanding of your gear, so durability is crucial. Look for pants made from durable materials, reinforced in high-wear areas like the knees, seat, and (most importantly!) around the inside of your ankles. This will ensure that your pants last through multiple seasons of skiing, and can withstand impacts from your skis, boots, the elements, and anything else you might encounter.
If you’re doing very active ski pursuits, such as backcountry touring or hiking in the sidecountry—or if you tend to run pretty warm—you may find that just a breathable fabric on your pants doesn’t cut it. Good news: a lot of ski pants come with ventilation features! Many pants have zippered vents along the inner thighs or mesh-lined pockets that provide airflow. These features allow you to regulate your body temperature and prevent overheating, keeping you comfortable and dry on the slopes all day long.
Pay attention to extra features that can enhance your skiing experience. Pockets are handy for storing small essentials like lip balm or a lift pass. Boot gaiters with elastic or adjustable cuffs help keep snow out of your boots. Reinforced cuffs or scuff guards protect the pants from ski edges and boot damage.
Ok! Now that we have covered some of the basics to keep in mind while shopping around for ski pants, let’s get into our list of the best ski pants!
Top Recommended Ski Pants
Men’s Ski Pants
A long-time fan-favorite, The North Face Freedom Pants are designed to offer exceptional performance and comfort on the slopes. They feature a waterproof and breathable DryVent shell, keeping you dry and protected from the elements. The Freedom Pants offer a relaxed fit for freedom of movement. They are also equipped with reinforced kick patches and gaiters for added durability. With ample pocket space and adjustable waist tabs, these pants are as functional as they are stylish. While these pants come in an insulated version, I find that men typically prefer the non-insulated version (as most men report running warm), and these particular pants are thick enough without insulation to keep you warm on the slopes anyway.
2. Arc’teryx Sabre AR Pants
For those seeking high-performance ski pants, the Arc'teryx Sabre Pants are a top-notch choice. These pants are constructed with Gore-Tex fabric, providing outstanding waterproofing and breathability. With a relaxed fit and articulated knees, the Sabre Pants offer unrestricted movement on the slopes. They also feature integrated belt loops, adjustable waist tabs, and powder cuffs to seal out snow. With their sleek design and exceptional functionality, the Arc'teryx Sabre Pants are high-end pants that can handle the most demanding backcountry conditions, but are also great for skiers looking for something sturdy to wear during resort laps.
The Flylow Baker Bib Pants offer a winning combination of style, durability, and protection. These bib-style ski pants are made from a three-layer waterproof fabric, ensuring that you stay dry in wet conditions. With fully-taped seams and waterproof zippers, the Baker Bib Pants provide excellent protection against snow and moisture. They come with some handy features such as multiple pockets, adjustable shoulder straps, and reinforced cuffs for added durability. Whether you're heading out for some backcountry skiing or hitting a ski resort, these pants are ready to handle anything you throw at them.
The Obermeyer Force Pants are designed to keep you warm and comfortable in the coldest of weather conditions. They feature Thermore insulation, providing excellent warmth without adding bulk. The Force Pants also come with a waterproof and breathable HydroBlock shell, ensuring you stay dry even if it’s snowing, raining, or you take a tumble. They have articulated knees for unrestricted movement and adjustable velcro waist tabs for a personalized fit. With their stylish design and functional features, the Obermeyer Force Pants are a reliable choice for any winter adventure.
excellent option. These pants are constructed with a stretchy fabric that offers freedom of movement while maintaining durability. They are so stretchy and comfortable, you won’t even feel like you’re wearing snow pants at all! The Recon Stretch LT Pants feature a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish as well as a waterproof outer layer, providing water resistance in both light and heavy snow conditions. They come with zippered thigh vents for temperature regulation and have several pockets to store your pass, keys, phone, wallet, or snacks.
Women’s Ski Pants
If you're looking for both warmth and freedom of movement, the North Face Freedom Insulated ski pants have you covered. These pants feature lightweight insulation, keeping you toasty without feeling bulky. They are also equipped with a waterproof yet breathable DryVent technology, so you stay dry even when the snow starts falling. The Freedom Insulated pants come with a range of practical features like adjustable waist tabs for a personalized fit and articulated knees for unrestricted mobility. Zippered vents on the inner thighs provide excellent ventilation when things heat up on the slopes.
When it comes to versatility and weather protection, the Outdoor Research Skyward II AscentShell ski pants are hard to beat. These pants are made with AscentShell fabric, which offers remarkable waterproofing without compromising breathability. So, you'll stay dry from the outside and comfortable on the inside. The Skyward II pants are designed more for active pursuits, such as ski touring, hiking, or sidecountry, with articulated knees and an adjustable waistband ensuring a comfortable fit and unrestricted movement. But with functional features like reinforced kick patches and internal gaiters, these pants can handle rugged terrains and long ski days, no matter what type of skiing you’re doing.
Looking for the perfect blend of style, functionality, and protection? Look no further than the Flylow Foxy 3L Bib Pants. These bib-style ski pants are designed to keep you dry and comfortable in all conditions. They feature a three-layer waterproof and breathable fabric, making them a reliable choice for any weather. The Foxy 3L Bib Pants come with a variety of handy features like ample pockets for storage, adjustable shoulder straps for a customized fit, and reinforced cuffs for added durability. Whether you're dropping into deep powder or navigating technical terrain, these pants have you covered. Though they are not insulated, the extra bib-style protection on the chest and stomach keeps your upper a bit warmer and adds an extra layer under your ski jackets.
If you want a cozy option for your ski adventures, the Patagonia Powder Town Insulated pants are worth considering. With their stylish design and synthetic insulation, they'll keep you warm and looking great. These pants feature a waterproof and breathable H2No Performance Standard shell (Patagonia’s version of Gore-Tex), providing excellent protection against the elements. The Powder Town Insulated pants also have practical features like adjustable waist tabs, articulated knees, and boot gaiters to keep the snow out. While color isn’t a main consideration when choosing ski pants, they do come in a wide variety of color options, which is great if you’re looking to match the rest of your ski kit!
5. Arc’teryx Sentinel AR
When it comes to high-performance ski pants, the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR is at the top of the game. These pants are constructed with Gore-Tex fabric, offering exceptional waterproofing and breathability. These pants can help you tackle the most challenging weather conditions with confidence, knowing that you're protected. The Sentinel AR pants feature a women-specific design, ensuring a comfortable and precise fit. They also come with thoughtful details like large pockets for storing essentials, reinforced knees and seat for added durability, and an integrated belt for easy adjustment. They also come in a light version (designated LT) that's better suited for backcountry skiers wanting something durable but lightweight, though I prefer the AR (All Round) version because they are a bit more durable and warmer!
Next Steps for Finding the Right Ski Pants
Well, we've covered a lot of ground when it comes to choosing the top ski pants for your adventures. As you can tell, finding the right pair of ski pants is a major factor in staying comfortable and protected on the mountain. Remember, it's not just about looking cool on the mountain (although that's a bonus!): it’s also about staying warm, dry, and flexible as you carve up those slopes.
A quality pair of ski pants is an investment in your comfort, performance, and enjoyment on the slopes. Trust me, when you're out there gliding through the snow, feeling warm, dry, and unrestricted, you'll appreciate the thought you put into choosing the right ski pants. If you want to chat things over before setting on the right pair for you—or if you have any other questions regarding ski gear—reach out to a Skiing Expert, such as myself, here on Curated. We would be happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction in finding the perfect pair for you!