The 6 Best Ski & Snowboard Gloves and MittensPublished on 07/01/2023 · 7 min readKeep your hands cozy on the slopes this season by making sure you have a good pair of gloves or mittens! Read on for 6 Expert recommended picks!
Photo by Dima Zel
Tl,dr: A quality pair of gloves or mittens should be a part of every skier’s and snowboarder’s setup. With all the different features, including insulation material, waterproof rating, dexterity, and durability, it can be difficult to determine what the best option would be for you. In this glove and mitten guide, I’ve detailed all my favorite options for nearly every situation on the mountain.
There's only one thing that will stop me from skiing—frozen fingers. I can handle harsh snow, storm days, laps on nothing but ice and even rain, but once my fingers feel like they've spent considerable time with polar bears, spending time on the slopes is miserable.
We've all been there: the frustration of having freezing fingers can quickly turn the best deep powder day of your life into something that resembles a nightmare. It spoils the fun and sends us running to the local ski shop to find a solution.
And so, without further ado, here are my favorite recommendations for mittens and gloves that will keep your fingers warm and you skiing or snowboarding on the slopes all day long.
Expert-Recommended Gloves and Mittens
1. The Best Gloves Overall: Hestra Leather Heli
The Hestra Leather Heli Gloves (men’s version) have earned the number one spot on the podium. Between their ridiculous comfort and warmth, they have become one of my favorite pieces of gear. The goat leather palm provides both excellent waterproofing and dexterity for all your ski resort adventures.
- Combination of fleece and synthetic insulation creates one of the warmest ski glove options on the market
- Fantastic dexterity without sacrificing warmth
- Features like gauntlet style cuffs to tuck your jacket sleeve inside and removable liners
- Leather requires maintenance
- A bit too much for backcountry adventures
As an alternate option, my brother, who tends to have warm fingers, uses the Hestra Fall Line 5 Finger Gloves (women’s version) and loves them.
2. The Best Waterproofing: Hestra Army Leather GORE-TEX 5-Finger
I'll start by saying that no glove or mitt is 100% waterproof. Many gloves use waterproof and water-resistant fabric, but there isn't much technology to guarantee that water cannot seep through the seams and stitching. The same is true for jackets and pants. Nonetheless, some do a better job than others.
Hestra makes a glove one step above the Hestra Army Leather Heli Gloves: the Army Leather GORE-TEX 5-Finger Glove. These are nearly identical, with one notable exception. To prevent water-soaked fingers, Hestra placed a GORE-TEX insert or membrane between the outer leather layer and the inner liner. While this improves waterproofing, it makes the liner irremovable.
- Maximum waterproofing from utilizing GORE-TEX technology
- Exceptional comfort and warmth
- Higher quality waterproofing technology comes at a higher price
- Inner glove liner is not removable and the outer leather requires maintenance
3. The Best Budget-Friendly Option: Dakine Sequoia Mittens
High quality gloves get expensive really quickly, and while I think spending a little extra to keep your hands and fingers comfortable is worth it, I understand wanting to save a little cash. When I completely tore the thumb off a pair of gloves while in university, I replaced them with the Women's Dakine Sequoia Mittens (Men's Dakine Titan Mittens). These both come in a glove version (Women’s Version, Men’s Version) as well. I still have and use these to date. There are cheaper options available, but durability and insulation decrease dramatically.
- Budget friendly—easily the most insulated (synthetic fill) in the sub-$100 price range
- Features include gauntlet cuff option to keep the snow out and warmth in, wrist strap, leashes, and zippered pockets for your lift pass
- Removable liners/inserts with touchscreen compatibility
- I was wrapping up my AIRE Level 1 course in Avalanche Safety up in Snoqualmie Pass in Washington when, for about an hour, it poured heavy rain. The mittens quickly became sponge-like and my fingers became a dangerous combination of both wet and cold
- Comes with a squeegee for your goggles. This is a really nice idea, but speaking from personal experience, this can scratch the lens of your goggles.
4. The Best Heated Option: Outdoor Research Prevail Heated Mittens
While on the more expensive side, there's nothing like using batteries to ensure your fingers never get cold. Outdoor Research makes the best heated mittens in the market, specifically the Outdoor Research Prevail Heated Mittens—and they've been at the top of the list for years. All features, gauntlet cuffs, mitten style, polyester fleece insulation, GORE-TEX waterproofing, and more are designed to prevent your fingers from feeling the cold.
- The ultimate mitten to keep you warm. This is the best of the best if cold fingers and/or sub-zero temperatures are a concern
- Battery life does not last long on the high setting
Expert Tip: Most heated gloves/mittens have three different heat settings: high, medium and low. If you run the gloves on the high setting, you'll only get about two hours of heat. Instead, crank the setting to high for about 10–15 minutes, and then reduce the setting to low. I find this keeps your fingers the warmest while still protecting battery life.
5. The Warmest Option Without Batteries: Black Diamond Mercury Mitts
Mittens, mittens, mittens! I made the switch to mittens on my resort days, and I'll never look back. Black Diamond Mercury Mitts feature PrimaLoft Gold insulation and use both nylon and leather to maximize warmth, waterproofing and durability.
- This is the warmest your fingers will get without using battery power
- Excellent insulation for the price
- Includes features like a gauntlet cuff, fleece lining, and durable goat leather palms
- Poles can be harder or less comfortable to grab with any kind of mitten
Fun fact: I'm actually a biologist first and a skier second. From a biological standpoint, the reason that female skiers and boarders often suffer from cold fingers and toes more often than their male counterparts is because our bodies distribute heat first around the reproductive organs. This is incredibly beneficial when it comes to growing a small human, but is a significant disadvantage for winter activities.
As an alternative, Hestra also makes a really great pair of mittens that keep your fingers warm and dry.
6. The Best Dexterity: Black Diamond Guide Finger Gloves
Coined 'lobster' mittens or three-fingered gloves, these are the best option if your fingers have a habit of getting cold, but you need the extra dexterity that gloves offer to grab your ski poles or ice axe.
Black Diamond Guide Finger Gloves offer a great blend between the extra warmth that mittens provide and additional dexterity from using gloves. The use of GORE-TEX gives excellent breathability and waterproofing.
- Primaloft Gold Insulation and fleece lining keeps your fingers warm
- Features include gauntlet cuffs, extra foam padding on the knuckles and are rated for sub-zero temps
- Less dexterity than gloves, less warmth than mittens
Expert Tip: Before using any ice tools on the mountain with three-fingered gloves for the first time, please practice a safe grip at home. While you get more dexterity than mittens, you do not get the same as gloves. Safety first!
Chat With a Real Expert
A quality pair of comfortable, warm and durable gloves or mittens is an essential component of your winter sports wardrobe. Without a pair that keeps the water out and the warmth in, you’ll be cutting your ski and snowboard days short. If you need help picking out the best mittens or gloves and refining your ski or snowboarding gear, you can reach out to me or one of our other Ski and Snowboard Experts here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations.