Spring is here, and the colder days are mostly behind us. Winter 2020 wasn’t that cold overall, which has left a lot of retailers with an overstock of winter clothing, including items like ski gloves. A good pair of gloves keep your hands warm and dry. But too many skiers and snowboarders (and even some with much more experience, too) think buying a cheap pair of gloves is good enough. They’re not: Most budget gloves only provide minimal protection from the cold and even less protection against moisture.
That combination quickly results in cold, wet hands. While ski gloves are going to be more expensive than winter gloves you’d buy at your local Target or Walmart, you will be much happier in the end. There’s more insulation in these gloves, you’ll have increased dexterity, and waterproofing keeps snow and moisture out.
Ski gloves are also typically treated to offer even more water resistance. They’re much more durable, so even though you may pay a fair bit more, you’ll get much more use out of them. So which gloves are the best? We’ve compiled a list of the best out there from user reviews and our own experience on the slopes. Prefer mittens instead? We’ve got a few options to share there, too. And remember — with the season now over, it’s a great time to buy!
Hestra sits atop the ski glove heap for its fantastic quality, and its 80 years of experience shows in the end product. Sure, styles like themight be one of the more expensive options, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better ski glove. With a longer cuff, the Heli is perfect for powder days as it keeps snow out. You can even switch out the liners inside, customizing the glove to your preferences. The leather palm adds a durable and protective layer to the glove and looks great on the hand, and the polyamide fabric outer shell is windproof, water-resistant, and breathable.
These gloves aren’t truly waterproof, but these gloves to respond well to waterproofing treatments which should help. One thing to note: Hestra uses a number system to sell its gloves. While this is initially a pain to find out what your size is, once you know it, Hestra’s gloves fit the best of just about any glove on the market. We can’t recommend these enough. The Heli is available in both men’s and women’s versions.
The makes our list not just because of its great waterproofing and insulative properties, but for its removable rigid nylon plates in the backhand and palm. If you spend your time on jumps, rails, and boxes, you already know wiping out is inevitable, and one of the most common injuries is to your wrists. By positioning these rigid plates where they have, the risk of wrist injury is dramatically lessened. Outside of the park, however, you can remove the plates and use them just like any other glove.
The Wristguard Glove features a long adjustable cuff to keep snow from getting inside your gloves in deep powder, and DWR treated outer shell to keep your hands dry. Inside a DK Dry waterproof insert and high loft synthetic insulation work together to both keep your hands warm and wick away excess moisture to keep your hands from getting sweaty. While it doesn’t feature a zippered top to add a hand warmer, you’ll at least be able to tackle the terrain park with some confidence that you’re doing enough to make it out the other end with no broken bones.
Dakine’s built a name for itself over the years for quality gloves at affordable prices, and is no exception. Like the 686 Linear, the glove features Gore-Tex technology to keep your hands dry, and an inner liner with Gore Warm technology to keep the cold out. There are some differences, though. You’ll need to take the gloves off to use your phone (only the removable liner is touchscreen compatible). However, a zip pocket on the top of the gloves allows you to place a hand warmer inside, something the Linear doesn’t have.
The palm is coated with Rubbertec, providing additional grip, and a gauntlet cuff similar to the Heli allows you to keep snow out when riding or skiing in fresh powder. While they aren’t as durable as the Hestra gloves, they’re a respectable (and much cheaper) alternative.
Burton’s no-frills namedoesn’t reflect on its quality at all. Sure, it might be a little bulkier than some other gloves we’ve recommended so far, but reviews suggest these gloves hold up well over time and are comfortable to wear. Like the Dakine gloves, you get the zippered top with space for hand warmer, but we appreciate the touchscreen compatibility being on the glove rather than the removable liner.
Other notable features of this glove include Dryride two-layer fabric with Gore Warm technology, brushed microfiber fixed lining with Thermacore insulation, and the aforementioned Removable four-way stretch Dryride Thermex liner. All these layers do add some bulk to the glove, however, we highly doubt you’ll ever find your hands cold, for sure. Both a men’s and women’s version of this glove is available.
Our next recommendation comes straight from the writer. At one point I owned a pair of— and they were my favorite until they were stolen at the resort because we left them out of my sight. We can only imagine whoever stole them did so because the way they look — it’s a beautiful, yet functional cowhide leather glove. While we wouldn’t recommend these gloves during the coldest parts of the season, if you’re a free rider the dexterity is hard to beat.
As we said previously with the Heli Ski Gloves, make sure you read up on Hestra sizing before purchasing to ensure you get a proper fit. You might also want to consider treating these for waterproofing as they aren’t out of the box. And keep them within your line of sight at all times — they’re not cheap to replace.
Looking for a mitten instead? One option at a reasonable price is. This mitt features ultra-warm PrimaLoft Gold insulation and an awesome, four-way stretch Pertex Shield membrane that blasts away the elements while remaining durable and abrasion-resistant. The goat leather palm features kevlar stitching that not only makes it warm but sturdy and long-lasting.
The Mercury features a conveniently removable split-finger liner with high-loft fleece and 340g PrimaLoft Gold. This is perfect in mid-winter when the blizzards are dumping, and removable once the slushy spring comes around. The Mercury is a wonderful all-around mitt to use from the beginning of winter through the last day on the slopes. The Mercury is available in both men’s and women’s versions.
Did you like Burton’s Gore-Tex Glove above, but would rather have it in a mitten style? Burton offers it, for basically the same price as the glove. Thehas all the same general features as the glove including Dryride two-layer fabric with Gore Warm technology, brushed microfiber fixed lining with Thermacore insulation, and the aforementioned Removable four-way stretch Dryride Thermex liner — and even compatibility with touchscreens (although if you really must be on the phone on the hill, we’d recommend the gloves instead).
The top has the same zippered pocket that the gloves have for a hand warmer, and you can choose to wear just the liner on its own off-piste, just the mitten in sloppy spring conditions, or both for maximum heat and comfort during the coldest runs in the middle of winter. Like the glove, these mittens are also available for both men and women.
If you hate the loss of dexerity of the typical mitten, Oakley’sis a good option. The glove features a separate pocket for your index finger to solve that issue, which also is compatible with touchscreen devices — meaning no more taking your mittens off every time you need to check your phone.
The Factory Winter Trigger mitten features a soft leather shell and the company’s FN DRY and 15K technology to help keep you dry and comfortable in the toughest conditions. Adjustable velcro at the wrists helps you seal out snow from getting inside your gloves, making these some of our favorite leather-shelled mittens on the market right now.
We’ve included pieces from Roxy’s Jetty line of clothing and accessories, mainly because we’re big fans of how they’ve combined functionality with a trendy design that keeps you warm while looking good on the hill. Theirare no different, and feature a design that complements the style choices of the matching jacket and pants.
Warmflight insulation keeps your hands warm even on the coldest days, and with the included Dryflight waterproof insert, dry too. They’re not bulky, so the loss of dexterity that happens with any mitten is minimized. Roxy has also built the Jetty mitten with the female hand in mind, and the price is pretty reasonable, though we’d push more performance-minded ladies to a higher-quality mitt.
How to choose the right gloves
With the right gloves, you can stay on the snow much longer.
Perhaps the most important factor is sizing. Too tight, and they’ll be uncomfortable; too loose, and you’ll lose dexterity and they won’t be as warm. While most companies go with the generic “small-medium-large” sizing, others will have short and long versions, and yet others, like Hestra, using a proprietary sizing system of their own. Make sure you understand how the gloves you’re buying are sized.
Your gloves will be in the snow more than anything else. Next to your head, your extremities like your hands are another part of your body that will experience the most heat loss. Here, you’ll want to find gloves that have a good deal of insulation, and waterproof, preventing your hands from getting cold and wet. A removable liner is a bonus: some manufacturers sell separate liners for some of their gloves that allow you to customize warmth and comfort to your liking.
Finally, avoid bulky gloves: the minute you take off your gloves for any reason while on the slopes, you lose heat. You should be able to work with your gloves on, and most ski gloves are designed to maximize heat retention but are nimble enough to allow you to retain the use of your fingers.
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