Its pretty obvious, cold hands = bad day on the slopes. After skiing for over 20 years I have tried out quite a few pairs of gloves and mittens. Personally I prefer gloves because I am primarily a skier, so for me its easier to grip my ski poles.
Choosing a good pair ski gloves is a compromise of thickness, dexterity and warmth. The ideal ski glove needs to be as thin as possible while being warm and water resistant.
Quick Answer: The 5 Best Ski Gloves For 2017
- Black Diamond Guide Gloves
- Columbia Men’s Bugaboo Interchange Gloves
- Burton Men’s Baker 2-in-1 Under Gloves
- Outdoor Research Olympus Sensor Gloves
- Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski Gloves
First lets take a look at the gloves, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right pair for you. Here is a feature overview of the top 3 picks for ski gloves, full reviews and our buying guide is below.
Best Ski Gloves
Men’s Ski Glove Reviews
If your hands tend to get cold then the Black Diamond Guide gloves are for you. With 100g of fleece lining insulation these are probably the warmest ski gloves and will keep your hands warm in the coldest of conditions.
They also have one of my required features of having removable liners so when the weather is not that cold you can remove them. So you can ski with the shell only or just use the liners.
Now the extra warmth does come at bit of a price, these are not the most flexible and dexterous gloves. The goatskin lining, while tough and soft does take some time to break in.
However after a few days they are pretty flexible allowing you to do most functions without taking them off.
The fleece lining is extremely soft, comfortable and breathable so if you’re really tearing it up on the slopes and your hands start to sweat, the fleece liner wicks away the moisture to keep your hands dry.
The goatskin not only looks great in my opinion, it is incredibly durable. The rest of the glove has a thick abrasion resistant shell that adds to its durability.
These gloves are going to last you a long time, provided you take care of the leather.
The Black Diamond Guide gloves have a foam padding in the fingers that not only provide some extra warmth but protection for your fingers as well.
The combination of goatskin leather and tight nylon weave shell make these gloves completely water proof.
This is not normally your biggest consideration in cold weather but when skiing in sleet or spring conditions when it’s warm and wet out, you will definitely appreciate how waterproof they are.
The Black Diamond Guide glove has been well designed and has some useful features like a cinch closure to keep the snow out, a nose wipe on the thumb and the liners are held in place securely with Velcro strips.
In my opinion these are best ski gloves if your hands get cold easily. All in all, if you’re looking for a warm, stylish glove the Black Diamond Guide is your best bet.
One of the coolest things Columbia has got going these days is their inclusion of “Omni-Heat” technology. Okay, so you know I’ll cut through the BS and explain it – here it is:
Omni-Heat is just a dumb trade name for aluminized reflective dots adhered to the inner surface of the fabric.
This adds a great deal of radiation insulation (the part of heat which travels by electromagnetic physics) but doesn’t do much for conduction, convection, or evaporation.
Great, now that you’re drooling and bored, what I’m really saying is that all things being equal, those fancy reflective dots actually do keep you warmer than other gloves. It’s pretty sweet!
Columbia Bugaboo Interchange Gloves have a waterproof/breathable membrane that comes with inherent pros and cons but all things said and done, I think it’s better for the everyday skier than not having a waterproof glove.
Especially for the kids who are sometimes prone to sucking on gloves or getting them wet with snow.
Yeah… kids love to suck on gloves until they’re soaked. It’s not a joke.
The liner on these gloves is also removable and features a touch screen finger which I think is more thoughtful than most other models.
Bulky gloves even with touch screen ability are almost impossible to use with a phone.
Using the much thinner and nimbler liner gloves will result in improved phone enjoyment.
Weighing in a bit lower on the price scale than most comparable gloves, I think you’d be hard pressed to be let down by these Columbia gloves. In my opinion they are the best ski gloves for the money.
When it comes to winter gloves I have pretty high standards – spending more than 100 days a season in gloves will do that to ya. That being said, if I were in the market for gloves, the Burton Baker gloves might just give the competitors a run for their money. Why? Let’s find out.
Removable fleece liner gloves are a great addition and when your glove gets wetted out from a serious day of shredding the slopes like Bode, you’re going to be grateful you can just pull out the inner liner.
I would never recommend a glove without a liner (unless you’re buying an oversized glove or mitt and adding your own liner). If you want to use hand warmers, they have a zippered compartment to put in a “HotHands” handwarmer pouch.
Waterproof membrane is arguably useful or not – depending on your persuasion. I find that for mid-winter conditions, where wet precipitation is unlikely, I would rather not have the waterproof membrane at all to begin with.
It really just makes it harder for sweat to get out. The second your gloves get wet with sweat, you’re in for cold fingers!
If you’re expecting wet conditions then look for waterproof membranes, otherwise… they’re kind of negligible.
Touch screen finger adaption in theBurton Baker gloves is pretty much industry standard at this point so it’s good that Burton is keeping up with the tech crowd and including some touch functionality.
On top of that there’s a separate hand warmer pocket on the back of the glove. This is perfect for those of you with cold hands or parents looking for a glove for the kids.
Keep ‘em warm and stick a hand warmer in that back pocket – it’s super useful. But being these are very warm ski gloves you probably won’t need them.
While there are better gloves you can buy, you will need to spend a lot more money. I would say the Burton Baker’s are the best budget ski gloves.
Coming in on the higher end of the price scale is the Outdoor Research Olympus sensor gloves. For this extra money you are getting a well above average glove.
They are one of the warmest gloves tested and still managed to be pretty dexterous. We were able to zip our jackets, buckle ski boots and helmets with the gloves on.
For the extra money you get touch screen enabled thumb and index fingers so you can use your smart phone on the slopes. In some cases the glove worked better than our bare fingers, not sure how Outdoor Research managed that.
The gloves are just about 100% water resistant so these gloves are ideal for wet and warm conditions like those found in spring skiing.
The only caveat being you need to take care of the leather. The goat skin is extremely durable and soft, not to mention they really look awesome but I am partial to leather gloves.
The goat skin, like any leather glove has a break in period, these didn’t take very long though. By the end of the day they were almost completely broken in.
Just be sure to take care of them, don’t store them in hot and dry condition in the off season.
I really like the pre-curved design of the gloves, it make them much more comfortable of the course of the day. The design makes it much easier to grip ski poles if you’re a skier.
The fleece linings on the Outdoor Research Sensor gloves have a wool blend and feels very warm and comfortable on your hands.
Not only is the lining warm, they are breathable so if you start working up a sweat, the wool fleece blend will wick away any moisture keeping your hands comfortable.
They have some nice features like a Velcro wrist adjustment so you can achieve a perfect fit along with a cinch closure to keep the cold and snow out.
Plus the design of the wrist leash is nice as not only are they removable, they don’t seem to get in the way like they do in other gloves.
The Outdoor Research Olympus Sensor gloves are an excellent pair of gloves that will keep your hands warm in the coldest and windiest of conditions. If you can afford to spend a little extra, these gloves are worth it and will give you many years of service.
The Swedish company Hestra has been making gloves for well over a 100 years, so you have to assume they know how to make a pair of gloves. The Leather Heli Ski Gloves are one of the most comfortable gloves I have ever worn, and among the warmest.
The “bemberg” liners are what make them so comfortable, while at the same time they are breathable and wick away any moisture if you work up a sweat.
The liners are removable and interchangeable, meaning there are a variety of thicknesses available to allow you to choose the warmth you need.
Video: How to properly care for the Hestra Heli Gloves.
Perhaps the first thing I noticed about these gloves vs some other gloves with removable liners was the fact that the liner neither pushed down into the glove or pulled out when I took my hands out of the gloves.
If you don’t know what I mean, then you haven’t tried on gloves with cheap removable liners. It really is a big deal.
The quality is apparent the instant you pick them up, the leather is very soft and supple.
The goatskin leather is durable and doesn’t really require a break in period to get to maximum flexibility.
I would treat them before taking them out for the first time and at the end of the ski season.
They are a longer and wider “gauntlet” style glove which I highly recommend. They do a better job of keeping out the cold and snow because they fit over your jacket and can be cinched up if need be.
They also have the wrist “leash” which you will probably come to appreciate as much as I do on the ski lift.
No more worrying about accidentally dropping your expensive gloves. The leash keeps them securely attached.
They are also available in the “lobster” or 3 finger style. While they look odd, they combine a mitten and a glove. I didn’t think I would like the design but after a bit I got used to it and may switch to this design as my regular ski glove.
Here is a link to Hestra glove sizer, Amazon doesn’t seem to have a link.
It’s funny that they would name these gloves after a distinctly climbing related word (an arête is a feature of a mountain which is more often heard in climbing than skiing).
That little knowledge bomb said, Outdoor Research really knows what they’re doing, I have long been a fan of this company specifically for headwear and gloves.
Outdoor Research Arete Gloves feature a removable liner, dedicated hand warmer pocket, and highly adjustable snow collar you’re looking at a feature rich glove with good tech specs.
GoreTex waterproof membrane has really lost its appeal to all but those who still value the name brand (there are now tons of competitors on the market) but it’s not necessarily a bad choice for this glove.
Long cuffs are nice – the longer the better in my opinion.
Long cuffs make it harder for snow to get it. I prefer to pull my coat down over the gloves whenever possible.
Liners have Velcro exposed (for attaching to the shells) which is nice, but I’ve found it to be annoying when the Velcro invariably gets stuck on other things.
It’s particularly irritating when my glove liners snag my nice new shirts…
With these gloves, you will not need hand warmers even if the weather temperature is well below zero.
All in all, this is a good technical glove with enough features to make it a contender though the higher price point may leave plenty of room for a serious argument about buying it online for a discounted price..
Update: I cannot recommend the Arete gloves anymore, I just wore a BRAND NEW pair of them and within one day the seams were fraying! I was shocked. Also the liners and not as good as they used to be. Maybe I just got a bad pair but I was very disappointed.
How to Choose the Best Ski Gloves
- Considerations for Ski Gloves
- Snowboard vs Ski Gloves
- Tips for Getting the Right Fit and Comfort
- Mittens Vs Gloves
- Single Layer vs Dual Layer Gloves
- Gauntlet vs Under Cuff Gloves
- What to Look for in Ski Gloves
To a lot of people, all gloves are pretty much the same and just buy a pair based on cost or style. But on the contrary, there are significant differences. It is just that the differences may not be obvious. I will cover the differences and major features of the best ski gloves.
Considerations for Ski Gloves
Of primary importance to the skier is fit and comfort. Have a form fitting glove will allow you to make clothing and gear adjustments, grip your poles all day (if you are a skier) and use your smartphone while wearing them.
While warmth is of course important, in my mind a snug, form fitting glove is the most important feature because once you start skiing and boarding your body is going to heat up.
I honestly cannot remember having cold hands after a run or two. The only time my hands get cold is when I am on the ski lift.
So when thinking about how warm a glove you need, of primary concern is to think about what type of skier you are.
If you are the type of person likes to spend their time in the lodge when the temperature dips below 25 degrees then fit and comfort should be a priority because almost any glove will keep your hands warm at 25 degrees and above.
If you wear thick, bulky gloves in warm weather, your hands are just going to get hot and sweaty after a run or two. In this case you really need a pair of gloves that have moisture wicking like the Black Diamond Guide Gloves.
So make sure you seriously consider what will be the primary type of conditions you will ski in before purchasing your gloves.
It is best if you can try on a few pairs of gloves in a ski shop to get an idea of how each glove manufacture sizes their gloves. There can be a difference between sizings on gloves even from the same manufacturer.
To get a good fit, you should take a tape measure and get an exact hand size, then use this to pick the correct size from the sizing chart on the product page.
All the gloves reviewed above come in a variety of sizes so you should be able to get a good fit.
Some glove makers will supply a temperature rating on the gloves where they feel the gloves will provide adequate warmth down to.
Snowboard vs Ski Gloves
I have worn gloves marketed to skiers and gloves marketed to snowboarders and I honestly there is no significant difference. Skiers and boarders are going to want the same thing from their gloves: Comfort, Fit and Warmth.
While I notice snowboarders tend to like the “gauntlet” style of glove that are longer and reach further up the arm than skiers. I have a separate review on snowboard gloves here.
Tips For Getting the Right Fit and Comfort
- With the glove or mitten, your fingers should just barely touch the end of the glove or mitten or just a fraction of an inch gap.
- Your gloves should fit firmly around your fingers and hand, but not too tight so that they would become uncomfortable after wearing them all day. You need gloves that fit your fingers firmly but ensure the material is of the type that expands slightly.
- When they fit properly, you will be able to buckle your ski boots without removing them and you will also be able to get a firm grip on a trail maps or your phone.
- The types of materials that the gloves are made of are going to have a major significance on how well they fit and their comfort. If you buy gloves that are made from leather like the Black Diamond Guide Gloves or the Outdoor Research Olympus Sensor Gloves, there will be a break in period of several days. Make sure so you follow the manufactures recommendations for break in and care.
- Some gloves come with a pre-curved or articulated fingers, meaning the fingers are made with a slight curve. This is especially useful for skiers who have to grip poles all day. I highly recommend this feature.
Mittens Vs Gloves
I am often asked, which are better; mittens or gloves? Certainly there is a gender difference, most guys will not be caught dead in mittens! I personally have never worn them, but my girlfriend swears by them. Here are some things to consider before choosing.
Mittens tend to be warmer because they keep your fingers next to each other providing extra warmth. The trade off of course is the lack of dexterity. It is almost impossible to make gear adjustments, read trail maps or zipper your jacket with mittens on.
Try and use your smartphone with mittens on, its almost impossible! You will have to take them off to do most anything.
If you’re on the lift having to take your mittens off, you risk losing them and have to suffer with freezing hands while you try and read the trail map.
Mittens tend work a better for snowboarders because they don’t have to hold ski poles all days and their boots are easier to adjust or loosen.
There is a new type of glove that is a cross between a glove and a mitten.
These gloves group together 3 of your fingers while leaving your index finger free for extra dexterity. I personally have not tried them, I have heard they work well and you may want to consider them.
Single Layer vs Dual Layer Gloves
I HIGHLY recommend dual layer gloves. These gloves feature a removable liner, typically made of fleece. Having a pair of these is like owning three pairs of gloves. Wearing both layers giving you extra warmth and the wind/water resistance of the outer shell.
If conditions warm up significantly, use the liners. Doing some spring skiing? Just use the outer shell for water resistance because you’re really not going to need the extra warmth.
Gauntlet vs Under Cuff Gloves
A gauntlet style glove comes farther down your arm providing extra protection against cold and snow getting into your gloves. I personally recommend this feature and use this style of glove.
Especially for the beginner skier who will tend to fall more often and is more likely to get snow in their gloves. They do offer a measure of extra warmth. If given the choice, there is no disadvantage to not use this style of glove.
What to Look for in Ski Gloves
Here is a checklist for you to consider before buying a pair of gloves.
No matter how thick your gloves may be, they can’t keep you warm when they are soaked. Your gloves need to be waterproof not just water resistant so that your gloves will still keep you warm in the wettest of conditions. If your hands are wet, you are going to miserable!
This is going to be primarily a function of the shell of the glove. But you can’t tell the durability of gloves just by looking them and feeling their texture.
If you choose gloves made from goatskin or cowhide you can be assured the gloves will be durable provided you take care of them.
The newer synthetics used in ski gloves is a solid choice as well. They are cheaper and don’t have the care consideration of the leather.
If you’re not going bother with maintaining the gloves you are better off with the synthetic. They will last much longer with no care, especially if your going to store them in the off season in hot and dry conditions.
How to care for leather gloves:
Since all good gloves must keep your hands warm, they must have a good quality insulation. I personally highly recommend gloves with a removable fleece liner.
For the ultimate in flexibility and warmth. While a thicker glove the warmer it may keep your hands warm, the trade-off is getting wet and sweaty hands.
Fit and Dexterity
We covered this earlier and won’t go over it again in detail. Obviously the more dexterous the glove the better.
Some of the newer gloves have the ability to use your touch screen device with your gloved forefinger. When it’s cold and windy and you need to use your phone on the slopes, you will really appreciate this feature!
You will also find gloves with a mini goggle squeegee, zippered pockets and articulated (pre-curved fingers). While all these features are nice, I would only consider the articulated fingers worth the extra money.
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best ski gloves to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a pair of gloves I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.
New to skiing? See my beginners guide to skiing for tips and advice.
Have fun and be safe out there!