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Picking out a decent pair of ski mittens is harder than simply buying the first cheap pair that comes along. There’s a lot to know before you pick your mittens.
On top of that, there’s a lot of marketing and jargon in the industry that distracts from the details.
In my 6 seasons of teaching alpine skiing I’ve learned that makes a top ski or snowboard mitten. Let’s figure out which is best for you!
Best Ski & Snowboard Mittens
|Hestra Army Heli Mitten||Outdoor Research Meteor Mitts||Snow Deer Heated Mittens |
|Shell:||Goat leather||Nylon||Sheep leather|
|Other:||Multiple liners available||Waterproof/breathable||5 - 6 hours heated time|
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Skiing & Snowboarding Mittens
- Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski Mitten
- Outdoor Research Meteor Mitts
- Black Diamond Mercury Mitts
- Burton Men’s Gore-Tex Mitten
- Dakine Men’s Titan Mitts
- Gordini GTX Storm Trooper 3 Finger Mitt
- Snow Deer Heated Ski Gloves Mittens
Ski & Snowboard Mitten Reviews
- Construction: Goat leather palms
- Liner: Removable liner
- Straps: 2x adjustable straps
- Other: Single pocket style
Hestra stands at the top of my list for ski mitten manufacturers. Their mittens are durable, warm, and innovative.
Be prepared to hold on to your wallet though – they’ll set you back a few bucks!
These specific Hestra mittens are available in 5 different colors. Each of them uses goat leather palms, a signature Hestra feature, and WPB Triton fabric on the backhand.
Like any good ski gloves, they’ve got a strap attachment ring and carabiner so you can clip them to your jacket during lunch.
Inside you’ll find a fully removable liner that can be replaced or swapped out for thicker or thinner liners to adjust for seasonal conditions on the fly.
Being able to replace the liner makes the mittens live longer as well because liners tend to be the first thing to fail on a ski mitten.
Of course, you’ll pay a pretty penny for these top of the line mittens, but they’ll last most casual skiers a lifetime.
Best for a top-quality durable mitten that makes a great one-time investment.
- Construction: Nylon shell
- Liner: Removable 300wt liner
- Straps: 2x adjustable straps
- Other: Waterproof/breathable
Outdoor Research has long been a top contender in the world of mittens and gloves.
Their products are well made and always use the latest fabrics and technology to deliver a quality piece.
From the outside inwards, these gloves start with a 100% nylon shell that is advertised as waterproof breathable – though details seem to be lacking.
The outer shell also features a heat pack pocket for adding a chemical hand warmer.
Inside is a removable fleece liner rated at 300 wt which is pretty warm for a ski mitten.
Carabiner loops, double adjustable straps (wrist and cinch), and flip-top fingerless options on the liners make these gloves an all-rounder with lots of features.
Best for those who want to dexterity on the removable liner gloves.
- Construction: Goat leather palm
- Liner: Removable split-finger liner
- Straps: Adjustable straps
- Other: BD Dry WPB liner
Black Diamond gloves were responsible for getting me through my first few years as a ski instructor. Their gear is always great and I never overlook a good BD mitten when given the chance.
There’s a lot of technical features going on here so let’s take it from the top.
On the outside, we’ve got goat leather palms and a reinforced palm patch. This is backed up with a waterproof, seam-sealed, BD.dry insert and a removable liner.
This is some top-quality waterproof, too, so if you ski late season and get wet often look here!
Inside is a fleece liner with split fingers for a bit of dexterity. The liner itself does have some water resistance itself.
This glove is pretty darn warm though so be careful. It might be too warm for high-octane skiing or warmer days. You’ll end up with sweaty hands.
Best for deep cold or wet days with an adjustable liner and reliable waterproofing.
- Construction: Sticky Icky grip palms
- Liner: Removable touchscreen glove liner
- Straps: 2x adjustable straps
- Other: 9 colors available
Burton has done nothing but grow as a manufacturer. Their products are always stylish and keep a firm focus on performance.
These mittens are reasonably priced and loaded with all the features you’d need for a good day on the slopes.
Waterproofing is thanks to a Gore-Tex membrane which keeps the inner liners dry.
True to their brand, Burton has these gloves mostly in trendy textile patterns and colors. They also have the ever-popular hand warmer pocket on the back of the mitten which I think is a great feature.
Inside the mittens are glove style liners with touch screen compatible fingertips.Best for a modern mashup loaded with features revolving around the classic mitten style.
- Construction: Nylon/poly outer shell
- Liner: Gore-Tex insert
- Straps: Adjustable straps
- Other: Nose wipe thumb panel
Dakine seems to keep things on the stylish yet functional spectrum, similar to another manufacturer we’ve looked at. These mittens look great and get work done.
There are a lot of comfort features on this mitten that add up to really bring the game. On the back is a hand warmer pocket.
Each thumb features a microfiber nose wipe (awesome). It’s also available in 3 colors and patterns to help match your style.
Like most mittens on our list there’s a double adjustable strap system. Both the wrist and the cuff are adjustable for fit and keeping out snow.
It’s worth noting that these gloves do use a Gore-Tex liner for waterproof and breathable functionality. If you’re a diehard Gore-Tex user, look no further.
Best for comfort features in a stylish mitten with a Gore-Tex core.
- Construction: Nylon shell
- Liner: Gore-Tex waterproof breathable liner
- Straps: Adjustable straps
- Other: Ergonomically pre-curved
Now we finally come to the “lobster claw” style mitten. Gordini brings us some solid products and they’re a well-established name in skiing and I’m sure you’ll love these.
For the price you’ll be hard pressed to find better mittens. Gore-Tex liners are top of the line and they somehow packed them in here for a great price.
That makes these lobster claw mittens some of the best value out there.
Having the thumb and index finger free means more control. You can adjust goggles, pick up dropped poles, or adjust the kids’ gear while keeping your gloves on. Many people prefer this style over the true mitten.
Get ready to hit the slopes with warm fingers as well since there’s an included hand warmer pocket.
Best for increased dexterity while still maintaining all the benefits of mittens on the hill.
- Construction: Sheep leather palms
- Liner: Cotton liner
- Straps: 2x adjustable straps
- Other: 5 – 6 hours heated time
If you’re tired of buying chemical hand warmers or you always seem to forget them, then maybe a heated mitten is for you. No more cold fingers!
Let me note one thing right off the bat. These mittens are highly water resistant but they don’t claim to be waterproof.
They’re probably best for the dead of winter when temps drop real low and for skiers who don’t tend to end up on the ground too often…
That said, they feature an integrated rechargeable battery (3-4 hours to full charge). This powers heater coils which cover the back of the hands and fingers with 3 temperature settings. Expect a battery life of 2.5 – 6 hours.
Sheep leather palms and polyester shells are pretty standard. Just watch out for the cotton insulation inside – once it gets wet be sure to give these gloves plenty of time to dry before use again.
Best for those with arthritis or poor circulation to stay warm and comfy on the mountain.
Best Ski Mittens Comparison Table
|Hestra Army Leather||Goat leather palms||Removable liner||2x adjustable straps||Single pocket style||4.1 / 5.0|
|Outdoor Research Meteor||Nylon shell||Removable 300wt liner||2x adjustable straps||Waterproof/breathable||4.4 / 5.0|
|Black Diamond||Goat leather palm||Removable split-finger liner||Adjustable straps||BD Dry WPB liner||4.4 / 5.0|
|Burton Men's Gore-Tex||Sticky Icky grip palms||Removable touchscreen liner||2x adjustable straps||9 colors available||4.6 / 5.0|
|Dakine Men's Titan||Nylon/poly outer shell||Gore-Tex insert||Adjustable straps||Nose wipe thumb panel||4.5 / 5.0|
|Gordini GTX Storm||Nylon shell||Gore-Tex waterproof liner||Adjustable straps||Ergonomically pre-curved||4.3 / 5.0|
|Snow Deer Heated||Sheep leather palms||Cotton liner||2x adjustable straps||5 - 6 hours heated time||4.4/ 5.0|
Author’s Expertise / Why You Should Trust Our Reviews
I started writing online for my own outdoor sports blog in 2010. Right out of the gate I landed opportunities to test gear for Road ID, Hydrapak, Wolverine, Helle Knives, Pearl Izumi, and GU Energy. Those were the days when growing a no-name blog was easy. Today niche blogging is a different story.
In 2012 I left Central Wyoming College with a degree in Outdoor Education and Leadership. Soon after, I was on a month-long expedition with the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Outdoor Educator Course which helps would-be outdoor guides ascend from “aspiring” to “inspiring”.
Between here and there I’ve participated in and spoken at length about outdoor pro-deal programs for companies like Patagonia, Smith Optics, Giro, Therm-a-Rest, Platypus, MSR, Columbia, and many more. I still work closely with tons of outdoor gear companies to review and analyze products. If you have a product opportunity you’d like to discuss, please review my guidelines and contact me here.
After several seasons of guiding backpacking trips and working as a certified Alpine Ski Instructor at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, UT for several seasons, I had to move on. As any educator will tell you – teaching doesn’t pay the bills very well.
In 2016 I began building my freelance writing career as readers and other bloggers reached out to me for help with technical outdoor sports content strategy for online businesses. Within weeks I was overloaded with requests for freelance writing and my new career blossomed.
How to Choose the Best Ski & Snowboarding Mittens – Buyers Guide
A ski mitten’s primary job is to keep your digits warm and happy. Insulation rating is the first step in this process.
Insulation rating is a measure of how well something prevents the exchange of heat energy. In the science world, it’s called “R-value” but most ski mittens aren’t measured in R-value.
Instead, what you’ll most likely find is insulation presented as an amount of mass. For instance, you might see “100 gram Thinsulate” advertised.
That means the glove is made with 100 grams of Thinsulate insulation (it’s a name-brand of insulation).
Of course, it follows that a mitten with 300 grams of insulation should be warmer than a mitten with 200 or 100 grams, right? More or less.
Too much insulation can compromise dexterity though so bigger isn’t always better.
If your mittens are too warm your hands will sweat during hard skiing which leads to cold hands later in the day.
Insulation isn’t the final word on ski mitten quality.
Note: More often than not, insulation detail ratings are not advertised, unfortunately.
Waterproof ratings can range from independent scientific testing, such as hydrostatic head tests, to simple unspecified marketing claims from manufacturers.
These days waterproof breathable mittens are all the rage and most manufacturers have their own “off-brand” WPB material.
Historically, Gore-Tex was the brand of choice for this but today there are many competitors with products ranging from significantly worse to marginally better than the industry leader.
In general, if mittens are advertised as waterproof I also look for the phrase “seam taped” or “seam sealed”.
Waterproof fabrics do you no good if they’re destroyed by hundreds of needle holes from the sewing machine that stitched the mittens together.
Seam sealing is the process of re-waterproofing the stitch seams after sewing so that the final product is again waterproof.
I have seen some extremely cheap waterproof gloves and mittens that are not seam sealed, so beware.
Typically I have found that waterproof breathable mittens aren’t worth the increased price.
Yes, they may be breathable, but they’re never breathable enough to stop sweaty hands so my preference tends to be skipping the WPB mittens.
That’s not to say they’re not good, or that you shouldn’t try them, though – many people swear by them!
Ski mittens are made from a shell and insulation. We’ll talk about the shells in a minute.
Liners are, essentially, ski mittens with removable insulation. Mittens with liners use hooks, clasps, or velcro to secure the removable insulation liner inside the shell of the mitten when in use.
At the end of the day mittens with liners are the superior choice for performance and there’s a simple reason.
By far the most common cause of cold hands on the mountain is moisture in gloves and mittens.
When you get mittens with removable liners you can pop the liners out during lunch or rest breaks and lay them near the fireplace to dry.
By the end of lunch, you’ve got a fresh pair of dry, warm gloves ready to keep you going the rest of the day.
Pro Tip: Always take your mitten liners out overnight to dry. Same with ski boot liners – remove them from the shells to dry overnight.
Unfortunately, mittens with liners tend to be rather expensive compared to simple one-piece mittens so the biggest drawback is generally price.
For both gloves and mittens, the shell refers to the outer layer of fabric or material.
Common materials for shells include:
Extremely abrasion-resistant and will last for ages. It comes in many various weaves and thicknesses, but it’s generally a great material for high-use items like gloves.
Similar to nylon but typically has a much better capacity to wick and move water.
Of course, the outside of a glove doesn’t need these properties, but polyester is an affordable and effective durable fabric so it gets used a lot in gloves.
By far my preference for ski gloves. It’s tough as nails, has a great tactile feel, and grips well on ski poles. Leather can get waterlogged, though, so using good leather treatments recommended by the manufacturer is crucial.
Mitten shells will most often be made up of more than one layer of material.
For instance, you might have a leather palm, waterproof membrane, and polyester inner shell – not including the insulation or liner!
On waterproof gloves, the outer shell layer, such as leather palms, is responsible for protecting the glove and hand as well as securing the grip.
Inside the glove, several layers of waterproofing and insulation do the technical work.
For me, I always look for long-cuffed ski mittens. I want those mittens to come up over my jacket as far as possible so they keep snow, water, and cold out!
Pro Tip: In late spring conditions when rain is possible, put your jacket sleeves over the mittens to keep rain from running down into your mittens.
Most mittens will have one or both of the following adjustment options on the cuffs.
- Wrist Strap – Some mittens have an adjustable band at the wrist which tightens the glove down around your wrist.
- Cuff Cinch – Almost all ski mittens will have an elastic quick-adjust at the cuff to cinch the whole thing down around your jacket.
Wrist straps, for me, are a non-factor. Usually, ski pole straps do a fine job of helping to keep the gloves in place and wrist straps on the gloves just add extra hassle.
On top of that, I have often found that tightening wrist straps makes the gloves colder by removing the space for warm trapped air in the glove.
Cuff cinches, on the other hand, tend to do a great job of keeping out snow and cold. I like oversized elastic cuff cinches when available.
They’re easier to get ahold of with gloved hands to make adjustments on the fly.
Nope, not fashion style. Function style.
With gloves, each finger goes into an isolated pocket. Mittens, however, keep all the fingers in a single “pocket” for extra warmth.
At its simplest, a mitten is just that – single large pocket with a thumb added on for that classic mitten look.
Today, however, you can get mittens with a little more dexterity thanks to a few popular variations in style.
Lobster claw or “claw” style mittens as most people call them feature a thumb pocket and a split hand pocket. They look surprisingly similar to a crawfish claw.
Some have the thumb and index finger split. Others have the thumb pocket and then the hand pocket split into two – the index and middle finger on one side and the ring/pinky finger on the other.
Frankly, I find that the only difference is how it feels on your hand. Some people just prefer one style over the other.
Me? I prefer the good old single-pocket classic mitten. No lobster claw mittens for me.
FAQs About Ski Mittens
Q: What is the best type of insulation for ski mittens?
A: To me the insulation type doesn’t matter as much as how dry that insulation is.Whether it’s sweat from inside or water from outside, damp insulation is your enemy.
For those who struggle with sweaty hands, wearing a liner glove (or even a nitrile glove) under your mitten can really help you stay warm when it’s nasty.
Remember to dry your mittens thoroughly after every use and insulation type won’t matter much at all.Note that I do avoid cotton insulation as it just retains too much moisture for too long.
Q: How do I improve my dexterity?
A: Probably the best way to help handle your phone, adjust goggle straps, or grab lift tickets is to improve your dexterity on the hill. No, I don’t mean practice juggling, I mean improve your gear choices.
I like to go with oversized mittens and wear a thin liner glove underneath.
I love mittens with a leash on them. You can pull the mittens off and they just dangle from your wrist while you do whatever you need. Then pop ‘em back on!
Also you can try some lobster claw mittens which feature an extra finger pocket so you can get a bit more dexterity if you need.
Q: How long will ski mittens last?
A: The biggest enemy to a ski mitten is insulation packout. Packing out means that your insulation has been used so much that it’s permanently flattened. Once that happens your mittens won’t keep your fingers warm.
A cheap pair might last two seasons of intermediate use. Reliable mittens from experienced brands, however, should last the average casual skier a decade or more.
Far and away the best method for extending the life of your mittens is to buy ones with removable liners such as those made by Hestra or similar brands. When the insulation packs out, just replace it.
At the end of the day, ski mittens are an investment. If you love the mountain like a second home, just make the purchase and pick up a good pair.
It might seem expensive at first, but good mittens will last several times longer and work so much better than cheap-o brands.
Once you make the change from other hand gear you’ll never go back. In my seasons teaching professionally, mittens were probably the top choice of gear amongst other professionals for a good reason.
They just do a better job of keeping you warm and keeping you out there all day.Remember to re-read the How to Choose section before making your final purchase for some buying tips!
How We Researched
To come up with the top skiing mittens we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as REI, Backcountry, Moosejaw, EVO along with our own personal experience.
We also consulted online magazines for product research and reviews to get as much unbiased information as we could. To help weed out fake reviews we used Fakespot.com to make sure we only looked at genuine reviews.
With so much quality gear available, we had to narrow it down based on what we felt were the best options were for the price.
The author, Casey Fiedler was a full time ski instructor for Park City and The Canyons in Utah. To help narrow down the selection he used his personal experience along with recommendations from fellow ski instructors.
After extensive research, we came up with our list to help you choose the right pair for you.