Quick Guide: Gloves & Mittens for Skiing and Snowboarding
Choosing the Best Gloves & Mittens for Skiing and Snowboarding
When you’re taking to the slopes on your skis or snowboard, it’s easy for your extremities to get chilly quickly (and by that, I mean your fingers!). The last thing you need is cold, painful hands slowing you down or ruining your fun if you choose the wrong pair of gloves. So choosing the best gloves & mittens for skiing and snowboarding is essential if you want to spend hours hitting the slopes. The question is, which to choose? Here’s our handy guide to choosing the right gloves for your day on the slopes.
Related: Choosing the right type of sock
What do skiing/snowboarding gloves & mittens do?
Unlike normal gloves, skiing or snowboarding gloves are designed specifically to withstand colder temperatures, keeping your hands toasty and flexible out there. Some also offer waterproofing features in case your hands get wet in the snow, and they offer wicking abilities to keep you cool during high-intensity activities. Neat, right?
What types of skiing/snowboarding gloves & Mittens are there?
So, there are several types of gloves & mittens for skiing and snowboarding:
Ski gloves, as you can imagine, have traditional fingers. This means they’re ideal for skiers and are handy if you need to adjust your boots or equipment. They provide better movability and dexterity than mittens.
Good for: Skiing, high-dexterity requirements, people with warmer hands.
Mittens, unsurprisingly, have no finger holes. As your fingers are together, they benefit from retaining body heat more than in traditional gloves, especially if you ball your hand into a fist. They tend to be better for snowboarding as you don’t need to hold on to ski poles.
Good for: Snowboarding, lower-dexterity requirements, those with colder hands.
3. Trigger mitts
Aka ‘lobster mitt’. These 3-finger mitten/glove hybrids offer half the benefits of each, enabling you to stay warmer but maintain dexterity. They used to be a bit of a laughing stock, but many pros now prefer them.
Good for: Skiing when you have colder hands.
4. Lining gloves
As you might have guessed, liners are thin gloves that you wear under other gloves—as layering provides great warmth and breathability.
Good for: Wearing underneath gloves or mittens for added warmth.
5. Fingerless Gloves
Not exactly the best gloves for skiing and snowboarding but you can wear them underneath your mittens for added warmth. Fingerless gloves allow you to keep the full dexterity of your fingers and thumbs while still providing some warmth and protection from the cold.
Good for: Technical jobs like snowboard photographer/cameraman, wearing under mittens.
|Arcteryx Fission Glove|
Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable insert, Leather reinforced palm and fingers, 133 g PrimaLoft Silver Insulation (back of hand), 100 g PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco with Grip Control (palm and fingers), bonded to shell and lining for better grip and dexterity are amongst some of the fantastic features.
|Black Diamond Absolute Mitts|
Black Diamond's warmest and lightest expedition mitt that will keep your hands warm and dry with minimal weight. Removable liner with a 100% waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex insert claiming XCR Product Technology. Reinforced thumb for working with fixed lines
Woven nylon and an abrasion-resistant shell with 4-way stretch.
|Dakine Fillmore Trigger Mittens|
Synthetic Nylon / Poly Shell with DWR treatment and DWR leather palm for reinforcement. The Super soft 300g fleece lining works with the 60g / 170g high loft synthetic insulation. Cuff closure with adjustable strap helps keep the snow out. A high performance all rounder with great reviews.
|Burton Touchscreen Glove Liner|
Control your touchscreen phone, music player, or GPS without ever exposing your fingers to the cold with the Burton touchscreen liner glove. Dry ride Ultra wick silk weight fabric keeps you warm, dry, and flexible for more dexterous finger work. Perfect for wearing under mitts and gloves and for use with smart devices.
|Minus33 Merino Wool Fingerless Glove Liner|
Minus33 Merino Wool is water repellent, naturally elastic & long-wearing for years of comfort. Merino Wool wicks moisture away from the skin 30% faster than any synthetic and, unlike synthetic fabrics, it's naturally flame retardant. The perfect glove liner that can be worn as a stand alone glove in mild conditions.
What are they made of?
gloves & mittens for skiing and snowboarding are made up of several layers of fabric.
The top layer, known as the “shell”, is generally made of leather (cow or goat skin) or a synthetic fabric such as nylon. Some gloves are a mixture of the two, with a synthetic body and leather palms and fingers to make them more durable.
The next layer, known as the “membrane”, provides breathability, wicking, and waterproofing. This membrane has microscopic pores that are so tiny water can’t get in, but large enough for sweat to get out. Common fabrics include:
- GORE-TEX®: Considered the most waterproof and breathable, but can be expensive.
- Polyurethane: A relatively inexpensive but breathable option, very common in the glove world due to its wide range of benefits and low cost.
- Hipora®: Waterproof and windproof and breathable, with a stretchy PU coating.
- WINDSTOPPER®: A windproof ePTFE membrane that is ideal in cold, dry climates, but not good in heavy rain or very wet environments.
The insulation layer is what keeps your hands warm, so which insulation fabric you choose depends on how warm the environment is and how warm your hands are naturally. Common choices include:
- Wool: Wool has been used for many decades to create warm gloves, these can be paired with shells and mittens. Learn about the benefits of merino wool for outdoor gear here.
- Down: This natural feather fabric traps air to keep you warm. It’s ideal in cold, dry conditions but not so good in wet conditions, and it’s slow to dry. Check out our top 10 down jackets here.
- Primaloft: This patented synthetic microfiber keeps you warm in wet conditions, but is not as warm as down.
- Thinsulate: This super-thin fabric is warm but less bulky, so it’s ideal when you need more dexterity.
The lining layer provides additional warmth and comfort, as well as wicking abilities to remove sweat.
- Some gloves have an inbuilt lining made of fleece or wool.
- Some gloves have removable liners to suit varied environments.
- You can also buy separate lining gloves. Silk tends to be a great choice for these, as it’s lightweight and naturally regulating, so won’t make you too warm, and is thermal even when wet.
How should my gloves fit?
As with all outdoor clothing, your gloves need to fit properly to provide maximum comfort and protection.
- Check whether you can fit liner gloves underneath if you need them.
- Leave enough room for your outstretched fingers (1/4 inch spare).
- Ensure you can form a comfortable “fist”.
- You can choose between short and long cuffs depending on your requirements—just ensure your wrist is covered.
- Try them on when wearing your ski jacket to ensure they fit comfortably together without leaving a big gap.
- Consult manufacturer sizing charts to find the right fit.
What added extras are there?
Some gloves & mittens for skiing or snowboarding offer extra features that might benefit you, look out for some of these:
- Adjustable cuffs: A drawstring and toggle, zipper, or Velcro strap that enables you to tighten the cuffs to stop snow entering.
- Articulated fingers: Pre-curved finger shapes, so you can grip your ski poles or the chair lift easier.
- Zip Pockets: For keeping your lift pass or other small items like cash and keys.
- Goggle wipe/squeegee: A bit of plastic or rubber that enables you to clean snow from your goggles.
- Hand vents: A zipper on the top of your hand to provide ventilation when you’re hot, to blow hot air into when you’re cold, or to pop a hand warmer inside.
- Nose wipe: Because let’s be honest, we get runny noses out there! This feature is a small piece of suede or absorbent fabric to wipe your nose with. Nice.
- Padding: Extra padding on the back of the hands and knuckles to protect your hands against gates or other obstacles.
- Textured palm/fingertips: To provide extra grip for ski poles.
- Touchscreen fingertips: The ability to use your smartphone as the finger tips are touch screen sensitive—often in lining gloves.
- Wrist loops: Remember like when you were a kid? These loops let you attach to your coat so you don’t lose them, thus being known as “idiot straps”!
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