As a skier, the number one thing you want to avoid is icy fingers on the mountain. To keep your fingers warm and dry, you’ll need waterproof hand protection. Though all ski gloves may seem relatively similar, there are significant differences in comfort, features, and design. There are also considerations such as your preference for gloves or mitts, leather or softshell, and heavy-duty or ultrathin builds.
We’ll admit it: there are technical challenges in choosing the best ski gloves. But Altitude Sports has you covered with this round-up of the best ski gloves for 2021. After extensive review, we found the top-notch gloves to be the Black Diamond Guide GTX Gloves. They’re superior in terms of waterproofing, warmth, and durability. We’ve also included our other favourites for different types of skiers below.
The Best Ski Gloves Reviewed
Best Overall Ski Gloves
With rugged outer shells made of 4-way stretch nylon and goat leather, the Black Diamond Guide GTX Gloves are built for intensity. The removable liners (with PrimaLoft Gold synthetic insulation) are easy to take out for quick drying. Waterproof Gore-tex inserts are ideal for damp, wet conditions. The well-made wrist strap system also ensures they stay put when conditions get extreme.
- Durable materials and stitching
- Extremely warm
- Excellent waterproofing
- Need break-in time
Best Affordable Ski Gloves
If you’re looking for a perfect introductory ski glove, the Frost Gloves by Auclair cover all the basics. Described as an alpine softshell glove, the nylon and leather outer is buffeted by a waterproof, breathable membrane. There is synthetic insulation, and I'm always down with a brushed, soft, warm lining that just feels right.
- Very affordable
- Wrist cinch for a snug fit
- Waterproof, breathable
- Fairly basic gloves
Best Women's Ski Gloves
A women’s version of the classic Hestra Sport Heli Ski Gloves is a smart investment for serious skiers. The palm is made of soft goat leather for maximum grip when you’re adjusting your boots or skis. The upper HESTRA Triton 3-layer polyamide fabric is fully waterproof and breathable. There’s a removable polyester lining for easy cleaning and drying, making the gloves last season after season. Finally, the fiberfill insulation has you covered for extra warmth.
- Removable inner lining
- Fantastic dexterity
- Snow closure with velcro lock
- May be slightly bulky
Best Leather Ski Gloves
Beautifully crafted and designed, the Hestra Sport Leather Fall Line Gloves are great short length freeride gloves. The gloves are made from soft, supple cowhide aniline, the highest quality leather on the market.
Not only are they aesthetically appealing, but they also have a host of practical features. The Bemberg polyester lining helps you get a firm grip on skis. They also have foam insulation and a neoprene cuff to keep out deep powder for maximum warmth.
- Well-insulated with foam
- Fully leather material
- Reinforced lining
- Run slightly small
Best Premium Ski Gloves
Ideal for the backcountry or ski resort, the Norrona Trollveggen Gore-Tex Gloves are built for adventure. In the palm and fingers, you’ll find Gore-Tex grip technology and abrasion-resistant goat leather. The wool liner and polyester insulation protect fingers from the frigid elements. There are also many technical features, including an elastic glove leash, one-hand closure system, and lightweight wrist tightening strap. What more could you need?
- Outstanding waterproof grip
- Heavy-duty, durable fabric
- Lined and insulated with wool
Best Heated Ski Mitts
If you’re prone to cold hands, the Black Diamond Heated Solano Mitts will change your winters! The heated battery system keeps your hands warm all day, with three levels of heat controlled by an LED switch. There’s also a premium goat leather shell with Gore-Tex reinforcements for waterproofing. For an extra bit of warmth, the back of the gloves have Primaloft gold insulation.
- Heating can last for hours
- Soft and supple leather upper material
- Low profile battery doesn’t add much bulk
- Mittens not as dexterous as gloves
Best Ultralight Ski Gloves
The versatile Mountain Hardwear Rotor Gore-Tex Infinium Glove is suitable for hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Customers loved that they’re incredibly lightweight and thin. Even so, the Primaloft insulation will keep your fingers warm.
- Excellent versatility for different outdoor activities
- Durable material
- Lightweight fabric and composition
- Not as ergonomic as other gloves
Best For Cross Country Skiing
Skiers looking for a light glove that provides full mobility will love the Norrona Gore-Tex Thermo100 Short Gloves. They’re lightly insulated, pre-bent at the fingers, stretch, and transport moisture. Customers love the goat leather palms, which is nimble and comfortable.
- Outer material repels rain
- Extremely comfortable and thin
- Provides excellent grip for cross-country skiing
- Lightly insulated
Best Ski Gloves For Touring
Made for icy environments, the Outdoor Research Alti Gloves are the best for touring. They fit ergonomically thanks to 3D fit technology. There is Primaloft insulation in both the shell and liner for warmth even in damp weather.
- 3D fit technology
- Long-cuffed for fitting over a jacket
- Provide great heat retention
- Not as flexible as other gloves
Best Freeride Ski Gloves
Equipped to protect your hands from all the elements, the Hestra Vertical Cut Czone gloves block out hard snow, debris, branches, and rocks. Shock-absorbing foam wards off obstacles; windproof, waterproof construction protects from the elements. You might just end up wearing these all the time.
- Windproof, water-resistant
- Slightly heavy
The practical Burton Under Gloves come with a zipped pocket to hold your heat pack—and are so loaded with GORE-TEX tech you'll never get cold, wet hands wearing these. Removable liner, touchscreen compatibility, heck these are even storm proofed and not to be missed.
What to Look for in Ski Gloves
The last thing you want is frigid fingers interrupting your idyllic day on the slopes. The type of ski gloves you need primarily depends on the kind of skiing you’ll do.
For downhill skiing, look for gloves with synthetic material like nylon combined with a waterproof, breathable barrier such as Gore-Tex. Downhill skiing gloves should also have insulation to keep fingers warm in cold and wet weather.
Since cross-country skiing is more dynamic, you will work up a sweat. For that reason, you’ll need gloves with more breathable fabric that lets moisture escape.
Warmth & Insulation
The two main types of insulation are down and synthetic.
Down is crowned as being the champion of insulators. The natural duck or geese feathers retain heat exceptionally well. However, down gets damaged if it gets wet, so it’s best for skiing in cold, dry climates.
Synthetic is more affordable than down. It also dries faster and still insulates heat when wet. On the flip side, it’s a bit bulkier than down and has less insulating power after it’s compressed. Skiing in a damp climate makes synthetic the better option.
Leather is naturally water-resistant, more flexible than nylon and can last longer. When it has a non-porous membrane and is treated properly, it can be waterproof, windproof and last for years. Most of the gloves in this round-up have a leather palm for durability and grip.
The majority of ski gloves Altitude Sports sells are made from synthetic material, usually nylon. The nylon shell is then integrated with a breathable and waterproof outer shell, such as Gore-Tex, for more weather protection.
Note: Look for reinforced grip on the palm. Soft leather offers the best grip for holding onto ski poles. (This will be a boxed text)
Most gloves made for downhill or cross-country skiing have a waterproof, breathable barrier. A waterproof membrane prevents cold rain and snow from entering the gloves and allows sweat and water vapour to pass through.
Gore-Tex is commonly used because it’s so waterproof and breathable. Many companies have their own version of Gore-Tex, like HESTRA’s Triton three-layer polyamide fabric. Dry hands make for warm hands, so take care to find gloves that have a waterproofing layer.
Dexterity & Mobility
Gloves are very dexterous, which makes them better for handling a lot of gear and adjusting bootstraps.
Mittens don’t provide as much mobility since the fingers are together. They can still serve you well to handle ski poles or go out for a brisk hike.
Over Cuff vs Under Cuff
‘Over Cuff’ means the gloves go over the sleeve cuff of the jacket to keep snow out. You will need long cuff or gauntlet style gloves for this. Long gloves are a bit bulkier and heavier, but they offer more protection from the elements.
‘Under Cuff’ gloves go under the sleeve cuff of the jacket to prevent snow from entering. If you prefer to wear cuffs under, you’ll need short length ski gloves. They are usually lighter and smaller but may provide less warmth.
If you’ve skied a few times, odds are you’ve experienced losing a glove. Leashes secure the ski gloves or mittens to your wrist, so you don’t drop them on the chair lift.
A wrist cinch makes the mittens or gloves fit snugly around the wrist for a more comfortable fit. The cuff can consist of neoprene, velcro, or drawstrings.
Battery-powered heating systems have become extremely popular with the best ski gloves. They’re perfect for those days when the temperature drops or for people with cold hands.
Keep in mind that the battery system does make the gloves slightly heavier and bulkier and usually comes at a steep price point.
FAQs for Ski Gloves
Are ski gloves or mittens better?
This depends on the activity. The individual fingers of gloves mean more dexterity, so they’re better for cross-country skiing. Mittens keep hands warmer since fingers stay together, and they’re better for activities where you don’t have to handle much gear.
How long do ski gloves last?
Both leather and synthetic ski gloves can last several years. Using ski glove liners can help extend the lifespan of your gloves.
We hope this article helps you find the perfect ski gloves to keep your fingers warm this winter. Our choice for the best ski glove goes to the Black Diamond Guide GTX Gloves for superior insulation, material, waterproofing, and design!