(The Gear Loop) - There are certain features that aren’t exactly essentials when it comes to ski and snowboarding holidays - items like brightly adorned goggle covers, stance-enhancing snowboard socks and wireless audio kits. Gloves, however, are an absolute essential. As are ski helmets.
Despite this, we all too often see ski and snowboard gloves that are poorly designed and struggle to keep hands warm in temperatures that haven’t yet even brushed zero.
For this reason, we’re coming to the rescue (of your hands, in particular) with a guide to the best gloves for skiers and snowboarders.
But first off, let’s address that long-running debate: mittens or finger gloves? The reality is that glove design has advanced to such high-tech heights that this debate is no longer as relevant as it was a decade ago, when gloves with fingers were seen as less capable of heat retention.
Things have moved on at a pace since then and modern finger gloves now pack some serious warming tech, depsite fingers not able to share warmth, and still generally allow the best freedom of movement overall. Although if you’re keen to stick with mittens, modern features, such as pre-angled thumbs, can make up for any reduction in manoeuvrability.
For that reason, we’ve selected a mix of both mittens and more traditional gloves, so you can make your own mind up about what best suits on your next snow sports activity.
The best ski and snowboard gloves for men and women
Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather Glove with Fusion Control
- Incredibly warm
- Plenty of room to move
- Not the most stylish gloves
To be very clear, no seals were harmed in the construction of these gloves. The reference to seals is simply intended to hammer home the brilliant waterproofing, because let’s face it, when it comes to keeping water out, a seal’s skin ranks pretty highly, after all.
In reality, the materials used are goatskin leather for the outer and palm, a hydrophilic (read: very, very waterproof) membrane for the middle layer and merino wool for the inner.
We love the ridiculous warmth of these gloves, and there was plenty of room for movement. There was also no bunching or pulling around the wrist, and the generous use of leather results in brilliant grip.Not great for vegans, but great for holding onto poles.
Most importantly, these gloves did a fantastic job of keeping our hands warm and dry, but at no point did we feel close to a case of hand-related overheating, thanks to the breathability of the materials used.
Montane Icarus XT Mitts
- Surprisingly rugged
- No heat loss
- Good grip
- The slightly higher price tag
- Plain colours
These gloves are ridiculously, wonderfully warm, and we love their simple profile too - a smooth, curved mitt with plenty of room to move, and strategically-placed patches of goat leather for grip in the areas you need it most.
We’re sometimes sceptical about mitts due to the potential for heat loss (all too often mitts feel a little too roomy, no matter what size they are) but these proved us wrong.
The star of the show is the PrimaLoft Black ThermoPlume technology - a synthetic down-like fill that means maximum warmth and zero duck deaths.
We were also won over by the pre-curved thumb, as our pet hate is glove thumbs that are unnecessarily stiff, but the design of these ones allowed for maximum manoeuvrability.
Keela Extreme Gloves
- Packed with simple but brilliant features
- Good scope for adjustability
- Soft and comfy
- Not the best option for larger hands
- Lacks tech touches
These no-nonsense gloves are aptly named, because these bad boys will keep your digits toasty warm on the coldest of days.
You might not find the tech you’ll see on more expensive gloves, but we love the fact that they’ve got all the features we’ve come to expect, from the ultra-soft nose wipe, to touchscreen fingers and the clip-to-join mechanism when not in use.
As we said, simple stuff, but elements that are surprisingly elusive in other gloves. Brilliant heat retention comes courtesy of Primaloft padding, and although these might not be the roomiest of gloves, there’s plenty of scope for adjustment courtesy of the wide area of elastic on the wrist and the easily accessible bottom cuff toggle.
Tog24 Lockton Waterproof Ski Gloves
- Great range of colour
- Brilliant value
- For extreme conditions, these might not cut it
Why do gloves have to cost so much? Well, in our opinion they shouldn’t, and these ridiculously cosy numbers from Tog24 provide brilliant proof of that theory.
They might not keep you warm if you’re planning on a trek to the Arctic circle, but how many of us are, in reality?
What they will do, however, is keep your hands warm, dry and free to move in sub-zero temperatures, without breaking the bank or inflicting sacrifices in the style stakes.
We love the choice of seven colourways, although our favourite has to be Snowburst - a pixel-like design in varying shades of blue.
Columbia Women's Inferno Range Ski Gloves
- Brilliant insulation
- Very affordable
- Simple design
- No wild colour choices
These gloves might not have it all, but they do boast the basic features that can transform a day on the mountain, such as a built-in nose wipe, an extra-long wrist gauntlet and touchscreen-compatible finger panels, along with plenty of perks we wish we saw more of.
One hand shock cord hem adjustment and a heat-trapping reflective lining, courtesy of Columbia’s brilliant Omni-Heat reflective tech, are just a few.
If staying dry is your priority, these are also the gloves for you, as the waterproofing is top notch, thanks to an OutDry waterproof barrier layer and a (surprisingly stretchy) shell made from 600D Coated 100 per cent polyester.
We are always bowled over by how affordable Columbia kit is and it's no different here. An absolute steal.
Animal Iced Men’s Snow Gloves
- Lots of stretch
- Look great
- Very versatile
- Tightening straps can be tricky to use with gloved fingers
These gorgeous gloves have all our favourite features, cranked up a notch. Extra-long wrist cuffs keep snow, wind and damp at bay, and extra-wide strips of elastic increase the adjustability at the wrist.
We were initially a bit concerned about the use of a strap, but it’s incredibly easy to adjust, and proved incredibly useful on days when the temperature fluctuated between various extremes.
On days like this, we’d typically carry two pairs of gloves to ensure we’d covered all bases, but the adjustability provided by the strap meant we leave the backup pair at home.
Animal Pursuit Women’s Snow Gloves
- Wallet-friendly price tag
- Recycled fibres
- Great breathability
- Wrist strap sometimes tricky to adjust
- Feel quite bulky
If insulation is a priority, these gloves should definitely be on your radar. We love the PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Luxe, and bonus points are awarded for the fact it’s made from 100 per cent post-consumer recycled fibre.
The cuffs were incredibly easy to adjust, and despite our concerns about overheating, due to the pronounced taper at the wrist, they were incredibly breathable.
Almost all gloves have breathable membranes these days, but the membranes on Animal's options do what they’re meant to incredibly well - regulating temperature and keeping damp out, even when hard days on the hill leave your hands erring on the sweaty side.
Quiksilver Mission Snowboard/Ski Gloves for Men
- Gorgeous design
- No animals harmed
- Cuffs on the short side
- Stock issues
Quiksilver gloves inevitably appeal most to skiers and snowboarders with a weakness for standout styles, and we’re admittedly weary of gloves that fit this description, simply because all too often appearance has obviously taken priority over a functional, comfortable design.
The good news? These particular gloves do everything we want and more. A DryFlight waterproof insert repels even the tiniest hint of moisture, and WarmFlight insulation provides unbeatable heat retention.
You’ll also find more common (but often overlooked) features, such as one-hand adjustable cuff closures and goggle wipe patches, and we love the larger-than-average areas of grip on the palm, made from animal-friendly faux leather... not the real stuff.
Quiksilver Broad Peak Snowboard/Ski Gloves for Men
- Great freedom of movement
- Not too bulky
- Would have loved to see a little more tech
- They are relatively expensive
These gloves do exactly what they say on the tin, which is no bad thing, to be clear. For a mitten -where heat retention is often a problem - they’re surprisingly warm, thanks to a micro fleece lining and DryFlight waterproof insert.
The cuffs were incredibly easy to adjust, and we were pleased to see generous use of material on the wrists, which have just the right amount of flair. They’ll sit comfortably over or under jackets sleeves, without adding too much bulk.
Transform x Eivy Collab Mittens
- Incredibly warm
- Stylish design
- Lack of waterproofing on the wrist material
If looking great on the slopes is a priority, it’s hard to beat the gloves from Transform, a brand known for its weird and wonderful designs.
But don’t assume this means sacrificing quality, because these gloves perform brilliantly. They’re incredibly stretchy (although admittedly the waterproofing in the wrist area has taken a hit as a result), have larger-than-average nose wipe, touchscreen and palm grip areas, and have brilliant insulation and waterproofing, thanks to a show-stopping line up of Primaloft Gold insulation, Hipora waterproof inserts and neoprene.
What to look for when buying ski and snowboard gloves
Insulation in gloves generally comes in two forms: down or synthetic. Both can be equally effective, although synthetic insulation has the advantage of being vegan-friendly (just make sure you steer clear of any leather patches if you fall into this category) and more sustainable, because the insulation is often made from recycled material.
Synthetic insulation generally offers a little less warmth for its weight, although its insulating qualities remain effective when damp (the same can’t be said for most gloves with down insulation) and synthetic insulation dries quicker, too.
The good news is that gloves now come with more features than ever before, which means that a certain type of glove which might not be an obvious option previously can now be more than up to the job.
Concerned that down gloves might let in more moisture? Opt for Gore-tex membranes and removable waterproof linings. Worried that mittens mean less manoeuvrability? Compensate by choosing a pair with built-in features such as touchscreen-friendly fingertips, angled thumbs and one-hand toggle adjustments.
Gloves or mittens?
This is really a personal preference, as some prefer the feel and grip you get from a glove, where all fingers are mobile, while others like the warmth created by bunched fingers. That said, gloves have got a lot better at insulating now, with plenty of tech features to keep digits warm.