Nothing can put any child off to skiing faster than having the wrong gear, everything from not having the right helmet and boots for comfort and protection to the right gloves to keep their hands warm and in control. But what exactly makes a great ski glove for kids?
The obvious answer is warmth. While cold-numbed fingers are uncomfortable enough for an adult, this can very quickly put your child off skiing. But this is just the start to determining the best glove for him or her. The style of mittens or gloves as well as the degree of water resistance will both factor into the overall comfort of the gloves.
Choosing mittens or gloves is something of a personal thing. The theory is that, because they keep all fingers together, mittens are warmer, and for younger children they are easier to put on. However, gloves offer the benefit off allowing increased dexterity that may help as children learn to ski. Mittens also can cause the hand to perspire, and remember — moisture is bad. Some kids naturally have sweatier hands than others, as well. For most skiers who are using poles, which often starts around age 8-10, gloves are usually the answer. For those of you looking for our adult ski glove recommendations, we did a different piece on that here.
What to Look for in Ski or Snowboard Gloves
We are going to focus on gloves in this piece — we prefer them over mittens. Keeping hands warm is essential, and there are two ways gloves achieve this, either through synthetic insulation, or by using down.
Down is natural, an exceptional insulator and very light. It is also more durable than synthetic alternatives, so although down gloves tend to be more expensive, they will last significantly longer. Synthetic insulation does have its own benefits, however. It continues to insulated even when wet, which is not possible with down. Once down gets wet, is stops insulating. Synthetic insulators do weight a little more, but they also dry out much faster than down alternatives. Given these pros and cons to both, think about where your children will be skiing, and how important the ability to do so if their gloves or mittens are wet before making this important choice.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choice of gloves made by reputable manufacturers with adequate insulation, next there are two key features that will determine the comfort of any glove – breathability and their degree of water resistance. From Gore-Tex to Omni-Tech, there are numerous modern materials that provide high degrees of waterproof protection while maintaining a breathability that allows sweat to escape, and these are especially essential for down insulated gloves. An aspect of water resistance that is often ignored is the retention systems. The easiest way for snow to enter any glove is through wrist opening. Ensuring gloves have adequate protection there to prevent water accumulating inside is also crucial for your child’s comfort.
A note about tow-ropes: We don’t see that many tow-ropes anymore, most have been replaced by magic carpet. However, if your local ski area still uses tow-ropes, you may want to have a cheaper, backup set of gloves for use on it. Tow-ropes really chew-up gloves. The recommendations below are for kids who will be riding safely on chairlifts or the magic carpet.
The last aspect to consider is size. Having gloves that do not fit properly can make skiing itself more difficult, exactly the wrong thing you want for children just beginning to learning, so look for gloves available in a variety of sizes to ensure they fit your child properly. Specifically, the glove or mitten should not be too tight, and allow enough coverage to avoid any gap between the wrist end of the glove and the cuff on your kids’ ski jacket.
With all that in mind, below are some of the best children’s ski gloves available currently. If you have more than one child, you can obviously start a bin of used gloves that you other kids will eventually grow into, allowing you to get more than one season out of a pair of quality gloves.
3 Recommended Kids Ski and Snowboard Gloves
Kids Ski Gloves
Hestra Ski Junior Gloves
-Provide season's worth of performance and comfort
Dakine Wristguard Junior Gloves
-Removable wrist braces
Burton Vent Gloves
-Hand warmer pocket + vent
Kids who use the Hestras swear by them. These are the most expensive kids’ gloves on the market, but with good reason: They are also the best. We have been using them on our own avid-skiing children for years, and they provide a season’s worth of performance and comfort. The Hestra’s use a Goat Nappa Army Leather exterior for protection and a firm grip on the poles. The removable Bemberg liner keeps hands amazingly warm, while the special ‘snow lock’ seal at the wrist keeps snow out and your child’s hands warm and dry. Available in a choice of three colors, Black, Navy and a strikingly fun Pink, they offer the warmth and protection of the very best adult gloves, but in a range of sizes to fit your child. They come at a price, but nothing does the job better. Find here.
These excellent kids gloves are a sized-down version of a glove we really love for adults, so you know that they will stand up to the condition. The gloves have removable wrist braces to protect a child’s wrists during any mishaps, one that can be cinched tight to adjust to the wrist of each particular child. The glove can also be used without the wrist guard.
Wrist injuries are the most common sustained when learning to ski, and that added protection can boost confidence. Synthetic insulation keeps everything warm, while a DK Dry waterproof insert keep little hands dry as well. They work just as well with or without the wrist guards, and feature a fantastic cuff fastening that keeps the snow out. Synthetic outers with a polyurethane palm for grip, ensure these gloves are durable. Featuring a smart black finish they will look great with any outfit.
A wide choice of sizes ensures a good fit and at half the cost of the Hestra, they are a decent value as well. You can find them here on Amazon.
These two-way gloves feature a hand warmer pocket that also doubles as a vent, so whatever the weather, your child’s hands will be as toasty or cool as they need to be. With a waterproof membrane inside, your child’s hands will always be dry. The microfiber inner lining is soft to the touch and very comfortable for long stretches on the slopes, while the synthetic insulation keeps everything warm when needed.
The Ultrashell fabric outer provides hard wearing protection, and a toughgrip PU palm ensures there is plenty of grip for poles as required. Finally, the eye-catching design will stand out from the crowd, providing a unique look that everyone will love. Find them here.
Youth Ski Gloves Tips and FAQs
Write Your Child’s Name on the Gloves!
Kids lose their gloves at a shocking rate.
Once you buy the gloves, get over the fact that they are brand new and look perfect…. just go ahead and write your child’s name on them! It is best to write the name with a sharpie on both the wrist cuff, as well as the inside tags. Your child will most definitely lose the gloves — on a gondola, a bus, at the table while having lunch. You will be left to go to the lost-and-found box and try to pick the gloves out of many. Believe us, because we have had to do it many times.
If you invest in the high-quality gloves that we recommend, you need to be sure that you can get them back if (or maybe when) your child misplaces them.
How many ski seasons will my child’s ski glove last?
It really depends on how much skiing your child does, and what kind of skiing they do. Most gloves are good for 2 seasons, maybe more, unless your child is skiing several times a week. Then, they might only last a single season. Someone who skis heavily at a site where tow-ropes are used will see their gloves wear out faster. Skiers tend to have their gloves wear out faster than snowboarders because they are constantly gripping the pole. Not properly using chairlifts (especially the safety bar) also tend to wear gloves faster. Truth be told, though, there is a very good that your child will outgrow the gloves before they wear out.
Can I make the ski gloves last longer?
Outside of encouraging your child to take better care of the gloves (easier said than done with some kids), there are two things you can do to extend the life of the gloves. First, if you notice a tear or rip develop, patch is as quickly as you can with anything from a nylon patch kit to a boot or glove adhesive. A small tear turns in to a big tear in no time. Second, after a day of skiing, let the glove dry out naturally. Don’t put it on a super hot heater, but don’t leave it in the boot bag either. It needs to breathe and dry out at its own pace.
Should I “size-up” my kids’ ski gloves so they can grow into them?
It is not a bad idea to err on the larger size if you are right on the line, but don’t size-up too much. If you do, there is a chance that your child will not be able to easily grab their poles, a tow rope, or other things where they need a grip. At the same time, kids grow, so allowing just a little room for growth might not be bad. Just don’t overdo it.
Should I treat the gloves with waterproofer?
Most gloves do not need any treatment. They are waterproof and conditioned right out of the box. The time to use waterproofer is when you need to get just another ski day or two out of the gloves before they are retired. If the gloves are not doing their job and you really hate to buy new ones, spraying them down with a waterproofing can give them another breath of life. Just don’t expect to get more than a few ski days out of them, but this can be a good option very late in the ski season.
No doubt, skiing can be an expensive sport. Investing in good gloves is part of that expense — but skimp, and you may find that saving a few bucks was not worth the sub-optimal performance and lack of comfort. If you find a glove that works, and is on sale, perhaps buy a couple. We would bank on the fact that you may go through a couple pairs in a season.
A happy kid on the slopes is a child who will enjoy skiing more, and staying warm is a big part of that.
Paul Miller is the Founder of Family Skier. He is an advanced skier and has extensive experience with family travel and ski schools. An accomplished skier, he has skied in 15 states and provinces and 6 countries. In addition to FamilySkier, his writing can be found on many ski-related websites, and as curriculum for many ski clubs in North America.