Best Ski Gloves
There are few things that can make you more miserable on the slopes than cold, wet hands. No matter how good the powder is, defective gear can still ruin your day. This is why gloves are so important, but not just any gloves. The right gloves are essential.
What to Look for in Ski Gloves
Do you know what the right gloves are? With such a huge selection of different styles, manufacturers and types of insulation, how do you know what it is you really need?
The first thing to consider is insulation. In general there are two kinds, synthetic and natural down. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and which one is best will depend on the kind of environment you ski in. Starting off with synthetic, it is the heavier of the two for a given insulation rating, but is less costly than down, so gloves with synthetic insulation can be a better value overall. It also works as an insulator even when wet. With down, once it is wet it stops insulating. Synthetic also insulation dries much faster than the natural alternative as well.
Down, by contrast, offers more insulation, and warmer hands, for less weight. Because it’s also more durable than synthetics, gloves will natural down insulation will last longer. It is more expensive to manufacture, and thus makes gloves more expensive. And, if it gets wet it stops working as an insulator. Whether you are likely to get very wet is therefore a crucial component of which type of insulation to go for. For many of us, price is also a significant factor, and that is where synthetic has the advantage.
The waterproof materials used are another thing that differentiates different gloves, with the best, such as Gore-Tex and other proprietary fabrics offering not just high degrees of water resistance, but also breathability that prevents your hands from becoming too sweaty. By allowing moisture to escape from the glove your wearing, your hand will stay warm and dry – perfect for a day on the slopes.
The cuff fastenings are also important. If snow is to get into your gloves, the main way it usually happens is through the wrist opening, so adequate and secure fastening there are essential. This is where it is important to think about your glove / jacket combo and make sure they can work together well as a system. Some cuffs have drawstrings that allow you to tighten the cuff and seal it.
Material also matters when it comes to gripping everything from the ski poles to an oncoming chairlift. Having good palm material that allows both flexibility and a secure grip builds confidence on the snow. If you routinely use tow ropes, be sure to get extra tough palm material and grips. Those ropes can really tear apart a ski glove.
Finally, we have to talk about fit. Perhaps this should have been #1, because it is so important. Having the right sized gloves makes all the difference. In fact over or under sized gloves can actually be dangerous, impairing your grip or worse, distracting you with discomfort at a crucial moment. For safety, it is essential to have gloves in just the right fit for you. With all that in mind, below is a sample of the very best gloves on the market today. By the way, if you are looking for kids ski gloves, they tend to be a different animal. This piece is focused on adult ski gloves.
The Best Ski Gloves for the 2022 Season
Black Diamond Tour Gloves
-Best for warmer weather
The Hestra Heli Glove. One of the most famous brands in skiing – the choice of professionals the world over – Hestra gloves cost more than most. But their performance, build quality and durability justify the cost. Available in both men’s and women’s versions, they use a hybrid goat leather and synthetic material on the outside for flexibility and good levels of grip combined with class leading water resistance. They use qualofill insulation and have removable inserts for easy of cleaning and maintenance.
The Heli also comes in a 3-finger mitt, something we did not think we would be fans of, but actually really liked. It increased the gloves’ warmth, but did not take away from the hand dexterity when skiing. Based on other online reviews, we are not the only ones who liked the 3-finger mitt style.
Available in a range of sizes to suit all, and available in red or black for men, and black, navy or grey for women, these look great, perform great and will last longer than most.
These reliable and good-looking gloves have a nylon outer, but use hood quality, durable leather on the palms and fingers to provide good grip in even the harshest of conditions without sacrificing any flexibility. Synthetic insulation keeps the hands warm, while the outer materials provide good breathability to prevent build-up of moisture for maximum comfort during extended times on the slopes.
Gore-tex will help ensure your hands stay dry, and that the gloves remain waterproof well into their lifespan. The ample cuffs help to cover any gaps between your hand and your jacket, nice for those colder or precip days.
We are big fans of the palm grip on these gloves. They are a cut above, and provide a little extra tactile area for your hand, especially if you are a skier using poles. Perhaps the best grips on the list.
Available in both men’s and women’s versions, they provide an excellent, secure and warm glove, and with a good degree of water resistance and secure wrist fastening your hands will stay dry whatever the weather.
Black Diamond Tour Gloves
Best Warmer-Weather Ski Gloves
First, a very important note. These Black Diamond Tour gloves are not insulated. If you need gloves for ultra-cold winter days on the slopes, you would want to add thin glove liners to these.
Why, then, do we recommend them? Because they are among the best ski gloves you will find for spring skiing, or highly-active skiing and hiking where you will work up a sweat.
Sometimes the warmth of the glove is secondary, and the primary purpose of the glove is to protect your hand. That is where these gloves are outstanding. Backcountry skiing, late March skiing when the highs are above 35, and any skiing where you expect to get warm is where these gloves will excel. They are good gloves, and they have liners so will provide some winter warmth. They are just not made for ultra cold conditions.
With leather throughout to provide excellent grip capability, ample and easy to use velcro wrist closures, these gloves offer great performance while keeping costs under control.
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.