The 11 Best Ski Clothing Brands of 2021

The top apparel companies for skiers—on and off the slopes

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

TRIPSAVVY-best-ski-clothing-brands

Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

The Rundown

Best Overall: Columbia Sportswear "Their apparel and footwear will keep you warm, dry, cool, and protected."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Outdoor Research "Legendary for developing waterproof-breathable attire."

Best Design: The North Face "A stalwart on ski slopes and in the backcountry."

Most Versatile: Spyder "The longstanding official apparel partner of the U.S. Ski Team."

Best Performing: Arc’teryx "Known for its obsession with design, performance, and precision."

Best Eco-Friendly: Patagonia "Established as one of the most authentic and influential outdoor brands."

Best for Extreme Weather: Helly Hansen "Infuses innovative, waterproof fabric in all its designs."

Best for Accessories: Smartwool "Specializes in its collection of Merino wool ski clothing and accessories."

Most Innovative: Obermeyer "Shaped the ski industry and improved the winter adventures of countless skiers."

Best for Powder: Eider "Known for its impeccable fit, high-performance fabric."

When it comes to designing and manufacturing ski apparel—jackets, pants, gloves, base layers, and socks—experience counts. The best products on the slopes are made by brands that have spent years perfecting insulation, water- and wind-proofing, moisture-wicking, and, of course, style. That’s not to say new ski apparel can’t get the job done, so long as they innovate, develop top technology, and utilize the best manufacturing practices required to keep you warm and dry on the slopes.

One way to tell which brands stand out from the rest? Look at what the pros are wearing. You may not be able to afford their top-of-the-line kit, but you can bet that the technology they’re sporting will trickle down to other mid- and entry-level outerwear. We searched ski shops for the best brands in the business, so you can find the perfect ski apparel for your winter adventures.

Read on for our picks of the best ski clothing brands.

Best Overall: Columbia Sportswear

Columbia Sportswear

 Amazon

3.7
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Ultra-warm

  • Adjustable

What We Don't Like
  • Boxy

  • Few vents

Born in Portland, Ore., Columbia Sportswear Company has been making outdoor gear for more than 70 years. Today, the brand is known worldwide for designing and manufacturing no-nonsense apparel and footwear that keep you warm, dry, cool, and protected no matter what. The brand’s ski collection is at home on resort slopes or in the backcountry, but it won’t break the bank, making Columbia a fave among skiers who want to get the best bang for their buck. Our Product Tester, Kelly Hodgkins,, noted that the brand "excels where it is important: warmth."

"These pants also kept us completely dry on a wet snow day. Despite repeatedly kneeling to help our children put on their skis, the snow slid right off our pants and never soaked through the fabric." Kelly Hodgkins, Product Tester

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research

Amazon

3.7
What We Like
  • Comfortable fit

  • Roomy pockets

  • Vents

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Cold in lower temperatures

Founded in 1981 by a scientist and adventurer named Ron Gregg, Outdoor Research has grown from an experimental apparel company into a trusted brand on mountaineering expeditions, alpine and ice climbs, and backcountry ski trips. Our Product Tester noted that "no detail is overlooked," which makes sense, considering their outerwear is legendary for its dedication to developing waterproof-breathable attire. We also like their insulating mid- and base-layers, which will keep you warm on any mountain.

"A comfortable, lightweight option that’s perfect for hitting the slopes in warmer weather or for more rugged snow hiking adventures,"Kelly Hodgkins, Product Tester

Best Design: The North Face

The North Face Arrowood Triclimate Jacket - Men's
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.2
What We Like
  • Built-in layering

  • Stylish

  • Moderate cost

What We Don't Like
  • Missing some ski-specific features

  • Less durable

A brand named for the coldest, most unforgiving aspect of the mountain, The North Face has been designing top-notch mountaineering gear for more than 50 years. The transition from mountaineering to skiing was natural, and The North Face is now a stalwart on ski slopes and in the backcountry. Their waterproof-breathable jackets and pants are worn by top pro rippers like Angel Collinson and Tom Wallisch, but our Product Tester noted that the brand is also a "versatile solution for casual skiers who want an all-in-one solution for being comfortable outdoors in a variety of conditions." Simply put: when you pick up a North Face garment you can count on the company's commitment to pushing the limits of innovation and design.

"The garment flexes more easily as a result and is more comfortable to wear." Justin Park, Product Tester

Most Versatile: Spyder

Spyder

Amazon

3.5
What We Like
  • Soft, flexible materials

  • Built-in insulation

What We Don't Like
  • Frustrating zippers

  • Kooky fit

All you need to know about this Colorado-based brand is that it’s the longstanding official apparel partner of the U.S. Ski Team. But that doesn’t mean Spyder is just for ski racers. In fact, the company bills itself as “The largest ski specialty brand,” and their lineup of outerwear ranges from Olympic-level spandex speed suits to backcountry shells to sleek, après ski frocks. Our Product Tester noted the brand makes good all-around jackets that don’t "require purchasing additional expensive insulating layers." When you pick up a Spyder garment, you know you’re benefiting from decades of experience on the slopes.

"Pockets are fleece-lined, the inside of the coat is smooth to the touch, and the chin guard area is fleeced as well, meaning the major touchpoints of the coat feel cozy and warm," – Justin Park, Product Tester

Best Performing: Arc’teryx

Arc’teryx Ravenna Jacket
Courtesy of Amazon.com
3.8
What We Like
  • Pro-grade weatherproofing

  • Ultra-durable construction

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Requires additional layers

Founded in 1989 in the wilds of the Canadian Coastal Range, Arc’teryx is a brand known for its obsession with design, performance, and precision. One reason professional mountaineers, alpinists, and skiers trust the brand is their unique in-house manufacturing and design process that allows them to bring together professional athletes, engineers, materials experts, pattern makers, and product developers so their lineup of outerwear and apparel can constantly evolve and improve. Our Product Tester said the brand is best for "dedicated skiers who are confident customizing their layering to match weather conditions."

"Arc’teryx jackets generally look like what they are: serious outdoor performance wear." – Justin Park, Product Tester

 

Best Eco-Friendly: Patagonia

Patagonia Untracked Jacket
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Multi-sport apparel

  • Environmentally friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

This company started small, designing and manufacturing tools for climbers, though alpinism remains in their DNA. And with skiing and snowboarding moving to the backcountry, Patagonia has been able to move into the sport, engineering and manufacturing apparel tested by top athletes in the most extreme conditions on the planet. Snowboarder Jeremy Jones, ski mountaineer Caroline Gleich, and big mountain ripper Pep Fujas all rely on Patagonia outerwear in their backcountry adventures. Best of all, the company’s unwavering dedication to corporate social and environmental responsibility establishes it as one of the most authentic and influential outdoor brands on the planet.

“Patagonia is a true leader in the sustainable apparel space. The gear is made with a range of recycled and eco-friendly materials, and you can even shop for second-hand apparel through their Worn Wear program. Plus, all the Patagonia items in my household have really stood up to the test of time.” — Margaret Badore, Senior Editor

Best for Extreme Weather: Helly Hansen

Helly Hansen

Helly Hansen

What We Like
  • Good for cold climates

  • Pro-grade waterproofing

What We Don't Like
  • Fewer options

While many of the top ski clothing brands offer apparel and footwear suited for cold climates, Norwegian-based Helly Hansen takes things further with its heavy winter gear. Launched in 1877 by sea captain Helly Juell Hansen, the brand originally made waterproofing clothing for sailors battling harsh, Nordic seas. Since then, Helly Hansen has expanded its portfolio to include heavy jackets, fleeces, Merino-wool base layers, knit beanies, neck warmers, and other high-tech, warm offerings. Still, the brand infuses its innovative, waterproof fabric in all its designs.

“We get some extreme weather up here in Vermont, and Helly Hansen's parkas and ski jackets have gotten me through very low temperatures and windy days, whether I'm skiing during heavy snowfall or just walking around town. The brand's warm merino layers are the best you can get.” — Ellie Nan Storck, Hotel Editor

Best for Accessories: Smartwool

SmartWool

 SmartWool

What We Like
  • Comfortable fabric

  • Head-to-toe accessories

  • Quality materials

What We Don't Like
  • Require layering

As its name suggests, Smartwool specializes in its collection of Merino wool ski clothing and accessories. The brand is also popular for its base layers, mid-layers, and ski socks that help regulate temperature when skiing, whether you're in the backcountry or trailing down a mountain. Most notably, their signature, durable PhD Ski Socks are designed to keep your feet dry and comfortable in the snow. Smartwool's underwear, layers, and other accessories also help you keep warm from head to toe.

“Whether I'm skiing, hiking, or running, I don't want anything but Smartwool on my feet. If you want to stay warm, dry, and blister-free, you owe it to yourself to stock up.” Laura Ratliff, Senior Editorial Director

Most Innovative: Obermeyer

Obermeyer Supernova Shell
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Stylish

  • Quality materials

  • Functional

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Klaus Obermeyer started his eponymous ski apparel in Aspen back in 1947 when he was a ski instructor at the legendary Colorado resort. For 70-plus years, the product innovations that have come from Klaus and the Obermeyer product team have shaped the ski industry and improved the winter adventures of countless skiers, and the company is heralded for its dedication to technical performance, functional design, and elegant style.

Best for Powder: Eider

Eider Beaver Creek Jacket
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Well-fitting

  • Quality materials

What We Don't Like
  • Few pockets

Born in the French Alps, Eider is one of those brands that’s lesser-known in North America than it is in European resorts in France, Switzerland, and Austria. That’s not to say you won’t see Eider gear at America’s top resorts — since 2010, Eider has been the official outerwear partner of Ski Utah, the nonprofit organization promoting the state’s 14 ski resorts. Eider jackets are perfect for Utah’s world-famous powder, as they’re known for impeccable fit, high-performance fabric and functional features that put the brand a step above its competitors.

Best for Athletes: Mountain Hardware

Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Ion Jacket
Courtesy of Amazon.com
What We Like
  • Quality materials

  • Functional features

What We Don't Like
  • Requires layering

  • Boxy

This brand was founded in 1993 with the philosophy that everyone who enjoys the outdoors is an outdoor athlete worthy of the best apparel and equipment. You’ll still find Mountain Hardwear gear on expeditions to 26,000-foot peaks, and ski mountaineers swear by the brand’s cutting edge outerwear, tents, and sleeping bags. But you don’t have to be an extreme athlete to benefit from Mountain Hardwear’s pedigree; their outerwear is as at home on the manicured ski slopes as it is on the summit of towering peaks.

“If I know I'm going to ski in the backcountry (which means working hard and sweating a lot), Mountain Hardware layers are my go-to. They're super sweat-wicking, form-fitting, and layer really nicely with their durable outer layers. If you're working hard and moving a lot, these are the best bet for staying comfortable.” – Ellie Nan Storck, Hotel Editor

Final Verdict

We love Columbia Sportswear (view on Columbia) for its versatility. It performs well on the ski slopes and in the backcountry. Plus, with this brand, you won’t break the bank while building your ski wardrobe.

What to Look for in a Ski Clothing Brand

Fit

When it comes to ski clothing, plenty favor a closer-to-the-body fit—there’s less material for things to snag on, and it’s more comfortable skiing in the wind if your clothes fit a little tighter. However, that isn’t everyone’s preference—just make sure to pick clothing that fits in a way that works for you, because ultimately, comfort is the greatest priority.

Cost

If you go skiing frequently—or if you live somewhere with cold, wet weather—you’re going to be wearing these ski clothes pretty often. If your perfect item of clothing is a little expensive, chances are you’re going to be using it often enough to justify the splurge (and if not, there are plenty of quality budget brands out there).

Ski-specific brand

If you’re shopping for clothing to wear primarily on the slopes—versus more general outerwear that will work fine on the slopes—then go for a brand that’s dedicated to designing clothing for skiing and/or snowboarding. Clothes from brands like these are likely to have details that are specifically designed for skiers, like fits that work with the body as it moves.

FAQs

What articles of clothing do you need to go skiing?

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, you’re likely to need similar gear on the slopes. Layering is king. Start with long underwear or base layers to shore up warmth. Then add a light fleece or wool top. Pile on a ski jacket and pants for waterproofing. You’ll also need ski socks, gloves or mittens, and a neck gaiter or balaclava. For safety, plan on adding a helmet and ski goggles.

How should you clean your skiing clothes?

You should wash your base layers according to the tags when you feel they need it; however, your waterproof layers need special care and attention. Ski jackets and pants are made from technical fabrics, which can break down if you use ordinary detergent or add-ons, such as fabric softener. These chemicals can also strip the fabric of its waterproof coating. Instead, opt for cleaners specially designed for technical outerwear. Before washing, we also advise closing all zippers and Velcro closures and turning your clothes inside out. If you have any ski clothing made of down, plan on adding tennis balls to the wash cycle (to keep the down from compacting) and running it through a second rinse cycle to remove all the soap from the down. Air dry all your waterproof garments and follow drying instructions from the labels of your other gear.  

How should you store your skiing clothes in the off season?

At the end of the season, clean your clothing and gear according to the instructions on the labels or the advice above. We recommend opaque bins for storage, which will keep dust, UV light, and moisture from damaging your clothing in the off season. Your garments shouldn’t be shoved or flattened—particularly any down-based layers. Store your clothing uncompressed.

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