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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.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Columbia Sportswear
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.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Outdoor Research
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. Their outerwear is legendary for its dedication to developing waterproof-breathable attire, and their insulating mid- and base-layers will keep you warm on any mountain.
Best Design: The North Face
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, and when you pick up a North Face garment you can count on the company's commitment to pushing the limits of innovation and design.
Most Versatile: Spyder
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. When you pick up a Spyder garment, you know you’re benefiting from decades of experience on the slopes.
Best Performing: Arc’teryx
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.
Best Eco-Friendly: Patagonia
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.
Best for Extreme Weather: Helly Hansen
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.
Best for Accessories: Smartwool
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.
Most Innovative: Obermeyer
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
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
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.
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.