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Nothing can ruin a good time on the slopes faster than frozen fingers and icy gloves. While skiers and snowboarders may focus on other gear first — boots, bindings, jackets and so on — we’d argue that gloves are some of the most overlooked but most important purchases. You want an insulated interior to keep in the warmth while a sturdy, waterproof material on the outside to prevent the daily wear and tear on the mountain. It’s also essential to make sure you have a great grip for holding onto your ski poles (don’t want any yard sales, here!). If you choose to go the fancy route in terms of extras, some gloves come with perks, including removable liners, built-in battery heaters and touchscreen-friendly tech, so you can take those snowy selfies without removing your mittens. So before you pack for the hitting the slopes in the backcountry, check out the best ski gloves to buy today.
Best Overall: Arc’teryx Fission
This high-end glove takes the cake as the best performer. Whether you’re in the rainy Pacific Northwest or in a snowstorm in Colorado, these waterproof gloves are sure to keep you warm and dry with their insulated PrimaLoft Silver outer layers. They’re super versatile and can be used for skiing and snowboarding as well as winter activities like ice climbing and mountaineering. This lightweight option is great for packing and it has a leather palm and stretchy exterior fabric, making it tough yet flexible for finger movement. Inside the glove, a PrimaLoft insulation keeps you warm while a Gore-Tex insert offers breathable, waterproof protection. The Arc’teryx Fortius 1.0 softshell outer layer has a high-level of abrasion resistance to stop any scratches or tears if you happen to fall on the slopes. At the palm and fingers, there’s an insulated grip control for extra dexterity and less slippage between the glove layers. The gauntlet wrist can layer easily over a jacket for extra coverage and wrist leashes prevent any lost mitts.
Best Budget: 686 Gore-Tex Linear
These gloves offer serious bang for your buck. They come with high-tech heating technology to keep your tips toasty. Meanwhile waterproof, DWR softshell fabric keeps out any moisture that may try to slip inside the glove. Comfortable Gore-Tex inserts have a membrane that allows perspiration vapor to escape to keep your temperature neutral (cool during sweaty activities and warm during relaxing moments). The palm and fingertips have Hex Grip material so you can easily grip your snowboard bindings or ski poles. Plus, they have SoundTouch technology so you can use your phone with the gloves still on. We also love the elastic wrist cinch and leash to avoid accidentally dropping one from the chairlift. The Velvex face wipe is a nice touch too. You can choose between an all-black option or a charcoal gray pair with black detailing.
Best for Men: Hestra Ergo Grip Incline
It’s safe to say Hestra, the famous Swedish gear company, knows how to handle the cold. These work gloves are ideal for alpine exploration and mountaineering while still having a handsome style with cowhide leather. The leather can be dyed in many different colors: yellow, white, black and robin’s egg blue. Or you can stick to the original undyed leather for a more natural, earthy look. They have special Ergo grip fingertips as well as Army leather palms and cowhide on the back of the glove. Black-brushed polyester lining traps the heat inside the glove. They also cuff snuggly around the wrist with a Velcro closure, so you never have to worry about snow sneaking in if you happen to hit the powder too hard.
Best for Women: Hestra Heli
These gauntlet-style gloves have been one of Hestra’s top sellers for years. The slim ski gloves have palms made out of a soft, specially-treated goatskin (commonly used to make military and Army gloves) and an upper section on the back treated with windproof, water-resistant, breathable HESTRA Triton three-layer polyamide fabric. The fingers flex easily with Hestra’s Eagle Grip and the glove is very durable, although you may have to treat it with leather conditioner, unlike waterproof nylon gloves. The Bemberg Soft polyester lining is removable for warmer afternoons or use the Fiberfill insulation, long gauntlet sleeves and a snow-lock Velcro closure to keep heat in on cold mornings. At first the gloves may feel like a tight fit, but they stretch after the first few wears. This product also comes in two other options — mittens or three-finger gloves — allowing you to choose whichever fit works best with your fingers. Neutral colors of gray, beige, black, white and charcoal go with every ski outfit.
Best Heated: Seirus Hellfire
Sick of frozen fingers and sore joints? Look no further than the Seirus Hellfire, one of the most high-tech gloves in the game. The thick HeatLock insulation and the DryHand windproof liners are enough to keep you cozy, but the sheepskin leather glove goes even further, featuring a self-heating panel that you can turn on with the press of a button. The gloves can be warmed up to three settings — depending on how cold your digits are — and the rechargeable, lightweight 3000 Ultra battery lasts up to 12 hours on a low setting and eight hours on medium setting. High heat is supposed to be saved for when you first put on your gloves after your fingers have been out in the cold; it’s not recommended to keep the high heat on for long periods of time. Bonus: It’s also touchscreen-friendly so you can use your phone without taking off the gloves.
Best for Mountaineering: Outdoor Research Arete
Seattle-based company Outdoor Research has mastered a dry set of gloves perfect for the Pacific Northwest’s wet winters. The Arete gloves are best-sellers thanks to their versatile design and breathable fabric. They are made with 100-weight fleece insulation and a silicone grip palm on the liners, which can be worn separately (outside the nylon shell) on warmer days or snapped in via velcro on frigid ones. These durable gloves are great for backcountry adventures, such as hiking, ice climbing or skiing, as they are light and waterproof. After days of continuous outdoor use, the gloves did not soak through. It also helps that there is a cinch cord that can be tightened over the jacket sleeve to keep snow out. The only downside is in severely cold (sub-zero) temperatures, you may want to bring an extra hand-warmer — although there is a heat pack pocket on the back of the inside liners to keep the warmer from shifting around.
Best Mittens: Black Diamond Mercury
Prefer mittens over gloves? Try Black Diamond’s Mercury mitts, which have a warm PrimaLoft Gold insulation layer, a four-way stretch Pertex Shield moisture-free membrane, as well as a sturdy goat leather palm with Kevlar stitching that keeps the wear and tear to a minimum. They are a bit bulky, which is nice if you have larger hands or are planning on being waist-deep in a snowbank. Because of the thick design, you can easily ball your hands up in the middle of the mitt to warm them up faster, but they should stay toasty even in the coldest, windiest of weather. Our favorite feature is the removable split-finger fleece liner with dry inserts. Out of all the options, the Black Diamond Mercury is one of the most waterproof products available, making it a great choice for those spending a lot of time out in the mountains.
Best Touchscreen: Burton Gore-Tex Guide
Besides being one of the most stylish sets around (just look at the gorgeous black leather finish!), Burton’s Gore-Tex Guide gloves also have revolutionary tech that makes them stand out from the pack. The military-grade insulation, moisture-proof microfiber lining and warm sherpa fleece all contribute to a snug, warm fit. There’s even a zippered pocket specifically made for hand warmers to slip in. An ergonomic pre-curved design that fits in the palm of your hand (literally) makes it feel custom-made and tailored to your fingers. The best part: The thumb and index finger feature Burton’s patented Screen Grab Gnar Guard leather so you can text your friends and snap Instagrams straight from the slopes. When you want to take the gloves on and off, an easy side zipper at the wrist means you won’t have to struggle with stiff fingers and the Gore grip technology keeps the liner locked inside the shell.