World's Best Winter Mitts

Editor’s Note: This story, originally published in 2007, is one of our most popular reviews of all time. It has been updated for 2014 with new mitts we have used and love (plus, we left in a few standby models that we still wear from the original test).

When it’s too cold for gloves — generally around 10 degrees Fahrenheit for many people — a good pair of mittens is crucial to enjoying any wintertime activity. You sacrifice dexterity for cozy digits, but that’s the price of warmth in the rock-bottom cold months of the year.

So what mittens are the best for outdoor enthusiasts who ski, climb and throw snowballs at friends? Over the years we’ve tested many pairs of top-end mittens that meet the cold-weather challenge. Got a favorite mitt that’s not mentioned here? Tell us in the comments. For now, here’s our run-down on a few top picks, some the warmest mittens in the world.

Black Diamond Mercury Mitt.jpg

Black Diamond’s Mercury Mitt ($114). The company described these mitts as cocoons for the hands, and indeed they’re stuffed with 284 grams of PrimaLoft insulation, the same fill used in cold-weather sleeping bags.

This was one of our favorites back in 2009 and it is still a strong contender. However, the price has increased by about $30. The Mercury Mitts are now $114 but still a good buy in our mind. They will last for several years and, with a removable liner, they can be used in frigid or also kinda-cold weather.

With the newest rendition of the Mercury Mitts, Black Diamond added a “trigger finger” that separates your index finger from the rest, increasing dexterity without surrendering too much warmth. Buy now


Marmot Expedition Mitts ($115). These mega-mitts are wonderfully warm and made for Mount Everest climbers or South Pole scientists. They are puffy, PrimaLoft-stuffed waterproof mitts that have kept our hands toasty in extreme temps as low as minus-30 F.

Caveat: The abundant insulation creates a mitt that lacks dexterity — you could easily grip a ski pole, but anything much more than that is difficult. Mountaineering is fine, but don’t try ice climbing in them, and even riding a fat bike is hard depending on the shifters.

Amazingly, this mitten has only gone up $5 since this article was first published in 2007. They cost $115 and are worth it if you need an uber-warm mitt that will last for years. Buy now.

marmot mountaineering mittens.jpg

Marmot does make an even warmer mitt if you don’t mind shelling out big bucks. The company’s 8000 Meter Mitt (see above) costs a sky-high $275 and is designed for high-altitude cold. It is really three mitts in one, including a waterproof shell with a Gore-Tex mitt insert as well as removable 700-fill goose down mittens. Buy now

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Posted by Roger S. Jones - 12/12/2009 10:08 AM

You need to update. Granite Gear’s Lutsen Mitts have not been manufactured for four years.

Posted by Carles Conill - 12/15/2009 01:51 AM

I use Mercury mitts for Arrowhead ultra (with inner Haglofs Powerstretch gloves), and they work great :)

Posted by Mitt Man - 02/01/2010 12:58 AM

Please look at the last green photo on this page. There are green mittens with a pinetree and a superimposed ~ L & M. Anyone know what brand of mittens these are?


Posted by chuck Largent - 02/02/2011 12:11 PM

Why don’t companies make mittens for winter running and walking ? Don’t need to have long sleeves that go half way up your arms, just insulated mittens to cover hands and wrists. Tons of gloves on the market, but not mittens. Don’t need the dexterity of gloves when running or walking, just the warmth.

Posted by Bryan - 10/19/2011 03:51 PM

True, the Granite Gear Mittens have not been made for several years. But I have a pair and they are great. We need Granite Gear to get with the program and begin making these mittens again. I live in Fairbanks Alaska. With some activity I have been comfortable to least 30 or 40 below. On many a more moderate days (20 below), I have walked down the river with my liner glove covered hands out of the mittens and steaming. If I would have wanted, I could have taken away a layer in side the mitten, but I went on. Bottom line…great mittens. Call Granite Gear!

Posted by Rob B. - 11/07/2011 07:22 PM

I have a new pair of XL’s that I’m willing to sell. I tried them last winter when we got dumped on in New England. The most impressive ones that I’ve tried thus far are Buffalo Pertex mittens. Made in Great Britain. I own about 15 pairs of gloves,mitts, and liners,& I’m on the quest for the best.

Posted by Tom Murphy - 12/05/2011 11:13 AM

Layers and moisture management are the key.

thin wool liner gloves [plus 2 sets of spares]
wool mittens
waterproof breathable shells

Sized so that all 3 layers can be worn at once

Mix and match as required by conditions

I like Smartwool glove liners with Foxriver wool mittens and Ragged Mountain alpine contour shells

I also bring a set of the Ragged Mountain Tucker Mitts which are double layer Polartec Highloft fleece.

Posted by cary g. - 02/25/2013 03:15 PM

i have a pair of large granite gear mitts. they are like new. they are up for sale.

Posted by Mac - 02/15/2014 05:05 PM

Hestras are so good! My girlfriend gets cold fingers easily and when she wears them, no problems.

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