Everyone can agree that cold hands are just not fun, if not dysfunctional. On freezing cold days, I definitely opt for hand protection that’s slightly warmer. Enter the Give’r Frontier Mitten, which has all the top qualities that the Give’r gloves are known for, just in mitten form. To give you an idea, the Give’r gloves are a top-selling item from Give’r and made GearJunkie’s Best Winter Glove list.
The mittens joined the Give’r lineup in 2019, 3 years after the gloves launched via a Kickstarter, which was backed by fans with $224,000. The brand comes straight out of Jackson Hole, Wyo., so it’s no surprise that the mittens withstand any winter element thrown at them and meet all my needs for a solid winter mitt.
The construction is quite elaborate, but it works to keep your hands warm and dry. There is an outside durable cowhide leather, a waterproof membrane, a heat-shield layer, and then a multilayered insulation system.
On snowboarding days when the temperatures were in the 30s, my hands were warm, but I could definitely tell that the construction of the mitten was breathable. My hands felt just the slightest bit sweaty, rather than drenched. The construction is more complex than you might think for a leather mitt.
In short: These are not your mittens for a mild winter day, but a put-on-all-your-layers kind of day. The Give’r Frontier Mittens ($139) are a supremely waterproof-breathable mitt with an aesthetic reminiscent of leather workwear gloves. Different from leather ranch gloves, these also offer insulation on the palm and back of the hand, and an extended cuff. Though, they’re a big step up in price. Bonus? The detachable wrist leashes.
Read our full review below, or our GearJunkie Winter Mittens guide to see how the Give’rs stack up.
- Shell/Material All leather cowhide exterior
- Insulation 380 g Thinsulate insulation on inner palm, 490 g on back of hand
- Cuff type Elastic undercuff
- Features Elastic undercuff, D-ring for included wrist leashes, can be customized with hand-branded initials
- Waterproof Yes, waterproof hipora membrane
- Size range XS-3XL
- Good dexterity
- Requires a short break-in period to reach optimal feel
Give’r Frontier Mitten Review
When it comes to winter, most days I prefer a mitten over a glove. I typically need a pair with insulation to keep my hands warm, given I’m usually teaching at a Forest School with 4- and 5-year-olds in the cold snow or snowboarding on the weekends. Plus, I run pretty cold in general, so I prefer gear that is heavily insulated.
From ideation to market, Give’r spent 2 years developing this mitten. While some companies use a gravel washing machine or the like to test accessories, these mittens were thoroughly field tested on the ski slopes, snowmobiling, shoveling, plus hauling and transporting baggage at the local airport. (The founder lives in Jackson, which gets nearly 400 inches of annual snowfall.)
A unique aspect of Give’r’s products is a style that reflects traditional leather work gloves. Leather has been utilized as a material back to the Stone Age, according to historians. Egyptians built tanneries where leather was used to create chariots, bow cases, and harnesses. Ancient Greeks likewise had tanneries for various leather goods.
In step, people have been making leather gloves for centuries due to its flexibility, durability, and softness. But gloves aren’t always cow leather, also known as cowhide, which is what Give’r uses. Historically, the source ranged from capeskin and cabretta to pigskin, buckskin, deerskin, and lambskin, also called doeskin.
Initially, leather workwear gloves were used for tasks like metalwork or blacksmithing. Now, leather workwear gloves remain a popular option for other activities, but they differ from more winterized leather gloves, which have longer cuffs and insulation.
Even in cloudy 20-degree temps, you’ll find me teaching in a Forest School classroom — outside. I’m typically supervising a game of tree tag, tracking coyote prints, or generally herding the little ones.
When I’m not teaching, I get out snowboarding, regardless of the weather. Eldora Mountain is the closest to my house in Boulder, Colo., and the mountain is notoriously known for its cold temps and even windier days: gusts starting at 40 mph and temps hovering around 25 degrees. It’s not always the most comfortable, but with the right gear, I can enjoy a good couple of hours of riding without having to stop in too many times for a warming break.
I wore these mittens for 4 days of snowboarding at Eldora Mountain, for shoveling heavy snow, taking my dog for walks, and during many hours teaching in my outdoor classroom (in cold and damp weather — think 30 degrees, misting, no sun).
Give’r Cowhide Leather Exterior
These mittens use high-quality, grade A, all-leather cowhide, which is super-buttery soft and supple. After testing leather from goat, pig, buffalo, deer, elk, and beaver, Give’r found that cowhide, once broken in, offered the best marks for longevity, durability, and functionality.
The brand claims that cowhide leather performs well in a variety of weather conditions, which I found to be true in my testing. The material also eventually shapes to your hand, meaning the dexterity and comfort have a chance to improve over time through use. In contrast, synthetic materials won’t evolve with the shape of your hand.
Some people find that leather isn’t the most comfortable out of the box. On the flip side, when “leather adapts to your hand — as opposed to a synthetic material which retains its factory-formed shape — however you uniquely grip ski poles, snow machines, or whatever you’re handling in the elements, the glove or mitten is customized to you,” explained Janie Henderson, Director of Partnerships and Collaborations for Give’r.
These mittens offer extra leather on the palm and at the top of the knuckles for added durability.
Water Resistance: Beeswax Coating
I found that while the leather shows a bit of water absorption after being in the snow, there’s a waterproof membrane integrated into the mitten that protects the interior from absorbing any water. That membrane uses tech that keeps water droplets out while allowing vapor to escape. During the hours spent in the snow, my hands always stayed dry, and there was little change in the leather due to moisture.
Also, the Frontier Mittens come prewaxed with a natural beeswax coating to amp up that weatherproofing, retain natural moisture content, and increase the longevity of the leather.
The brand suggests that you reapply every season or so, especially if you are really putting your mittens through rounds in the elements or using them for abrasive tasks.
I didn’t feel the need to re-wax these right away, since they felt buttery soft already, but I will re-wax them at the end of the season. For the upkeep, Give’r recommends using a all-natural beeswax, like SnoSeal, and applying the warmed-up wax liberally and evenly to the surface. Leave it on for a few minutes, and then buff with a cloth to remove any extra wax.
I’m partial to using mittens with an undercuff, and quite picky about the design, too. They shouldn’t be too tight but still slim enough to fit under my jacket sleeve. I need to be able to use the undercuff to pull on the entire mitten, which sometimes can be difficult depending on the stretchiness of the undercuff.
For the Frontier Mittens, I found the elastic undercuff to be just stretchy enough that I could get a good grip and pull the mittens on, but it also fit nicely under my jacket.
Near the base of the mitten is one of my favorite parts: a removable wrist leash, which the Give’r gloves don’t have. I love a wrist leash so that I don’t have to worry about misplacing a mitt or having them fall from the chair lift. A removable leash is nice if you aren’t into a wrist leash or want to swap it for one that you prefer.
Frontier Mittens Insulation
The insulation is rather complex. On the palm, the 380 g of insulation includes the following layers:
- 110 g of fleece interior
- 40 g of Thinsulate insulation
- 150 g of thermal insulation
- 80 g of foam insulation
The 420 g of insulation on the back of the hand includes:
- 110 g of fleece interior
- 40 g of Thinsulate
- 150 g of thermal insulation
- 80 g of foam insulation
- 110 g of Proprietary Heat Shield and Windstopper
On the back of the hand, the five-layer insulation system starts with the heat shield, called Elofile. It’s a thin sheet with a metallic reflecting agent — like aluminum — a similar technology to emergency blankets. This layer is only on the back of the hand, where the mitt is most exposed to the elements.
Next in the lineup is the synthetic foam, followed by thermal insulation — like what you find in a down jacket — and then a layer of stiffer 3M Thinsulate, which improves the structural integrity, so the mitten doesn’t get super packed down. Inside, there’s a super soft fleece interior, which also provides warmth.
These mittens are rated to -40 degrees Fahrenheit (no, thank you!) and still have fair breathability due to the Hipora Membrane.
Fit and Sizing
With any all-leather glove, there is definitely a break-in period. I found the Frontier Mittens to be a bit stiff the first few days of wearing them, but then more and more malleable with each wear.
Give’r recommends ordering your regular size if you don’t mind the break-in period, but to bump up one size if you don’t want that break-in period. Ideally, you get your correct size, and these mitts will mold to your hands for a perfect fit as the insulation begins to pack out and shape to your hand.
The pair I tested was a size medium, which correlated between my hand measurements and the size chart, but the mittens did seem roomy. There is about a half-inch gap above the thumb and the fingers, so using the mittens for more dexterous needs was a bit tricky.
With any mitten (rather than a glove), dexterity is compromised. With the Frontier Mittens, I could easily shovel snow and open up a Nalgene, but getting my phone out of a smaller pocket was a challenge, as was zipping up a little kid’s jacket. The mittens also felt a bit cumbersome when it came to buckling my snowboard boots into their bindings, but still worked for the task and were great for gripping a shovel.
The Frontier Mittens are stiff while breaking them in. However, the more I wore them, the more they molded and adapted to my hands. Ideally, as the mitts break in more, that dexterity will increase. Otherwise, you could opt for a leaner mitten (or the glove version) for a bit more dexterity. I did lose some of that overall dexterity that you might find in a thinner mitten or a glove, but that’s the tradeoff.
While testing, I also found that mittens to be way too warm for days above 30 degrees. On these warmer days out snowboarding, my hands didn’t feel extremely hot, but I would have preferred a less insulated mitten.
Give’r Frontier Mittens: Conclusion
The main takeaway: The Give’r Frontier Mitten is an extremely warm mitten. Because of the multilayer system and the leather, you lose a bit of dexterity (and it’s a mitt, after all). But the warmth factor never falters.
The mittens kept my hands warm and dry in moderately cold and damp weather as well as extremely frigid, windy weather. My pair’s leather outer has a few scuffs, but it adds to the classic look of a leather mitt.
The Frontier mittens stand out because of their extreme warmth without compromising breathability, as well as their durability and quality. I recommend these mittens for really cold and damp days, as they are extremely warm.
Though, if you want gloves rather than mittens, check out the 4-Season Give’r Gloves ($119), which have the same construction. Give’r also has other options that are more of a workwear-equivalent with shorter cuffs.
If you are often working hard or playing even harder outside in extremely cold or windy weather, be sure to add these very warm mittens to the top of your gotta-have gear.