From lightweight liners to extra-warm winter gloves, we tested and found the best gloves to meet every budget, temperature, and winter sport.
Keeping your hands warm can make the difference between a memorable time outdoors and a miserable one. Whether you suffer from Raynaud’s and need more hand heat than your body can generate or you’re looking for a light layer to keep your fingers warm when you set out for a run, there’s a glove out there that’s perfect for you.
To find the best gloves, we put these winter warmers to the test. We alpine, backcountry, and nordic skied, hiked, fat biked, snowshoed, skated, sledded, dog walked, and had snowball fights in more than 30 pairs of gloves in the American Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest as well as the Rockies, Canada, and Iceland. Temperatures ranged from -20 degrees F to so warm we could take them off.
We considered waterproofness, breathability, durability, and how well they kept weather out as well as ease of on and off, taking a phone photo, gripping a ski pole, or packing a snowball while wearing them.
And while there isn’t a single glove that suits everyone, we broke them into categories so you can find the best gloves for you. For more help finding the right fit, be sure to check out the buyer’s guide at the end of this article.
Best Winter Gloves of 2020
Best Overall: Norrøna trollveggen GTX ($179)
If you want warm hands this winter regardless of what you’re doing, Noronna’s trollveggen GORE-TEX can’t be beat. It’s made for mountaineering with a midlength cuff and goat leather palm. But you don’t need to have big-mountain summits on your bucket list to wear them. These gloves are significantly lighter and more supple than other big mitts, with a tough cuff that’s light, flexible, and trim (read: not bulky), which makes them easy to slip on.
On blustery days, keep the warmth in with the low-profile, one-hand tighten-an-release wrist strap, or seal your hands inside with a pull tab on the cuff. A wool liner under the synthetic-insulated shell wasn’t as fuzzy as fleece but gave the gloves dexterity for gripping a ski pole, holding a mountaineering axe, or holding onto a sled handle. It also kept the inside from ever feeling sweaty. Use the stretchy, removable wrist straps to prevent dropping them in the snow when you take these off to send a text or snap a pic.
Shell/Material: GORE-TEX fabric, goat leather, PrimaLoft, Oeko-Tex-certified fabric, PFC-free DWR, Bluesign-certified fabric
Pros: Warm; reinforced with leather in high-wear areas; lighter and less bulky than most other gloves in the category
Cons: Not touchscreen-compatible
Best Budget Glove: Mammut Passion Glove ($55)
For day hikes, dog walks, grocery runs, coffee stops, and meeting your friends for tapas and beers, Mammut’s wool-exterior, fleece-interior Passion Glove is warm, repels wind and water, and doesn’t make you look like you’re hiding a heart-rate monitor under your down sweater.
Made from premium materials but priced right, the wooly, leather-reinforced, touchscreen-compatible glove has a stretch fleece panel at the cuff and a large pull loop to make it easy to get on and off. They’re thin enough to stuff in a pocket or purse until you need them, and while you’ll love the Passion for your next snowball fight, they also dress up for a night on the town.
Shell/Material: Wool on the outside, fleece on the inside, with a goat leather palm
Pros: Not too techy looking; touchscreen-compatible; do double duty for urban excursions
Cons: They wet out with a lot of snow contact
Best for Fat Biking: Craft Siberian Glow Glove ($60)
Warm, windproof, and waterproof, the polyester-insulated, fleece-lined Siberian Glow feels warm as soon as you put it on. Silicone grip on the softshell palm was secure gripping handlebars, and while there isn’t silicone on the fingers, the softshell fingertips didn’t slide on shifters or brake levers.
The elasticized wrist kept the wind out but dumped excess heat appropriately after a big hill climb, and a Velcro adjuster let us lock down the cuff when we didn’t want any heat to escape.
What’s the most eye-catching about these gloves is that the back is fully reflective. When illuminated by car lights, they turn into a glowing orb that made us visible on a stretch of road at the end of a ride. We also wore the Siberian Glow nordic skiing in single-digit temps. On both rides and skis, the fleecy thumb got consistent use as a nose wipe.
Shell/Material: Reflective polyester fabric, silicone palm gripper
Pros: Nose wipe; reflective; silicone grip on the palm; great for cold days
Cons: Hard to get on with sweaty hands; not touchscreen-compatible; too hot with pogies
Best Winter Work Glove: Sitka WS Gunner Glove ($99)
Made from buttery goatskin leather and GORE-TEX WINDSTOPPER, Sitka’s Gunner was designed for hunters who need dexterity as well as durability.
We found there’s nothing better when you’re working in the woods, whether you’re hauling wood, moving rocks, or sawing a log that fell over the trail. The Gunner never felt sloppy or too bulky to have a good hold. The warmth comes from the fully windproof knit liner and the leather.
Shell/Material: Water-resistant goat leather with knit INFINIUM with WINDSTOPPER liner
Pros: High dexterity; easy on and off
Cons: They almost seem too nice for rough work!
Best Heated Glove: Black Diamond Solano ($400)
Cold hands and feet can interfere with winter fun. When you’re wearing the battery-powered Solanos, even Arctic temperatures won’t keep you inside. For a bog glove, the Solano is relatively low-profile, with a rechargeable battery pack in the cuff and heating elements that wrap around the inside of your wrist, where your blood is close to the surface and can best absorb the heat.
The new Solano has more synthetic insulation in the back of the hand and the palm than previous versions, but not so much that it’s hard to grip a ski pole. And you get to pick how warm you want your hands to be.
A switch on the back of this GORE-TEX lined goat leather glove lets you choose from three settings. We wore these gloves in the deepest freeze Vermont could muster, alpine skiing, and also fat biking down to -20 degrees F, and our hands were toasty warm.
Shell/Material: Full goat leather with two-layer Pertex Shield Nylon gauntlet cuff and GORE-TEX liner
Pros: Warm hands in any weather; excellent battery life
Cons: Expensive; batteries in the cuff can feel bulky; they’re a little stiff
Best Glove for Ice Climbing: Outdoor Research Mixalot Gloves ($69)
When you need to feel everything but also need a barrier against winter weather, the Mixalot delivers. An ultra-tactile, close-fit, single-layer glove, the Mixalot has a no-slip Pittards Gripster sheep leather palm — it’s the same leather used in golf gloves — that covers all parts of your hand that touch a tool.
The superb grip paired with gusseted fingers for unrestricted movement gave us total confidence in our tool placements while climbing frozen waterfalls and as well as during mixed climbing. A new neoprene cuff and GORE WINDSTOPPER softshell on the back kept out biting wind, and it kept warmth in. And the fuzzy thumb absorbed nose drips.
Shell/Material: GORE INFINIUM with WINDSTOPPER softshell; nylon/spandex face fabric with polyester backer; Pittards Gripster sheep leather palm and overlay
Pros: High sensitivity makes it easy to grip; easy to get these on and off
Cons: Not super warm
Best Snowboarding Gloves: Hestra Vertical Cut CZone Gloves ($170)
Snowboarders usually prefer mitts because they’re typically warmer than gloves. But mitts sacrifice the use of your fingers until you take them off. These short-cuffed and fully waterproof hybrids give riders the best of both worlds. Choose from a single-finger glove, a three-finger lobster-style glove, or a full glove. All have five fingers individually insulated inside.
The Vertical Cut C-Zone is padded with shock-absorbing foam on the back to protect your hand from bumps and bruises whether you’re in the backcountry or the halfpipe. Seams stitched on the outside, not the inside, reduce pressure points if you’re poling while splitboarding, and give better grip whether it’s for a grab or ratcheting your binding.
Shell/Material: Goat leather with a three-layer dobby polyester that’s windproof, water-resistant, and breathable; polyester insulation and a waterproof membrane
Pros: Available in a variety of finger configurations; good dexterity for a thicker glove; back of the hand padding is protective
Cons: Velcro-close cuff can catch if not closed properly
Best Alpine Ski Glove: Astis Short Cuff Glove ($165)
Handmade and hand-beaded in the U.S., slipping your hand into Astis Short Cuff gloves is like putting on your favorite sweater. The silicone-treated suede shell is soft and molds to your hand over time. It’s also highly water-resistant but breathes better than any other glove with a membrane.
Inside, high-pile Polartec fleece is deliciously cozy and warm, but not bulky. Wear them out, and the fleece is replaceable. If you need another reason to get these gloves — they let you express your style. Choose from a dozen beaded designs. Beads are sewn with Kevlar thread that won’t break or cut, even if you accidentally swipe it with a ski edge.
Shell/Material: Water-repellent leather with Polartec high-pile fleece lining
Pros: You’ll make new friends in the lift line; beautiful beading; leather repels water but is fully breathable so hands don’t get sweaty
Cons: No wrist straps; not touchscreen-compatible
Best Women’s Glove: Oyuki The Chika ($135)
Made from buttery goatskin leather that starts comfortable and gets even better as you wear them, The Chicka is warm, dry, and so soft. And when you look good, you feel good, which also makes you ski your best.
A GORE-TEX membrane manages moisture, and the fuzzy woven lining doesn’t pill and won’t bunch or pull out even if your hands are sweaty. The gusseted liner cuff peeks past the leather shell, keeping the Velcro closure away from your wrist and sealing out snow.
It also makes The Chika easy to get on and off. The 200g PrimaLoft insulation was perfect for alpine ski days, snowshoeing outings, and any time we were winter wandering. We kept the removable wrist straps on so when we took the gloves off we didn’t drop them in the snow.
Shell/Material: Goatskin leather with GORE-TEX insert
Pros: Soft, supple, and delicious inside and out; wrist straps
Cons: Leather absorbs water on warmer days
Best Running Glove: icebreaker Tech Trainer Hybrid Glove ($60)
For high-output activities when you’ll be sweating despite the winter temps, icebreaker’s Tech Trainer keeps your hands warm but lets the sweat out. A wind-repelling, air-permeable Pertex panel covers the back of this stretchy, merino liner-weight glove for warmth and protection.
And when you’re holding a flask, bottle, or your phone, silicone print on the palm and fingers give enhanced grip. The gloves clip together so you won’t lose them, and a touchscreen-compatible patch on the pointer was one of the most effective we tested.
Shell/Material: Merino with Lycra and Pertex Quantum Air Nylon on the back of the hand
Pros: Super packable; touchscreen-compatible; silicone gripper on the palms
Cons: Easy to tear with hard use
Best for Nordic Skiing: Swix Lahti Glove ($36)
For nordic skiing, less is more. We picked these gloves for their grippy faux-leather palm (that never got saturated with snowmelt or sweat) and perfectly balanced insulation and breathability.
The Lahti is sewn to give skiers full thumb flexibility, which gave us a solid grip holding a narrow nordic pole without ever feeling restrictive. The fuzzy thumb acted as a nose wipe, and the ribbed cuff was pressure point-free under a pole strap.
Shell/Material: Lycra with Thinsulate insulation
Pros: Simple design; affordable; fuzzy nose wipe
Cons: Elastic cuff can be hard to get on and off with sweaty hands
How to Choose Winter Gloves
Choose the best winter gloves based on how you’ll use them, your physiology, and the features you need.
If you’ll be wearing gloves while holding onto a ski pole, ice axe, chainsaw, or other winter gear, choose a glove that gives you dexterity. The material used in the palm makes a big difference in grip. So does how much insulation is inside.
How Warm Is Too Warm?
Not every activity warrants the warmest glove, and if your gloves are too hot, you’ll end up with hands that are somewhere between sweaty and swampy.
The same is true for waterproofing. If you’ll be generating heat running or nordic skiing, consider a glove without a waterproof membrane. And if your primary winter pursuit is snowball fights, definitely choose a waterproof glove.
If you always have cold hands regardless of how big your mitts are, try a pair of battery-powered gloves. They can be a game-changer for people whether they have Raynaud’s or just chronically cold hands.
Not all gloves are iPhone-compatible. Phone shutterbugs will want to look for a pair with touchscreen compatibility. Constantly taking your gloves on and off gets old fast.
Choose a glove sized for your hand. Extra space inside an oversized glove is just more air that your hands have to heat before they feel warm.
Have a favorite winter glove we missed? Let us know in the comments for future updates to this article.