Best Winter Gloves of 2022

10 Aug.,2022


Bespoke Leather Gloves

Gloves may not get quite as much attention as your other winter clothing, but they offer invaluable warmth and protection when the temperature drops. Our picks for the best winter gloves of the 2022 season span the spectrum from high-performance models for extreme conditions to functional pieces for everyday use and work (many of our favorites blur these category lines). In general, these gloves are unisex and come in a range of sizes, but we've also included a link to the women's-specific version when available. For more background information, see our winter glove comparison table and buying advice below the picks. To complete your cold-weather kit, see our articles about the best winter boots and winter jackets.

Our Team's Winter Glove Picks

Best Everyday Winter Glove

Category: Casual/work
Shell: Leather
Waterproof: No (water-resistant)
What we like: A beautiful everyday glove made with natural materials.
What we don’t: Expensive and doesn’t have a waterproof membrane.

Winter weather can be tough on the hands, whether you’re running errands, walking the dog, or commuting to and from work. For everyday tasks and beyond, the Hestra Wakayama is a beautifully designed glove that offers a hefty dose of warmth and weather protection. You get a sleek cowhide shell lined with warmth-trapping wool terry, sealed at the wrist with a patch of neoprene on the inside and contrasting paracord on the outside. The premium materials and design all add up to a very cozy place for your hands, in addition to great all-around durability and dexterity that just gets better over time. Taken together, the Wakayama is an elegant everyday glove that should last you season after season of use.

Like most offerings from Hestra, the Wakayama’s biggest downfall is its premium price point. And like many leather designs here (including the Hestra Fall Line and Flylow Gear Ridge below), it relies solely on the leather shell for keeping moisture at bay (read: no waterproof membrane). This won’t be an issue if you keep up with regular applications of a water-resistant treatment like Sno-Seal or Hestra’s Leather Balm, but those who don’t want to deal with the maintenance might be better off with a fully waterproof design like the Oyuki Sencho below. But for a daily driver that merges form and function better than most, the Wakayama gets our top pick for the 2022 season.
See the Hestra Wakayama Glove


Best Winter Mitten for Extreme Cold

Category: Performance
Shell: Nylon
Waterproof: Yes
What we like: Very warm and waterproof. 
What we don’t: Heavy insulation results in limited range of movement. 

For the ultimate in winter warmth, check out the Alti Mitt from Outdoor Research. Simply put, this mitten is designed to keep your hands toasty in some of the coldest places on earth, and it does a darn good job at it. The Alti features a ridiculous amount of PrimaLoft Gold fill in both the shell and removable liner (170g/m2 and 340 g/m2, respectively), which more than doubles the amount of warmth you get from a ski glove like the Oyuki Sencho below (200 g/m2). On the outside, you get a burly nylon shell with Gore-Tex waterproof protection throughout, along with climbing-specific features like a removable leash, high-grip palm, and carabiner loop. Tack on a high-coverage gauntlet design, and the Alti is a bombproof mitten that’ll keep cold hands warm, whether you frequent the dog park, frigid ski slopes, or mountain summits.

There’s no arguing with the Alti Mitt’s warmth, but you do give up some performance with the highly insulated mitten design. The bulky build lacks dexterity for activities like ice climbing and skiing, and expect to overheat quickly while moving or when temperatures start to warm. It’s true that the Alti comes in a more pliable and functional glove version, but the tradeoff is less insulation and coverage overall. In the end, if warmth is at the top of your priority list, you’ll want a mitten on hand. The Alti is our favorite extreme-cold design of the year, but it’s also worth checking out Black Diamond’s Mercury ($120) and Absolute Mitt ($270), which also receive high marks for warmth and build quality.
See the Men's Outdoor Research Alti Mitt  See the Women's OR Alti Mitt


Best Casual Glove with Touchscreen Compatibility

Category: Casual
Shell: Wool/nylon
Waterproof: No
What we like: Effective touchscreen performance alongside decent warmth.
What we don’t: Not particularly durable and middling wind resistance.

If you live in a wintery climate where gloves are a daily wardrobe staple, a touchscreen-compatible design is invaluable. Whether you’re texting a friend, making a selection at the gas station, or trying to sign your name after a credit card swipe, it’s really nice to be able to do so without exposing your digits to the elements. Among the myriad options, the Outdoor Research Flurry Sensor is one of our favorite tools for the job, with reliable and precise touchscreen performance thanks to the synthetic suede patches on both the index finger and thumb. And the rest of the design is equally well-thought-out and executed, including the dextrous wool/nylon shell with soft fleece interior, pull tabs at the wrists, and grippy silicone patches at the palm and fingertips.

A lot of thin gloves feature touchscreen-ready fingertips, but the Flurry offers a step up in warmth from a standard liner without compromising on function. On the other hand, they keep a low enough profile to be worn underneath most waterproof shell gloves—think of them as the midlayer of the glove world. But while we love the OR for casual daily tasks and consider it to be impressively warm compared to most touchscreen-compatible gloves, keep in mind that it’s not a super wind resistant design, and the wool/nylon shell will show wear with use. Finally, the Flurry tends to run a bit large, so you might want to consider sizing down for a close fit and maximum touchscreen performance.
See the Men's Outdoor Research Flurry Sensor  See the Women's OR Flurry Sensor


Best Budget Waterproof Glove

Category: Performance/casual
Shell: Polyester/leather
Waterproof: Yes
What we like: Solid performance at a low price.
What we don’t: Bulkier and stiffer than more expensive options.

Carhartt’s large lineup of gloves ranges from thin liners to burly camouflaged hunting models, and their popular WB glove lands right in the middle. It’s reasonably soft and moves well enough for casual activities, but with features like a waterproof membrane, nose wipe, and reinforced palm, the WB is a serviceable option for mild days on the slopes. Plus, priced at $36, the WB offers a lot of bang for your buck.

The main pitfall of going with such a budget glove is that in temperatures below freezing, you’ll likely find that the WB’s thin layer of cheap synthetic insulation isn’t enough to keep your hands super warm. Furthermore, the Carhartt lacks the versatility and good looks of more expensive all-rounders like the Smartwool Ridgeway above or Hestra Fall Line below, and the polyurethane palm doesn’t move as well as leather. But as a simple and affordable option, the WB is one of our favorites. It’s worth noting that Carhartt also makes a W.P. Waterproof Insulated glove (and mitten) that’s available for $25, but it lacks the leather thumb reinforcements and hook-and-loop closure on the cuff.
See the Carhartt WB Glove


Best Ski Glove

Category: Performance
Shell: Polyamide/leather
Waterproof: No
What we like: A beautifully made glove with ski-specific features.
What we don’t: Requires some maintenance to stay waterproof.

A lot of winter-ready gloves will keep your hands warm and dry on the slopes, but there’s a number of reasons to opt for a ski-specific model. Ski gloves come with a full suite of features for a day at the mountain, including wrist leashes, nose wipes, touchscreen compatibility, and dextrous leather palms for gripping your ski pole. Durability and protection is also a focus, and we’ll often see ski gloves with thick insulation and padding on the back of the hand and extra reinforcements to guard against the wear and tear of repeated use. Within this category, the Hestra Heli is our top pick: This premium glove features a hybrid leather and synthetic construction, generous gauntlet, and unparalleled comfort and dexterity. We’ve learned to trust Hestra for top-notch build quality, and the Heli delivers in spades.

As with nearly all Hestra products, the Heli has liberal amounts of leather. The benefit is that the glove flexes easily and is very durable, but you will occasionally need to reapply a leather conditioner to the palm and fingers to keep moisture at bay (a small sample of Hestra’s Leather Balm is included). Some skiers will prefer a glove with a nylon shell and waterproof liner for better wet-weather protection (like the Dakine Titan below), but we find the simple maintenance to be well worth the effort—even for skiing in the wet snow of the Pacific Northwest. As the most popular glove in Hestra’s lineup, the Heli has spawned a couple variations, including a mitten for maximum warmth and a 3-finger glove that splits the difference. And for a truly waterproof version without removable liners, check out the Hestra Army Leather Gore-Tex ($190).
See the Men's Hestra Heli Glove  See the Women's Hestra Heli Glove


Best Winter Work Glove

Category: Work
Shell: Leather
Waterproof: No (water-resistant)
What we like: Tough, dexterous, and cheap.
What we don’t: Limited warmth and you’ll have to apply waterproofing wax yourself.

Hard-working hands don’t stop for cold weather, and a solid winter work glove needs to be durable, dexterous, and warm. Glove-specialist Kinco has a full lineup of options for everything from ranching and fishing to construction and equipment operation, and their Heavy-Duty Pigskin Driver (#901) is one of our favorite designs. This winter work glove features a reinforced pigskin leather shell and a thermal liner for insulation, topped with a high-quality knit wrist to seal heat in. The cherry on top is the price: for just $38 you get a workhorse glove that’s waterproof, moves well (once you break it in), and is as tough as the much pricier options on this list.

If you plan to be out a lot in wet conditions, we highly recommend applying a waterproofing wax to the leather and seams to make the gloves fully winter ready (Kinco includes a few Nikwax packages with purchase, or you can buy it separately). And while Kincos are warmer than an unlined work glove, you’ll want to stay fairly active to stave off cold hands, which is not an issue for most people working outside. All in all, thanks to their bargain prices and proven performance, Kinco gloves have reached legendary status in the work world, and they’ve even won over the ski community and lifties in particular. 
See the Kinco 901 Heavy-Duty Pigskin Driver


Best Heated Winter Glove 

Category: Performance
Shell: Nylon/leather
Waterproof: Yes
What we like: Battery-powered heater delivers serious warmth. 
What we don’t: Extremely expensive.

If you struggle with persistently cold hands or simply want to maximize warmth, a heated glove can make a world of difference. Outdoor Research has been a leader in this field for years, and their Lucent Sensor Gloves (also available in a mitten style) are a top-notch performer. Built around their ALTIHeat system, pushing a button on the gauntlet triggers the battery-powered heating element to deliver a rush of warmth throughout your hand and fingers. You can cycle through three heat settings (low, medium, and high) depending on conditions and personal needs. And in between uses, it’s easy to replenish the OR’s batteries with the included wall charger.

The biggest impediment of a heated glove is cost, and at $359, the Lucent is far and away the most expensive design to make our list. Another important consideration is battery life: running on the highest setting will only get you a claimed 2.5 hours of use (“low” increases battery life to 8 hours, although that number can diminish over time). Finally, the heating components add a fair amount of bulk and weight, which can impact dexterity and comfort for everyday activities. But if you’re sick of constantly churning through disposable handwarmers, the Lucent is a proven heated design from a reputable brand.
See the Outdoor Research Lucent Heated Sensor


Best of the Rest

Category: Casual/work
Shell: Leather
Waterproof: No (water-resistant)
What we like: Excellent comfort and versatility for both everyday and performance use.
What we don’t: Not fully waterproof and sizing runs a bit small.

Many winter gloves are made with a specific purpose in mind, whether it be casual use around town, skiing, or outdoor work. The Smartwool Ridgeway glove—with cozy merino insulation, a tough leather exterior, and a great fit—blurs these lines better than most. Subtle branding and classy looks make it a popular choice for urban use, but the glove is warm and durable enough for the occasional day on the slopes. Further, the Ridgeway’s reinforced thumb and index finger add durability for light work tasks. All in all, it can be your Swiss Army Knife glove for cold winter days. 

What are the downsides with the Smartwool Ridgeway Glove? As with any all-rounder, it’s not the top of its class performance- or durability-wise. There is a bit less dexterity in the fingers than we would like, and the glove lacks the windproofing of an option like the Outdoor Research Stormtracker Sensor below. Moreover, the Ridgeway cannot compete with the toughness of a true work glove. But for a design that can be worn day in and day out, it’s more robust and weatherproof than most and looks good to boot. Size-wise, we found that the Ridgeway runs a bit small, and a tight cuff can make it slightly difficult to get on and off.
See the Smartwool Ridgeway Glove


Category: Performance
Shell: Softshell
Waterproof: No (water-resistant)
What we like: Waterproof, durable, dexterous, and easy to get on and off.
What we don’t: Not a very warm option.

Year after year, Outdoor Research manages to offer a strong collection of gloves. For multiple winters now, their Stormtracker has been our go-to choice for everything from winter walks and cold mornings in the car to belay duty, bike commuting, and even mild days on the skin track. With a Gore-Tex Infinium windproof and water-resistant membrane, they accomplish a lot with minimal bulk, and we’ve found the combination of dexterity and protection to be top notch (the shell adds a bit of stretch with 6% spandex). We also like that the minimalist cuffs fit nicely underneath a jacket, and the trusty goat leather palms are durable and even include touchscreen compatibility on the thumb and index finger. 

With midweight warmth and softshell construction along the back of the hand, the OR Stormtracker falls in line with a model like the Black Diamond Wind Hood below. Both gloves offer great dexterity and comfort, but in the end the OR is the much more premium offering, with a beefier shell material, closer and more articulated fit, and Gore-Tex insert. To top it off, we love the cuff zipper and pull tabs, which make the Stormtracker a breeze to get on and off. At $79, it’ll cost you a pretty penny, but this glove is the full package and worth it for many. If you’re looking for a step up in warmth, check out OR’s Illuminator ($89), which features PrimaLoft’s mid-range Silver insulation and a wind- and water-resistant Ventia membrane.
See the Men's Outdoor Research Stormtracker  See the Women's OR Stormtracker


Category: Performance/work
Shell: Polyurethane 
Waterproof: Yes
What we like: The glove that does it all, for only $20.
What we don’t: Far from the most fashion-forward glove on our list.

The majority of outdoor enthusiasts have probably never heard of Showa, and their Atlas 282 TemRes glove certainly isn’t filling the racks at your local gear shop. But don’t let appearances deceive you: for years, the Atlas 282 TemRes has been a top choice for everything from ice climbing and backcountry skiing to shoveling the driveway. Combining a polyurethane exterior with a soft, fleecy liner, this glove is—no joke—both waterproof and breathable. And that’s not all: it’s warm, dexterous, and incredibly grippy too.

In many ways, the Atlas 282 TemRes is a miracle of a glove. For only $20, you get performance on par with models over five times the price. In fact, these gloves are so good that Patagonia-sponsored alpine climber Colin Haley lists them as part of his kit for climbing Mt. Hunter in the Alaska Range. Sure, the TemRes look funny, they’re not as durable as leather, and they don’t have technical features such as cuffs, gauntlet cinches, or carabiner attachment points (check out the new 282-02 for more climbing-specific features). But we’re almost certain you won’t be disappointed. And we do recommend going up one size, as they’re known to fit small.
See the Showa Atlas 282 TemRes Glove


Category: Performance
Shell: Leather
Waterproof: Yes
What we like: A premium leather glove for less than the Hestra competition.
What we don’t: A bit stiffer than gloves without a waterproof membrane.

With a name that translates to “big snow,” Japan-based Oyuki is a one-stop shop for premium gloves, headwear, and baselayers built for powder-heavy days on the slopes. The Sencho here is a crash course in refinement, with clean styling, top-shelf materials, and an incredible fit and finish. The glove is built with a durable goatskin leather shell and waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, stuffed full of premium 200g PrimaLoft Gold insulation (133g PrimaLoft Grip in the palm), and topped off with a soft tricot liner for comfort. Finally, the cuff is a piece of art in and of itself, with a double layer neoprene design that forms a nice seal at your wrist while keeping bulk low.

We’ve worn a pair of Oyuki gloves for the past few seasons of resort skiing, and have been very impressed by their performance. The leather shell softens over time and conforms to the hand, resulting in exceptional comfort and a nice amount of dexterity. It’s true that a non-Gore-Tex design like the Hestra Wakayama above and Fall Line below will be even more pliable, but we think the tradeoff is worth it for the Oyuki’s full-on waterproofing. And while they’re priced a bit lower than the aforementioned Hestras, the Senchos feel just as premium and have the brand-name credentials to back it up. Whether you’re looking for your next ski glove or are in the market for a premium leather workhorse, the Oyuki Sencho is worth a close look.
See the Oyuki Sencho Gore-Tex Glove


Category: Performance/work
Shell: Leather/nylon
Waterproof: Yes
What we like: A premium glove that’s versatile for both skiing and everyday use.
What we don’t: Takes some time to break in; below-average dexterity.

Black Diamond’s Guide Gloves are legendary among hardcore skiers for their impressive warmth and durability, but their appeal extends far beyond the slopes.This primo winter glove features a completely waterproof design with a proven Gore-Tex insert, removable liner complete with PrimaLoft synthetic and thick boiled wool, and robust nylon shell with leather reinforcements. What’s more, the generous over-the-cuff gauntlet extends well below the wrist, giving you extra coverage and protection whether you’re hitting big lines, putting on tire chains, or building a snowman with the kids.

The downside to all this material is that the Guide Gloves can take some time to break in. Even after a few years of consistent use, our pair still lacks the flexibility that you get right out of the box with a thinner design like the Kinco Driver or OR Stormtracker above (the extra knuckle padding doesn’t help). But it’s a compromise many are willing to make for the added warmth, and we love that the Guide pulls it off while still looking great for casual use. All told, if you’re willing to deal with the slight sacrifice in dexterity, the BD offers a hard-to-beat combination of protection, durability, and versatility.
See the Black Diamond Guide Glove


Category: Casual
Shell: Fleece
Waterproof: No
What we like: A well-appointed fleece glove at a good price.
What we don’t: Fleece isn’t great in wind, rain, or snow.

The North Face’s Denali Etip is your typical fleece glove—cozy, dexterous, and moisture-wicking—but with a few extra features. It includes touchscreen compatibility on all five fingers (although we can’t think of the last time we used our pinky on our phone’s screen), along with a reinforced panel of nylon along the back of the hand for toughness and light weather protection. Along with its comfortable, articulated shape and high-grip palm, the Denali Etip checks the boxes for a simple, everyday fleece glove.

Despite its thoughtful feature set, the Denali Etip has limitations. Most importantly, you don’t get the water or wind resistance like that of a synthetic glove like the Outdoor Research Stormtracker Sensor above (for a TNF softshell model, check out the Apex+ glove). But for what it is—a comfy $35 design for around town use—the Etip is pretty darn good, and it even has a tab at the cuff to make it easy to take on and off. Keep in mind that the Denali is made with middle-of-the-road 300-weight fleece, but The North Face’s extensive lineup also includes a lighter Etip Recycled Glove (great for running) as well as a Hardface model for better wind resistance.
See The North Face Denali Etip


Category: Work/performance
Shell: Leather
Waterproof: No (water-resistant)
What we like: Classic looks and performance.
What we don’t: Not long lasting and a bit stiff.

Flylow’s Ridge glove is a classic. Used (and abused) by lifties and backcountry skiers or stuffed under the seat of a car for emergency use, it has a loyal following that few can match. And for good reason: the combination of pigskin leather, elastic cuff, and Sno-Seal waterproofing is comfortable and offers no-nonsense performance. It’s not the warmest leather glove available, but at $50, the Ridge is a better value than options like the Smartwool Ridgeway or Hestra’s Fall Line below.

What pushes the Flylow Ridge down our list—and below the aforementioned Smartwool and Hestra—is its build quality and dexterity. The glove is prone to packing out, so it won’t last as long as pricier models, and the generic fit makes it hard to do small tasks like grabbing a phone from a zippered pocket. If you want an even more budget-friendly option from Flylow, check out their Tough Guy, which is less waterproof with canvas along the back of the hand but costs $10 less.
See the Flylow Gear Ridge Glove


Category: Performance/casual
Shell: Leather
Waterproof: No (water-resistant)
What we like: Premium build quality and dexterity. 
What we don’t: Expensive and not waterproof.

Hestra gloves are kind of like a work of art. The Swedish company has a long track record of craftsmanship, and their Fall Line is a versatile design that’s equal parts ski glove and everyday workhorse. This all-leather glove nails the essentials: it’s comfortable, well built, and tough. Importantly, the Fall Line also is highly versatile: it offers sufficient insulation and cushioning on the back of the hand for most winter sports (it earned a spot in our article on the best ski gloves), but is dexterous enough to use while driving, shoveling, and simply walking around town. And the glove is made to last—our well-worn pair has softened and conformed to our hand, giving it a custom feel that still performs like new (consistent maintenance has helped here).

The biggest downside of the Fall Line is its steep $165 price. You’re paying for quality and the feel is phenomenal, but this is a hearty investment for a glove you won’t wear on the coldest days (if we’re inactive, we’ve found that it’s only warm enough down to about 20°F). Also, the Fall Line is not fully waterproof, although occasionally treating the leather will keep it from soaking up too much moisture. All in all, designs like the Smartwool Ridgeway and Oyuki Sencho above are the better values, but the Hestra’s premium look is something we appreciate each and every time we slip them on.
See the Men's Hestra Fall Line  See the Women's Hestra Fall Line


Category: Casual/performance
Shell: Merino/polyester
Waterproof: No 
What we like: The benefits of merino combined with a high-performance liner glove.
What we don’t: Not a lot of warmth and fairly pricey for what you get.

For a step up from a standard liner glove, look no further than the REI Co-op Merino Wool Liner. Merino is our favorite sock and baselayer material, so it’s no surprise that we love it for gloves too: it’s soft, naturally odor-resistant, great at regulating temperature, and stays warm even when wet. And with a 50/50 merino/recycled polyester blend, the Co-op’s liners are durable and won’t form holes as quickly as the all-wool competition. Finally, you get a very practical feature set, including elastic at the wrist, loops for hanging the gloves off a carabiner, and touchscreen compatibility on the index and middle fingers and the thumb. For a liner glove, that’s impressive stuff.

We love the Merino Wool Liner for everything from daily use to winter running and cross-country skiing. But while it’s enough to cut a light chill and keep your hands warm while exercising, the only insulation you’re getting here is a thin shell of merino/polyester, which isn’t much. For just $5-10 more, you can bump up to a glove like the Denali Etip or Flurry Sensor above, which both feature noticeably more protection from the cold alongside the touchscreen compatibility of the REI here. On the other hand, you can save money with REI’s non-merino liner ($23), but (in our opinion) if you’re spending this much on a liner glove, you might as well go for merino.
See the REI Co-op Merino Wool Liner


Category: Performance/casual
Shell: Polyester
Waterproof: Yes
What we like: A ski/snowboarding glove that can pull double duty around town.
What we don’t: Bulky construction impacts dexterity.

Dakine’s Titan has built a solid reputation among skiers and snowboarders alike, but we’ve included it here thanks to its well-rounded nature. With a Gore-Tex insert, the glove provides reliable wet-weather protection, and a grippy palm does well with everything from shoveling the driveway to hauling sleds. Plus, unlike many snowsport-specific gloves, the Titan’s styling translates rather nicely for wearing around town. To top it off, you get removable fleece liners that are touchscreen-friendly and a good weight for wearing on their own while running in the cold.

Where the Titan feels more like a ski glove is the thick insulation and bulk that hurts dexterity. The removable liner plays a role here too, and it can be difficult to do things that require fine motor skills like zipping up jackets or handling car keys. The upside is that you get a lot of warmth at a fair price, and we especially love the zippered pocket (great for stashing a hand warmer) and generous gauntlet for resort skiing.
See the Men's Dakine Titan GTX  See the Women's Dakine Sequoia GTX


Category: Performance 
Waterproof: No (water-resistant)
What we like: All the benefits of softshell with a weather-resistant mitt hood.
What we don’t: Not waterproof and less durable than the Stormtracker above.

There are a number of reasons we like softshell fabric for gloves: its stretchy construction provides excellent dexterity, comfort is prioritized with the soft finish, and breathability is top notch. But while many softshell gloves can resist light moisture and wind, they don’t hold up to the elements in the same way that leather or nylon might. For this reason, we love Black Diamond’s Wind Hood Softshell glove, which tacks on a stowable Pertex Endurance mitt hood for weather protection when you need it and breathability when you don’t. Rounding out the design, you get mid-range warmth with 100-gram PrimaLoft Gold insulation and a leather palm for grip and durability.

For activities like snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and winter cycling, the Wind Hood Softshell glove is a great addition to your kit. Keep the hood off while you’re building heat, and pull it over your fingers for breaks or summit pushes (the thumb features a fixed panel of Pertex Endurance). But it’s important to note that we have had some durability issues with Black Diamond’s softshell gloves in the past, and you’ll get more rugged fabrics along with a windproof Gore-Tex Infinium membrane with a model like the Outdoor Research Stormtracker above. That said, for active pursuits it’s hard to beat the Wind Hood’s versatility, which offers great performance whether you’re moving quickly in mild temperatures or hunkering down in the cold. The Wind Hood Softshell is largely out of stock at the time of publishing, but BD’s Wind Hood Gridtech is a lightweight alternative that will get the job done for most. 
See the Black Diamond Wind Hood Softshell Glove


Category: Performance
Shell: Nylon/leather
Waterproof: Yes
What we like: The best in materials and design.
What we don’t: Expensive and potentially overkill.

The Fission SV is Arc’teryx’s warmest winter glove, made for everything from backcountry skiing and ice climbing to snowshoeing. And as we’ve come to expect from the British Columbia brand, it’s extremely well-designed and made with top-quality materials. The softshell and leather exterior is stretchy and tough, and the mix of insulation (the palm has 133-gram PrimaLoft Gold, the back of the hand has 200-gram Primaloft Silver, and both are lined with a thin but warm layer of Octa Loft) balances warmth with hand feel for gripping a tool or ski pole. A waterproof Gore-Tex insert, leather palm, and full-coverage gauntlet round out the Fission’s full-on performance build.

Why is this premium offering from Arc’teryx towards the bottom of our list? For most people and uses, we think it’s overkill in both price and features. Most of the time you can get away with a much more affordable glove—in fact, we know several seasoned ice climbers who opt for a design like the Showa 282 TemRes over the Fission SV. Furthermore, you get similar warmth from OR’s Alti Glove for $40 less (with a notable drop in dexterity). But if price is not an issue, the Fission SV delivers typical Arc’teryx craftsmanship and high-end performance for the most discerning of outdoor enthusiasts.
See the Arc'teryx Fission SV Glove


Winter Glove Comparison Table


Winter Glove Buying Advice

Winter Glove Categories

Performance gloves are designed for sustained use in demanding winter conditions. For mountaineering, skiing, or winter bike commuting, these are the top performers. Obviously, a glove made for high-output activities such as cross-country skiing will have vastly different traits than an arctic expedition glove, so this is a wide category. But consistent features include wind and waterproof materials, quality insulation, good dexterity, grippy palms, snug-fitting cuffs, and often expensive price tags. Leading options include the Black Diamond Mercury Mitt, Outdoor Research Alti Mitt, and Arc'teryx Fission SV.

The Black Diamond Mercury Mitt is a performance-oriented design

Casual gloves are our top picks for day-to-day activities such as walking around town, driving to work, or short winter hikes. Some of these gloves are designed with full functionality in mind, while others prioritize styling and warmth. All casual gloves are made to keep your hands protected for brief periods of time in the cold, but many won’t stand up well to precipitation. In this category, look for features like touchscreen-compatible fingertips, reinforced palms, the use of wool, and mitten designs. And because they’re not intended for high-end performance, casual gloves are typically among the most affordable.

Gloves in our work category put a premium on durability. For uses like chopping wood or operating a ski lift, a tough leather glove is hard to beat (it’s no coincidence all our work gloves above are made primarily with leather). Also, look for simple feature sets, dexterous styles, reinforced palms, and short, undercuff designs. Most winter-ready work gloves are fleece-lined or synthetically insulated for added warmth, but you can always double up with a liner (at the cost of some dexterity). 

In general, work gloves are not made for extreme conditions like true winter sports options, although there are some notable exceptions. The Smartwool Ridgeway and Flylow Ridge gloves, for example, cross over into the performance category with designs that balance weather protection, durability, and warmth. We know many winter enthusiasts who routinely wear models such as these for skiing, snowboarding, or ice climbing rather than gloves specifically made for those activities. But take note: although work gloves often come with a lower price tag, they do not offer the full weather protection of a nylon glove with a long, sealable gauntlet. 

Work-style leather gloves are tough and usually affordable


Warmth is a defining feature of a winter-ready glove, and the amount of insulation provided varies widely between styles. On the very warm end of the spectrum are the Outdoor Research Alti and Black Diamond Mercury Mitts, which have thick synthetic fill, windproof shells, and waterproof inserts for keeping you protected in extreme conditions. On the other end is a lightweight fleece glove like The North Face Denali Etip that is only useful for short stints outside in freezing temperatures. And many designs fall in between, like Flylow Gear's Ridge Glove. The premium leather build is dexterous for day-to-day activities, while the moderate level of foam insulation has kept us comfortable on mild-weather ski days and while shoveling snow. The good news is that there is a suitable glove for just about every possible use. Your ideal level of warmth will depend on the expected low temperatures, what activities you’ll be doing, and if you are prone to running hot or cold.

Insulation Types

For a seriously warm glove, synthetic fill is our preferred form of insulation. It has all the right properties: synthetic insulates when wet, is an efficient insulator relative to its weight, is reasonably durable and resists packing out, and is cheaper than down. Many of the top performance gloves on our list use this type of fill, including the Oyuki Sencho GTX and Arc'teryx Fission SV. It’s worth noting that the quality of the synthetic fibers is important—gloves that use PrimaLoft and Thinsulate are warmer for their weight and longer lasting than cheaper options that uses generic polyester fill.

Ice climbing in the PrimaLoft-insulated OR Alti gloves

Synthetic gloves may dominate the performance category, but fleece is a popular insulator among casual and lightweight designs. A fleece glove like The North Face Denali Etip is cozy, warm enough for short walks outside, and affordable at $35. Downsides of fleece gloves are that they don’t provide much wind and weather protection (on the other hand, they often breathe well), and aren’t as warm as a synthetic glove. But for a cheap and comfortable option to wear around town, fleece is a good way to go.

Wool, and the merino variety in particular, is our favorite material for next-to-skin baselayers and socks, but it isn’t as popular among winter gloves. It’s true that some of the gloves above use wool—the Hestra Wakayama is insulted with wool terry—but it has its fair share of drawbacks. Wool generally has a shorter lifespan than fleece, and is heavier, bulkier, and significantly less durable than synthetic. But there’s no denying its warmth—we like wool for a lightweight liner (worn under a shell) or for casual use in dry conditions.

Among insulation options, down is the one you’ll see the least. The main reason is that down must be lofty in order to insulate (read: less dexterity), and natural goose or duck plumage loses its ability to insulate when wet. You can mitigate this issue with a burly, waterproof shell, but even the sweat from your hands can compromise the down fill. As such, you’ll run across the occasional casual down piece like the L.L. Bean Baxter State, but synthetic gloves are far more practical (and affordable) for wet and snowy conditions.

Down-filled gloves aren't very popular due to their poor performance when wet

Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant Gloves

Many winter gloves are not fully waterproof, but those that are fall into two basic styles: an outer shell that blocks out moisture, or a waterproof membrane sandwiched between the shell and liner. Starting with the waterproof shell design, these gloves are typically made with leather, which resists wind but is naturally prone to absorbing moisture. As such, they require a treatment of Sno-Seal or equivalent product to create a water-blocking barrier. It’s important to note that these gloves also need routine maintenance (washing or reapplication of treatment) to stay in working order (more on this below).

Backcountry skiing in the waterproof Showa 282 TemRes gloves

A waterproof shell does the trick in dry snow or if you stay on top of the maintenance, but it can’t compete in terms of all-out water resistance with an internal membrane. The highest quality waterproof layer on the market is Gore-Tex, known for its combination of long-lasting moisture resistance and breathability. Most high-level gloves are made with Gore-Tex, while more budget-oriented gloves feature various off-brand designs, such as BDry, TEK2, etc. You can expect varying levels of performance from these fabrics, but in general, a lower price point will mean compromised waterproofing, breathability, or both. Again, cheaper gloves will be fine for most purposes—including mild-weather resort skiing and outdoor work—but if you really want a glove to hold up in wet and miserable conditions, expect to pay a bit more.

For casual use or if you’re not outside for extended periods of time, a non-waterproof glove often will be sufficient. Fleece and wool models offer the least amount of protection, while some, like the leather Hestra Wakayama, are highly wind and water resistant. In general, we recommend a waterproof glove if you’ll be out in the elements for long stretches and will run the risk of wet hands. But more air-permeable designs are a fine choice for wearing around town, while shoveling snow, or even on the occasional snowshoe adventure.

Hestra offers a leather balm for waterproofing their gloves

Treating Your Leather Gloves

As we touched on in the waterproofing section above, leather gloves require occasional treatment to avoid absorbing moisture. Some models come pre-treated, including Flylow’s Ridge glove, while others like the Kinco Pigskin glove are just plain leather. The most common and effective coating is Sno-Seal. This beeswax-based solution requires a fair amount of effort—including baking the glove in the oven—but it’s a proven formula that’s extremely popular among skiers in wet climates. Simpler and less-involved options that still provide a good level of protection include Nikwax’s Waterproofing Wax and Hestra’s Leather Balm, which can be applied quickly by rubbing in the treatment with a cloth and drying overnight. Depending on how often you wear your gloves and in what kind of conditions, you may need to re-treat the leather one or more times a winter (it’ll be clear when you need to reapply because the gloves will stop shedding moisture).

Shell Materials and Durability

Durability should not be overlooked when it comes to choosing the right glove. After all, what gets more use than our hands? The most long-lasting gloves fall into the work category and are made of ultra-tough leather. An additional waterproofing treatment—such as Nikwax, Sno-Seal, or similar product—provides a barrier from moisture but also serves to extend the glove’s lifespan. Nylon shells are another long-lasting option, particularly well-made performance designs like the Outdoor Research Alti Mitt. Simple wool and fleece models are the most prone to developing holes and tears and should be limited to casual activities. It’s worth noting that some nylon, wool, and fleece gloves are reinforced with leather in high-use areas (such as the palms and fingertips).

Most gloves are reinforced in high-use areas


For many wintertime uses, from putting chains on your car in a snowstorm to texting on your smartphone, it’s important to have a pair of highly dexterous gloves. If this is a priority for you, the supple and stretchy nature of leather (even lined leather) makes it a popular choice. Another factor is the level of insulation: in general, thinner and less warm gloves are more dexterous. Finally, the construction plays a role—Hestra’s Fall Line has external seams along the fingers that make it surprisingly easy to perform fine motor movements despite the glove’s warm foam insulation. Keep in mind that dexterity doesn’t need to be the top consideration for everyone—thick or bulky gloves can still be useful in many situations, including shoveling snow, skiing, or just walking in extreme cold. 

Smartwool's Ridgeway gloves offer excellent dexterity


Gauntlet Style
Gauntlet gloves, like the Black Diamond Guide, extend over the cuff of a jacket (rather than under), providing excellent weather protection and warmth. When done right, a gauntlet effectively seals out cold air and virtually eliminates the possibility for snow to enter. Gauntlet gloves are easy to get on and off, with large openings and one-handed drawcords that tighten and release. They are often heavier, bulkier, less agile, and less ventilated than other styles, but worth it if you really want to batten down the hatches. We like the gauntlet style best as high-performance gloves for winter sports and expeditions. 

Undercuff gloves—usually incorporating a cuff made with stretchy wool or synthetic material—sit under the winter jacket and hold the glove close to the wrist. The cuff provides both a barrier from the elements and keeps the glove from slipping off the hand. While an undercuff glove is less bulky, lighter weight, and better at ventilating than a gauntlet style, it can’t compete in terms of weather protection. Even if you tighten your jacket sleeves snugly over the top, there’s a chance your sleeves will ride up during activity. But for outdoor work or everyday use, the simplicity of an undercuff design is very appealing.

Undercuff-style gloves are a great casual choice

Removable Liners

Many gloves come with either a built-in or removable liner (the latter often are referred to as 3-in-1 gloves). Made from synthetic or wool, a liner wicks moisture away from the skin and adds an element of warmth, even when wet. A liner that can separate from the glove provides added versatility—you can wear the liner or shell separately, or combine them for maximum warmth. Furthermore, separating the layers allows for faster drying and the ability to swap liners in the middle of a particularly wet day. 3-in-1 gloves are bulkier, heavier, and less dexterous, but certainly have their merits. And keep in mind that even if a glove is not sold with a liner, you can always layer it with a thinner set for added warmth.

Touchscreen Compatibility

We’re on our phones more now than ever, and in 2022 we see this reflected in glove design. Over half of the gloves on this list feature touchscreen-compatible pointer fingers and thumbs, and the number of available designs are increasing each year. In short, the technology uses conductive fabrics in the fingertips so that your body’s electric current—what the screen must recognize to be responsive—is transferred through the glove (interestingly, you can make this modification yourself with a simple needle and conductive thread). As expected, thin gloves work better on a touchscreen than thick gloves (a simple matter of accuracy). This makes a glove with a touchscreen-compatible removable liner appealing: you get the warmth of a heavy winter glove but the ability to use your phone without fully exposing your hand to the elements. 

Using the touchscreen functionality on The North Face Denali Etip

Additional Winter Glove Features

Winter gloves can range from simple leather designs like the Kinco Pigskin to fully featured models with wrist cinches, nose wipes, zippered pockets, and carabiner loops for carrying on a harness. These features generally increase with performance—everyday and work gloves are usually the simplest (sometimes with touchscreen compatibility as the only noteworthy addition), whereas winter sports gloves often include all the bells and whistles. Some gloves even come with a battery-powered heat pack for particularly cold environments—or particularly cold hands (the Outdoor Research Lucent Heated Glove being our favorites).

In the cold, a soft nose wipe can be a handy feature

Gloves vs. Mittens

For the chilliest of conditions or those that suffer from habitually cold hands, mittens are a great choice. By keeping your fingers together rather than isolating them as gloves do, mittens offer a notable increase in protection and warmth. The largest downside of mittens is the lack of dexterity. Even for simple tasks like tying your shoes, unzipping your pockets, or grabbing a small item, mittens are bound to make you feel clumsy. Depending on the activity, you may end up removing them enough times that your hands would have stayed warmer with gloves on. But for the occasions when you don’t need nimble hands, nothing beats the warmth of mittens.

Some gloves—like the Black Diamond Wind Hood Softshell—are designed with mitten flaps that extend over the top of gloved fingers. For casual use, this can be a best-of-both-worlds scenario—convenience, dexterity, and warmth all in one. But take note that the partial flap will not suffice to keep your hands dry in snow or rain. A third option for mittens is the 3-finger design, which is also known as the split finger or lobster glove. Here, the thumb and pointer finger have their own slots while the other three fingers remain together as in a mitten. We don’t love this style in most cases—dexterity still is largely compromised and the increase in warmth is minimal.
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