10 Best Winter Gloves

We tested the best winter gloves for hiking and this is how they performed.

Updated on January 26th, 2024
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We tested the best winter gloves and mittens available today according to price, weight, warmth, and waterproofing. Read on to see how they performed, which is best for you, and get some valuable buying advice.

Best Winter Gloves

The best winter gloves and mittens are:

The product comparison table below is sortable. Click the arrow in the heading cell to sort the models by preferred spec.

1. BLACK DIAMOND Mercury Mitts $119.95 9.46 oz -20F Mittens Gauntlet
2. SHOWA Temres 282-02 $39.95 5.22 oz 20F Gloves Gauntlet
3. MOUNTAIN LAUREL DESIGNS 3-Layer eVent Rain Mitts $45 1.2 oz 35F Mittens Gauntlet
4. MONTBELL U.L. Shell Gloves $25 0.4 oz 35F Gloves Under Cuff
5. ARC'TERYX Fission SV $199 7.8 oz 25F Gloves Gauntlet
6. OUTDOOR RESEARCH Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts $199 12.6 oz -30F Mittens Gauntlet
7. BLACK DIAMOND Guide $179.95 11 oz -20F Gloves Gauntlet
8. HESTRA Heli Insulated Mittens $160 11 oz -20F Mittens Gauntlet
9. OUTDOOR RESEARCH Alti Gloves $159 10.9 oz 0 Gloves Gauntlet

Best Overall Winter Gloves

Black Diamond Mercury Mitts

black diamond mercury mitts

✅ Warm

✅ Comfy

✅ Removable liner


❌ Separated pointer finger reduces some mitten benefits


  • Weight: 9.46 oz
  • Temp. Rating: -20F
  • Type: Mittens
  • Cuff Style: Gauntlet

The Black Diamond Mercury Mitts are our pick for the best overall winter gloves. We love how stretchy and durable these are for a base glove. The 4-way stretch design makes these remarkably comfortable too.

The -20F temperature rating and long gauntlet cuffs make these some of the warmest we tested. A great edition if you’re heading into chilly terrain.We were surprised at how well they pack down for the amount of warmth they provide.

The insides of the gloves are insulated with removable fleece liners; however, the liner does separate the pointer finger, which takes away from the overall “mitten” design. Price-wise, these are more affordable than other base gloves on our list. Another thing to note is this model has no built-in wrist leashes.

Best Budget Winter Gloves

Showa Temres 282-02

Price: $39.95

showa temres 282-02

✅ Affordable

✅ Water-proof


❌ Less warmth

❌ Less comfortable


  • Weight: 5.22 oz
  • Temp. Rating: 20F
  • Type: Gloves
  • Cuff Style: Gauntlet

The Showa 282 Temres are straightforward “rubber gloves.” Because of this, they are one of the most water-proof winter gloves we tested. We found them surprisingly more breathable than they would appear. They’re flexible, lightweight, and have an insulated layer inside to add warmth.

However, they only are rated to 20F. At $40, we find these to be a practical and cheap investment. Many thru-hikers favor these in wet climates. They are rubber gloves, though, and not the most comfortable option compared to other models we tested.

Best Ultralight Winter Gloves

3-Layer eVent Rain Mitts by Mountain Laurel Designs

3-layer event rain mitts by mountain laurel designs

✅ Ultralight

✅ Affordable


❌ Low warmth


  • Weight: 1.2 oz
  • Temp. Rating: 35F
  • Type: Mittens
  • Cuff Style: Gauntlet

Mountain Laurel Designs 3-Layer Event Rain Mitts are extremely lightweight and highly breathable shells to protect your base or liner gloves from the weather.

We love that they weigh next to nothing at just 1.2 ounces. They pack down to practically nothing too. Because they are shell mittens, don't expect a lot of warmth. We found these to be some of the best hiking gloves for 3-season hikers, but if you’re in severe winter conditions, you’ll need to wear a pair of base gloves under these.

We like that the mitts extend a good length up the arm for added weather protection. And the one-hand adjustable drawstring makes them easy to tighten or loosen during wear. These mittens run pretty large, so we recommend going a size down, maybe even two.

Best Shell Winter Gloves

Montbell U.L. Shell Gloves

Price: $25

montbell u.l. shell gloves

✅ Ultralight

✅ Affordable


❌ Low warmth

❌ Few features

❌ Only water-resistant


  • Weight: 0.4 oz
  • Temp. Rating: 35F
  • Type: Gloves
  • Cuff Style: Under Cuff

The Montbell U.L. Shell Gloves are our favorite ultra-thin and ultra-light shell gloves. We found them perfect for trail running when you need extra warmth and for thru-hikers who want an ultralight option. We love that they pack down small enough to fit in your pocket. They are some of the best hiking gloves for moderately wet climates during physical activity.

A drawback for us is that they are only water resistant. They won’t hold up in heavy downpours. For colder temps, we recommend pairing them with a liner glove underneath. These shells are more fitted than other shell options, so wearing a liner and base glove simultaneously could be a tight fit. The $25 price tag is the most affordable on our list.

Best Premium Winter Gloves

Arc'teryx Fission SV

Price: $199

arc'teryx fission sv

✅ Excellent water-proofing

✅ Very comfortable and dexterous


❌ Expensive


  • Weight: 7.8 oz
  • Temp. Rating: 25F
  • Type: Gloves
  • Cuff Style: Gauntlet

If you’re looking for premium winter gloves, the Arc’teryx Fisson SV is our top choice. We like that these versatile and durable gloves provide a lot of dexterity. At 7.8 ounces, they’re the lightest base gloves we tested.

They are also the most water-proof winter gloves on our list, thanks to the Gore-Tex lining. And the Gore-Tex makes these super breathable and great for active winter activities like hiking, climbing, or shredding trails in the backcountry.

The 25F temp rating works well in cool to mild temps while performing physical activity. If you want a super-toasty pair to wear for standing around camp, we recommend opting for something warmer.

Warmest Winter Gloves

Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts

outdoor research alti II gore-tex mitts

✅ Warmest winter glove

✅ Good water-proofing


❌ Heavy

❌ Expensive


  • Weight: 12.6 oz
  • Temp. Rating: -30F
  • Type: Mittens
  • Cuff Style: Gauntlet

If you need the warmest mitts possible, look no further than the Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts. We like these top-quality gloves for extreme cold weather, mountaineering, or ice climbing.

These ultra-toasty PrimaLoft insulated mitts are the warmest gloves Outdoor Research makes. They’ve even been described as “the warmest mittens ever invented." They’re designed with a breathable Gore-Tex membrane shell on the outside and over 340 grams of insulation.

The removable liner that comes with the glove can be worn alone, and it has added grip on the thumb and forefingers and a Velcro enclosure for a secure fit. We found they run a bit big on sizing. The big drawbacks for us are the $200 price tag and 12.6-ounce weight, the most on our list.

The Other Noteworthy Models

Black Diamond Guide

black diamond guide

✅ Warm

✅ Water-proof

✅ Comfortable and dexterous


❌ Expensive

❌ Heavy


  • Weight: 11 oz
  • Temp. Rating: -20F
  • Type: Gloves
  • Cuff Style: Gauntlet

The Black Diamond Guide winter gloves are trusted by professional ski guides everywhere. We love that these gloves are warm, flexible, and durable with their four-way stretch shells and their abrasion-resistant reinforced leather palms. Made to be worn in the snow, these are ideal for ski bums, with a suede leather nose wipe and Gore-Tex waterproofing.

We love how warm they are, thanks to the 160 grams of insulation. We found the fit to be a little snug and feel a bit stiff at first. After a few wears, they loosen up and break in quite comfortably. At $179, these are some of the most expensive winter gloves we tested. And they weigh 11 ounces, second most on our list.

Hestra Heli Insulated Mittens

hestra heli insulated mittens

✅ Warm

✅ Comfy


❌ Expensive

❌ Heavy


  • Weight: 11 oz
  • Temp. Rating: -20F
  • Type: Mittens
  • Cuff Style: Gauntlet

The Hestra Heli Insulated Mittens are sturdy, warm, and well-made. We found them to fit well, thanks to a design that flows with the hand's natural curve. The extra soft and cozy interior makes them comfortable too. There’s also a Velcro bar on the wrist of the glove that helps secure its overall fit.

We liked the rugged leather on the outside, making these a durable option. At $160, they are a relatively expensive option compared to other hiking gloves we tested. And the 11-ounce weight is the second most on our list. You can wear the liners alone during warmer temps or while working up a sweat. The shells can be added in colder or wetter climates to provide all-around protection.

Outdoor Research Alti Gloves

outdoor research alti gloves

✅ Good water-proofing

✅ Comfy and dexterous


❌ More expensive

❌ Heavier than average


  • Weight: 10.9 oz
  • Temp. Rating: 0
  • Type: Gloves
  • Cuff Style: Gauntlet

The Outdoor Research Alti Gloves are a staple winter glove. Like the Outdoor Research Alti Mitts, these babies top quality gloves that hold up in winter conditions.

Designed with Gore-Tex, PrimaLoft insulation, and ripstop nylon liners, these gloves are some of the most water-proof and durable we tested. To add comfort and dexterity, these gloves sacrifice some warmth. The 5F temperature rating is good but not great compared to the other options we tested.

One feature we liked is the internal liners have a wrist cinch which is quite uncommon. These are slightly heavier and more expensive than the other winter gloves we tested. However, they are a good pick for a mid-weight winter glove.

Key Factors To Consider When Choosing


Shell gloves will be the most affordable winter gloves, and we recommend nothing over $50. Base gloves can put a dent in your wallet. We recommend nothing over $200. Price comes down to the quality of construction, the number of features, and the warmth (insulation) that’s added to the gloves.

Winter gloves that provide the greatest value:

Affordable winter gloves:

Premium winter gloves (most expensive):


Shell gloves are the lightest gloves. We recommend picking something under 2 ounces. The weight of a base glove will depend on how much insulation is stuffed. We recommend choosing a base glove that weighs between 8 and 14 ounces.

The lightest winter gloves:


Warmth is all about insulation. The more you have of it, the warmer your winter gloves will be. Liner gloves have little to no insulation, while base gloves have much more. Insulation for gloves is measured in grams. For cold conditions, we recommend a pair of gloves that have at least 150 grams of insulation.

The warmest winter gloves:


Look for gloves with Gore-Tex, PolarTec, and other DWR fabrics to ensure the best waterproofing. Gore-Tex is popular because it's water-proof yet still breathable. Other companies use similar technologies under different names. DWR is a chemical that’s often applied to enhance overall water-proofing. The DWR agent wears off over time and will have to be reapplied.

The most water-proof winter gloves:

Other Things to Consider

Types of Gloves for Hiking and How to Layer Them

A solid glove layering system not only keeps your hands good and toasty in the bitter temps, but it also allows you to easily adjust your hand's warmth and breathability as weather changes throughout the day. Just like how wearing multiple moisture-wicking, breathable garments are extremely important in keeping your body dry and safe against nature, the same theory applies to your hands, especially since your palms are actually one of the sweatiest parts of your body!


Liner gloves can be worn year-round. They act as a base layer to your hands to wick away moisture and sweat, and they can go under a base glove or shell glove for extra insulation. If temperatures are warm enough, or if you’re working up a sweat, they can also be worn alone. However, be sure to keep in mind that not all liners are water-proof.

Liner gloves are lightweight, stretchy, and designed to fit relatively snugly to the hand. They’re made from moisture-wicking Wool, Spandex, or other synthetic materials, which makes them ideal for wearing during physical activities like trail running or high-intensity hiking. Any liner made from wool will be warmer and heavier than ones made from Spandex.

Best suited for: Trail running, hiking in moderate temperatures with dry conditions, wearing underneath base gloves and shell gloves as a moisture-wicking barrier.

(You might also like: 10 Best Glove Liners for Cold Weather)


Base gloves (also known as mid-layer or insulator gloves) are what you’ll likely wear the most frequently. Sometimes base gloves come sold with a built-in liner that can be removed. You can wear this layer of gloves alone, overtop liners, or underneath shell gloves.

These will be your bulkiest and heaviest pair out of the three glove-system, but they’re also the warmest. This makes them practical for cold weather or when you need to keep your hands warm during chilly nights at camp. You can choose between gloves, mittens, or a hybrid style, depending on how important glove dexterity is to you. Many hikers wear liners underneath their base gloves as an added layer of moisture management.

Best suited for: Skiing/snowboarding, mountaineering, hiking, backpacking, and cold weather use.


Shell gloves were created to be an extra layer of protection against wind, rain, and snow. They are the outermost layer of your glove layering system, and they act as a protective barrier against your base gloves and the elements. They also help to trap heat to improve overall insulation by nearly 50 percent. Shell gloves are lightweight and packable and only about as thick as a small stack of paper.

For fit, don’t be surprised if they look rather large compared to your others. They’re specifically designed to be oversized to slip over the top of your other gloves. Most come equipped with elastic wrist snitches that will help secure them in place.

Best suited for: Wet, windy, extreme cold, or intense weather.

types of gloves and mittens - mittens, base and shellsFrom left to right: liner glove, base glove, shell glove.

Gloves vs. Mittens

Since gloves have individual fingers, they’re more versatile and offer greater dexterity than mittens when performing various tasks like tying knots or using camp tools, etc. However, it’s a pretty well-known fact that mittens will be a heck of a lot warmer because your fingers are better insulated since they’re grouped together. To determine which glove type is right for you, let's discuss some highlights of each style.


A great option to wear during activities where you’ve already got your blood pumping, a pair of gloves can come in handy when your main concern is about dexterity with the use of your hands. Gloves will make it much easier to do things where you need the use of your individual fingers, like adjusting zippers or fastening buckles.


If you're heading into especially frigid terrains or sub-zero temps and your main concern is keeping your hands warm, then the extra insulation mittens provide will make them a better option. Mittens are also ideal for activities where you don’t need as much flexibility with your hands, like while skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing.


Wouldn’t it be great if you could have the dexterity of gloves but the warmth of mittens? You can! This hybrid style of glove is referred to as the “lobster style,” and it's essentially half-mitten, half-glove. In the lobster style, your thumb and index fingers remain separated while the rest of your fingers stay grouped together. So, what's the benefit here? You get more flexibility than a full-blown mitten, but you get more warmth than a full-blown glove.

lobster three-finger winter gloveMore dexterity than a mitten and more warmth than a glove.


There are two main types of insulation for winter gloves, down and synthetic. Down is better suited for dry, cold climates, while synthetic is best in wet environments or if you’ll be having a lot of interaction with snow. Here’s a deeper look into what further differentiates these two insulators:

DOWN: Just like a down jacket, down-insulated gloves are lightweight, extremely packable, super breathable, and warm. Down insulation comes at a higher cost than synthetic fibers, but it’s also likely to hold up better in the long run. One major setback to down is that it doesn't offer insulation when wet. Most gloves and mittens with down insulation also have a durable water-proof shell to keep the insulation protected.

SYNTHETIC: Synthetic insulation dries quicker than down and still insulates on the off chance that it gets wet. It also comes at a much cheaper cost. It’s commonly found in many snowboard and ski gloves designed today. Where it falls short compared to down is that it’s heavier, bulkier, and arguably less warm.


Breathable gloves let moisture escape. This keeps your hands dry and warm. If your gloves can't breathe, your hands will sweat and wet out similar to a less breathable rain jacket. Liner gloves made of wool are the most breathable. Base gloves that use water-proof fabrics like Gore-Tex offer superior breathability.

Quick Drying

Make sure your gloves can dry quickly. If they stay wet, you risk having cold hands all day or, even worse, getting frostbite. Liners will dry out much more quickly than base gloves. Carrying multiple pairs of liners allows you to switch damp ones out for a dry pair if needed.

Shell Material

LEATHER: Leather is a natural water-resistant, windproof, durable material that adapts to its surrounding temperature. Winter gloves that include leather are often made from goat hide or synthetic leather, which is thinner and offers more dexterity. Leather is an expensive fabric to purchase and to upkeep, but there’s no denying a solid pair can keep your hands warm. Today, many ski and snowboard gloves are replacing their leather sections with rubber. This is proving to be cheaper and competitively durable in comparison.

POLYESTER, SPANDEX, and NYLON: Synthetic fabrics such as Polyester, Spandex, and Nylon are lighter, cheaper, and offer more dexterity and breathability. They’re also much better at regulating overall temperature control. Not to mention their easier fabrics to care for. For overall warmth, leather still has the leg up.

Side note: Nylon, Polyester, and other synthetic fibers burn extremely easily. Be sure to keep your distance from that campfire.

ultralight winter gloves packedYour shell gloves will typically be loose, light and pack very small.

Comfort and Fit

The inner liner material will be an important factor when judging comfort. Merino wool is strong, flexible, warm, soft, and breathable. Not to mention it also has antibacterial properties that are naturally odor-resistant. It’s more expensive and won’t dry as fast if wet. Fleece isn’t as warm as wool, but it is lighter and dries quicker.

If your gloves are too small, you'll reduce circulation, making your hands cold faster. If they’re too big, then airflow can get in. Liners should fit the snuggest out of your three-layer glove system. They should easily conform to your hand but still provide plenty of flexibility. Base gloves should be roomy enough to be worn with liners underneath but still snug enough to wear alone. Shell gloves fit loosely over the top of a base glove for added protection. The wrist cinches on these will help keep them in place.

Trying on a few different styles and options is a good way to find the perfect glove size for you. Another thing to keep in mind is our hands swell during prolonged physical activity. Be sure to leave a little “breathing room” in your gloves.

Cuff Styles

GAUNTLET CUFF: This style of cuff sits over the top of your jacket instead of underneath it. There’s a drawcord that seals off the cuff and tightens it to your arm, which keeps out precipitation. We recommend this style for extreme sports or intense weather conditions. Gloves with a gauntlet cuff will be heavier and bulkier.

UNDER CUFF: An under cuff sits underneath your jacket. Its cuff is made from stretchy fabric that tightens around your wrist. Gloves with this cuff design are lighter and less bulky. However, depending on the activity, it’s debatable whether this cuff keeps snow and moisture out, as well as gauntlet cuffs.


Dexterity is how easy it is to use your hands while wearing winter gloves. Mittens are the least dexterous since they bunch your fingers together. If you’re wearing mittens, make sure you can still hold trekking or skiing poles securely. Gloves are the most dexterous. They give you full control of each finger. Thicker gloves and mittens will have less dexterity, while thinner ones will offer more.

shell mittens with seam sealerUsing a seam sealer can help you ensure better permeability. MLD's eVent Rain Mitts ship with a tube of McNett Seam Grip Seam Sealer.


If you plan on using trekking poles or an ice ax, or if you’ll be doing a lot of climbing, then get a pair of gloves with reinforced leather palms and fingertips. This feature aids grip and improves durability in these common wear-and-tear hot spots.

Additional Features

While these features are not must-haves, they are nice to keep an eye out for, especially for uses in specific conditions.

Touchscreen compatibility – Many glove liners now come with touchscreen compatibility. What this means is that the thumb and forefingers contain special fabrics that allow you to surf, scroll or flip through your phone, all without having to take off your gloves.

Nose scratch / Goggle wipe – Unless you’re a medical mystery, you’ve probably experienced a runny nose while out in the cold. Enter the invention of the “nose wipe.” Yes, nowadays, some hiking gloves have a special fabric on the thumb that you can use to wipe away snot. Other gloves may include another soft fabric section that can wipe off sunglasses or ski goggles without scratching them.

Battery-powered heating system – Although pricier than your typical pair of gloves, if heading into subzero temps’ battery-powered heated gloves might be worth the expense.

Convertible – Gloves that are convertible can offer the best of both worlds. You get the warmth of a mitten but the dexterity of a pair of gloves. Just fold back the flap and secure it in place - either by Velcro, magnet, or tie - and you’ve instantly transformed your mitten into a pair of gloves with exposed fingertips to easily conquer the task at hand.

Attachments – Some pairs come equipped with hooks or clips that you can use to hang gloves on the outside of your pack.

Vents – Zippered openings act as vents that can be great in regulating temperature or giving your hands some air while doing a strenuous climb.


The material that a winter glove shell is made out of will play the biggest part in durability. Synthetic shells should be able to hold up to abuse. We recommend thicker deniers of fabric that can hold up to abrasion. Leather is the most durable, although it will come at a cost. Liner gloves are the least durable because they are made of much thinner fabric.

gauntlet cuff mitten with drawstringDrawcords help to seal off gauntlet cuffs and keep the rain out.

Justin Sprecher photo

About Justin Sprecher

Justin is a thru-hiker and writer with a passion for wild backcountry. He's thru-hiked the Pacific Northwest Trail, LASHed the Great Divide Trail and Arizona Trail, and clocked up 1,000s of miles on long-distance trails around the world.

About Greenbelly

After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.

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