The Best Winter Gloves of 2023

The ultimate gloves for winter keep out wind, sleet, snow, and brutally cold temperatures
We tested the best winter gloves in extreme conditions.

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Growing up, I had a single pair of winter gloves. Nowadays, as an outdoor enthusiast living in the arctic, I’ve lost count of how many different types of gloves and mitts I own. They live in two baskets in my cabin, and I rotate through different pairs for driving, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, shoveling, or whatever I’m up to that day. And when the temps dip to -20 or lower, I might double up, but I know I’ll stay protected. For this article, I concentrated on the best winter gloves that protect you from winter’s elements, whether that be wind, sleet, snow, or just brutally cold temperatures.

How I Tested the Best Winter Gloves

The best winter gloves sit in a pile.
The best winter gloves were testing in one of the coldest places in America: Alaska. Justin La Vigne

I live in one of the coldest places in the United States: Alaska. I use winter gloves almost year round, especially with a winter that lasts at least seven months. For this article, I considered a plethora of brands and types that I’ve used over my last five winters in Alaska, as well as my mountaineering expeditions, backcountry ski trips, and volunteering on the Iditarod. Every time I leave my house September through April, I grab at least one pair of gloves, sometimes two. There is a particular set of gloves I like for cross-country ski trips, rather than for running my snow blower, climbing ice-covered mountains, or just my daily trips to the outhouse. Below you will find some tried true classics as well as some newer models. Testing conditions included temps as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit up to warmer winter days of 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Best Winter Gloves: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Outdoor Research Arete II Gore Tex Gloves

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Key Features 

  • Women’s and men’s
  • Sizes: S to XL
  • Outer Materials: 88 percent nylon, 12 percent spandex with leather insulation
  • Inner Materials: Fleece with liner of 40 percent wool, 35 percent acrylic, 25 percent polyester
  • Colors: Black, balsam (women’s), bronze (men’s)
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces (pair)

Pros

  • Two gloves in one
  • Removable Merino liner
  • Durable
  • Good weight-to-warmth ratio

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Liners do not have clip to attach them to each other

I have owned the Arete I gloves for over 10 years, and use them for a variety of outdoor excursions from skiing to snowshoeing to climbing Denali to shoveling my driveway. The pinnacle feature for me is the versatility of the all-in-one package. The removable merino wool liners stay in place with Velcro and have a pocket on the back for a heat pack, which proved very important while climbing in -30 degrees Fahrenheit temps. When days are warmer (30-40 degrees Fahrenheit), I take the liner out and just wear the gloves. For crisp fall days above 40 degrees, I solely wear the liner.

One crucial test for gloves is whether I can secure my snowshoe bindings or put on crampons/traction with gloves on, and I can with these. My original pair has a synthetic palm, which shows wear and tear after 10 plus years of use. The updated version has a complete leather palm, improving the durability. Other standout characteristics include: touchscreen capability, nose wipe on the side on the thumb, removable leash, carabiner loop, cinch-able cuff, and glove clip (however, the liners do not have a clip). At $109, they provide so much diversity for just about any cold weather activity. 

Best for Extreme Temps: Outdoor Research Alti II Gore Tex Mitts

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Key Features 

  • Women’s and men’s
  • Sizes: S to XL
  • Materials: Gore Tex 2L 70D, 100 percent nylon, Primaloft insulation
  • Colors: Red, black
  • Weight: 12.6 ounces (pair)

Pros

  • Double glove (with removable liner)
  • Warm
  • Waterproof
  • Windproof

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Expensive
  • Bulky

Mittens might conjure up visions of children playing, but these are meant for high-altitude mountain climbing. They proved their $209 cost, as I’ve worn them down to -50 degrees while climbing Denali. Even with 60 mph gusts, they never let cold penetrate. Thanks to the Gore-Tex outer shell, cold and wet snow was also no match.

The removable liner is filled with Primaloft insulation for a cozy feel when worn solo. Nonetheless, the mitt has plenty of room to fit a bulky liner glove inside. The leash means I can pull these on and off during activities without worrying about losing them. Though these are close to a pound, I carry these in my pack when out for longer day trips as part of my essential kit.

The mitt is huge and extends almost to your elbow and then cinches tightly. The full leather palm is very durable and after several seasons of rough use, they have no signs of wear. 

Best Liner: Patagonia R1 Daily Gloves

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Key Features 

  • Unisex
  • Sizes: XS to XL
  • Materials: 94 percent polyester, 6 percent spandex
  • Colors: Navy, black
  • Weight: 1.3 ounces (pair)

Pros

  • Quick drying
  • Touchscreen compatible
  • Grippy palm

Cons

  • Connection clip is annoying when gloves are on
  • You can feel the inner seam
  • Pricey at $55

Sometimes simplicity is really the best. These are the perfect pair on their own for daily winter activities, light hiking and cooler days. Additionally, they fit well under bigger mitts and gloves like the Outdoor Research Alti II Gore Tex Mitts.

Patagonia's glove liners have grips on the palm.
Patagonia's glove liners have grips on the palm. Justin La Vigne

Made of a moisture-wicking polyester blend, these gloves slip on easily and feel great. They have a grippy material on the palm with both the pointer finger and thumb capable of taking a picture on your phone. I also love to keep these winter gloves tucked in my sleeping bag during cooler nights.

Best for Snow Sports: Hestra Heli Ski 3-Finger

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Key Features 

  • Women’s and men’s
  • Sizes: Women’s 5 to 9, men’s 5 to 12
  • Materials: Hestra triton polyamide fabric, goat leather, 100 percent polyester fleece lining, and 100 percent polyester G-Loft insulation
  • Colors: Six for women; 7 for men

Pros

  • Removable liner
  • Durable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Carabiner loop can get in the way

I am not a downhill skier, but many of my testers have praised Hestra for their comfort, functionality, and warmth. For example, my avid boarder tester Jamie from Colorado has been using the Hestra Heli Ski 3 finger for more than six years. She appreciates the narrower fit for women with weather-resistant leather and great range of motion while shredding the gnar.

Both the Hestra Heli Ski 3-Finger (women’s) and the Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski 3-Finger (men’s) have a removable liner that can be eliminated in warmer weather or removed to add a different liner for varying weather conditions. The long cuff has two cinch points, one around the bottom to keep snow out and one around the wrist to keep it on with an additional wrist strap to prevent dropping it when you pull them off. If you want to just wear the liner, the mitts have a carabiner loop to hang them upside down to prevent snow from getting in.

Best Work Gloves: Vermont Glove Vermonter

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Key Features 

  • Unisex
  • Sizes: XS to XXL
  • Material: 100 percent goat leather
  • Color: Tan leather
  • Weight: 8 ounces (pair)

Pros

  • Durable
  • Comfortable
  • Made in America

Cons

  • Get dirty easily
  • Expensive

By far, these are the best winter gloves for outdoor work I own. Made of 100 percent goat leather and hand stitched in Vermont, they have a double stitched outside seam along the whole glove. They are extremely comfortable and easy to pull on as the cuff is wide enough that even the sleeve of your bulky jacket can fit under it. 

The Vermonters have great dexterity and durability.
The Vermonters have great dexterity and durability.

I use them not only for working outside with my chainsaw, clearing thick brush in cold temps, but also going skiing, hiking, and everyday use. The low limit of my tests were about 30 degrees, but if you need a bit more insulation, then opt for the The Uphill Skier with a removable merino wool liner.

Best Touchscreen Capability: Smartwool Active Fleece Insulated Glove

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Key Features 

  • Unisex
  • Sizes: XS to XL
  • Materials: 47 percent polyester, 38 percent merino, 15 percent elastane
  • Colors: Lead and black

Pros

  • Merino wool
  • Touchscreen ability
  • Reflective properties
  • Windproof
  • Affordable ($60)

Cons

  • Attract dirt
  • No clip to keep them together when not in use

Most liners have some type of touch screen ability, but are often not warm enough for true winter temperatures. These merino wool gloves have added insulation on the back of the hand and were warm enough to wear alone even down below freezing, plus have the best touchscreen ability of all the gloves in the test, according to my wife who has been using these gloves nonstop. She is the photographer among the two of us, but hates taking off her winter gloves mid-activity in the frigid temperatures we experience in Alaska. The touchscreen fingertips (pointer and thumb) were 100 percent reliable.

Smartwool's Active Fleece glove allows you to use your phone easily, while staying toasty warm.
Smartwool's Active Fleece glove allows you to use your phone easily, while staying toasty warm.

Beyond that, the fit was perfect, especially with the extended cuff that is elasticized and extends past the wrist for extra warmth. The palm has a nylon overlay for extra gripping, a helpful aspect for gripping ski or trekking poles.

Best Heated: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Smart Heated Gloves

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Key Features

  • Unisex
  • Sizes: XS to XL
  • Materials: Leather with Primaloft insulation
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 6.4 pounds

Pros

  • Turns on automatically when your hand is in the glove
  • Controlled via an app and AI technology
  • Double cinch-around wrist
  • Nose wipe on back of thumb

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No touchscreen capability
  • Bulky battery 
  • No way to control settings from the glove (app only)

These are not the gloves you’d buy for your everyday walk, but for the brisket days. I’ve tried many types of heated gloves, and what sets these apart is that once it’s set for the day, you don’t need to mess with the settings because they automatically adjust to your needs. Even though you can’t control the settings on the glove itself, the app (clim8) is easy to understand and as you continue to wear them, the AI technology will adjust to your input to understand when you need more or less heat (up to 95 degrees). So you set and go. The pair comes with two rechargeable batteries that can last up to four and a half hours, but I do admit the battery feels a bit bulky.

Beyond the heat settings, these are feature-rich with their Primaloft insulation, leather shell with waterproofing, two points of cinching, removable leashes, and nose wipe on the thumb. At the time of print, these winter gloves were on sale for $90 less of MSRP, but otherwise they are pricey. 

Read Next: The Best Heated Gloves

Seirus Xtreme All Weather Glove Gauntlet

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Key Features 

  • Unisex
  • Sizes: S to XXL
  • Colors: Black/red, black

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Double cinch
  • Extends down the wrist

Cons

  • Noisy
  • No touchscreen ability
  • No women’s option

The Seirus Xtreme All Weather Glove Gauntlet is completely waterproof, so it’s best for colder days when there is moisture in the air. The fit is ideal with a double cinch—a buckle around the wrist and a pull just below the wrist. This keeps out the cold and rain and the heat in. It does say men’s only, but they would fit women too. 

The palm, thumb, and pointer finger have an overlay of a material called Tough Tec which is a non-slip faux leather. Because they have a waterproof material (not Gore-Tex) in them they have a bit of a crunchy sound. The gloves do have a clip to keep them together when not in use, which is always a nice bonus.

Sitka Merino 330 Glove

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Key Features 

  • Unisex
  • Sizes: M to XL
  • Materials: Synthetic interior mixed with merino wool
  • Colors: Optifade Elevated II camo, Optifade Subalpine camo, and tan)
  • Weight: 2.2 ounces

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Sustainable merino wool
  • Touchscreen

Cons

  • Tend to run small (size up)
  • Exterior tag is annoying

These merino wool gloves provide the insulation you need well below freezing temperatures, but being thermo-regulating, they can also be paired with a heavier glove. They are extremely lightweight at just over 2 ounces, and the touchscreen detail on the pointer finger and thumb is a plus. For hunters they come in camouflage options.

Mountain Hardwear Compressor Gore Tex Mitt

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Key Features 

  • Unisex
  • Sizes: XS to XL
  • Materials: 20D ripstop fabric, Primaloft interior
  • Color: Black
  • Weight 4.2 ounces

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Full coverage
  • Packable
  • Soft inside

Cons

  • Lightweight fabric could tear
The Mountain Hardwear mittens are warm and lightweight.
The Mountain Hardwear mittens are warm and functional. Justin La Vigne

These feel and look like your puffy jacket and the soft, interior layer is next-to-skin comfortable. The oodles of loft provided by the Primaloft gold insulation keeps you warm, but there’s plenty of room to add a glove liner. Thanks to the carabiner loop and the fact that they compress to the size of baseball and stuff into nooks and crannies in your pack like your puffy jacket, these are a great backup to carry on trips. I also appreciated the hundreds of sticky dimples on the palms of the mitt for a superior grip. 

Flylow DB Glove

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Key Features 

  • Unisex
  • Sizes: XS to XL
  • Materials: 50 percent nylon, 43 percent polyester, 7 percent spandex, leather
  • Colors: Natural pine and black

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Stretchy and form-fitting
  • Velcro wrist closure

Cons

  • Leather can get scuffed up
  • No touchscreen ability
  • Clip for attaching the gloves together can get in the way
The Flylow DB gloves are functional enough to let you put on traction devices.
The Flylow DB gloves are functional enough to let you put on traction devices. Justin La Vigne

There are two key elements that make these unique: the full leather palm and the vented woven back that allows airflow. The palm has some padding in it which adds comfort when gripping poles. They literally fit like glove—tight to your whole hand—so there is no extra material bunching up. Additionally, the neoprene cuff with Velcro closure keeps it snug around your wrist.

Kuiu Attack Glove

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Key Features 

  • Men’s only
  • Sizes: M to XL
  • Materials: PrimeFlex polyester, Pittard’s OilTac leather
  • Colors: Valo, Verde, and Vias camo
  • Weight: 2.9 ounces (pair)

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • No solid colors
  • Not waterproof

Shaped to fit your whole hand, these fit perfectly snug for ideal dexterity. The thick polyester material with leather reinforced palms have a sticky grippy material that is perfect for picking up just about anything like brush, wood, your gun, or binoculars. They work well as work gloves, but also on crisp cold days when out hiking or backpacking since they are lightweight yet warm. 

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Winter Gloves

To choose the best winter gloves, finding the right size is key.
To choose the best winter gloves, finding the right size is key. Justin La Vigne

Winter Gloves Comfort

You’ll want your winter gloves to be form fitting, comfortable, and functional. Be sure to test out their comfort and fit by picking things up and gripping objects, like ski poles. Make sure you do not feel any rub spots or seams that could cause irritation. Most importantly, make sure they aren’t too bulky; they will get in the way and if you have to take them off to do anything dextrous, it’ll decrease warmth. With that being said, you don’t want tight gloves that restrict movement and warmth. 

Materials for the Best Winter Gloves

Gloves can be made of many different materials: rubber, leather, synthetic, or wool fill. The materials make a difference depending on the activity and how much breathability and warmth you are seeking. There’s also the consideration of the materials that keep you warm and dry, like Primaloft, down, and Gore-Tex. 

Winter Gloves Intended Use

If you are looking for a winter glove for a specific activity, like skiing or climbing, you need to seek out that activity-specific glove. Some gloves like the Outdoor Research Arete II Gore Tex Gloves are so versatile that they can be used for multiple activities. 

FAQs

Q: Should gloves/mitts be tight or loose fitting?

You want your gloves to fit snugly so you have dexterity to do what they are intended for (skiing, hiking, working). Notwithstanding, you also want to have a little room inside to circulate air flow and allow the heat from your hands to warm up the glove and keep your hands warm. 

Q: Are mittens warmer than gloves?

In general, mittens are warmer than gloves, as they share the same space with your hand and fingers creating more body heat to warm up the whole hand. Mittens also have more room to trap heat and less surface area for heat to escape. With a glove, each finger is wrapped in its own material, so it only generates a little heat and has more area for heat to escape through the material. 

Q: Is leather warmer than wool?

In general, leather is one of the most insulating materials, but whether leather is truly warmer than wool is highly debated. Leather has a natural ability to absorb heat and wool fibers contain heat, providing better thermoregulation. Leather does provide better protection from elements like wind and rain, but wool can absorb moisture, keeping your hands dry. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Winter Gloves

I have a small obsession with winter gloves and never think I have enough, even though I must have well over 25 pairs. I justify my plethora of the best winter glove options because I recreate in all kinds of weather in Alaska and where you actually wear gloves like you wear underwear—all the time. 

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Justin La Vigne

Freelance Writer

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