Which ski gloves are best?
With winter around the corner, it’s time to start trying on your winter gear from last season. It almost seems like there’s too much to do and not enough time. From checking your gear for moth holes and waxing your skis, one item that you mustn’t forget is to pack a pair of warm ski gloves. There’s nothing that can ruin a fun ski trip like having your fingers feel like they’re about to freeze off.
The best ski gloves you can buy, the Arc’teryx Sabre Glove, have perfected the balance between dexterity and warmth.
What to know before you buy ski gloves
Generally, the thicker and warmer a ski glove is, the less dexterity it has. For example, while the Black Diamond Guide Glove is extremely warm and insulated, it is bulkier and much harder to grab your phone or unzip your ski backpack. Similarly, if you prefer mittens, you’ll face the same challenges and will likely need to take them off to manage any zippers or buttons.
It’s good to remember that most high-end ski gloves have a more tailored design to give them a natural feel. Essentially, the most dexterous ski gloves feel like an extension of your hands rather than like a down comforter covering them.
Like all clothing, sizing isn’t consistent with ski gloves. This can present a frustrating problem, especially if you’re in between sizes.
While using a tape measure to estimate your size is a great method, you must also consider your finger length. The perfect fit will allow you to make a fist without any significant resistance from the glove. Additionally, there should be a quarter-inch of space from your fingertips to the tip of the glove.
It’s best to avoid generic charts and check the manufacturer’s size specifically for the gloves you have your eyes on.
Climate and warmth
The level of warmth required varies from one skier to the next. While some require extra-warm gloves to prevent constant stopping, others may do fine with simple leather gloves.
Additionally, wetter climates require gloves that are breathable, waterproof and warm. In these wetter spots, gloves with removable liners tend to offer the most benefit. Removable liners allow skiers to adjust warmth levels by using only the shell on warmer days and including the liner when it gets colder. Wetter climates work well with removable liners because they’re easier and much quicker to dry.
What to look for in quality ski gloves
Durability and material quality
The majority of ski gloves are made from genuine leather or synthetic material. Each has their benefits and plays a vital role in their durability.
For example, leather gloves provide high levels of comfort, flexibility and dexterity. If required, they can even be resized at home for a more comfortable fit. Treated leather gloves also resist light to moderate levels of water fairly well. However, depending on the material quality, the palms may rapidly wear down after a couple of seasons of use.
For that reason, you’ll likely come across more gloves that use synthetic materials like nylon and polyester for their shells. Nylon, in particular, is extremely durable. When high-quality fibers are used, they can keep your hands warm against cold snow and piercing winds.
Like leather gloves, if the manufacturers use cheap material, it may have reduced flexibility, and water may seep through. These gloves typically offer a waterproof insert, but that usually makes the gloves feel bulky and uncomfortable. Consider looking at ski gloves that incorporate both leather and synthetic material for the most benefit.
Adjustable cuffs and cinches
Warm gloves don’t mean much if the cold air or snow can make its way in through the cuff. You can find longer gauntlet-style gloves that use adjustable cuffs or drawstrings to keep the cold out.
They’re typically warmer than under-cuff gloves because of the seal and increased insulation. However, because there’s more material involved around your wrists, it can limit your range of movement.
You can also find gauntlet-style gloves with shorter cuffs that are much easier to remove and put on. The shorter length makes it easier for moisture to drip through. Luckily, many short cuff gauntlet-style gloves come with cinches or drawstrings that you can tighten to your comfort.
If you feel that gauntlet-style gloves are too bulky or limit your movement too much, under cuffs may be worth a look. They offer increased ventilation and wrist movement, however, they’re not as warm and leave your skin more exposed to the frigid air.
Waterproofing plays a major role in the warmth of ski gloves. Gore-Tex is a popular option among skiers because it makes the gloves breathable and keeps snow from melting inside.
The downside is that gloves that use Gore-Tex may cost much more than those that use other waterproof membranes. While they work fine initially, it’s good to note that non-Gore-Tex membranes will eventually seep over time.
How much you can expect to spend on ski gloves
Depending on the features, brand and style, you can expect to spend $50-$180 on quality ski gloves.
Best ski gloves FAQ
How can you re-waterproof my gloves?
A. Similar to most waterproofed items, the waterproofing will wear out over time. The best way to keep your gloves completely waterproofed is to run specialized waterproofing wax over them. While each glove has unique specifications, they must be clean and dry before application. The areas to focus on include any seams and spots that are used the most. These include the thumb, index finger and palm. They should be fine to use right away, though it’s best to let them sit overnight.
Is it better to size up or down if you’re between sizes?
A. The most appropriately sized gloves should have approximately 1/4 inch of material at the ends of each finger when they’re stretched out. In most cases, sizing down wouldn’t make sense and the gloves would be too restrictive, making it uncomfortable to grip your ski poles for extended periods. However, too much space leads to decreased dexterity, and you may feel some cold air seep in through the cuff. If you have thick, leather ski gloves, you may be able to resize them using hot water and a hairdryer.
What’s the best ski glove to buy?
Top ski gloves
What you need to know: The Sabre model allows for easy writing, goggle and zipper adjustment and even accurately tying boots without any frustration.
What you’ll love: Unlike most water-resistant gloves, these have excellent dexterity and are built to last. They’re not only water-resistant but also treated and designed to help protect your hands against all sorts of weather like extreme winds.
What you should consider: They’re pricier than other ski gloves.
Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry
Top ski gloves for the money
What you need to know: These ski gloves keep hands perfectly warm without breaking the bank.
What you’ll love: While they may not be as warm as other options, these gloves are warm enough for any ski tour. Additionally, they’re weatherproofed and are half as cheap as other gloves. Even with the lowered cost, these gloves have most of the features you would require on a snow-capped mountainside.
What you should consider: These gloves aren’t the most nimble.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These Black Diamond gloves are some of the warmest on the market and built for the most extreme situations.
What you’ll love: The Guide Gloves come with a tough, weather-resistant build and a removable liner to keep your hands warm for some of the most extreme winter activities. It’s perfect for ski trips or camping in sub-zero climates. As a tradeoff for its warmth and durability, it gives up some of its dexterity.
What you should consider: These gloves may require some additional time to break in thoroughly.
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Christopher Lee writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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