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Mittens Vs Gloves For Skiing? Are Mittens or Gloves Better?

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Updated May 9th, 2024

In the debate of Gloves vs Mittens for skiing. Which options is better for you? Both gloves and mittens work well for skiing. It mostly comes down to personal preference. Both gloves and mittens have their advantages and disadvantages for downhill skiing. You will see many people wearing both on any given day at any ski resort you are at. Let us take a look at gloves and mittens and which one will work best for you.

Mittens Vs Gloves For Skiing. Are mittens or gloves better for skiing?

Whether mittens or gloves are better for skiing depends on you. Where are you skiing at and do your hands have a tendency to get cold? Mittens are warmer than gloves because there is less surface area to lose heat with a mitten. Your fingers can transfer warmth between them instead of out into the atmosphere.

The only reason gloves may be slightly better than mittens is finger dexterity. It’s a little easier to adjust ski boot bindings with gloves on than with mittens but not by much. There is zero advantage for gloves as far as holding ski poles goes. It’s just as easy to move your ski goggles up onto your helmet with mittens as gloves.

I wear heavy, bulky gloves and I can’t get anything out of my pockets or do anything with my phone while wearing them. If you wear thinner gloves you might stand a chance. My hands never get cold skiing with the heavy gloves that I wear.

My wife wears mittens. She always has cold fingers wearing gloves. We found a good heavy pair of mittens and she no longer has any cold hand problems. She doesn’t unbuckle or adjust her boots during the day.

What is the difference between gloves and mittens?

A glove has individual fingers in it. A mitten has an individual thumb and all the fingers are in one pocket. Occasionally you will see a hybrid where there is a separate index finger and the other 3 fingers are together.

what is the difference between a glove and mitten

What are the warmest gloves or mittens?

Mittens are warmer than gloves. Your fingers are together so they can transfer heat between them. There is less surface area on a mitten exposed to the outside air. Gloves lose heat through the material covering each finger and between the fingers. If you always have cold hands while downhill skiing you should consider a pair of mittens.

The below video has some more information on the mittens vs gloves for skiing debate.

Should ski gloves be tight or loose fitting?

Ski gloves and ski mittens should be snug fitting. They should not be so tight that they feel constricting or difficult to move in. You may want a little extra space so that you can wear your gloves or mittens with liners. Liners are thin insulating gloves that can add a little extra warmth. You don’t want your gloves to be super loose because then you have a lot of dead air space. That extra air needs to be warmed up and insulated along with your hands.

Do you need glove liners when skiing?

You do not need glove liners while skiing unless your hands are cold. If your hands are cold, glove liners can give you a little more insulation. You can wear glove liners inside gloves or mittens. There are heated glove liners available if you really need more warmth. If your hands are warm enough without glove liners there is no reason or need to wear them. They aren’t a horrible thing to carry around in your ski coat pocket just in case you are out skiing on a really cold day. If you want to know more about heated gloves click here.

What are the warmest mittens for skiing?

Find a set of good mittens from a well known maker of ski clothing. My favorite brands for ski mittens and gloves are SwanyBlack DiamondHestra, and Outdoor Research. You should look for mittens with high quality insulation such as Primaloft and with a breathable and waterproof outer shell such as Goretex. If you are just learning to ski, waterproofing is critical since you are will have your hands in the snow a lot getting back up.

The Mercury Mittens from Black Diamond are thick and very warm. I have been skiing with these and find them very warm. If I was buying mittens for myself or one of my close ski friends these would be my first choice.

See our review of the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts to learn more.

Black Diamond Mercury Mitts Cold Weather Mittens

Black Diamond Mercury Mitts Product Image

What are the best skiing gloves?

Find a set of good ski gloves by a well respected outdoor clothing maker. For the coldest ski days, my go to ski glove is the Black Diamond Guide Gloves. They have heavy woold and Primaloft insulation. They are thick and heavy. They have a Goretex insert for waterproofing too. They are they warmest ski glove out there you can buy right now.

See our review of the Black Diamond Guide Gloves to learn more.

See our guide to the best ski gloves for other great options.

Black Diamond Guide Gloves

Black Diamond Guide Gloves product image

Guide glove holding poles
Doug Ryan Portrait Skiing 200x200

Ryan Craig
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days, I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible. Visit our About Us page and learn more.


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