There are a lot of accessories available to you each winter that are specifically designed to keep your hands warm. As soon as the first chill of the season arrives, the stores are stacked with various options such as gloves and mittens, but do you know exactly what it takes to find the best ski mittens?
Not all hand wear is equal when it comes to keeping you warm and safe from dangerous temperatures. Many people reach for traditional gloves to keep out the cold, but simple gloves pose many problems.
Gloves are designed to protect each individual finger by separating them with cloth, and while this might seem like a good way to stop cold from sneaking into empty spaces in your hands, it is doing the opposite.
Because more of your hand is exposed to cold weather through greater surface area, it becomes much more difficult for your body to trap the necessary heat to keep you warm. By keeping your fingers tight together, mittens can hold onto more of that heat before it escapes.
This is why you find many winter outdoor aficionados wearing mittens in the cold instead of gloves. In fact, ski mittens are one of the most popular choices when it comes to keeping your hands safe and warm.
Ski mittens are designed with exceptional materials and necessary features to keep your hands as dry and functional as possible despite frigid temperatures.
Just like wearing a protective jacket, our hands rely on high quality insulation, durable shell material, and proper fit and style to be completely sheltered from the elements. Let’s take a closer look at how these features work to provide optimal protection.
What should you look for when selecting ski mittens?
Although their purpose is straightforward, ski mittens come with a wide variety of features that will help them do their job to their fullest potential. To purchase ski mittens that guarantee top-notch performance consider the following:
The shell is the outermost layer of the mittens. Most mittens available on today’s market are made of a synthetic material such as nylon. High quality brands may even include a waterproof coating to their shell.
While leather options are available as well, they do need to be treated on occasion to maintain their waterproof nature.
Like jackets, ski mittens come with a variety of insulation methods. The top choices are:
Down – is a popular insulation choice for a variety of winter garments. It is made from bird plumage, which is the found underneath the exterior layers of their feathers. It is naturally effective at blocking cold temperatures due to its ability to trap air.
Primaloft® – is a brand that specializes in synthetic insulation material. Its popular uses include outerwear, sleeping bags, and gloves. It is designed to be lightweight, breathable, and water resistant. It is also noted for its superior softness resulting in maximum comfort.
3M Thinsulate – 3M Thinsulate is another proprietary insulation type that is extremely thin, very light, and blocks out cold effectively. It is designed to keep you as warm as possible without added bulk.
Other features – While Primaloft® and Thinsulate are very popular options for synthetic insulation, many alternatives do exist. The most important quality you want in your ski mittens is that they are light and weatherproof. Always look for options that aim to reduce bulk.
Many ski mitten options offer a liner feature. This feature is typically removable and allows for extra warmth or additional dexterity. These options are also generally regarded as being the warmest. Sometimes referred to as 3-in-1 mittens, these can be very versatile options if you want to wear the mittens in a variety of conditions.
Ski mittens may be designed with additional features in the palm area to help improve grip. Palms are usually made of a leather or synthetic material. While leather does require more maintenance, it is typically regarded as the best material for withstanding abrasion.
Cuff length is a feature of personal preference. Shorter styles usually only extend to the wrist while long cuff options extend up towards your sleeve. Many cuffs include drawstrings or Velcro to improve the fit to the wrist.
Having an appropriate fit to your ski mittens is the easiest way to get the most out of your purchase. There are a few easy things to keep in mind to ensure you have the best fit. When trying on your favorites remember the following:
- Mittens should not be excessively large.
- While you want to be able to move the hand somewhat while wearing the mitten, you do not want it to be falling off or exposing your wrists. When your mittens are too large you are unable to have control over items you are trying to hold or operate.
- Mittens should not be too tight.
- When moving your hand, the mittens should never feel like they are squeezing or constricting you in any way. Again, check to ensure the material is not exposing your wrists.
- Make sure the mitten is long enough.
- A good fitting mitten usually has ¼ inch of excess material at the ends of the fingertips. This allows enough excess space for the hands to move comfortably without cold being trapped inside or movement being compromised.
Because ski mittens are so simple in design and purpose, it is easy to be fooled into thinking that your purchase does not require a lot of thought. Now that you have a good understanding of what makes a quality ski mitten, you should have no problem finding an option that is perfect for you!
Top Ski Mittens This Winter
It’s time to get to the best part of our guide. Finding thing the best ski mitten available on the market for you! Keeping in mind what you have learned about shells, insulation, liners, palms, and cuffs, let’s explore the options that are most likely to keep you warm this winter!
Black Diamond Mercury Mitts Cold Weather Mittens
Dimensions: 14 x 5 x 3 inches
Features: Shell 92% Nylon/8% Spandex, 100% Goat skin palm, 100% Polyester lining, 100% waterproof dry insert, Lightweight, Abrasion resistant, Pretext Shield with 4-way stretch, Removable liner, Primaloft® Gold insulation, High-loft fleece
Best use: Year-round use, moisture protection, snow shoveling, hiking, skiing, biking
Black Diamond is a company focused on the climbing and skiing demographic. They have a passion for creating outdoor wear that captures the spirit of the high-risk sportsman. Black Diamond strives to develop clothing that is superb in outdoor conditions regardless of whether you are a sports lover yourself.
The Black Diamond Mercury Mittens are known for standing up to extreme cold temperatures. They are great options for simple tasks such as snow shoveling, or keeping up with outdoor sports such as biking or skiing. They have an impressive range of motion that allows your hands to maintain movement while staying warm.
Individuals that suffer from poor circulation, tissue damage in the fingertips, or just plain have consistently cold hands, have found unmatched warmth and comfort in this mitten. The large gauntlets also provide additional coverage throughout the wrists.
The soft leather palm allows you to manipulate objects easily, and the liner, attached by Velcro, is great for quick-drying when not in use.
The North Face Montana Mittens
Dimensions: 11.9 x 8.2 x 3.5 inches
Features: Nylon shell, Synthetic leather palm, Etip ™, Waterproof, Removable Wrist Oven ™, Radiametric Atriculation ™, Ladderlock wrist cinch, 5 Dimensional fit ™, DryVent ™ insert
Best use: Cold weather, winter sports, snow removal, snowboarding
The North Face is a brand that has gained a reputation for producing high-quality, technology driven products for 50 years. They are constantly pushing the boundaries of their latest innovations to deliver you top of the line products that stand the test of winter.
The North Face Montana Mittens is designed to provide additional warmth to the hands when used with a handwarmer. The Radiametric Articulation™ is ergonomic and ensures the hands stay in a natural, comfortable position while being worn. The DryVent™ insert is waterproof and provides the mittens with strong breathability.
An optimal fit can be found in these ski mittens thanks to the 5 Dimensional Fit™ system. High quality insulation and full-coverage gauntlet ensure that this mitten will stand up to the cold no matter the use.
Hestra Women’s Heli Mittens
Dimensions: 13 x 7 x 3 inches
Features: 70% leather/30% synthetic material, Hestra Triton 3-layer fabric, Removable interior lining, Snow lock strap, Hestra handcuffs, Narrow cut, Wolf Paw © design
Best use: Skiing, snow, cold temperatures
Hestra has been in the glove business for 80 years. It is a company that prides itself on sustainability and careful design construction. Headquartered in Sweden, this family owned company has a unique understanding of quality mittens that provide warmth and dexterity.
The Hestra Women’s Heli Mittens gives you the best features of both leather and synthetic materials. The palm is crafted with proofed-army goat leather, which is a great benefit for individuals who need the mittens for highly dexterous activities like gripping ski poles.
The Hestra Trion 3-layer fabric ensures full protection without sacrificing breathability and covers the entire upper portion of the mitten. It is easy to customize your degree of warmth with the Heli Ski mitten. The interior lining is removable and the snow lock strap and handcuffs help secure the mittens more closely to the wrists.
The unique Wolf Paw design limits the number of seams that encounter surfaces that could potentially wear or tear them. This mitten is designed with the women’s hand in mind and is made with a narrow cut. Because of this, it is important to carefully try on the mittens with the above guidelines, paying special attention to fit around the wrist.
Outdoor Research Mount Baker Mittens
Dimensions: 17 x 9 x 4 inches
Features: Gore-Tex shell, Waterproof, 3-layer 70 D Taslan ripstop, Pre-cure boxed construction, Machine washable, Primaloft® One insulation
Best use: Climbing, snowboarding, trekking, skiing, snow blowing
Outdoor Research is a company that is founded on the principals of getting out in nature and making it fun. They believe that life is about the journey and actively encourage people to connect through nature. The Mount Baker Modular mittens lives up to the company expectations.
These Outdoor Research Mount Baker Mittens have a very long cuff which extends up the arm. Although they are full coverage, they still provide enough dexterity to easily maneuver poles when skiing or trekking. These mittens go the extra step when it comes to versatility.
The removable inner liner is a five-finger glove which can be helpful if you are multitasking between activities that require a lot of careful hand movement. These ski mittens provide all over warmth and protection by utilizing industry top of line materials such as GORE-TEX shells, and Primaloft® One insulation.
Swany Women’s X-Cell II Glove
Dimensions: 17 x 8 x 4 inches
Features: Smooth Grain LeatherShield and Nubuck Leather shell, Tri-plex insulation system, Dryfinger II waterproof/breathable insert, Dyna-Therm lining, Uni-pull cuff, Utility heat pocket, AquaGuard lock-down zipper
Best use: Cold weather, skiing, working outdoors, backcountry
Swany is a company that prides itself on its use of premium leather. They boast unmatched performance and construction. Both durable, and stylish, the Swany Women’s X-Cell II is a great alternative to traditional mitten design.
The most advantageous feature of this Swany Women’s X-Cell II Glove is the full use of leather. Leather is known for standing up to cold weather and repeat use. When combined with the insulating power of Primaloft® and Thermogear, the technology results in a waterproof, breathable, and exceptionally insulated glove.
A favorite feature of this glove is the zipper pockets which allow you to use a handwarmer while in use. They also include a leash which makes taking the gloves on and off a breeze. Because the construction is more of a glove than a mitten there is a high degree of dexterity, and the leather surface is ideal for gripping.
Hestra Heli 3- Finger Gloves
Dimensions: 15 x 8 x 5 inches
Features: 70% leather/30% synthetic, Hestra Triton 3-layer fabric, Proofed-army goat leather palm, Removable lining, Snow lock strap with Velcro closure, Hestra handcuffs, Hestra carabiner
Best use: Cold weather, comfortable wear, skiing, cross country skiing, snowboard
Hestra makes another appearance on our list again, this time with a unisex option. This design combines the warmth of traditional mittens with the much-needed dexterity of gloves.
Made with the same durable construction and high quality that Hestra is known for, these Hestra Heli 3- Finger Gloves provide maximum protection during wet, cold conditions. The most versatile feature is the removable liner which can also be replaced by other liners if you prefer. They are ideal for layering and can be used with heater packs as well.
They are effective during cold temperatures, but you may receive the most warmth from pairing with multiple layers.
POC Wo Mitten
Dimensions: 15 x 5 x 4 inches
Features: Goatskin, Women’s fit, Thinsulate ™ insulation, Knitted cuff
Best use: Cold weather, women’s wear
POC is a Swedish brand that focuses on safety and protection of athletes. POC Wo Mitten ensures full protection of your hand using plush insulation and protective leather. The palm includes reinforcements for long lasting durability and the soft lining combines comfort and circulation.
The slim construction is ideal for women’s hands and is still open enough to wear with a hand warmer. If you are looking for an option that focuses on comfort and softness, while still standing up to repeat use, the POC Wo mitten may be a great choice for you.
This wraps up our review of the seasons best ski mittens. From high-tech to luxurious comfort, hopefully you have found an option that best suits your needs!
You may have thought that hand protection was all the same when it came to cold weather, but with the help of this guide, hopefully you understand how important it is to understand what features are available to you.
Taking the time to research all the features about your purchase can mean the difference between cold hands and a waste of money, or warmth and enjoyment in the outdoors.
Did you find our guide to ski mittens useful? How easy was it to find an option that suits you? Please let us know in the comments! Share this post with you friends and family so everyone can enjoy warm hands this winter!