When it comes to keeping your hands warm in the mountains during winter, skiers are between those who prefer ski mitts and those who prefer ski gloves. Both of these tribes will happily champion the pros of their choice and, while they’re doing so, point out some of the cons offered up by the alternative. In truth, despite what some ski mitt and ski glove ultras will try and tell you, there isn’t really a right answer or a wrong answer to the ‘ski mitts or ski gloves’ question. It depends on personal preference. Before discussing some of the best ski mitts for this winter in depth, we’ll take a moment to discuss some of the pros and cons of wearing mittens for skiing.
The Best Ski Mitts For 2023
- Black Diamond Mercury Mitten
- Dakine Leather Titan Gore-Tex Mitt
- Salomon Propeller Gore-Tex
- Quiksilver Broad Peak Mitt Snow Gloves
- 686 Gore Linear Under Cuff Mitt
- Black Diamond Spark Johnny Ski Mitt
- Dakine Baron GTX Mitt
Why Ski Mitts Are Better Than Ski Gloves
One of the best things about ski mitts is that, generally speaking, they’re warmer than gloves. In layman’s terms, this is because your fingers generate more heat when they’re not all separated from each other in their own finger compartments. Sort of like penguins huddling together for warmth, mittens allow your fingers to huddle together in such a way that the body heat they give off warms the fingers next to them.
When they’re inside ski mittens, your fingers are essentially sharing heat between themselves. It’s much easier for warm air to circulate in one compartment. With ski mitts, your fingers are united as one rather than standing alone against the cold air outside. Ski mitts are also good because there’s less exposed surface area on them, and less ‘points of attack’ for those bone-chilling low temperatures to get in.
“One of the best things about ski mitts is that, generally… they’re warmer than gloves”
It’s worth pointing out, at this stage, that the theory above is only true if the ski mitts in question are well-made and provide a good level of insulation. A well-made glove will, more often than not, triumph over a poorly-made mitt. Worried about choosing a good ski mitt? Anxious about messing up your pick and ending up with cold hands? Fear not. That’s where we come in.
The Disadvantages Of Skiing With Ski Mitts
As mentioned already, there’s no perfect way of keeping your hands warm while skiing. Whatever you decide to wear on your hands will come with at least some minor disadvantages. Ski mitts, for example, undoubtedly offer less finger dexterity than ski gloves. This factor, perhaps more than any other factor, gets straight to the heart of why skiers, general speaking, tend to favour ski gloves while snowboarders tend to favour mitts. It’s not impossible to hold ski poles while wearing mitts, far from it in fact, but it can take a bit of getting used to.
“Make sure, no matter what, that you’re investing in a pair of mitts that are waterproof and have good insulation”
Why ‘Lobster Mitts’ / ‘Three-Finger Mitts’ Are A Good Compromise
So, you want warm hands but don’t want to sacrifice too much in the way of finger dexterity? You might want to consider getting yourself a pair of ‘lobster claw’ style gloves / mittens. For skiers who want the best of both worlds, they’re a very good option. Stylistically, they haven’t always looked great but recently that’s begun to change (see Dakine X Sammy Carlson Team Baron GTX Trigger Mitt).
Things To Remember When Buying Ski Mitts
We fully understand that when buying ski gear it can sometimes boil down to picking a bit of kit based entirely on how cool it looks. We’d also be lying if we said we hadn’t, in the past, been guilty of making decisions based entirely on a product’s appearances rather than its practical benefits in the mountains. Don’t do this. It’s a mistake and will, most likely, end up with you having a sub-optimal time on your ski trip.
Make sure, no matter what, that you’re investing in a pair of mitts that are waterproof and have good insulation. There’s nothing worse than dwelling on how painfully cold your hands are when you should be enjoying the simple, yet unbelievably feel-good, magic of sliding around on some snow.
Black Diamond Mercury Mitten
Shell: Nylon / Leather
Insulation: PrimaLoft Gold
When you’re thinking about investing in a pair of ski mittens, you want to know that what you’re buying will deliver on both the warmth and toughness front. Fortunately, that is most definitely the case with the Black Diamond Mercury Mitten. From the moment you put these mitts on, you’ll love the reassuringly cosy vibes they give off. That PrimaLoft Gold insulation, as it so often does, keeps the cold out impressively. The nylon / leather shell, meanwhile, helps to deliver a bombproof construction that can stand up effectively to all manner of wear and tear. The four-way stretch in the shell, and removable split-finger liners, make this a particularly user-friendly mitten.
As is the case with most products in this bracket, gripping ski poles with the Black Diamond Mercury Mitten is trickier than it is with most ski gloves. That being said, if you’re someone whose hands tend to get cold, the additional warmth you’ll get from having your fingers next to each other will feel like a godsend. Relatively low on dexterity but scoring high for everything else, the BD Mercury Mitten gets a thumbs up.
Dakine Leather Titan Gore-Tex Mitt
Shell: Recycled Polyester / Goat Leather
Insulation: High Loft (50% recycled polyester)
The Dakine Leather Titan GTX Mitt offers excellent all-conditions functionality. It’s a mitten that’s housing Gore Warm technology, and a product that comes with a highly waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex insert. Just like with so many other products that feature Gore-Tex, everything comes together here to create a fortress against the elements. The system within this mitt works effectively to fend off moisture, while the high-loft insulation ensures comfort through even the most wintry of winter days.
The leather palms are impressively durable, and will deal with a good amount of wear and tear. Considering they’re mitts, and therefore naturally offer less dexterity than gloves, we’ve been impressed by how well these things grip ski poles when we’ve tried them out. Little touches like the small stash pocket for securing some spending money or a heat pack (if it’s particularly cold), and the removable liner gloves, help to elevate the mitt’s comfort and general usability. Finally, a quick shoutout for that touchscreen compatibility. It’s pretty common these days but, as people who have experienced the very real pain that comes when removing a hand from a glove / mitt to use a smartphone in the mountains, we’ll never not be grateful for it being implemented.
Salomon Propeller Gore-Tex Mitten
Shell: Polyamide / Goat Leather
When ski conditions on the other side of the window are getting a bit full-on, reach for the Propeller GTX mittens. They won’t let you down. Bringing together Gore-Tex technology and cosy Thermolite insulation, they’ll protect you from the worst of the weather and keep your hands warm. We’re big fans of this product’s reinforced leather palms. They’ve got a reassuring toughness to them, and give off a sense of genuine durability. Ideal for snowy adventures on the piste and off it, the Propeller GTX mittens have a seriously comfortable feel to them. You’ll like what they bring to your ski trips.
The Gore-Tex membrane and Gore Warm technology, as is so often the way with Gore-Tex, manages to keep the outside out without creating a stuffy environment inside. Warm and waterproof is one thing, of course, but in winter gear this shouldn’t come at the expense of breathability. Fortunately, there’s nothing to worry about re: this. The Thermolite insulation keeps things warm, but it’s not bulky and doesn’t make things hot. Factor in the relatively affordable price point, and considering a pair of these for your hands this winter becomes something of a no-brainer.
Quiksilver Broad Peak Mitt Snow Gloves
Shell: Polyester Blend / Faux Leather
Insulation: WarmFlight Insulation [Fill: 80g]
If you’re all about cruising the pistes, or mucking around in the snow park, the Quiksilver Broad Peak Mitt Snow Gloves might be worth a look. Coming in at around the £50 mark, it’s clearly not the product for multi-day backcountry missions in extreme terrain. For your more casual annual ski trip enthusiasts though, these mitts are spot on. They’re not for skiers who want to ‘earn their turns’, but that doesn’t mean they’re lacking in build quality. Pop these on within the resort boundaries, in the chairlift environment, and you’ll be more than satisfied with how they hold up.
The faux leather palm obviously has a slightly less premium feel than real leather, but it does the job and helps to keep the elements out. Thanks to a combination of the WarmFlight insulation and micro fleece lining, there’s an impressive level of cosiness to be found here. The DryFlight waterproof insert is a nice touch, one that will help you in your battle against the elements, while the touch screen compatibility will no doubt please those skiers who live for the TikTok, the Instagram, and the BeReal.
686 Gore Linear Under Cuff Mitt
Shell: Polyester / Synthetic Leather
Insulation: Light Fill
686 might be more closely associated with the world of snowboarding, but we don’t think that should necessarily stop skiers from wearing some of the brand’s gear this winter. From ski pants and ski jackets to smaller, but no less important, products like snow mitts, 686 consistently delivers technical kit capable of performing to a high standard in properly wintry mountain conditions. Considering its price point, the excellent quality of the Gore Linear Under Cuff Mitt means it feels like a bit of a steal. Seriously, for just over £60 you’ll be hard pressed to find a mitt as good as this. Let’s talk about it some more.
One of the main reasons your hands will feel consistently cosy while wearing these boils down to the Gore-Tex Plus Warm Technology. When the thermometer is dropping low, you want to know that what you’re wearing will stand up to the elements for an extended duration of time. The technology in these 686 mitts works well on ski adventures because it’s been designed to keep your hands comfortably warmer and protected for longer. It also helps to make the gloves windproof and breathable, and keep your hands dry. It might sound like your standard marketing spiel but, as we all know when Gore-Tex are involved, you’re safe believing the hype.
Other things we like about these ski mitts include the Velvex Soft Touch Thumb Face Wipe, the Soundtouch Touchscreen Technology, and the Movement Fit Hand Articulation. They’re all ingredients that help to elevate the sense that what you’re getting here is a genuinely decent product. Elsewhere, the Under Cuff design is super functional and will help to keep the elements out when weather conditions get rough. There are better ski mittens out there, but not for £62. It really is an absolute bargain.