Frozen fingers can ruin a hike, which is why it’s important to wear the best winter hiking gloves to keep your hands warm and dry — without sacrificing more dexterity than required. The intensity and duration of your hike, as well as the weather you expect to encounter, will determine the level of insulation and waterproofing you need. That said, the best gloves should always be made of a materials that will wick moisture (as your hands will sweat while you hike) and should feature grippy material on the palms and/or fingertips so you can hold on to gear easily.
Most winter hiking gloves have an exterior layer made from water-resistant or waterproof material. Waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex or Hipora are the ultimate for keeping your hands dry but can be pricy. However, a nylon backing or splash-proof membrane will do the trick if you don’t expect very wet conditions. A cozy fleece lining will help your hands stay warm even when you encounter moisture, and additional layers of insulation can further add to the warmth of the glove. Common insulators include 3M Thinsulate, foam, or Thermacore, but it’s also possible to add warmth to a glove by wearing a pair of thin gloves, also known as liners, underneath. These liners can also be worn on their own if the weather isn’t too cold, and some gloves even come with built-in removable liners.
Fit and coverage can help prevent wind and weather from getting inside your gloves, so longer gloves that cinch at the wrists are ideal for really chilly days or snow, and gloves that fit close to the skin will offer better protection than loose ones. Zip pockets can also be great when it’s really cold — they’re a convenient place to stash hand warmers.
Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or novice day hiker, these four gloves will help you keep your hands dry and cozy on the trail.
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1. The Best Gloves With Removable Liners
These Burton Gore-Tex gloves have a three-part design: a double-layered Gore-Tex waterproof shell, Burton-branded synthetic Thermacore insulation, and brushed fleece liners that can be worn alone or with the outer shell for extra-warm hands. You won’t have to remove the gloves to tap away at your smartphone either, since they’re touchscreen-compatible. The palms also have a grippy synthetic leather treatment so you won’t drop your phone or gear easily.
If you’re keen on keeping as much cold and winter weather out of your gloves as possible, you’ll be happy to know these gloves also come with elastic straps at the wrist for cinching and a zipper pocket for storing disposable hand warmers — or storing other small items you want to keep within easy reach. All things considered, most Amazon reviewers report that these gloves keep hands toasty even in sub-zero temps. And they come in a bunch of different colors.
According to one Amazon reviewer: “I live in WI and the winters are brutal. Temps reaching well below zero and I’ve been searching for gloves that will keep my hands warm. Most of the pairs of gloves I bought previously just didn’t do the job and got damp from my hands sweating, and my fingers stayed cold. These gloves are well made! They fit just right, and no more cold hands. Ladies, if you are debating about getting these gloves, my reply to that…..spend the money, you’ll be glad you did! Well worth every single penny!”
- Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large
2. The Best Lightweight Gloves
These Outdoor Research gloves might feel lightweight, but they’re actually pretty warm thanks to the nylon-and-wool knit exterior and cozy fleece lining. This combination of fabrics wicks away moisture, and a polyester backer keeps snow from melting into the gloves, so your fingers stay nice and dry. If you need to hold equipment, silicone grips on the fingers ensure it won’t slip, and the suede-tipped thumb and index fingers of the gloves are compatible with your phone’s touchscreen. Finally, a few small details, such as loops to help pull the gloves on (so it’s more convenient to get a snug fit) and clips to attach the gloves together between wears (so you won’t lose one) are also really nice to have.
Because these gloves aren’t 100% waterproof or incredibly thick, they’re better for dryer hikes, and some Amazon reviewers report that they might not be the best on the absolute coldest days. But for casual hikers or commuters who don’t expect to encounter extreme conditions for longer chunks of time, they should absolutely do the trick. Choose between a few different colors.
According to one Amazon reviewer: "Durable, warm, stylish, the best. Couldn’t live without them. I walk 3 miles everyday and these gloves do the trick no matter the temperature."
- Available sizes: Small – Large
3. The Best Budget Gloves
If you’re looking for ultra-warm cold-weather gloves that don’t cost as much as the Burton gloves, these waterproof WindRider ones could fit the bill. The gloves feature a thoughtful multi-layered design, which includes a durable nylon shell lined with waterproof Hipora fabric, 3M Thinsulate insulation, and a cozy fleece lining. With a 4.5-star overall rating on Amazon (after more than 800 reviews), most pleased reviewers report that their hands stayed warm and dry, even over longer outings and in sub-zero conditions. For even more warmth, there are two zipper pockets big enough for hand warmers, and cinch clips at the wrists for creating a closer fit. These gloves are also touch-sensitive for unlocking your phone or answering a call while keeping your hands cozy.
According to one Amazon reviewer: "These gloves worked very well during my recent ski trip at Breck. It was 1 degree one morning with a -7 degree windchill on the mountain, and my hands and fingers stayed warm and dry all day skiing (I did have a hand warmer pack inserted into the pocket on top of the gloves which added extra warmth, so that pocket is a nice feature to have). The second day I wore the gloves without any added heat pack as it was warmer (17 degrees), and my hands still stayed warm and dry all day skiing […] Overall I’m extremely impressed with the quality."
- Available sizes: X-Small — X-Large
4. The Best Liner Gloves
These form-fitting and lightweight liner gloves can easily be worn alone on less chilly hikes, or underneath a thicker pair of thermal gloves or mittens on very brisk days. Meant to fit closely like a second skin, these polyester and spandex gloves have some stretch to them and are breathable. The interior of the liner gloves is made from polyester fleece, while the exterior has a splashproof coating that can repel a few snowflakes but won’t hold up once soaked. The palms feature a sticky silicone covering for grip, along with touch sensitivity on the index and thumb fingers for smartphone use.
Overall, most Amazon reviewers report satisfaction with the warmth level and sizing accuracy, as well as decent water-resistance for activities such as running, cycling, and hiking. They give the gloves an overall rating of 4.4 stars, among 900 and growing reviews. These gloves also come with 12 months of product assistance, if you need it, and are available in three different colors.
According to one Amazon reviewer: “I love these gloves for running and hiking. The touch-screen pads on the fingers work well with my phone, they keep my hands decently warm […] I measured my hands based on the seller’s chart and ordered a small. The gloves fit very tightly around my fingers, which I like.”
- Available sizes: Small — X-Large
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