Best waterproof gloves for 2024: fight the frostbite

Warm hands are essential for great mountain days, so we’ve tested a range of insulated waterproof gloves from across the price and performance range.

Closeup of hiker's waterproof gloves

by Chris Williams |
Updated on

Waterproof, insulated gloves are essential for any climber or winter sports enthusiast. To help you choose which pair best serves your needs, we’ve tested some of the best waterproof gloves available today, covering a range of price points and abilities.

In the same way that other waterproof and insulated pieces of clothing vary, so too do gloves. This requires you to think about what you need them for.

If, for example, you want them for watching winter sport or more relaxed winter walks, greater levels of insulation are needed in addition to waterproofing. But the trade-off with larger gloves is reduced dexterity and breathability.

For winter climbers, skiers, and mountaineering, durability, dexterity, high waterproofing and breathability are crucial for you. Gloves bearing these features are lighter and thinner and therefore not great when watching winter sport or undertaking more relaxed walks in the snow.

Female hiker scrambling wearing waterproof gloves
©LFTO

Our shortlist:

Black Diamond Glissade Glove: Best in Test

Trekmates Chamonix Gore-Tex Glove: Best Value

Mountain Equipment Guide Glove: Runner up Best in Test

Regatta Transition III Waterproof Glove: Best budget waterproof glove

Naturally, budget heavily influences our decisions but don't let that dictate. After all, while you can get some reasonable waterproof gloves on a budget, you fundamentally want a glove that will do what you need it to. It may well be worth your while paying a little more for a glove that will suit your needs rather than settling on the cheaper alternative that won't be so good.

Best waterproof gloves in detail

Best in Test

Black Diamond Glissade GloveLFTO
Alternative retailers
evo$55.96View offer
Black Diamond Equipment$55.97View offer

We were hard pressed to find fault with Black Diamond’s entry-level 4-season waterproof Glissade Gloves. With their soft fleece lining wrapped in Thinsulate insulation, the Glissade Gloves kept our hands snug and comfortable. But more than outright warmth, the weather protection is superb.

Black Diamond uses its own BD.dry insert for effective waterproofing, but we were also very pleased with the use of Empel DWR. Compared to other water repellent coatings, Empel doesn't wear off – it's permanent and also far more eco-friendly. The cinching cuff also works very well at keeping weather out.

We found the Pertex and goat leather outer fabrics are hard wearing. Freedom of movement is boosted because the Pertex fabric has four-way stretch, too.

While the sizes are unisex, there are five sizes available, so you should find it easy enough to find the right one for you. And while these are definitely warm enough while on the move, we found cold can start to seep through when standing around for a while in temperatures below –4°C or so. But you can easily use these with a glove liner.

As a waterproof glove for any winter mountain activity, the Glissade Glove is about as versatile as it gets.

Check out the Glissade Mitt here

Pros

  • Excellent weatherproofing
  • Durable construction
  • PFC-free, permanent DWR
  • Suitable for any mountain outing
  • Very comfortable
  • Available as a mitt

Cons

  • No wrist leash
  • Use with a glove liner necessary in very cold conditions

Best Value

Trekmates Chamonix Gore-Tex GloveLFTO

These attractively priced gloves feature a Gore-Tex Active waterproof lining to keep your hands dry from rain and sweat. They also have polyester hollow fibre insulation for warmth. Instantly comfortable when you first slip them on thanks to a brushed microfleece lining, the pre-curved fingers improve grip on ice axes or poles and the palm has a PU layer for durability.

Impressively, these gloves work with touchscreen devices, and the cuff length is good, which fits inside or outside a jacket. Less impressive are the fingertip seams, which are just at the point you want to touch things. This really affects dexterity, and if used regularly this area would be less durable than other designs. The thumb shape was also not very close-fitting, with a square seam that again raised dexterity and durability concerns.

Pros

  • Decent price for Gore-Tex
  • Pre-curved fingers
  • Touchscreen compatible forefinger

Cons

  • Not as durable as others
  • Annoying fingertip seams

Runner up Best in Test

Mountain Equipment Guide Glove Women'sLFTO

This well-established glove continues to offer us great comfort and dexterity. It’s available in both men’s and women’s sizes, with the women’s range coming in black/grey. That's great if you don’t like the typical pinks/purples that many women’s products display.

On offer are a Drilite waterproof lining, a leather palm and a fibre pile lining on the back of the hand, with a microfleece lining on the palm. This all adds up to a warm glove with durable protection. The pre-curved fit means they feel natural when the hands are relaxed and the materials don’t bunch up when holding things such as ice axes or trekking poles. Also, the lining doesn’t get caught when you remove them quickly and doesn’t snag when putting them back on.

Although the cuff isn’t the longest, you can fit it inside or outside a jacket sleeve. You also get a drawcord to close the cuff. A soft nose wipe is included and there is a loop on both ring fingers to clip the gloves to a carabiner for easy carrying.

On the downside, there’s no wrist leash, so you need to keep hold of these when taking them off in the wind to prevent them from flying off the mountain. Also, while warm, they aren’t as warm as others here, so you may need something better for really cold days.

The shorter cuff could allow for air gaps around the wrist, which is annoying, but then longer cuffs can be difficult to fit inside a jacket sleeve. Some gloves have an additional adjustment at the wrist, but here you just have elastication, so you need to consider if you need any additional adjustment.

Also, you don’t get the touchscreen sensitivity required to operate a mobile phone. But for me, these worked fine on the hill and I really liked using them just as they are.

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Durable outer fabrics
  • Allows good dexterity
  • Muted women's colours
  • Mountain Equipment is a Fair Wear Foundation member

Cons

  • No wrist leash

Best for winter scrambling

Rab Fulcrum Gore-Tex Glove

As the price suggests, these are no ordinary gloves. The Fulcrum GTX is one of the ultimate winter hillwalking gloves and we found them ideal for tough days on Scotland’s Munros. The super-durable Gore-Tex outer ensures waterproofness, while the strong, Pittards Armortan leather palm and fingers guarantee a durable grip. The thumb also has a much-used nose/goggle wipe – a feature often lacking on lower-priced gloves.

After a few minutes without gloves in cold, wet and windy weather, it's a relief to slip hands into the soft fibre pile lining. The overall fit is precise and the pre-curved palm and fingers allowed your hands to rest or grip in a natural position. We think the wrist leash is super, which keeps the gloves close to hand when removed in high winds.

In pursuit of an ideal dexterity-warmth balance, Rab has used high-performing PrimaLoft Gold synthetic insulation. The warmth of these gloves for the weight is impressive but you will certainly find warmer, albeit bulkier, gloves if that is what you need. Unfortunately, they can’t be used with a touchscreen device either, and there’s no women’s option.

Pros

  • Great dexterity
  • Impressive warmth for the weight
  • Durable outer fabrics
  • Rab a Fair Wear Foundation 'leader'

Cons

  • Overkill for most
  • Unisex fit

Best budget waterproof glove

Regatta Transition III Waterproof Glove
Price: £19.94 (RRP £35)

www.hartsofstur.com

The low price of these gloves is instantly inviting. But we found that these aren't just outright cheap, they are well designed too.

The waterproof Hydrafort fabric has Thermoguard synthetic insulation inside, which kept our hands dry and reasonably warm. There is some pre-curvature to the fingers, which makes gripping ice axes easier and neater. In particular, the thumb fits very neatly and is nicely shaped. One of the big plus points with the Transition III is that these are touchscreen friendly.

For durability, the palm and fingertips have a textured PVC layer. The cuff is a good general length that can be fitted under or over a waterproof jacket, and you get basic elastication at the wrist as well as a cuff drawcord. This all works well, so these gloves are ideal for general walking if you are on a tight budget.

But these gloves come with a number of drawbacks. Therefore, if you can pay more then it is worth doing so. Firstly, they only come in two sizes, so you really must try before you buy. Also, while these are insulated, they are not as warm as some higher-priced gloves. Those suffering from cold hands will want something warmer.

The palm is durable enough for most walkers, but hard users will find leather palms much better. There is no nose wipe – something you may come to miss! Also there is no wrist leash and no wrist cinch strap, all great little details that do make a difference if you are out in the hills regularly.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Decent waterproofing
  • Pre-curved fingers
  • Touchscreen compatible

Cons

  • Only two sizes
  • Others are warmer
  • No wrist leash

Best lightweight waterproof glove

Sealskinz Griston Waterproof All Weather Lightweight GlovesLFTO

Rrp: $55.00

Price: $46.41

The trouble with many lightweight gloves is inevitable warmth trade-off. We found Sealskinz’s Griston gloves punch well above their weight for warmth, while having far better dexterity than the more bulky gloves featured here.

They’re reliably waterproof too. The Griston gloves aren’t the toughest gloves out there, and aren’t meant for winter mountain treks. But for hillwalking and general outdoor use, they’re fantastic. And very good emergency gloves.

Pre-curved fingers help for a more natural fit, while a soft inner and reasonable stretch gives good comfort. The lightweight construction is to the benefit of breathability too.

The Griston gloves come in men’s and women’s sizes but aren’t touchscreen compatible.

Check out the women's version here

Pros

  • Reliably waterproof
  • Good warmth-to-weight ratio
  • Decent value
  • Great for general use

Cons

  • Not touchscreen compatible
  • Not for demanding mountain outings

How we test waterproof gloves

Members of LFTO team testing waterproof gloves
©LFTO

The gloves recommended here were tested by a number of our testing team including Ben Weeks, Chris Williams, and Kate Milsom - all very experienced LFTO gear testers who give kit a hard time and know exactly what to look for.

As a cold weather hiking essential, waterproof gloves accompany us on all of our wet and cold outings.

When testing, we find out how well waterproof gloves perform in terms of fit, comfort, performance, and durability. A key part is also whether the gloves live up to the promises outlined by manufacturers or not.

Read more on how we test here.

What to look for in waterproof gloves

Hiker putting on waterproof gloves
©LFTO

Will waterproof gloves really be waterproof?

The use of a waterproof membrane or insert ensures reliable waterproofing on gloves. This could be Gore-Tex or often a brand's own waterproof material.

How much insulation do gloves need?

This depends on your circumstances. The more insulation a glove has, ultimately the warmer it will be. But the trade-off with more insulation is less dexterity and breathability.

So, for scrambling and technical adventures, a warmth-dexterity balance is key. Whereas for leisurely winter walking, a greater focus on insulation is better.

Hiker scrambling wearing waterproof gloves
©LFTO

Glove or mitt?

Mitts offer the advantage of being warmer than gloves, but gloves are better for dexterity. That is, they're much better for putting on crampons, doing up zips and the like.

What materials are best for waterproof gloves?

The main outer materials of most waterproof gloves are nylon or polyester. Nylon is tougher and used for high-performance gloves; polyester is common on more basic waterproof gloves because it's a cheaper material.

For proper mountain gloves, it's important to look for reinforcement additions, like leather palm inserts and on high-wear areas. An alternative to leather you'll often find on lower cost waterproof gloves are PU or PVC palm inserts.

Fleece linings make for sumptuous comfort, but it's best to find gloves with fixed linings, rather than loose ones, which can wriggle out of place and be very annoying.

Should cuffs be over or under jacket sleeves?

Longer, gauntlet-style cuffs improves a glove's warmth and weather protection. They should have at least an elasticated wrist closure, and a cinch drawcord at the cuff.

If you're climbing or scrambling (where your hands are frequently above your head), the cuff should be over the jacket sleeve to stop snow going up your sleeve.

For general walking, the cuff should go under the jacket sleeve.

Opening a snack while wearing waterproof glvoes
©LFTO

What improves a glove's dexterity?

We touched on the relevance of the amount of insulation used in a glove. But in addition, a glove with pre-curved fingers benefits dexterity because it more closely matches the natural shape of your hand.

What other features are important on waterproof gloves?

A nose wipe is convenient because as well all know, the nose runs like a stream when hiking in the cold.

Touchscreen compatibility is a nice feature to have. It often features on thinner gloves, but is less common on thicker, insulated waterproof models.

A wrist leash is very useful in alpine conditions because it keeps the glove tethered to you if you take them off, eliminating the risk of them being blown away or sliding off down a mountainside.

Little loops on the fingers let you attach gloves to a carabiner when not in use. This hangs the glove upward, preventing spindrift and rain getting in the glove.

Rolled fingertips are better for durability than those with seams, especially for scrambling and contact with abrasive rock.

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