Winter in the mountains can quickly make your fingers achingly cold. Keep them warm, dry and dexterous with our top-rated pairs of insulating and waterproof gloves.
We have put all our recommended pairs to test out in the real world, trying out their toughness, features, comfort, dexterity, insulation, waterproofing, and breathability. For each of the gloves below, we have included reviews and ratings to help you compare each and to work out which are best for your needs. If it's purely waterproof gloves that you seek, make sure to read our guide on the topic too.
Key features to look for
Dexterity: Gloves with pre-curved fingers and rollover fingertips are designed to mimic the natural shape of the hand and have no awkward seams placed at the ends of the fingers, which affects feel and durability.
Design: Your main choices here are gloves or mitts. Gloves offer more dexterity, but mitts are almost always warmer, which is worth bearing in mind if you have poor circulation and suffer from cold hands.
Materials: Gloves with a high-denier polyamide (nylon) shell are generally more durable than polyester. Also look for tough leather or synthetic reinforcements in high-wear areas like the palm, fingertips and base of the thumb. A soft ‘nose wipe’ across the back of the thumb is also useful in cold weather.
Touchscreen compatibility: Some gloves now feature conductive fingertips to enable on-the-hill touchscreen use with a smartphone or GPS without having to remove the gloves. This is only generally useful on thinner, more dextrous gloves.
Construction: Some winter gloves have a shell and integrated liner, others have a removable liner. The latter adds versatility but also increases weight, bulk and complexity. Integrated liners should be securely fixed to the shell – if they come loose, it can be very difficult to get the glove on and off easily.
Grip: Gloves with leather or synthetic PU overlays across the palm and fingers ensure a solid, non-slip grip when holding trekking poles or ice tools, as well as when scrambling on rock.
Waterproofing: If you want your hands to stay dry as well as warm, look for a glove or mitt with a waterproof-breathable liner or insert. This may be a membrane such as Gore-Tex or a brand’s own in-house technology.
Insulation: For maximum warmth, look for a glove with block insulation of at least 60gsm and/or a fleece or pile lining. But remember that warmer gloves are also bulkier and less dextrous.
Wrist closure: Most gloves feature an elasticated wrist section and a drawcord to ensure a weatherproof seal. For added security, some may also have an adjustable webbing and buckle closure.
Coverage: A glove usually ends at or just past the wrist, while a gauntlet covers the entire wrist and often part of the forearm too. The latter offers more coverage and protection in full winter conditions.
Wrist leash: Many mitts and gloves have an adjustable cord or webbing loop. This means that you can remove your gloves without worrying about losing them, even in windy conditions.
The best winter gloves
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Mountain Equipment Couloir Glove
Verdict: Excellent technical gloves, offering outstanding toughness and good warmth without sacrificing dexterity.
Comfort 5/5 | Toughness 5/5 | Features 4/5 | Performance 5/5 | Value 4/5
Overall score 92%
Pros: Warm, extremely tough, protective
A great winter glove strikes the perfect balance between warmth, flexibility and toughness. The problem is that the burliest gloves tend to offer all the dexterity of a dolphin’s flipper, so when you need to do anything fiddly you have to take them off, exposing your hands to the cold. The Couloir though is waterproof and breathable and offers reasonably good dexterity, toasty warmth and impressive toughness.
These gloves have a Gore-Tex insert with a lofty pile and microfleece lining, encased in a tough nylon shell. A large proportion of the glove – not just the palm but also the thumb, knuckles and all the fingers – is made from extremely hard-wearing goatskin leather. This gives great protection and excellent grip, ideal for technical mountaineering with one or two ice axes. You also get rollover fingertips to enhance overall durability and tactility, plus pre-curved fingers that make for a comfortable, ergonomic fit.
The extended cuff has a drawcord closure, while an oversized loop makes it easy to pull the gloves on. A wrist leash is also provided to guard against accidental loss if you do need to remove a glove. And there’s even a suede nose wipe to keep snot at bay!
Unisex sizes XS-XXL | Weight 224g (L) | Construction Polyamide shell with Gore-Tex waterproof insert, goat leather palm and reinforcement, polyester pile and microfleece lining
Black Diamond Mercury Mitts
Verdict: Premium mitts made from recycled materials, with super-toasty insulated fleece liners. A great pick if you have cold hands.
Comfort 5/5 | Toughness 4/5 | Features 4/5 | Performance 5/5 | Value 3/5
Overall score 84%
Pros: Very warm, eco-friendly
Cons: Fairly bulky and heavy, expensive
Mitts are almost always warmer than gloves, since they minimise skin contact with the outer shell, and enable each finger to share the warmth of all the others. These mitts are particularly cosy, thanks to their removable liners, which combine a fast-wicking thick pile inner with PrimaLoft Gold insulation. All these materials incorporate recycled content. Similarly, the unlined outer shell is made from recycled polyester, with a hard-wearing and grippy goat leather palm and thumb.
The shell fabrics have a BD.dry waterproof membrane backer, finished on the outer face with a GTT Empel durable water-repellent treatment. Heralded as one of the most eco-friendly DWRs yet developed, this tech is PFC-free and uses no water in production. As well as boosting the product’s sustainability credentials (the use of goatskin excepted), it all makes for a warm and weatherproof mitt that is ideally suited to winter hillwalking.
A long gauntlet cuff provides good coverage, while an elastic drawcord ensures a secure weatherproof seal. A soft suede patch on the back of the thumb takes care of runny noses on those bitterly cold, dry mountain days.
Sizes men's XS-XL, women’s sizes XXS-L | Weight 270g (women’s M) | Construction Recycled polyester shell, goat leather palm and reinforcements, BD.dry waterproof insert, removable liner with PrimaLoft
Montane Supercell Tough Waterproof Gloves
Verdict: Warm, well-built gloves that are cracking value too. More than worthy of a place in your winter walking kit.
Comfort 5/5 | Toughness 4/5 | Features 4/5 | Performance 5/5 | Value 4/5
Overall score 92%
Pros: Warm, protective, great value
Cons: No nose wipe
Montane describes these as ‘warm, tough and waterproof mountaineering gloves’, and we can confirm they deliver on all counts.
They are made from a high-denier nylon softshell, which incorporates some elastane for stretch. There are extensive goatskin panels on the palm, rollover fingers and thumb, with additional reinforcement at the base of the thumb and fingers. This should ensure excellent durability. The gloves also have a waterproof insert and a warm, thick pile lining. This inner wicks superbly, moving moisture away from the skin fast and creating a very effective sensation of dryness even in sustained wet weather.
The pre-curved fit offers good dexterity for such a warm and protective glove. It’s worth noting that they seem to have slightly longer fingers than many other brands, which may or may not suit you. The extended cuffs offer excellent coverage, while a fabric loop makes them easy to pull on. An elasticated drawcord ensures a solid weatherproof seal, and wrist leashes help to prevent you from losing one in the hills.
Sizes XS-XL | Weight 218g (men’s L) | Construction Nylon and elastane softshell outer with Freeflow Mantle waterproof insert, goat leather palm and reinforcements, polyester pile fleece lining
Rab Storm Glove
Verdict: A good all-rounder at a great price, though spending a bit more would get a few more features and a slightly better build quality.
Comfort 4/5 | Toughness 4/5 | Features 3/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5
Overall score 76%
Pros: Soft and comfortable, good value
Cons: No rollover fingertips
These are actually the cheapest waterproof gloves in Rab’s extensive range, but they deliver plenty of bang for your buck.
They make use of high-quality materials, with a Porelle Dry waterproof membrane and Rab’s own synthetic Stratus insulation encased in a ripstop nylon shell, finished with a durable water-repellent coating. The microfleece lining is super soft and inviting but also wicks away moisture quickly. The palm and fingers utilise polyurethane (PU) panels rather than the leather typically found in more expensive gloves, but it is textured for grip. It also ensures that the Storm Gloves are vegan-friendly.
An extended cuff with an elasticated drawcord guarantees a decent weatherproof seal and good wrist coverage. You get a thumb nose wipe too. The pre-curved fit helps with dexterity, which is pretty good for an insulated glove. It’s just a shame that the fingertips have lots of stitching at the ends, as this reduces the overall feel. Rollover fingertips would give better long-term durability, too, since these are common wear points.
Still, these gloves offer good warmth for weight and are a solid all-rounder for general all-season hillwalking.
Sizes men's S-XL, women's S-XL | Weight 129g (women's M) | Construction: Polyamide shell with Porelle waterproof insert, 200gsm Stratus insulation and PU palm, polyester lining
Extremities Tornado GTX
Verdict: A solid option for smartphone and touchscreen GPS users looking for decent all-round winter gloves.
Comfort 4/5 | Toughness 4/5 | Features 3/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5
Overall score 76%
Pros: Soft and comfortable, good dexterity, touchscreen compatible
Cons: No rollover fingertips, not the toughest
These gloves from Extremities are solid all-rounders for hillwalking in the colder months. They offer reliable Gore-Tex waterproof-breathable performance and 60gsm synthetic insulation in a clean design.
Unlike the other gloves here, they employ a Velcro cuff closure rather than an elasticated drawcord cinch. Arguably, this is easier to use and slides more easily under a jacket sleeve, though perhaps doesn’t offer such an effective weatherproof seal. Still, these are close-fitting gloves with good dexterity, and they are touchscreen compatible too.
The fingers are pre-curved but otherwise relatively simple, with end-stitched rather than rollover fingertips. The palm and fingers use PU panels, not real leather, but feel reasonably tacky. The rest of the shell is made from polyester and the soft microfleece inner feels really snug.
In terms of price and warmth, these are comparable to the Rab Storm gloves, and though they lack some of the toughness and mountain-ready features of that rival, they have other advantages – touchscreen compatibility and superior grip. As such, they’ll probably work better for those who use smartphones for nav or photos on the hills.
Unisex sizes S-XL | Weight 112g (L) | Construction Polyester shell with PU palm, Gore-Tex insert, 60gsm synthetic insulation, microfleece lining
Hestra CZone Contact Gauntlet 5-finger
Verdict: Lightweight and close-fitting with good dexterity and excellent grip, but best combined with a liner for more warmth in full-on winter.
Comfort 5/5 | Toughness 4/5 | Features 3/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5
Overall score 80%
Pros: Soft and comfortable, good dexterity and grip, touchscreen compatible
Cons: No rollover fingertips, not the warmest
The CZone Contact Gauntlet is a versatile cold-weather glove made by Hestra, a family-owned Swedish company that has been making gloves – and only gloves – for 85 years. Largely made of durable nylon, the back of the hand uses a stretchy and reflective nylon-elastane softshell fabric. For grip, there’s an extremely tacky patterned overlay that the brand calls Duratan, which is placed at the fingertips, palms and thumbs. The tip of the index finger and thumb are also fitted with conductive patches for touchscreen use. The wrist cuff offers good coverage and has an elasticated section and a drawcord lock.
The overall fit is close and precise, offering excellent dexterity. We were just slightly surprised to find end-on finger stitching rather than the more durable rollover design. This is also a relatively lightweight glove, and insulation comes solely from a cosy microfleece lining. But they are fairly warm for their weight as well as being fully waterproof and breathable, thanks to a CZone Contact membrane.
Unisex sizes 6-11 (XS-XXL) | Weight 150g (L) | Construction Polyamide/elastane softshell outer with Duratan palm and finger reinforcement, C-Zone Contact waterproof insert, foam insulation and polyester microfleece lining
Outdoor Research Meteor Mitts
Verdict: Great value, feature-laden winter mitts with clever fleece liners that give you added dexterity without sacrificing too much warmth.
Comfort 4/5 | Toughness 4/5 | Features 5/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 5/5
Overall score 88%
Pros: Versatile, great features, innovative design
Cons: Fairly bulky and heavy
These chunky winter mitts are loaded with features. They have a buckle and webbing wrist adjustment with a secondary cuff drawcord, ensuring a secure fit and a highly effective weatherproof seal. The shell is made from tough nylon with synthetic palm and thumb overlays, along with a waterproof insert and a microfleece inner for warmth.
The removable liners are soft, comfy and very toasty, being made from 300-weight polar fleece. The liner design also partly offsets the usual drawback of mitts, which is their lack of dexterity. That’s because the fingers and thumbs have flaps, which flip back and are secured with tiny magnets. This effectively turns them into fingerless gloves, making it much easier to fiddle with crampon straps or rucksack buckles.
Admittedly, to use them as fingerless gloves you still have to remove the outer shell of the mitts first, but at least a sturdy fabric loop makes them easy to pull on again, while the wrist leash prevents them from flying off down the hillside. The liners also have a pocket across the back of the fingers, into which you can slide a heat pouch or handwarmer. The only drawbacks of the design are a little added weight, bulk and complexity.
Unisex sizes S-XL | Weight 280g (L) | Construction Nylon shell with AlpenGrip LT palm, Ventia waterproof insert and removable polyester 300-weight fleece liner
Sealskinz Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Gauntlet
Verdict: Designed for dexterity. Warm and waterproof too, although lots of stitching may not suit rugged use.
Comfort 5/5 | Toughness 4/5 | Features 4/5 | Performance 4/5 | Value 4/5
Overall score 84%
Pros: Close fit, good dexterity, warm
Cons: No wrist leash, lots of stitching
These gloves are about the toughest in the Sealskinz range. The fingertips, thumbs and palms employ hard-wearing goatskin, as is the double-stitched overlay at the base of the thumb. The cuff and back of the glove are polyester rather than nylon, though.
The gloves score well for feel and dexterity thanks to their pre-curved design and rollover fingertips. Uniquely, they are also designed with fabric gussets at the knuckles and finger joints. This aids freedom of movement, though all the stitching looks susceptible to wear. The upside is a closer fit, with slim fingers and great sculpting.
When it comes to warmth, PrimaLoft Gold fill, in addition to a fleecy inner, means they perform well, though they are not quite as toasty as a mitt. And while the microfleece is soft and comfortable, it doesn’t wick quite as well as a pile lining. Waterproofing comes from Sealskinz’ own PU-based membrane, which proved reliable on test.
The generous cuff gives ample coverage, with an elasticated wrist and a secondary drawcord closure. There’s a soft suede nose wipe too. You don’t get a wrist leash, but then this is more of an all-round outdoor glove than a technical mountain gauntlet.
Unisex sizes S-XL | Weight 212g (L) | Construction Polyester and elastane shell with goat leather palm and reinforcements, waterproof insert and PrimaLoft Gold insulation, polyester lining