Best Winter Mittens | GearJunkie

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Best Winter Mittens | GearJunkie

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When it’s too cold for gloves (generally around 10 degrees F), finding the best winter mittens is crucial to enjoying wintertime activity.

We spend a lot of time outdoors testing gear. And if we’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that being cold can quickly ruin any adventure. This is where having the best winter mittens comes into play, but it’s not just about warmth. You’ve also got to think about dexterity, features, and breathability.

When wearing mittens, you’ll sacrifice a bit of dexterity for cozy digits, but that’s the price of warmth in the rock-bottom cold months of the year. And if it means having a good time outside all winter long, then it’s a price we’re willing to pay.

While this list doesn’t cover every mitten ever made, suffice it to say we’ve been thorough in narrowing it down to our favorites. These are the best winter mittens that we can’t stop raving about — the ones we recommend and rely on all winter long.

If you’d like to learn what differentiates each pair of mitts, check out our buyer’s guide and frequently asked questions at the bottom of the article. You can scroll down to the comparison chart to help guide your decision-making process. Otherwise, read our full gear guide below.

Editor’s Note: We updated our winter mittens buyer’s guide on September 21, 2023, adding 14 sections and 5 FAQs and reworking several additional sections in the buyer’s guide to support buyer education.

We think of these mitts as cocoons for the hands. They’re indeed stuffed full of PrimaLoft insulation, the same fill used in cold-weather sleeping bags. This was one of our first favorites all the way back in 2007, and it’s still the strongest contender.

The Black Diamond Mercury Mitts ($120) are among the best mittens on the market. Surrounding the goat leather palm, there’s 170 grams of PrimaLoft Gold insulation across the backs of the hands and another 133 grams under the palms. Plus, the stretchy outer shell is made from 100 percent recycled material.

They’ll last for several years (at least), and with a removable liner, they can be used in frigid or kinda-cold weather. We love that we can easily dry out or clean the removable liner after a big day or trip, and that the liner is made of recycled fleece.

What seems to be a trend among Black Diamond’s warmest gloves (the BD Guide Gloves are the same way), is that these mitts fit a good bit tighter than what you’d expect. We highly recommend trying these gloves on in person before committing and don’t be afraid to size up to get that perfect fit.

The waterproof membrane of the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts and the long gauntlet cuff are both appreciated to keep us warm and dry in wet conditions.

This mitt didn’t blow us away as the snazziest or most high-tech, but it’s gosh-darn warm. A basic design and budget-friendly, we found the Gordini Challenge Mitt ($70) to be warm enough for a variety of snow activities and, best of all, easy to put on.

The mitts have a nose wipe, wrist leashes, and easy-pull tabs so you can shed them when you need more dexterity and not worry about losing ’em. (Although the mitts are touchscreen-compatible, so you don’t need to ditch them to check your phone!)

While our male testers found these gloves to fit just about right, our female testers reported a slightly snug fit in the size they traditionally would fit in. Size these mitts for comfort, with enough space at the end of your fingers to avoid cold spots.

We also found the Gordini Challenge Mitt to be extremely soft on the inside, thanks to the cozy, moisture-wicking fleece lining that extends all the way to the cuff. To top it off, Gordini added tech like a textured water-resistant shell and a waterproof and windproof GORE-TEX Warm insert.

Read our full GearJunkie review to see how this awesome mitt made the cut.

Designed for mountaineering and high-elevation adventure, the Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts ($209) prove warm even in the coldest conditions. Freshly redesigned for ’22/23, the Alti’s got a brand new fit, and has been optimized for better dexterity — something we’re always looking for in a big, bulky mitt.

The leather palm provides plenty of grip, and the three-panel thumb construction allows for even better dexterity to grab gear. We like the longer cuff for its all-around sturdy construction, which kept snow from sneaking in.

Aimed at the shivering hands of high-altitude mountaineers, these mitts do command a higher price, but we’d pay it every time to receive the warmth these mittens pump out.

Perhaps best of all is the thumb insulation that keeps the secluded digit warm all day long. The gloves boast 170 grams of PrimaLoft Gold on the backside of the exterior mitt and integrates two layers into the inner mitt. Both the outer and inner polyester fleece mitts have 312 grams of insulation on the palm.

This synthetic insulation not only repels water, but also dries quickly if it does get wet. This is key for staying warm all day. And if you get too warm, simply remove the liner. We’re in our fifth or so year using some version of the Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts, and they’re still going strong.

The Dakine Diablo GORE-TEX Mitt ($250) allows for a lot of versatility. For the price tag, you get three unique sets of handwear — a lightweight glove liner, a puffy down mitten liner, and a burly GORE-TEX outer shell. You can easily switch between layers during high-output activities and pile all three layers on when the temps drop.

The removable liner glove has a silicone grip and touchscreen-friendly fingertips. The 650-fill-down mitten liner provides plenty of lofty warmth. And the GORE-TEX outer makes for a breathable, waterproof shell.

We really like the outer shell’s goat leather palm, which provides just enough grip for managing ski poles or carrying your board. These are a big investment and, depending on your needs, you could perhaps get away with a cheaper pair. But if you’re looking for a versatile mitten system that will keep you cool on the uphills and warm on the mountain, the Diablo Mittens can’t be beaten.

Like the Dakine Diablo GORE-TEX Mitt, but looking for something less pricey? Check out the gauntlet-style Dakine Titan GORE-TEX Mitt, also with a removable liner and GORE-TEX (but no down), for just $80.

The Give’r Frontier Mittens ($139) raised more than $1 million during its initial crowdfunding efforts, and we’re not surprised. The brand had already built a solid reputation for super-durable yet warm and weather-resistant gloves. Its expansion into mittens had fans stoked from the beginning.

From our Frontier Mitten early prototype testing to the brand’s 2.0 pair, these mitts proved wonderful from the get-go. They have the same burly leather build as the gloves, which means they can handle turns on the slopes or grabbing a log out of the campfire. Under that, five layers of insulation and a waterproof membrane keep hands cozy.

Since the burly Give’r Frontier Mittens use an all-cowhide exterior, there is a bit of a break-in period to be expected, as well as upkeep to maintain that supple texture. Waxing them every season with Sno Seal Beeswax Waterproofing is a surefire way to keep your leather from going waterlogged.

The Kids’ Burton Vent Mittens ($40) are built for young shredders. These mitts cinch at the wrist if the weather requires and have a zippered pocket for your little one’s hand warmers. The design has a big cuff to help pull ’em on, up and over a jacket.

The Vent mittens have Burton’s DryRide two-layer shell for waterproofness and breathability and Thermacore synthetic insulation. The mittens also have a grip texture feature on the palm, and a soft, fixed microfiber lining to keep hands and fingers cozy inside.

One of our lead testers has found that Burton’s kids’ gloves are durable, based on years of experience teaching students in an outdoor class with activities like climbing and digging — usually, their miniature Burton gloves hold up well.

Folks also tend to like Kids’ Burton Vent Mittens most for their different size options (kids’ mittens really shouldn’t be one size fits all), ease of use and adjustability, and warmth. Parents rave at the length of the cuffs and cinches that do a great job of keeping snow out. The price isn’t bad, either.

Looking for even smaller (toddler) mitts? The Columbia Toddler Chippewa Long Mittens would take our second vote.

Call ’em gloves, call ’em mittens, call ’em lobster claws — the added dexterity of a split mitt is great for cyclists. The concept itself isn’t new, but GORE-TEX’s in-house brand, GOREWEAR, has a lobster mitt, the GORE-TEX Infinium Thermo Split Gloves ($90) we’ve tried and love.

And because it’s made by GORE, it offers superior wind protection, loads of warmth, solid durability, and enough water resistance to stand up to snowmelt (once you’re inside) or light freezing drizzle.

GORE built these mitts for deep winter and extreme cold, but if the mercury plummets to the teens or single digits, a set of pogies like Bar Mitts will (most often) afford you the extra warmth you need on top of these mittens.

And while we’ve pushed the INFINIUM Windstopper layer from GORE pretty far in the past, it’s important to note that these gloves won’t be 100% waterproof (just dang close).

For shoulder season and year-round commuters, the GORE-TEX Infinium Thermo Split Gloves also have touchscreen-compatible index digits to check directions or send quick texts. Best of all, you can score these for under $100.

Heated gloves or mittens can cost upward of $300 — but not these. Volt Heat 7V Heated Mitts ($130) are fully decked out like many other mitts on this list: with a nylon shell, leather palm, and waterproof breathable membrane. In terms of the heating element, the Volt mitts have ultra-thin stainless steel heating wires bonded into the fabric to heat across the back and palm of your hand.

The system, which heats up to more than 150 degrees, has a built-in microprocessor for heat control and is powered by a 7-volt portable battery. Volt says it lasts for 2 hours on the highest setting and up to at least 8 hours on low.

While they are cheap compared to many other heated options, the Volt Heat 7V Heated Mitts are still a pretty penny compared to other mitts in our testing. But for those who might suffer from Raynaud’s or just dang cold hands, having a little extra juice can make the difference.

We’ll admit, these aren’t for the coldest of temps, but if you’re looking for a lightweight mitt that can perform, check out the Salomon Fast Wing Winter ($55). Best for high-output winter activities like running, cardio, and hiking, the Fast Wings prioritize lightweight and versatility.

Technically, the Fast Wing is a glove. But the attached DWR-treated windproof, water-resistant mitt cover is a nice addition that helps retain warmth, block wind, and keep hands dry in rainy, wet, or snowy weather.

The glove has Salomon’s AdvancedSkin Warm tech, which reflects warmth back to your body and works to retain heat, plus an extended cuff and touchscreen finger pads. All that and these mitts weigh less than 2 ounces.

If you want lightweight hand protection, the Salomon Fast Wing Winter is a solid option. Just know they aren’t for the coldest temps, as they don’t have added insulation.

The Hestra XC Over Mitt ($45) isn’t the most versatile, but they get the job done of keeping digits warm during a mild day outside. Made for cross-country skiing, the shell mitts are aimed to layer over liners if the weather is a bit much for your outing. They don’t have any insulation but still felt warm enough on 30-degree days, mitts only. 

For a slim mitten, the Over Mitts might seem pricey, but the construction is top quality. The outer is made from Hestra’s three-layer interlock polyester fabric. We found them to be wind and water-repellent. And despite being rated as breathable, our hands stayed completely dry when reaching into a cold creek.

A soft yet durable polyester is incorporated into the palm and offers a slight grip, so you can get a nice grasp on your poles or phone. 

If you’re layering these mitts over slim gloves, the material stretch and wider wrist area is helpful: They easily slide on and off. The Hestra XC Over Mitt is also thin enough that you can easily stash the pair in a pocket if you heat up and don’t need ’em for a whole cross-country session. 

These low-profile insulated mittens are new for the 2023 season. While many mittens on the market aim to be bulky and over-stuffed with insulation, the Stio Hardscrabble Insulated Mitt ($159) are sleek and relatively thin. They weigh very little and easily fit into a back pocket, but the 3 ounces of integrated PrimaLoft insulation is plenty warm for most winter conditions.

Stio is based in Jackson, Wyoming — a full-blown ski town where the average lows in January hover around 5 degrees. While the Hardscrabble isn’t the warmest mitten on this list, it’s far warmer than its thin profile would suggest. We wore the Hardscrabble while skiing in fierce winds and walking around town in a blizzard. We never needed a bulkier mitt.

Inside the Stio Hardscrabble Insulated Mitt, individual finger compartments combine the feel of a glove with the contained warmth of a mitten. The dividers between each finger are soft and cozy. Supple leather covers the entire exterior, while an extra thick patch adds durability to the palm. The cuffs are relatively short — so they aren’t ideal for skiing deep powder — but they fit nicely underneath most jacket sleeves.

Warm, soft, true to size, and at a great price point — the Hestra Moon Mitt ($85) has proven very popular in recent years.

Not only are these puffy mitts great-quality and well-insulated (with PrimaLoft Gold insulation and a windproof ripstop shell), but they’re also great at transcending activities  — from cruising groomers on a dry day to walking around town. The mitts also have a soft, yet strong hairsheep leather reinforcement on the palms for enhanced grip.

Best suited to drier climes (no waterproofing here, unfortunately), the Hestra Moon Mitt is quickly becoming our quick stash of warmth on any cold-weather outing.

While these leather ski mittens require a little care, they’ll also last for years. The Flylow Oven Mitt ($55) performs well in frigid temps and are durable and, of course, toasty warm.

We love the quality of these gloves for the price point. Really, if you want something for cold days — whether hiking, skiing, or working out in the snow — and don’t want to spend a fortune, these mitts will get the job done.

Our only downside? During testing, we noticed that the black pigment in the leather wasn’t quite as fixed as we would have liked, and smudges happened. For the rough-and-tumble type, who are likely drawn to the Flylow Oven Mitt anyway, it probably isn’t much of an issue.

We love that this mitt is svelte yet offers just-enough warmth and is stylish, too. Not to mention, we can actually slide the gauntlet quickly beneath our jacket cuff. For multiple seasons, we’ve found the well-made Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens ($85) to be one of our faves with a quick-drying removable glove liner plus external GORE-TEX technology to barricade the elements.

While snowboarding at the resort, these mittens withstood 10-degree weather with windchill, light snow, and sunnier windows in the 30s. The design provided warmth without bulk, allowing hand control when tinkering with our bindings. The thumbs are generously covered with a smooth polyester nose-wipe panel.

Each upper face on the Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens has a diagonal zipper and pocket, which we opened to drop heat or to slide in hand warmers on freezing days. Slender gloves liners are included with touchscreen compatibility in each forefinger, which we love. One caveat: The liner’s wrist seams are not flexible making them tough to get on and off.

Both palms and interior thumbs have a durable and touchscreen-compatible material that feels like faux leather, but it’s not a super functional placement for operating a phone screen.

Between the high-quality materials and the extra features, like a nose wipe and long wrist leashes, the Picture Organic Women’s Anna Mitts ($65) do not disappoint. Worn in high winds and low temps, the mitts can withstand the strong elements of a powder day. 

Where the gloves stood out the most is their warmth and comfort. The insulation comes in at 220 grams. The lining is an extremely soft, warm sherpa fleece with 5-finger separations to keep your hands from being too sweaty.

There’s also sherpa fleece lining in the small gauntlet, which fit easily under large coat cuffs. That said, the circumference is a bit too narrow to slide over a jacket.

The outer is made from biosourced and recycled polyester, which is coupled with a waterproof, breathable membrane to help keep hands dry no matter how much snow is falling. We found that the Picture Organic Women’s Anna Mitts were grippy enough with their goat leather palm but are not touchscreen compatible. 

Pop these on for your coldest of days on the slopes to stay warm, dexterous, and feeling good. ff

Scroll to the right to view all of the columns: Price, Shell/Material, Cuff Type, Insulation, Warmth.

The GearJunkie team is made up of skiers, snowboarders, and lots of folks who simply live in cold, wintery regions. We’ve tested mittens through frigid Minnesota winters, during extremely cold Colorado outings, and while traveling across North America in search of snow-laden adventures. We regularly hike, bike, ski, snowboard, and camp with these mittens on. We’ve even had a few snowball fights and an epic snow angel competition for good measure.

More than three decades ago, Senior Snow Sports Editor Morgan Tilton learned to ski in sync when she learned to hike as a toddler in Telluride, Colorado, and still calls Southwest Colorado home. Today, she lives in one of the coldest locations in the country, Gunnison Valley, where it’s not uncommon to drop into negative digits plus windchill. If it’s frigid out, she reaches for mittens when she’s heading up the ski lifts at Crested Butte Mountain Resort or taking laps on the Crested Butte Nordic trails.

Among the lead testers, Mattie Schuler is no stranger to cold weather — she grew up in Wisconsin and has lived in Colorado for a decade. As an early childhood educator, the majority of Schuler’s days are spent outside teaching kids — even in cold, windy, and wet weather — through the outdoor classroom program she founded in 2019. Throughout the past decade, Schuler has tested dozens and dozens of gloves and mittens for personal and professional utility, so she has a solid grip on the metrics from warmth to comfort. She’s quite picky about certain variables like nose wipe placement and if the wrist leashes are too long or thick.

While assessing the quality of a pair of gloves or mittens, we consider warmth, waterproofing, durability, comfort, fit, versatility, style, and overall value. We make an effort to test every pair of gloves in a variety of conditions over many days of field testing. Once a year, the whole team gets together to ski for a week and compare notes on our favorite products. This roundup is a living document — whenever a new pair of mittens earns a spot, we’ll update the list.

If you’re using mittens in snowy, wet, and cold weather — say, on the ski slopes or in the backcountry — you’ll want a mitten that is insulated, waterproof, and has a few key traits like a nose wipe or wrist leashes. Many mittens will be a bit thicker than gloves and might compromise your dexterity. If you don’t need to hold onto ski poles or an ice axe, less dexterity is OK, as long as you’re warm and comfortable like how we fared with the best overall mittens the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts. 

Other mittens will be leaner with less insulation, but that’s because they are made for a specific activity like running or cross-country skiing. You’ll get plenty of breathability though with such styles like the Hestra XC Over Mitt or the Salomon Fast Wing Winter.

In the middle of these two categories is the mitten you’ll wear out on the town or on warmer spring skiing days. A mid-level insulation mitt is perfect for warmer winter days, where you still need some insulation and waterproofness but don’t want your hands to get too sweaty, either.

Winter can mean a lot of things — specifically, a range of temperatures. Especially in higher alpine environments with more extreme winds or places with humidity, temperatures can fluctuate and drop wildly. Thankfully, mittens are a time-tested, perfect solution to extreme colds.

If you know your body runs warmer or colder, consider that when buying winter mittens. If you struggle with keeping warmth in your extremities, you may also want mitts with a higher weight or down-fill insulation, or a thicker shell. Consider a multi-layer system like the Dakine Diablo GORE-TEX Mitt, which has a shell, down insulation, and a liner. You could also reach for the Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens or the best overall winter mitten, the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts, both of which have a lightweight removable liner. If your fingers seem to never stay warm, or if you have Raynaud’s syndrome, opt for battery-powered mittens like the Volt Heat 7V Heated Mitts.

If your fingers are usually pretty warm, other options are more simplified, like the Give’r Frontier Mittens or the Gordini Challenge Mitt.

Some manufacturers provide a warmth rating in degrees Fahrenheit. Others have a warmth rating system that establishes internal brand categories and provides comparison between the gloves and mittens in their own brand’s line. Warmth can be tricky to measure. The materials and fill both have an impact but so does a person’s own circulation, warmth, health, and preferences. 

The type and amount of insulation is key to keeping your hands warm. In many mittens, you’ll find natural down insulation options, synthetic insulation, and designs with a combination of both.

Natural down mittens are a popular option for skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. However, down loses its insulating powers when wet. Natural down fill is often made of duck down or geese down (the finest, lightest feathers), and is extremely lightweight, very packable (like what you want in a down jacket), and overall warmer than synthetic fill.

Thindown is a constructed fabric made of natural goose down rather than the down being stuffed between layers of textile in a traditional baffled design.

Synthetic insulation keeps you warm even when the fabric becomes damp, because it’s made from polyester, which retains warmth when wet. Ultimately, synthetic fill also dries faster than down fill. Many more companies are opting for synthetic fill from the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts to the Gordini Challenge Mitt.

More and more companies are using PrimaLoft synthetic insulation, which is a fiber made from recycled plastic bottles. PrimaLoft fill can also be recycled into another piece of gear.

Some winter mittens or gloves use a mix of synthetic and natural down like in the Gordini Fayston Gloves. The benefit is to utilize synthetic fill where the hands most receive moisture while the down increases the warmth factor in certain parts of the hands like the wrists or ends of the digits.

The fill value of a mitten lets you know how much insulation, and thus warmth, is stuffed inside.

To calculate the fill, a one-ounce sample of down is put into a cylinder and then compressed. A higher number indicates a warmer option, which also means that you’ll need less down to get the same amount of warmth as lower-fill down. A higher fill number means the down can trap more air, which leads to warmth, in the piece of apparel or gear. For you, that means a lighter, more compressible piece of gear. 

Many of the mittens on this list claim to be waterproof. Typically, a “waterproof” mitten is constructed with a layer of breathable membrane such as GORE-TEX. This layer is designed to keep moisture from reaching the inside of the glove and also allow moisture from the hands to evaporate out.

While some of these membranes work quite well, they aren’t completely impervious to water. If your mittens become completely saturated in a heavy rainstorm, your hands will probably get wet underneath.

If you’re seeking the highest level of waterproofing mittens can offer, be sure to select a style with a GORE-TEX (or similar brand) membrane, like the Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts. All leather options, like the Give’r Frontier Mittens or the Flylow Oven Mitt, won’t provide full waterproofing, but with an additional wax coating, you’ll get pretty close.

Most brands will now list the exact measurements of their mittens, specifically the dimensions of the palm. We recommend starting with your usual glove or mitt size, but always double-check any mitt’s specific sizing chart.

Most often, the sizing chart will have you measure from your wrist to your fingertips as well as the circumference of your palm. You should be able to make a fist without the mitten feeling too tight, and your fingertips should reach almost to the top of the mitt, with about ¼-inch of space left over. Mittens that are too big won’t be able to efficiently keep heat in, while mittens that are too small will be uncomfortable. 

Mittens have lots of pros — namely, providing a toastier warmth than gloves can — but they do go down a notch in the functionality department, specifically dexterity.

You’ll find more dexterity in thinner mittens, like the Gordini Challenge Mitt, and in split mittens, like the GORE-TEX Infinium Thermo Split Gloves. Designers have been enhancing overall mitten construction in recent years, too, so that the dexterity isn’t as compromised. Both the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts and the Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts met high marks for dexterity, even though they are heavy-duty mittens.

Mittens can have a roomy, high-reaching gauntlet cuff or a leaner undercuff. Choosing between the two designs comes down to the type of protection you prefer and need, which is influenced by your winter activities and the climate where you’ll be most outside.

With a larger gauntlet, the cuff goes over the sleeve cuffs of your winter jacket, like the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts or the Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts. Tightening the cinch at the base of the mitten’s gauntlet helps prevent snow and wind from entering throughout the snowball fight or shoveling mission.

Certain designs, like the Kids’ Burton Vent Mittens and the Picture Organic Women’s Anna Mitts, have a secondary wrist strap that’s threaded through a quick-release slider buckle to ensure a secure, proper fit on your hands. 

With an undercuff, like the Give’r Frontier Mittens or the Salomon Fast Wing Winter, you’ll have less bulk around your wrists, but a higher chance of snow or wind getting near your wrists and into your coat.

If your daily winter jacket has extended, dense cuffs, your wrists will be more covered and protected from any snow getting in, and a tight mitten cuff might not fit over the coat’s cuffs. While many midlayers have extended sleeve lengths with thumbholes, the material often absorbs moisture and we don’t consider that a replacement for a mitten that shields snow and wind. You’ll also want to consider your layering system beneath your mitts, so that the sandwich of the mitt, jacket, and midlayer isn’t cumbersome.

If you tend to frequently take your mittens on and off throughout the day, wrist leashes will be your best friend.

One end of the stretchy leash is either fixed or attached to your mitten’s cuff zone. Shaped like a lasso, the end of the circuit expands and slides around your wrist, so the mitts can stay securely attached to you.

Some wrist leashes are sewn on and not removable, like with the Picture Organic Women’s Anna Mitts, while others are easy to remove.

Certain mitten designs include ventilation options in the form of small zipper pockets. Zip it open to let some air in if your hands are hot, or use it to stash a hand warmer for extra warmth.

Both the Kids’ Burton Vent Mittens and the Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens have diagonal zipper pockets on the back of the hand, the perfect size and spot for hand warmers. 

A tester-favorite when it comes to the details: A soft, velvety patch of fabric wrapped across the exterior thumbs of mittens is super handy and comforting to use as a wipe for your runny nose. When you’re out in frigid temps and don’t have access to a tissue, a nose wipe panel is key.

Many brands incorporate a nose wipe in their mittens including the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts, Gordini Challenge Mitt, Picture Organic Women’s Anna Mitts, and Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens.

If they’re not included in the package, it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of liners, whether those are shaped like a mitten or a glove, even if the mittens provide adequate warmth.

You can pair a liner with your mittens for additional warmth. A glove liner also allows you to pull the mitten off and use your fingers for tasks that require a fine touch, all without directly exposing your skin to the cold air and risking dropping your heat too low.

Some liners are constructed with touchscreen capability, too, so you can send a text message or make a phone call without needing to remove the layer. Liners can also function on their own on warmer wintry days, so they’re never a bad investment.

Keep in mind that a handful of pairs already come with removable liners, such as the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts and the Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens.

While liners can help, you can also consider investing in mittens with touch compatibility built in, so you don’t need to remove them to check your phone. We also like mittens with textured palms for grip and durability.

The GORE-TEX Infinium Thermo Split Gloves are well designed to be able to access your phone while on a bike ride. The Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens are likewise touchscreen compatible with a grippy, synthetic leather palm and a liner with touchscreen compatible fingertips. While you can do your homework, not all systems are foolproof: the liners are more functional than the touchscreen compatible leather palm on the Under Mittens, for instance.

The sustainability of a product is a key factor that many consumers appreciate these days when buying gear: And with finite natural resources, the planet also stands to benefit. Fortunately, more outdoor industry companies are pushing the needle regarding eco-friendly materials and sustainable manufacturing practices.

If you can’t guarantee that down for a product is harvested in a cruelty-free way, you can also opt for synthetic down.

PrimaLoft is a leader in sustainable fill options, as seen in the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts, the Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts, and the Hestra Moon Mitt. PrimaLoft synthetic fill includes a variety of iterations, like Gold, Grip, and more, but is actually made from retired plastic bottles that are turned into fibers to insulate your gear. Bonus: PrimaLoft can be recycled and reused to create other gear after you retire your mittens, jacket, or sleeping bag. If you’re set on natural down, versus synthetic, check out Thindown. The material is sourced ethically, meets the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) metric, and is able to be recycled, meeting the Global Recycled Standard. 

A fair amount of outdoor apparel gear is made from polyester. The great thing about polyester is that it can be recycled and reused, like in the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts or the Picture Organic Women’s Anna Mitts. The Picture Organic Ann Mitts are made from fabric sourced from the brand’s Circular Fabric program, which reuses material from previously used (and beat up) garments and factory cutting scraps that would otherwise go to the landfill. If the material can’t be made from recycled products, there are fabric options that are Bluesign-certified, such as the Gordini Challenge Mitt. This certification verifies that the fabric has been tested to not be harmful to human health and the environment. Similar conscious certifications include Oeko-Tex- certified fabric and Fair Trade sewing. 

Another detail to consider when shopping for sustainable, healthier options is to choose mittens that are treated with PFC-free water repellency, removing the harmful toxins that traditional water repellent treatments carry.

Winter sports like skiing and snowboarding or major shoveling duties will add wear and tear to your mittens. Luckily, heavy-duty mitts are often made with durable materials that can withstand these activities from buckling boots and gripping poles to strapping into bindings.

For such sports, domestic work, and mountaineering pursuits, you’ll want mitts made with durable materials, like goat leather, or mittens that are reinforced in high-friction zones. The all-leather Give’r Frontier Mittens are rated as extremely durable, as are the polyester and goat-leather Picture Organic Women’s Anna Mitts.

Aside from polyester and leather, other winter mittens are made from wool, fleece, and cotton, which typically result in a leaner mitten overall. Generally, cotton is not ideal, as it takes a long time to dry and easily tears. Liner materials — whether they are removable or not — most often are made with a soft fleece material that has a bit of stretch. 

A handful of winter gloves, like those from Leki with their Trigger System, have a specific feature where the gloves actually connect to ski poles. The connectivity is created via a built-in, tiny loop in the thumb saddle. At this time, Leki offers one pair of women’s winter mittens with a built-in loop, the Snowfox 3D Lady Mitt. However, other mitten-wearers can pick up the Trigger S straps, a strap system with a small harness that goes over your mittens, so you can connect your choice pair of mittens to Leki poles, too. 

On the economic end, our choices of winter mittens include the Gordini Challenge Mitt ($70) and the Picture Organic Women’s Anna Mitts ($65). Both the Salomon Fast Wing Winter ($55) and the Hestra XC Over Mitt ($45) are on the lowest shelf, but those two designs are very specific to running and cross-country skiing, so they boast a slim amount of insulation. We also highlight the Kids’ Burton Vent Mittens ($40), which costs less, because a smaller pair requires fewer materials as a whole. 

The next price tier includes mittens that are still below $100, but use more durable materials for a higher-quality mitt: the waterproof Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens ($85), the very warm Hestra Moon Mitt and the GORE-TEX Infinium Thermo Split Gloves ($90), which are ideal for biking. 

You’ll notice that the third price tier of mittens are better-suited for high-action like ski and snowboard laps. With greater investment, you’ll find hand mitts that have higher insulation, durable leather, and other details like wrist leashes and nose wipes. With a higher price tag, there’s our best overall pick, the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts ($120), the battery-heated Volt Heat 7V Heated Mitts ($130), and the Give’r Frontier Mittens ($139). 

The Stio Hardscrabble Insulated Mitt ($159) are on the priciest side, but you get an all-leather mitten that is sleek but still warm. Coming in at a premium is the Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts ($199), which won our award for the best mitten with synthetic insulation and are made for mountaineering and high-elevation adventures. Health and safety tools come at a cost.

The best winter mittens will first depend on what activity you’ll be using them for most — skiing or snowboarding, or just keeping your hands cold around town during winter. Are you looking to prioritize warmth, durability, or a balance of both?

Our best mittens in testing were the Black Diamond Mercury Mitts — well-insulated, durable, and a great balance of warmth, quality, coverage, and price.

But of course, we’ve included several other best mittens on the market (best for biking, best synthetic versus down) to make sure you find one suited to your cold-weather needs.

There are several warm mitten options on our list, but the warmest would be the Dakine Diablo GORE-TEX Mitt (thanks to the layering system, down fill, material, and liner glove), as well as the Volt Heat 7V Heated Mitts — which can heat up to 150 degrees. The Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts are also among the warmest choices.

Generally, a high-level down-fill will be the warmest insulation you can get in a mitten, although things like the thickness, lining, and a leather, sheepskin, or waterproof material exterior will also add to a mitten’s overall warmth.

If you struggle with cold hands, be sure to look into mittens like the Dakine Diablo GORE-TEX Mitt and the Hestra Moon Mitt (one of the warmest synthetic PrimaLoft-insulated mitts we tested).

Mittens shouldn’t be too loose or too tight. Your mittens should have about a 1/4-inch of space above your fingertips, and you should be able to make a fist comfortably without too much constraint or too much extra fabric.

Having a mitten that isn’t too loose or big and spacious is ideal, because that extra space and air requires body heat to warm.

If your mittens are slightly roomy, try wearing a thin, lightweight liner underneath. If your mittens are too tight, they will be annoying to get on and off and pose the risk of cutting off circulation at your wrists.

Wearing liners under mittens is a personal preference that’s informed by your overall cold tolerance and the primary activity you’ll do while wearing mitts.

If you’re heading out on a super cold day, a liner can be useful for additional warmth, even in a well-built mitten. On the flip side, liners can be nice if you are working hard on a snow tour, like snowshoeing or ski touring, or if you’re in the yard and need to slip off that outer shell for a bit of air. 

Plus, if you tend to take your mittens on and off often, liners are nice so that your skin isn’t fully exposed to the elements. Look for liners that are touchscreen compatible, like with the Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens.

The main disadvantage of mittens is lack of dexterity. This means that when you don’t have your fingers free of the mitt, grabbing a pole or tool is not going to be the easiest. However, your hands will be much warmer than they would be in gloves. Depending on your cold tolerance, dexterity might be a compromise you are willing to make. 

Keep in mind that sometimes mittens might be too warm, like on high-temp spring days or if you are really working hard on a powder day. Rather than ditching your mittens altogether, you can opt for a pair that has a removable liner or ones that have small zipper pockets on the top of the hands for quick, easy ventilation.

For most winter pursuits, mittens don’t need to be fully waterproof, but they should be water resistant.

A water-resistance mitt will hold up for most snowy days, even if you are really getting your hands into that snow as you work or play.

However, if you are heading out on a super wet powder day in a damp climate, a fully waterproof mitten might be a better option, like designs with a GORE-TEX membrane, to ensure your hands stay completely dry and warm.

Technically, yes, especially for mittens and gloves.

Women’s specific mittens typically have a shorter finger length and narrower palm circumference compared to men’s mittens, which allows for a better fit for many women.

Some of our testers have found that when following unisex sizing, the size runs seem to correspond more closely to men’s sizes rather than women’s, so our female testers will often size down for a unisex pair.

Whether you’re selecting a men’s, women’s, or unisex mitten, be sure to measure your hands according to that brand’s sizing chart to help you find the best fit.

Pay close attention to sizing charts. For instance, Hestra’s mitten sizes differ between the unisex and women’s selections: a women’s mitten with a 152 mm circumference corresponds to a size 7, while a unisex mitten with a 152 mm circumference corresponds to a size 6.

Mittens rarely need washing, so don’t go throwing them in your weekly laundry pile. That said, there are times when a filthy mitt needs some love. Start with a spot clean: Wipe down the exterior with mild soap and water then air dry.

If your mittens have separate liners, remove and wash them as needed. If the entire mitten needs a thorough machine wash, use a tech-specific wash like Granger’s Performance Wash on the delicate cycle. Lay flat to dry.

You can also condition leather, which is a great waterproof material but needs proper care. First, rub down the mitten with a damp cloth to remove any grit. Next, massage a leather wax like Sno-Seal into the surface. Allow to air dry at room temperature overnight. Use a soft cloth to remove any extra wax, and get ready to enjoy your supple, waterproof mittens.

We tested the best winter boots for women in 2023, including winter hiking boots, snow boots, extra-warm boots, and winter rain boots.

From hiking boots to snow boots, these are the best winter boots for men in 2023-2024, including top picks from Danner, KEEN, Kamik, and more.

Mattie Schuler is a freelance adventure journalist based in Boulder, Colorado.  Her stories focus on outdoor adventure, hiking, snowboarding, health and wellness, running, skiing, travel, and more. When she’s not writing or in the mountains, Schuler works as an early childhood educator — teaching kids the importance of nature, adventure, and getting outside.

Based among the awe-inspiring peaks of Crested Butte, Colorado, Morgan Tilton is a Senior Editor for GearJunkie honing the SnowSports Buyer’s Guides alongside warmer coverage. More broadly, she’s an adventure journalist specializing in outdoor industry news and adventure travel stories, which she’s produced for more than a decade and more than 80 publications to date. A recipient of 14 North American Travel Journalists Association awards, when she’s not recovering from high alpine or jungle expeditions she’s usually trail running, mountain biking, or splitboarding in Southwest Colorado, where she grew up and lives today. From resort to backcountry and human-powered to motorized travel, she loves sliding across snow.

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