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Best hiking gloves: for keeping your hands warm and protected this winter

Included in this guide:

best hiking gloves: man wearing hiking gloves in winter
When winter conditions hit, you need a decent pair of hiking gloves (Image credit: Getty)

In winter, having not just one pair of the best hiking gloves, but a spare pair too is essential. It’s that time of the year when freezing temperatures descend on the mountains, when upland gales take the wind chill factor way into the negatives and when a blizzard can soak kit that’s not cut out for the conditions in minutes. Having the best pair of hiking gloves will protect your digits from this onslaught.

Of course, if keeping warm and dry were our only concerns, we’d all head for the hills with waterproof mittens rather than finger gloves. While mittens certainly have a place in our winter gear arsenal, particularly for winter camps or when we’re not going to be using our hands that much, winter walkers need the dexterity offered by a proper pair of gloves. The best hiking gloves combine warmth, wind and waterproofing, dexterity, durability and usability.

best hiking gloves: hiker adjusting hood in winter

Hiking gloves are an essential piece of your gear arsenal (Image credit: Getty)

If you’re going to be getting hands on with the mountains in winter, you need gloves that do the same job for your hands as the best hiking boots do for your feet. Sharp rocks and hard ice are not friends to your hands, so gloves that offer strong protection are key.

Our selection of the best hiking gloves details the finest options for cold weather adventures, from skiing and snowshoeing, to winter walking and winter climbing, along with options for trail running and lighter adventures. There’s everything from pairs that resemble down jackets for your hands to high performance gloves ideal for scrambling on icy rock.

Best hiking gloves for snow days and frigid temps

best hiking gloves: Montane Prism Gloves

(Image credit: Montane)

Like tiny down jackets for your hands

Specifications
RRP: $60 (US) / £45 (UK)
Gender specification: Men’s and women’s specific fit available
Sizes: XS / S / M / L XL
Materials: Pertex shell, Primaloft insulation, brushed fleece lining
Weight: (per glove): 55g / 2oz
Colors: Black, Narwhal blue **Best use:** winter hiking, camping, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing
Reasons to buy
+Soft and warm+Windproof and water resistant+Ultra packable+Precise touch screen compatibility+Made using recycled materials
Reasons to avoid
-Not completely waterproof-Not durable enough to withstand abrasive rock surfaces

These super soft, ultra-light gloves provide plenty of warmth for chilly winter hikes and cold ski days without being bulky or sweaty. Their slim fit packs a lot of punch, with a windproof and water-resistant Pertex shell combined with a brushed fleece lining for warmth that still allows for some breathability once you get moving. They weigh only 55 grams and come with a tiny stuff sack which they easily pack down into so you can tuck them away unnoticed in your pocket or backpack or clip them on a belt loop using a carabiner.

The Montane Prism have a wrist loop which makes it easy to pull them on in cold weather and an elasticated wrist to keep the heat in and the cold and snow out. The index finger and thumb boast a precise, touch screen compatibility pad combined with a snug fit that allows you to perform technical tasks without taking them off, while the fit of the wrist is snug enough to fit inside most winter jacket sleeves,

They are made using recycled materials and while they won’t stand up against extreme cold or abrasive surfaces during winter climbing and scrambling, they’ll give you all the warmth you need for skiing, winter hiking and even trail running on chilly days, all at a fair price point.

Keela Extreme Gloves

(Image credit: Keela)

These cosy, lightweight gloves protect your hands from wet and cold conditions during your mountain expeditions

Specifications
RRP: £49.95
Unisex: Yes
Sizes: S-XL
Materials: Nylon shell, polyester lining
Colors: Black, white
Reasons to buy
+Waterproof and windproof +Breathable +Well-insulated and cosy+Comfortable with decent finger dexterity
Reasons to avoid
-Fingers are a bit cumbersome for touch screen compatibility to work well

These cosy, well-insulated ski gloves come in a classic design and will keep your hands warm and dry in all types of winter weather. They are both windproof and waterproof so great for wet, heavy snow and powder days alike. They are noticeably lightweight but feature Primaloft insulation so don't be fooled – they offer plenty of protection from the cold. Unlike some ski gloves, these give decent finger dexterity – certainly all you need to wrap your hands around your ski poles. 

They feature a drawstring wrist to keep the draft out, a durable palm to hold up against your poles and soft wipe on the thumb good for runny noses on cold days. They do boast touch screen compatibility on the index fingers, which works on its own, but we found the fingers were a bit too cumbersome to really be able to use our phones without removing them first. 

All in all, these make for a really nice pair of ski gloves that will get your through the winter at a decent price point.

Patagonia Nano Puff Mitt

(Image credit: Patagonia)

These light but well-insulated gloves are like cosy puffer jackets for your hands

Specifications
RRP: $69 (US)/ £65 (UK)
Unisex: Yes
Sizes: XS–XL
Materials: Polyester
Weight (per glove): 96g/3.3oz
Colours: Green
Reasons to buy
+Great warmth to weight ratio+Good padded palms
Reasons to avoid
-Top of gloves liable to rip-Mittens make fiddly jobs hard

Patagonia’s Nano Puff insulated jackets are rightly very popular for their brilliant warmth to weight ratio, and the brand have applied exactly the same concept to these comfy-as-anything mitts. Pop them on and they provide instant warmth but never feel heavy or restrictive. 

The Nano Puff gloves are windproof and water-resistant enough to put up with light rainfall, and the elasticated wrists help to further trap in heat. These squishy gloves are stuffed with 55% recycled PrimaLoft Gold Eco Insulation, which compresses down easily to stuff in pretty much any pocket. 

The inside of the gloves is a soft-brushed fleece that feels great against the skin. The tops of the gloves are a rather thin material that, just like a down jacket, you’ll want to keep away from anything sharp to avoid the risk of ripping, but the palms do at least have tough abrasion-resistant pads suitable for working or setting up camp.

The North Face Montana Futurelight Etip Glove

(Image credit: The North Face)

Highly featured warm, waterproof and breathable snow gloves for skiers, boarders and winter hillwalkers

Specifications
RRP: $70 (US)/£75 (UK)
Unisex: Men’s and Women’s versions available
Sizes: S–XXL
Materials: Shell: DryVent 100% nylon plain weave; Fabric: polyester (55%) and polyurethane (45%); Insert membrane: Futurelight; Lining: 200g Heatseeker Eco
Weight (men’s large, per glove): 101g/3.5oz
Colours: Black / Taupe
Reasons to buy
+Warm and waterproof+Breathable+Well featured 
Reasons to avoid
-Etip feature ineffective-No nose wipe on thumb

Presented primarily as a glove for skiers and snowboarder, this wonderfully warm glove is perfect for cold-weather hill walkers too. TNF’s proprietary Heatseeker Eco insulation (70% recycled) does an excellent job of heating hands. On top of this, brand’s Futurelight membrane insert is both breathable and waterproof, preventing moisture from getting in or building up inside the glove, even during stiff climbs. The outer also has a water repellent finish. 

The full-length gauntlet stays securely in place under jacket cuffs, and the elasticated fastener pulls the mouth of the glove tightly shut, keeping out snow and cold air. A ladderlock wrist-cinch on the top of the hand keeps body-heated air in, and your fingers stay warm right to the tips, thanks to the fourchette-box construction of the glove. The synthetic leather palms are durable, and work well with poles, and the glove’s shape keeps hands in a naturally neutral, comfortable position. 

Both gloves in the pair feature an elasticated wrist leash, for keeping them secure if you remove them to perform a task, which is good, because we found the ‘Etip’ material disappointingly ineffective at operating touchscreen devices (possibly because the glove is so well padded).

Best winter gloves for hill walking and mountaineering

best hiking gloves: Sealskinz Extreme Cold Weather Gauntlet

(Image credit: Sealskinz)

Sealskinz Extreme Cold Weather Gauntlet

Top-of -the-range gauntlets delivering toasty warmth, reliable waterproofing and unusually good dexterity for a burly winter glove

Specifications
RRP: $100 (US) / £75 (UK)
Gender specificity: Unisex
Sizes: S / M / L / XL
Weight: 212g / 7.5oz
Colors: Black
Materials: Polyester and elastane shell with goat leather palm and reinforcements, waterproof insert and PrimaLoft Gold insulation, polyester lining
Compatibility: Designed for a range of cold-weather outdoor pursuits, these gloves are particularly good for winter hill hiking and mountaineering
Reasons to buy
+Close fit+Good dexterity+Warm+Waterproof
Reasons to avoid
-No wrist leash-Lots of stitching-Expensive

Sealskinz’ fully waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Gauntlets are burly insulated gloves that are designed to keep hands warm, dry, and protected from the elements in frigid temperatures. To achieve that, they combine tough materials with high-performance synthetic fill, along with a microfleece lining and a fully waterproof insert. The wadding that provides the warmth is PrimaLoft Gold, a continuous filament block insulation that is widely regarded as one of the best synthetic fills out there. Waterproofing comes from Sealskinz’ own PU-based membrane – the same technology used in the brand’s famous waterproof socks. Meanwhile, the thumbs, palms and fingertips are made from hard-wearing goatskin, as is the double-stitched overlay at the base of the thumb. The cuff and back of the glove is polyester, which feels reasonably tough, though is unlikely to match the high-denier nylon used by some rivals for long-term durability. 

However, the design of these gloves offers superior feel and dexterity to most others in their class, thanks to pre-curved, rollover fingertips and unique fabric gussets at the knuckles and finger joints. This aids freedom of movement, while also ensuring a closer fit. The slim, sculpted fingers feel far less unwieldy than most winter gloves on the market. 

The extended cuff gives good wrist protection, with an elasticated binding and a drawcord closure. There’s a soft suede nose wipe too – a welcome feature for bitterly cold days. The only thing perhaps lacking is a wrist leash to prevent a glove from flying off down the mountainside if you do need to remove one. 

best hiking gloves: Mountain Equipment Couloir Glove

(Image credit: Mountain Equipment)

Mountain Equipment Couloir Glove

A robust, reliable and versatile winter glove

Specifications
RRP: $130 (US) / £100 (UK)
Gender specificity: Unisex
Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL / XXL
Weight: 224g / 7.9oz
Colors: Black
Materials: Polyamide shell with Gore-Tex waterproof insert, goat leather palm and reinforcement, polyester pile and microfleece lining
Compatibility: With its Gore-Tex liner and tough shell, the Couloir is a robust and reliable winter glove that is ideally suited to a range of demanding winter mountain pursuits, from winter hiking and scrambling to skiing
Reasons to buy
+Warm+Waterproof+Extremely tough
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

These gloves fit a specific brief: they’re warm enough and tough enough for hard skiing or mountaineering, but not ridiculously big or bulky either. You get a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex insert with a lining made of two different fleece materials – lofty pile across the back of the hand as well as in the fingers and thumbs, and a microfleece lining across the palm. This is a clever approach that ensures excellent comfort and tactility, while also boosting warmth and wicking performance. 

The shell is made of tough nylon, with hardwearing goatskin leather overlays in the palm, thumbs, knuckles and all the fingers. The result is an extremely protective and durable glove, with secure grip whether you’re holding a ski pole, an ice axe or a mountaineering rope. Rollover fingertips further enhance overall durability and tactility. There’s also an extended cuff with a drawcord closure, wrist loops and leashes, and a suede nose wipe on the back of the thumb. This is a glove that really does tick all the boxes for technical winter use.

best hiking gloves: Hestra CZone Contact Gauntlet

(Image credit: Hestra)

Hestra CZone Contact Gauntlet

Dexterous, with pre-curved fingers and a low-profile, streamlined design, these gloves are good for a range of cold-weather outdoor pursuits

Specifications
RRP: £65 (UK) / €75 (EU)
Gender specificity: Unisex
Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL / XXL
Weight: 150g / 5.3oz
Colors: Grey / Black
Materials: Polyamide/elastane softshell outer with Duratan palm and finger reinforcement, C-Zone Contact waterproof insert, foam insulation and polyester microfleece lining
Compatibility: A versatile glove, good for everything from hiking and biking to fishing in the winter months
Reasons to buy
+Soft and comfortable+Good dexterity and grip+Touchscreen compatible+Waterproof
Reasons to avoid
-No wrist leash-No rollover fingertips-Not the warmest

The CZone Contact Gauntlet is this Swedish brand’s all-purpose cold weather glove. They’re close-fitting and precise, offering excellent dexterity. The glove is made of durable nylon, incorporating a stretchy and reflective nylon-elastane softshell fabric across the back of the hand. A tacky patterned overlay called Duratan is placed at the fingertips, palms and thumbs. The tip of the index finger and thumb are also fitted with conductive patches to enable touchscreen use. 

The wrist cuff offers good coverage and has an elasticated section as well as a drawcord lock. Insulation comes solely from a cozy microfleece lining, which makes these gloves lightweight and not too bulky. They’re still fairly warm for their weight as well as being fully waterproof and breathable, thanks to Hestra’s own CZone Contact membrane.

Best skiing gloves

best hiking gloves: Hestra Tarfala

(Image credit: Hestra)

Premium high-performing gloves with great grip and a range of excellent features

Specifications
RRP: $135 (US) / £100 (UK) / €110 (EU)
Gender specificity: Unisex
Sizes: 6–11
Weight: 230g / 8oz
Colors: Olive / Charcoal
Compatibility: These gloves are good for all outdoor activities in the cold, but are best for skiing adventures
Reasons to buy
+Removable liner+External seams+Eco leather+Wrist straps
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive -Ditch the Velcro wrist tab if you wear these under your jacket

This premium quality short-cuff ski glove features chrome-free goat leather on the palm and fingers, with polyester stretch fabric on the back of the hand. The Tarfalas close nice and tight, with Velcro fasteners that prevent the ingress of snow, and a removable liner (which can be replaced if it wears out) adds good levels of warmth to Hestra’s signature G-loft insulation. External seams add to the overall comfort levels, and the included accessory binder lets you link gloves together for storage. On test we found these gloves to be excellent in all but the most extreme conditions, with superb grip, reinforced coverage in the high stress areas to improve longevity (important in a glove this pricey) and great features.

best hiking gloves: Flylow Tough Guy Glove

(Image credit: Flylow)

Tough gloves for rough routes and gnarly shoots

Specifications
RRP: $40 (US) / £40 (UK)
Gender specificity: Unisex
Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL / XXL
Weight: 113g / 4oz
Colors: Natural-Blue / Natural-Black / Natural-Denim
Compatibility: These gloves are good for all outdoor activities in the cold, but are best for skiing adventures
Reasons to buy
+Slope cred+Super durable+Highly protective+Water repellant +Breathable+Cheap+Repairable 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the warmest-Waterproof wax paste needs to be periodically reapplied

A ski glove that looks a lot like hardware store work gloves, Flylow’s Tough Guy is made from pigskin leather, 10-ounce canvas, and synthetic insulation, with a ribbed cuff to retain warmth. Like the work glove that inspired it, there’s no waterproof membrane, but Flylow triple bakes in a SnoSeal beeswax treatment to give these gloves a high level of water repellency without the membrane that can make hands feel clammy. On test we loved the low-key simple functionality of these gloves, which has also made them popular with ski bums and patrollers. They’re super comfortable, protect your hands while allowing them to breathe during high intensity activity, and if you wear a hole in them, it’s easy to pull off a DIY repair job.

Best hiking gloves for uphill adventures in cold weather

Rab Khroma Tour Infinium gloves

(Image credit: Rab)

Whether you're attacking the uphill on skins or winter hiking, these technical, dextrous gloves offer superior protection, breathability and precision

Specifications
RRP: $100 (US)/£80 (UK)
Unisex: Yes
Sizes: XS-XL
Materials: Gore-Tex shell, fleece lining, reinforced leather palm and thumb
Colors: Black
Weight: 162g/5.7oz
Reasons to buy
+Great dexterity with an agile fit+Completely windproof+Highly breathable+Adjustable wrist strap
Reasons to avoid
-Not fully waterproof-No touchscreen technology-Pricier than other gloves

These technical, highly dextrous gloves are designed with performance in mind, offering superior warmth and wind protection combining Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper technology with a fleece lining and leather palm. They boast great finger flexibility and precision when fastening boots, adjusting bindings and handling poles. Moisture-wicking technology keeps your hands dry when you're powering uphill and superior wind-protection has you covered on the downhill. The snug fit keeps the wind out and is enhanced by the adjustable wrist strap. 

These are great for dry weather touring, but you wouldn't bring them for excursions in extreme wet conditions. They don't offer touchscreen technology so you'd need to remove them to check your phone or GPS device, which isn't ideal in extreme cold conditions and they do run pricier than other gloves, owing to their superior quality. These gloves will do you well for cold-weather pursuits and should last you a long time.

Extremities Antora Peak GTX Glove

(Image credit: Extremities)

A lightweight waterproof glove designed for cold-weather hillwalking and winter sports, including skiing

Specifications
RRP: $48 (US)/ £80 (UK)
Unisex: Yes
Sizes: S–XL
Materials: Shell: 100% polyester; palm: 100% leather; membrane: Gore-Tex; lining: 100% polyester
Weight (per glove): 112g/4oz
Colours: Black
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight, low bulk design+Reliable Gore-Tex waterproofing+Roll-over fingertip construction offers good dexterity+Leather palm ensures good grip+Useful nose/goggle wipe on thumb
Reasons to avoid
-Cuffs aren’t the longest-Only a single wrist closure-Not as well insulated as some winter gloves

The Antora Peak gloves feature a polyester shell, waterproof Gore-Tex membrane and cosy brushed lining, with a genuine leather palm. The lightly lined construction ensures they are surprisingly breathable for winter gloves, meaning no sweaty palms. Nor are they overly bulky, so they slide easily underneath the cuffs of a waterproof jacket. They feel relatively dextrous too, thanks to the rollover finger design that means there are no seams at the fingertips. As a result, most backpack buckles pose no problems when wearing these gloves, and it’s similarly easy to retain a firm grip on an ice axe or ski poles. 

On the flipside, with limited insulation, they’re not the warmest winter gloves out there, and in sub-zero conditions you may need a thin liner glove underneath – though this is a practical layering system for winter mountaineering anyway. The cuffs aren’t the longest, so they don’t offer quite the same level of coverage as bigger, heavier gloves. Similarly, they have just a single wrist closure rather than the secondary snow lock cord that is often found in other slightly more technical glove designs. 

Overall, however, the Antora Peak gloves work well for cold-weather mountain pursuits, ticking plenty of boxes. They’re warm enough for winter use in many areas (especially if combined with a thin liner glove), impressively lightweight, not too bulky, reliably waterproof and offer decent finger articulation. They’re a little more expensive than many rival offerings, but can often be found at discounted prices, which makes them an extremely good value purchase.

Black Diamond Soloist Finger Glove

(Image credit: Black Diamond)

An innovative design for cold-weather climbers and mountain explorers that combines the warmth of a mitt with the dexterity of a glove

Specifications
RRP: $100 (US)/ £89 (UK)
Unisex: Yes
Sizes: XS–XL
Materials: Shell: Pertex Shield with four-way stretch; palm: 100% goat leather; membrane: BD.Dry; lining: 340g PrimaLoft Gold Insulation and high-loft fleece liner
Weight (per glove): 261g /9.2oz
Colours: Black
Reasons to buy
+Warm and waterproof+Removable liner adds versatility for use in a wider range of conditions+Split finger design offers superior dexterity to a mitt+Tough and hardwearing construction +Useful nose/goggle wipe on thumb
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively bulky-Expensive

In extreme cold, most climbers and mountaineers prefer mitts to gloves, since they offer superior warmth. However, it is difficult to do even simple tasks with mitts on. Black Diamond’s solution is their Soloist Finger glove, a split ‘lobster claw’ design that aims to combine the warmth of a mitt with the dexterity of a glove. Designed for alpine climbing (but also good for cold-weather hillwalkers, especially those who suffer with Raynaud’s Syndrome or circulation problems), they employ a Pertex shell with a waterproof insert utilising the brand’s own BD.dry waterproof-breathable membrane, and a removable, PrimaLoft-insulated liner. 

With this system, the waterproof shell can be used alone on warmer days, while the liner can be added for freezing conditions (and removed for faster drying if it gets wet). And it works – they’re very warm and allow some dexterity. They’re very well made and employ quality materials, from the hard-wearing Pertex shell fabric to the supple goat leather palm. 

They do use the brand’s own BD.dry tech rather than a proprietary membrane like Gore-Tex, but we haven’t discerned a difference in waterproof performance. They have nice long cuffs and a secure wrist closure, though no secondary snow lock – and somewhat surprisingly, no lanyard either, so care must be taken to avoid losing one. But as a go-to glove for technical winter mountain use, we’re total converts.

Best hiking gloves for multi-functionality

best hiking gloves: Daehlie Glove Rush

(Image credit: Daehlie)

Offering the dexterity of a glove and the warmth of a mitt, these clever hand protectors have all bases covered

Specifications
RRP: $30 (US) / £40 (UK) / €69 (EU)
Gender specificity: Unisex
Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL / XXL
Weight: 91g / 3.2oz
Colors: Estate Blue / Black
Compatibility: These are multifunctional gloves for a range of activities, including Skiing, boarding, cold-weather running, fat biking
Reasons to buy
+Good dexterity+Excellent warmth+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-Mitten finger cover is on the snug side

Made by a Nordic ski apparel company, the form-fitting Glove Rush is designed for high output activities like running and Nordic skiing or backcountry skiing, when your body is producing so much heat that you don’t need a lot of insulation to keep you warm. However, when you pause on the peaks and slopes, you can cool down very quickly, and the high grip power stretch glove has a windproof mitten cover to warm up cold fingers when that happens. The cover tucks away into a back of hand pocket when you don’t need it. Clever. On test we found the elasticized cuff was easy to get into, and the wrist pull-tab was handy for getting the gloves on. Other features include touchscreen tips on the thumb and forefinger, and soft nose-wipe material on the thumb.

Best lightweight hiking gloves for cold weather trail running

best hiking gloves: Forclaz Mountain Trek 500 Gloves

(Image credit: Forclaz)

Nicely priced hand protection for hill hikers and peak baggers, perfect for fall and spring adventures

Specifications
RRP: $12 (US) / £12 (UK)
Gender specification: Unisex
Sizes: XS / S / M / L / XL / 2XL
Materials: Polyester (85%), Elasthane (15%)
Weight: (per glove): 55g / 2oz
Colors: Black
Reasons to buy
+Allow for plenty of dexterity+Excellent price+Connecting clip
Reasons to avoid
-Not fully windproof-Not waterproof-No snot chamois

These lightweight hiking gloves are intended for use on the high hills in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. Although they are not fully windproof (and definitely not waterproof) they provide decent thermal coverage when you need it, coming out of the treeline and heading towards the summit, when the temperature rapidly drops and the windchill factor becomes a much bigger deal. 

They are relatively thin, so dexterity levels are good and you can continue to operate zips, take photos, access pockets and tighten pole straps without taking them off. Unlike some other gloves we have tested that claim to be touch sensitive and are not, you genuinely can operate phones and screens with these gloves on, which is extremely handy when using navigational apps.

On the downside, they are missing a bit of soft material on the top, which is found on many gloves for the purpose of wiping your nose (yeah, gross, but noses run in cold conditions and you need to deal with it).

The Trek 500 gloves are breathable, comfortable and light – so they’re a good option year round, as a throw-in-the-pack-just-in-case back-up, either for stand-alone use or as a baselayer for some waterproof gloves or mittens. They clip together, so you can keep the pair happily married, and boast pull loops that make them easy to put on. Oh, and the price is exceptionally reasonable.

Best hiking gloves for light protection on clear days

Outdoor Research PL Base Sensor Glove

(Image credit: Outdoor Research)

Polar fleece–fabric gloves for use alone in milder conditions, or as a base layer in colder climes

Specifications
RRP: $24 (US)/£18 (UK)
Unisex: Men and Women’s versions available
Sizes: Men’s S, M, L, XL, women’s S, M, L
Materials: 50wt polar fleece with silicone print palm
Weight (per glove): 25.5g /0.9oz
Colours: Black/Coyote
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight +Breathable and quick-drying +Contact print on thumb and forefinger is smartphone-compatible+Good liner glove
Reasons to avoid
-Not waterproof-Not designed for standalone warmth-Slightly awkward finger stitching

The lightest model in US brand Outdoor Research’s fairly extensive range of fleece gloves, the PL Base Sensor is expressly designed as a liner glove to be worn under a pair of chunkier mitts or gloves for winter mountain pursuits – basically, they’re a base layer for your hands. But they’re also good as a stand-alone lightweight glove for use during many activities in milder conditions, including hill walking and hiking. Made from an extremely light 50-weight polar fleece fabric with a soft inner and a smooth, shiny face, they slide easily under bigger gloves but are thin and dextrous enough to tackle the majority of tasks without needing to take them off – though admittedly the slightly awkward finger stitching could be improved to make very fine work easier. 

They also have touchscreen compatible Sensor technology for use with smartphones, plus a minimalist grippy silicone print on the palm that isn’t overly tacky, but which stops your phone from sliding out of your grasp (and tumbling off down the hillside) when you stop to take a photo or make a call. They have a little stretch for a close fit with a nicely tapered wrist, and generally just do the job in an efficient, unfussy way. 

While they’re not the most hardwearing glove around, our pair have stood up to general use very well (and markedly better than other lightweight gloves we’ve tested) and they’re also relatively inexpensive. They’re not particularly water-resistant, but they manage moisture well and dry quickly. And though they can only offer limited warmth, it’s still enough to take the chill off when worn on frosty winter morning walks.

Rab Flux Liner Glove

(Image credit: Rab Flux)

The perfect pair of liner gloves for use under a thicker pair of gloves, or worn alone in warmer weather

Specifications
RRP: $23 (US)/£17 (UK)
Unisex: Yes
Sizes: S–XL
Materials: Polyester
Weight (per glove): 40g/1.4oz
Colours: Grey
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Very comfortable
Reasons to avoid
-No clip

Good liner gloves are the bit of outdoor kit you never knew you needed. We’ve been using the same pair of Rab liner gloves for a few winters now, and reckon they’re worth their weight in gold. These light, stretchy gloves are thin, breathable and very comfortable – wear them alone on warmer spring days or stick them underneath thicker gloves or mittens for bitter winter conditions, such as for ski trips or when hiking in snow. 

These liner gloves are also very useful when you’re camping or working outdoors and need to do more fiddly jobs such as looking after a stove – they offer good dexterity without ending up with freezing hands. Rab’s liner gloves feel well-made, and the soft fleecy lining inside is a treat in cold weather. The thicker cuff stops wind well, and help the liners to stay put under larger gloves. It’s a pity they don’t clip together for easier storage.

Best hiking gloves for wet weather pursuits

Sealskinz Waterproof All-Weather Glove

(Image credit: Sealskinz)

This brilliant and fully waterproof glove is ideal for all kinds of activities in the grimmest of weather conditions

Specifications
RRP: $65 (US)/£45 (UK)
Unisex: Yes
Sizes: S–XXL
Materials: Outer: Polyester (92%), Neoprene (5%), Elastane (3%) / Palm: Leather (100%)
Weight (per glove): 104g/3.6oz
Colours: Black, Grey
Reasons to buy
+Reliably waterproof+Great grip+Very versatile
Reasons to avoid
-No insulation – add a liner glove

If you’re after a tough and weatherproof glove that won’t let you down in challenging conditions, pick Sealskinz. Their range of waterproof gloves are actually fully waterproof, unlike ‘water-resistant’ gloves that will only withstand light rain. We’ve been wearing Sealskinz’ gloves for years now and they reliably keep our hands dry even in a storm, and are ideal for cycling and hiking or even sailing in wet weather.

There are plenty of other great features here, including a fleece panel on the thumb, a touchscreen-compatible index finger and a wide Velcro strap at the wrist to keep warmth in and water out. We also like the tough yet tactile suede palms, which offer good grip even when wet. Add a liner glove for really cold weather – or pick Sealskinz’ insulated version of the glove, ($70/£50) and you’ve got the perfect quiver-of-one glove well worth its price tag. Highly recommended.

Best hiking gloves comparison table
Hiking glovesPriceWeightStyleBest use
Montane Prism Gloves$60 (US) / £45 (UK)LightInsulated cold weather glovesSkiiing, winter hiking, mountaineering, winter climbing
Keela Extreme Gloves£50 (UK)LightInsulated cold weather glovesSkiiing, winter hiking, mountaineering, winter climbing
Patagonia Nano Puff$69 (US) / £65 (UK)MediumInsulated cold weather mittsWinter hiking, mountaineering
The North Face Montana Futurelight Etip$70 (US) / £75 (UK)MediumInsulated, Futurelight cold weather glovesSkiiing, winter hiking, mountaineering, winter climbing
Sealskinz Extreme Cold Weather Gauntlet$100 (US) / £75 (UK)HeavyInsulated, waterproof mountaineering glovesWinter hiking, mountaineering
Mountain Equipment Couloir Glove$130 (US) / £100 (UK)HeavyInsulated, GoreTex mountaineering glovesWinter hiking, mountaineering, skiing
Hestra C-Zone Contact Gauntlet£65 (UK) / €75 (EU)MediumInsulated cold weather glovesWinter hiking, fishing
Hestra Tarfala$135 (US) / £100 (UK) / €110 (EU)Very HeavyInsulated leather skiing glovesSkiing but good for most outdoor activities
Flylow Tough Guy Glove$40 (US) / £40 (UK)MediumInsulated skiing glovesSkiing but good for most outdoor activities
Rab Khroma Tour Infinium Gloves$100 (US) / £80 (UK)HeavyInsulated, Gore-Tex cold weather glovesSkiiing, winter hiking, mountaineering, winter climbing
Extremities Antora Peak GTX$48 (US) / £80 (UK)HeavyInsulated, Gore-Tex cold weather glovesSkiiing, winter hiking, mountaineering, winter climbing
Black Diamond Soloist Finger$100 (US) / £89 (UK)Very HeavyInsulated cold weather glove-mitt hybridWinter hiking, mountaineering, winter climbing
Daehlie Glove Rush$30 (US) / £40 (UK) / €69 (EU)LightLightweight gloves for high output activitiesTrail running, Nordic skiing, winter fastpacking
Forclaz Mountain Trek 500 Gloves$12 (US) / £12 (UK)LightLightweight hiking gloves3 season hiking, mountaineering, scrambling
Outdoor Research PL Base Sensor$24 (US) / £18 (UK)UltralightLightweight liner gloveHiking, scrambling, trail running or as a base layer for colder conditions
Rab Flux Liner$23 (US) / £17 (UK)LightLightweight liner gloveHiking, scrambling, trail running or as a base layer for colder conditions
Sealskinz Waterproof All-Weather$65 (US)/£45 (UK)MediumFully waterproof hiking gloovesHiking, winter walking, sailing

What to look for when buying the best hiking gloves

The best hiking gloves come in all shapes and sizes, and we recommend buying a few different pairs for different outdoor scenarios and weather conditions. What you put in your daypack will depend the your planned pursuit. Following are a few factors we advise taking into consideration before making a decision on what to buy.

Gloves or mittens?

One of the major design differences you’ll come across in gloves designed for the cold is gloves versus mittens. Mittens are warmer than gloves, but you’ll lose a lot of dexterity, so they are best suited for very cold weather or for when you don’t need to move your hands much, such as when skiing but not quite as ideal for winter hiking. A thin inner ‘liner’ glove worn under a thicker glove or mitten can be a good way to keep warm but allows you to use your fingers freely when needed. You may also see ‘lobster’ gloves, which are half mitten, half glove, on sale.

best hiking gloves: mittens

Mittens are a warmer option than gloves but there's a compromise in terms of dexterity (Image credit: Getty)

Insulation

Next up, decide if you need gloves with or without insulation. Insulated gloves (stuffed with either synthetic or down insulation, just like puffer jackets) are very warm but less breathable than non-insulated gloves. We recommend the former if you suffer from bad circulation or for adventures in the coldest weather, and the latter for warmer days and for wearing during energetic activities such as trail running or hill walking in the shoulder months. For less extreme adventures, a pair of the best running gloves and mittens might be exactly what you are looking for.

Weight and bulk

This might seem a minor consideration for such a small item, but often you will start out on a morning walk or a run, very thankful for your gloves, only to find yourself removing them after climbing the first significant hill because your hands are too hot – especially as deep winter slides into spring. When this happens, the easier your best hiking gloves are to safely stash the better. Lightweight packability also means you’re more likely to take a pair of gloves along as a ‘just in case’ item in a backpack or in your dry bag, which often proves a very wise decision, especially if you end up being out longer or later than you expected.

best hiking gloves: winter mountaineer with gloves

In winter, your pack is often already very heavy, so any weight savings are a blessing (Image credit: Getty)

Other design features

There are a few more design features that are useful additions to the best hiking gloves. If you plan to use your new gloves in wet weather, look for a fully waterproofed (rather than just ‘water-resistant’) pair – Sealskinz is a reliable brand. Some gloves are cinched at the wrist with elastic or Velcro straps – this stops wind chill or snow getting to your hands. You’ll also see ‘touchscreen compatible’ gloves on the market, which allow you to use your smartphone without removing your gloves first. 

We like gloves that clip together, for easy storage and for grabbing from your backpack on the go. And have you ever wondered why there’s a soft fleece-y panel on the thumb of your glove? Yep – it’s there so you can wipe your nose. Finally, consider what colour gloves you go for. Most winter gloves come in neutral blacks and greys – we favour darker colours, as they don’t show dirt (or snot…).

Sizing

Getting the right size is just as important with the best hiking gloves as it is with your cold weather hiking socks. If you’re buying gloves you’ll need to rely on in cold weather or when working outdoors, it’s a big help if they fit perfectly. Only the cheapest gloves are one-size-fits-all – others are unisex but come in different sizes, and gloves designed specifically for men or women usually fit the best. Sizes can vary wildly from brand to brand but most brands have handy sizing charts available – measure the length of your hand and the circumference of your palm to find where you sit from XS–XL.

Sian Lewis

An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.