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Glove & Mitten Buyers Guide

Finding a glove or mitten that'll keep your hands warm and dry, but won't restrict them can be a challenge. Each basic style has their pro's and con's, so determining your best option relies on personal preference. Gloves and mittens can boast a variety of features, making it that much easier to keep your hands happy.

A good pair of gloves/mittens shouldn't limit your dexterity or flexibility. Make sure you're able to take them on and off without struggling to squeeze your hands in, and that they don't slide off if you wave your hands. Fingers should extend far enough to control movement/grip in the entire glove, and have some wiggle room.


DWR - stands for "Durable Water Repellent". DWR is a chemical coating and is often applied in addition to waterproof fabrics, but can also be purchased as a spray. Look for "DWR-coated/ DWR-treated" in any outerwear that claims to be waterproof, but also know that it will wear off overtime and may need to be re-treated.

Gaiter - a gaiter acts as seal or shield from the elements at vulnerable openings in your gear. A wrist gaiter keeps cold air & snow from getting into any gaps between the sleeve & glove/mitt.

Gauntlet - an extended cuff that can be pulled over your jacket sleeves to keep the snow and biting cold out. The bottom hem will have an adjustable drawstring or stretch cinching to keep it in place

Grip - even if "crail", "indy", or "stalefish" aren't in your vocabulary, you're going to want some traction on your palms. Leather or a textured synthetic help those butter fingers open doors or grab gear easier. If you go with synthetic, just make sure the grip feels supple & flexible otherwise it may crack in the cold.

Leash - loops around your wrist, making sure that you won't loose your glove in the event that you have to take it off. Careful though, some can be pretty long & if you're not using them can get caught on lifts or tangled in gear.

Nose Wipe - a soft patch of fabric near the thumb or pointer finger you can wipe a runny nose on (often overlooked, but a very nice added feature in a glove/mitt). Convenient and kind of gross, but clearly superior to digging for tissues with frostbitten digits.

Ripstop - a way of weaving nylon into a fabric that reinforces it. Ripstop gloves have strong, interlocked threads and will be less likely to tear.

Vents - zippered openings designed to battle sweaty palms & regulate temperature. They can open directly to your hand, or unzip to reveal a mesh liner. Vents come in handy when you're working hard on-hill, but want to keep that chairlift chill at bay.

Waterproof - look for Polartec, Gore, Deluge, or any other DWR fabric on the tag to make sure you don't wind up with prune-y fingers


Gloves - allow for more flexibility and dexterity, allowing you to use zippers, adjust bindings, and whatever else you fidget with more easily. Since each finger is isolated, gloves are more breathable, but not as warm as mittens.

Mittens - better option for maximum warmth. Fingers are kept close together making less surface area overall and better body heat retention.

Liners - if you take your gloves off frequently or want added insulation, liners can be worn in addition to your gloves. They're commonly made of polyester to wick away moisture, but heavier liners can incorporate fleece for more warmth.

Pipe Gloves - designed for highly active riders in the pipe or park, they're lighter weight, less bulky, and offer hands more freedom & flexibility. Typically made from neoprene (that foam-like, waterproof fabric in wetsuits) and have stickier, silicone palm grips.

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