Are Gloves or Mittens Better for Skiing?

Are gloves or mittens for skiing

Gloves are better than mittens if you are looking for optimum dexterity with adequate warmth while skiing. On the other hand, if you need more warmth and ski occasionally, mittens would suffice.

Both gloves and mittens are great for skiing. However, both come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Thus, one may be better than the other depending on their construction and features and your intended use.

With that being said, let us help you find out which is better and more useful for you and your activities.


Why are gloves better than mittens?

Gloves are better than mittens because they have individual areas for each finger, which allows for more dexterity and allows you to perform tasks such as handling gear, holding your ski poles, zipping your jacket, and others while still providing enough warmth to protect you in cold weather.


Gloves vs. Mittens for Skiing

Most skiers prefer gloves due to the better dexterity they offer. Gloves are designed to have separate and individual areas for each finger to allow you to perform many different tasks more easily without having to remove the gloves.

On the other hand, mittens can be used for skiing as well. However, you may need more time to get used to the feeling of holding your ski poles. The grip won’t be as firm as when using gloves and it might also feel awkward on the first few tries, although they are workable.

If you want the warmth of a mitten and the dexterity of a glove, you can try lobster mittens, which offer a separate area for the thumb and index finger. This type of glove will provide better dexterity because of how it is designed.


Gloves are designed to allow for better dexterity. You can perform tasks like opening and closing up the zippers on your jackets and backpacks, opening your snacks, and holding your phone, tablet, or camera.

Although you can also do all of these while wearing a mitten, it will be very difficult as they are designed to have rounded ends similar to an oven glove. There is also no separation between the fingers, so using each one will be complicated. With mittens, you can open and close your hand and clasp objects. However, it will be difficult to grip objects tightly.

All in all, gloves are better in terms of mobility. However, not all gloves are created equal, so some may not be as dexterous as others. As for mittens, you can use a lobster-style mitten if you want the warmth of a mitten and a bit more dexterity to be able to carry out tasks.


Mittens are generally considered warmer because your fingers are kept close together and can generate more heat. Furthermore, the warm air can also circulate more easily, and mittens have less surface exposed to the cold air and snow.

You should keep in mind that the warmth of any mittens or gloves depends on the materials and their construction. Many mittens also provide more warmth than gloves, and vice versa, due to these factors.

So, to keep your hands warm, the most important factor you should consider when choosing gloves and mittens is the quality. If you do choose mittens but have to take them off regularly, then we’d recommend you wear glove liners to avoid losing more heat whenever you need to take your hands out.


Comparison Chart

This simple comparison chart will help simplify the differences between gloves and mittens in terms of dexterity and warmth and if used for skiing and snowboarding.

Gloves Mittens
Skiing Easier to perform finer tasks Warmer
Less warmth Too warm for most skiing conditions
More dexterity Less dexterity for skiing
Snowboarding Easier to perform tasks
Less warmth Warmer
More dexterity than needed Enough dexterity for snowboarding


Whether you’re choosing gloves over mittens or vice-versa, you’ll still have to clean and maintain them to make them last more than one season. If you’re not sure about how to clean your gloves, we have written an article about how to wash ski gloves that you can check out for information.


Breathability and Waterproofing

Mittens and gloves, whether for skiing or snowboarding, should be fully waterproof to keep your hands warm and dry. As there are different levels or ratings of waterproofing, you also have to check this when you are buying your equipment.

Breathability is also important as it will prevent sweaty fingers or hands. The more breathable and waterproof the gloves or mittens, the dryer and warmer your hands.

Look for Gore-Tex and other quality membrane technology that allows moisture to escape through the fabric while keeping the weather elements out.


Skiing season is upon us! Whether you’re buying your very first ski gear or just looking to upgrade your old ones, we’ve got the top recommendations for you. Shop for your upcoming trip and check out the best ski gloves for men and best ski gloves for women. We have already chosen our top picks and it’s time for you to choose yours. 


Touchscreen Compatibility

Touchscreen compatibility is a feature you are more likely to find in gloves than mittens. This feature allows you to operate your smartphone, tablet, or camera without having to take off your gloves and expose your skin to the cold weather.

This feature is often found in light to mid-weight gloves that offer enough dexterity to allow you to hold your smartphone or gadgets.

If you are wearing a mitten and still want to operate your gadgets, we’d recommend you use glove liners with a touchscreen compatibility feature. In this way, you will not expose your skin to the elements.


Additional Features

  • Thumb Wipes

    This feature can be found in both gloves and mittens. It consists of a soft material in the thumbs and is used specifically for wiping your nose.

  • Leather Palms

    Gloves and mittens with leather palms will help you get an excellent grip and help the gloves withstand abrasion better than palms made of synthetic materials.

  • Zippered Pockets

    This feature is often found at the back of the hand of both gloves and mittens, can only fit disposable handwarmer packets, and can also be used as vents when it gets warmer.

  • Long Gauntlet Cuffs

    Manufacturers also make some gloves and mittens extend up until your jacket sleeves. Pull them over your sleeves and cinch them close to keep the snow and cold air from getting in.

  • Leashes/Wrist Cords

    Leashes will allow you to secure your gloves and mittens to your wrists to make sure you don’t drop them while on a chairlift or when you need to grab a drink or snack.

  • Wrist Cinches

    Wrist cinches are also added for gloves and mittens to have a snug fit at your wrist and to secure the gloves on your hands.


Do skiers wear mittens?

Skiers also use mittens in colder conditions. However, to properly hold and maintain a good grip on your poles, you will need the agility and mobility a ski glove can provide. Snowboarders, on the other hand, often prefer mittens as they do not need as much dexterity.


Are mittens or gloves better for skiing for kids?

Mittens are better for kids for skiing as they are warmer and easier to put on and take off. However, if your kid’s level is rather advanced, it is better to choose gloves than mittens as they will allow more dexterity and grip, which will help them hold their ski poles, maneuver better, and hone their skills.


Heated Gloves and Mittens

Another product you can choose, if you want optimum dexterity and extra warmth, is heated gloves. Heated mittens are also a great choice for anyone with Raynaud’s disease.

Heated mittens and gloves use small flexible batteries to power the heating elements through the structure. They last 2 to 8 hours and can be set on low, medium, or high. Their batteries are rechargeable, which allows you to bring extra batteries if you prefer all-day heat or for multi-day trips.

Heated gloves and mittens that can last for longer hours are more expensive but will ensure better warmth and durability.


What are the warmest kids’ mittens?

One of our top choices when it comes to the warmest kids’ mittens is the  N’Ice Caps Kids Easy-On Wrap Waterproof Thinsulate Warm Winter Snow Mittens. What we like about these is that they are available for kids aged 1 to 12 and are designed with a fold-over flap that can be opened wide enough to slip in your kid’s hand easily. They also feature a hook and loop closure for you to find a snug and secure fit and come in many colors and patterns that you or your kids can choose from. Furthermore, they are insulated with 3M Thinsulate, which is one of the warmest synthetic insulators, as well as a grippy palm, and are waterproof.


If you’re looking for other mitten options for your kids, check out our article about the best ski gloves for kids. You can find our top recommendations for gloves and mittens for kids in that article along with a review of each of the products to help you decide which one is the best for your child’s needs. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Should toddlers wear gloves or mittens?

Toddlers should wear mittens because these are warmer. Children do not know how to regulate temperature, but they know whenever they have cold hands. So, it is best to get them mittens that will fit them snugly and have clips or leashes to prevent them from losing them while they play in the snow.

In what conditions should you use gloves and mittens?

Use mittens in colder conditions and gloves in warmer conditions. If you are still hesitating between the two, mittens might be the best option as they have a wider temperature versatility on the colder end, and it is better to have hands that are too warm on a warm winter day than hands that are too cold on a cold winter day.



If you are going on a ski trip, it is better to use gloves than mittens because the former will give you much better dexterity and grip to allow you to perform better on the slopes and enjoy the sport. However, if you prefer the warmth of a mitten but do not want decreased dexterity, you can use a lobster type of glove or a heated glove.

Overall, both mittens and gloves can be worn when skiing. The only difference is that mittens are usually warmer and gloves can provide much more dexterity. You should also keep in mind that quality construction, materials, and features make a difference when choosing between the two.

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