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Ski Gear Buying Guide – Ski Gloves or Mittens

Ski Gear Buying Guide – Ski Gloves or Mittens

Give Me The Love Glove

pop quiz: it might be strange but don’t put it on your face

So, after a couple of ski seasons where you’ve sat on chair lifts blowing into your hands in an attempt to bring back some feeling and then forgot about the fact that you need new gloves as soon as you got home, you’ve finally remembered, and are considering the purchase of a new pair of ski gloves, or mittens.

There are thousands on options, so which ones do you go for?

I’d suggest there isn’t one answer, as different skiers have different hands and need different ski gloves; so to help here are five questions you should ask yourself...

1. Start simple, how big is your hand?

We’ve all known our shoe size for as long as we can remember, but why not glove size? The fit of a ski glove is nearly as important as the fit of a ski boot, so get the tape measure out (you’ll need one with inches!), make a loose fist and measure around the knuckle of your largest hand (usually the one you write with): your glove size is up to the nearest inch.

Ski Mittens Hand Measuring Guide

2. Next, how cold do your fingers get?

Some of us suffer cold fingers (and toes) more than others; often this can be eased by increasing your core temperature, but that’s not for this article!), so ask your friends, or hold hands; how does the temperature of your hands compare with theirs? The colder your hands the more insulation you should look for in your new ski gloves.

More insulation doesn’t necessarily mean thicker, modern high performance materials like Primaloft offer superior insulation in a much thinner fabric. I do get cold hands and I find a silk liner glove with a good pair of ski mittens works best for me. You may also want to look out for ski gloves with a fleecy inner fabric.

3. What about outer fabric?

Traditionally ski gloves were made in leather, and this is still a good option for its waterproof and hardwearing characteristics. Modern fabrics can offer additional characteristics such as breathability, wash-ability and in a range of more fashionable colours.

Of course, you can have the best of both worlds: Look for ski gloves with soft calf or goat hind on the palms and between your thumb and index finger – where you ski gloves get most wear, and a synthetic waterproof and breathable fabric on the back of your hands and cuffs.

4. Optional extras?

What do you want to do in your gloves? and How do you like to wear them?

If you are going to want to use your phone, camera or GPS device without taking off your ski gloves, you’ll want to look for some with a ‘touch screen’ finger.

If you want to study a piste map, adjust your ski goggles or pull a hankie out of your pocket without taking off your ski gloves, you’ll want to look for a close fit to ensure dexterity or ones that convert to finger-less easily. For the hankie problem you could also look out for gloves with a nose-wiper built in!

If you get extra cold hands you could also look out for ski gloves with a built-in hand warmer pocket. You should also consider whether you prefer to have your ski gloves inside or outside the cuff of your ski jacket; check out the wrist length and bulkiness of the gloves.

Velcro is your friend and enemy in equal measure; it’s great for easy adjustment, but it also sticks to everything. Consider whether you want wrist straps and clips (which, I think, are just for storing them together when not in use!).

5. And don’t forget... Price?

A pair of gloves can set you back anything from around a tenner (think Matalan and Millets) to a couple of hundred quid (think Arc’teryx and Hestra). In the main you get what you pay for, but it will be a case of diminishing returns as brand reputation adds a good % to the price.

My view is to be wary of gloves from big ski gear brands that are new-ish to the glove market for example; I find Scott gloves a really bad fit and don’t like bulk of Salomon gloves, but that’s just me, they may be right for you.

pop trivia: "Give me the love glove" from ‘Love Glove’ by Visage was the first single from their third album, Beat Boy in 1984.

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