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 thecomparison 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.
The Best Winter Mittens of 2023-2024
- Best Overall Winter Mittens: Black Diamond Mercury Mitts
- Best Budget Winter Mittens: Gordini Challenge Mitt
- Best Winter Mittens With Synthetic Insulation: Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts
- Best Leather Mittens: Give’r Frontier Mittens
- Best Winter Mittens for Kids: Kids‘ Burton Vent Mittens
- Best Winter Mittens for Biking: GORE-TEX Infinium Thermo Split Gloves
Winter Mittens Comparison Table
Scroll right to view all of the columns: Price, Shell/Material, Cuff Type, Insulation, Warmth.
How We Tested Winter Mittens
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.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Winter Mittens
Types of Mittens
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 Mittensor 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.
- Give’r Frontier Mittens: -40 degrees F
- Black Diamond Mercury Mitts: -25/10 degrees F
- Picture Organic Women’s Anna Mitts: 10-20 degrees F
- Hestra Moon Mitt: 8/8
- Volt Heat 7V Heated Mitts: Sliding heat range proving up to 150 degrees F
- Hestra XC Over Mitt: 2/8
- Gordini Challenge Mitt: We confirmed no rating has been established by manufacturer
- Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts: We confirmed no rating has been established by manufacturer
- Kids’ Burton Vent Mittens: We confirmed no rating has been established by manufacturer
- GORE-TEX Infinium Thermo Split Gloves: We confirmed no rating has been established by manufacturer
- Salomon Fast Wing Winter: We confirmed no rating has been established by manufacturer
- Stio Hardscrabble Insulated Mitt: We confirmed no rating has been established by manufacturer
- Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens: We confirmed no rating has been established by manufacturer
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.
- Stio Hardscrabble Insulated Mitt: 85 g of PrimaLoft Grip Control synthetic
- Black Diamond Mercury Mitts: 170 g PrimaLoft Gold Cross Core Insulation
- Outdoor Research Alti II GORE-TEX Mitts: 170 g PrimaLoft Gold
- Hestra Moon Mitt: 200 g PrimaLoft Gold
- Picture Organic Women’s Anna Mitts: 220 g Thermal STD
- Give’r Frontier Mittens: 380 g Thinsulate
- Kids’ Burton Vent Mittens: Manufacturer confirmed they do not publish fill amount of Thermacore insulation
- Burton Women’s GORE-TEX Under Mittens: Manufacturer confirmed they do not publish fill amount of ThermocoreECO synthetic insulation
Waterproofness and Water Resistance
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 theGive’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.
Cuffs vs. Gauntlets
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 Mittsor 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 theKids’ Burton Vent Mittensand thePicture 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 theBurton 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 Mittsand 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.
Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Materials
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 theHestra 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.
Recycled and Ethical Materials
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 Mittsor 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.