Gloves Buying Guide

Your hands are crucial in day-to-day life, so we don’t want something fun like skiing or snowboarding to ruin that for you. It is a must to select a suitable pair of gloves that will ensure you enjoy your time on the snow. At Snowcentral, we have a large range of gloves carefully selected by our staff to meet the demands of anyone going to the snow, from budget gloves to top of the line gloves, gloves for snowboarders, gloves for skiers and gloves for kids. We also have a range of warm gloves for travel (Après gloves).

Choosing proper gear for your hands is essential. Ski gloves for men and women have been created with alpine conditions in mind, to provide dryness and warmth. These are used for various snow sports. You’ll also be able to find ski gloves for women in a women’s-specific cut.
If you are reading this guide, you will be able to purchase the right gear with the best features
for your trip to the snow.

Gloves or Mittens?

When choosing your gear, you need to ask yourself, would you prefer gloves or mittens? People often choose gloves as they are easy to use. They have a similar build to mittens while still providing the warmth and dryness needed. Mittens have often been regarded as the warmer option, as your fingers are together in the lining rather than separate. This does limit your access to pockets and anything that requires some dexterity, however. You will also now find hybrid gloves that will bunch up to three fingers together, while the others remain free to allow for mobility.

Mittens are an alternative to a glove. Mittens do not have fingers and so provide a greater warmth than gloves. This is an individual choice but consider if you are planning to ski in extreme climates, or if you really feel the cold, then you might like to consider a mitten. All children under 8 years old should wear kids’ ski gloves or kids’ mittens because the latter are easier for them to put on. Small children generally feel the cold because they have a smaller body mass.

Why Gloves?Why Mitts?
Better movementMore Comfortable
WarmWarmer
--Easy to put on and remove

How Do You Choose The Right Ski Gloves?

Snowboard and ski gloves are designed to keep your hands warm and dry. They are generally made using a three-layer design:

  • An outer shell of nylon, leather, Kevlar or some similar flexible, hard-wearing material
  • A layer of insulation that traps air and provides warmth.
  • A waterproof, breathable membrane

What Should I be Looking For?

Comfort, Comfort, Comfort! You should be able to slide your hands into the gloves easily and have a pinch of room at the top. Air space inside your gloves promotes warmth. Also be aware that some cheap gloves are not breathable, which means that the sweat from your hands will sit inside your gloves, making your hands cold. Don’t be afraid to buy gloves with plenty of insulation, especially if you feel the cold.

Differences Between Ski vs. Snowboard Gloves?

As a general rule Snowboarders should consider a glove with wrapped fingertips and a reinforced palm, simply because they are using their hands more to do up and undo bindings. Snowboarders also need to have enough room for wristguards if they are using them.

Should I Consider Leather Gloves?

Leather gloves are very warm and durable, but they do require maintenance. Leather should be regularly treated with a product such as Gear Air Leather Spray, Glove Goo or Snowseal.

What about Glove Liners?

Glove liners are worn under your ski/snowboarding glove to give you that added warmth especially if you really feel the cold. These are usually made of dri-tec, silk or wool and are very breathable, these should be very thin to fit inside your ski gloves or mitts.

What are Après Gloves?

After you come off the mountain or you are heading out for dinner, you don’t want to be wearing your large and usually bulky ski/snowboarding gloves. We recommend you have a good pair of leather, wool or fleece gloves that are more than suitable for just walking around. These are not expensive and provide plenty of warmth to keep your hands warm.

Outer Materials

You will find most snow sport gloves are made with synthetic materials for the main outer shell. The fabric is waterproof, breathable, and has a membrane to control all this made from Polyurethane or Teflon. More premium models can be found with leather, or even partial leather, which also helps with the waterproofness and warmth of the gloves, as well as adding wind proofing. Leather gloves with proper care can last longer than synthetic gloves as the material is more sturdy. GORE-TEX, which is found in a lot of outerwear, can also be found in gloves. This is the process of adding another membrane to the existing outer material to improve the quality of waterproofness and warmth.

Membranes

Making sure your gloves have a quality membrane will ensure you have a fun day with warm and dry hands. Membranes are synthetic fabrics that are placed between the outer shell and the insulation to stop water getting through, but allow water vapour (sweat) to get out. This controls the waterproofness and breathability of your gear.

GORE-TEX

A thin membrane of polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) which is highly waterproof, windproof and breathable. Ratings of waterproofness vary, but are roughly expressed as 30,000mm.

HIPORA

Windproof, waterproof and breathable, these gloves are made with a Polyurethane coating that goes to microscopic levels, where the pores are so small, no water will penetrate.

XTREME-TEX

A durable membrane with a honeycomb-like structure which provides warmth retention. The waterproofing and breathability is rated to 10,000mm and 10,000g/m.

HYDRO-TEX

A waterproof breathable insert that is thin, lightweight and durable. Layered between the outside fabrics and the inside insulation, it helps keep the hands dry from both outside moisture and inside body perspiration.

DWR

DWR stands for durable water repellent, and it can be found in most ski outerwear. It is a coating over the fabrics of ski gear that make it water resistant. Membranes still help with this, but DWR is an extra coating of water repellent to stop ‘wetting out’, which is where the outer material feels wet but doesn’t get through the membrane. DWR coatings normally wear off over time, you can purchase sprays that revitalise this, while jackets and pants use a special wash. In recent times, some manufacturers are choosing alternatives, as DWR can be harmful to the environment.

Insulation

Warmth is one of the main concerns people come across with gloves, apart from the waterproofing. Most times, insulation controls how warm you will be, and different gloves have different insulation.

Also within the glove there is an extra layer of material that increases comfort and warmth, this is the lining of the glove. Some materials found in gloves can be wool or fleece, this is because they are moisture wicking and will allow sweat to be pulled from the skin, reducing the effect of cold hands.

Prima-Loft

A synthetic, eco-friendly, warm insulation that is water resistant and can pack down significantly smaller compared to other brands. It is breathable, lightweight and super soft. The different colour ratings refer to warmth and environmental impact. Gold being the best, and so on.

Thinsulate

Synthetic fibre thermal insulation that is exceptionally warm, highly durable and effective when damp. Thinsulate is found in many different products, like this pair of Thinsulate Les Star Gloves, and is a great all-purpose insulation.

R-Loft

Developed by Reusch Gloves, the R-Loft technology is highly functional and comfortable due to its soft nature. It will keep heat in and circulating throughout its use. Found only in Reusch products.

Down

Often regarded to as duck or goose down, it is the plumage (soft feathers) under their main feathers. They can be compressed and retain warmth. It is found in a lot of après wear as it has a high warmth to weight ratio. It also helps with breathability as it can wick away sweat. It is one of the warmest options for gloves.

Kids Gloves

When it comes to kid’s gloves, they can have a different construction to adult’s gloves; a bit simpler and even easier to get on. One of the hardest things a parent can do at the snow is put kid’s gloves on, so some brands use zips or wide Velcro straps on the cuffs. It is usually suggested to parents of young children to go for mitts, as this will make it a lot easier on the hill. Most often, kids gloves do not have a membrane in the glove because of bulk and cost; instead they have waterproof coatings like DWR to help keep the gloves dry. Their gloves will usually have clips to keep the pair together if you’re worried about losing them. It is a great idea though to pack extra pairs of gloves, as kids play in the snow; they will get wet quickly.

Glove Liner

A glove liner can be crucial as they provide extra warmth for the colder days on the slopes. They can be a barrier from alpine conditions for when you want to take you gloves off and take a phone call. 

Glove liners play a very important role: they draw the moisture away from your skin and help to keep your hands warm. They are made with moisture wicking fabrics, so no cold hands for you! They come in handy when you need to take a photo or make a call; you just take your glove or mitt off and your fingers are not exposed to the elements.  Most glove liners these days have carbon in the thumb and fingertip so you can use your smartphone or tablet. On top of that, you can wash your liners just like a sock. No more stinky gloves!

Knitted acrylic or merino wool, polyester, polypropylene; the styles are endless! They can also be worn as après gloves at night so you get more bang for your buck.  Did I mention the new Roxy apre gloves are impregnated with Biotherm: a form of eco-friendly, microbead moisturiser? Not only will you be warm, but your hands will be soft and smell amazing.  When selecting your glove liners make sure they are not too tight as the seams will cause your hands to go numb and cold.  Stay away from big bulky fleece gloves as they will not fit under your gloves comfortably.

For toddlers and small children, it is best to use the knitted type as they stretch and can be easily put on. Don’t forget to practice at home before you leave for your big adventure, so there are no dummy spits when you do eventually make it to the slopes.

Basic Glove Parts

Gaiters

Not like alligators, gaiters are the cuffs surrounding the wrists. Depending on brands and style, they can be short to long cuffs, which can be good for different conditions. Short gaiters are found on spring gloves and mitts, so you won’t be as hot. They are easy to remove and they are not as bulky. Longer cuffs are great for deeper, wet snow because you are less likely to get snow into you gloves and mitts. They usually have more adjustability which can be great for keeping in warmth. The large gaiter can sit over the jacket sleeve for optimum warmth and dryness. This is more of a personal preference, but great option for deep snow.

Grips

Snowboard Glove with Grip
Hestra Gloves with Grip

Most gloves and mitts will have some type of grip or reinforced fabric in the palm; even fingers and thumbs. This technology assists with gripping poles, boards and bindings. This can also be a good safety feature, as the extra material means it’s less likely for the edges of ski and board equipment to cut through. Common materials are leather and vinyl, even silicon for some park gloves. To increase the life of leathers in Gore-Tex gloves and mitts, they usually offer a Nik-wax waterproofing for leather where you squeeze a small amount onto your palms and rub your gloves together. This will work into the leather and keep them in top quality. Your most common grip materials are:

Leather: Best grip, hard-wearing and waterproof

Pleather: Good grip, softer, waterproof

Rubber: Good Grip, long-lasting, waterproof

Zip Pockets

You have probably seen some gloves with pockets and wondered, “why?” Well there are multiple reasons. Firstly, they are used to store heat-packs. You know, those little chemical hand warmers you buy for $5 on the hill. You crack one open and put it in the glove to stay warm all day. Other good reasons to have a zip pocket glove is breathability; you can open it up as another vent, allowing hot air to escape. Finally, they can be used as an extra pocket to store change when it’s time for a hot chocolate at the eatery.

Wrist loops

Elastic loops that go over your wrist to ensure you don’t lose your gloves. Let them hang down from your arms without a care in the world!

Goggle Lens Wiper

Some of Snowcentral’s gloves have a Lens Wiper that allows you to wipe snow off the lens of your goggles like windscreen wipers of a car. This is because snow goggles are expensive to replace and most people usually only have one lens on the hill. Once it’s scratched, it’s too annoying to replace straight away. The squeegee is small and rubber, able to clean goggles easily and efficiently.

Finger Wraps

Wrapped fingers are extra fabric over the tips of the fingers to prevent stitching coming undone. Boarders usually prefer these gloves as they need to play with their bindings a lot, and this can mean more wear-and-tear to the fingers.

How To Fit

There is nothing more annoying than getting to the ski hill and realising your gloves don’t fit, as you will be uncomfortable for the whole day. When they fit properly, you’ll find they will be warm, comfortable and have optimum maneuverability. The best fit will feel firm, but allow enough room at the finger-tips. This is because when you clench your fists, the fabric will stretch and become tighter. Also, the insulation works best when you have a bit of room, as it will circulate the warm air within the glove or mitt. Just like clothes and shoes, brands all fit differently. Normally they have a numbered system (From 6-10) which is a measure of the circumference at the widest part of your hand in inches. Other times, gloves and mitts can follow a S-XL guideline that relates to the numbered system as shown:

Small = 6                   Medium = 7                               Large = 8                           X-Large = 9

If you are worried you can consult their sizing chart when buying. See sample chart below for Scott Snow Tac 10 Glove:

Finding Your Glove Size

What Not To Do WITH SNOW GLOVES

Do not turn your glove/mitt inside out, they will never go back the same shape.

Do not put them close to high heat, they will air dry quite easily.

Do not clasp your hands together to pull the gloves down firmer This can split the membrane and risk damaging the waterproofing.

Do not take your gloves/mitts off on chairlifts. Unless you have wrist loops, you will lose them.

Do not touch the edges of skis or boards with gloves/mitts on. They are sometimes reinforced, but this is not an invitation to experiment.

GET YOUR GLOVES AT SNOW CENTRAL

Ski and snowboarding gloves don’t have to be expensive. Ask our staff for advice, decide the features that best suit. Ski gloves are an important part of your kit, so take your time in choosing the perfect pair for you. Ask questions, try on different gloves, compare gloves vs mittens at Snowcentral. That extra time spent in selecting the right glove will be appreciated when the temperature drops.