Picking out a pair of waterproof winter gloves seems simple enough, but once you go out in search of the perfect pair, you may find that there's more to it than whether they'll fit your hands correctly. You'll want to pay attention to size, of course, but also material, durability, functionality, and more. Consider what you will you need them for, such as winter sports or just walks to work. You'll also want to consider how long you'll need them for. If you need them because you live in an area that always has cold winters, for example, you may want to invest in a better pair than if you just need them for one season.
How to Choose the Right Pair
There are a few things to consider before you even start to seriously look for gloves. You know you want them to be warm and waterproof, but there are several other factors to consider as well.
Get the Right Fit
Look for gloves that are snug around your wrists. You don't want them to be tight, but fitted is good because it will help keep water and ice from creeping inside from the openings. Some will have drawstrings at the openings to ensure the best fit possible. Also consider how long you want them to be.
Consider the Liner
Consider the level of activity you'll be doing and evaluate what you'll need in a liner. Do your gloves need to be breathable? Will you sweat? If you'll be doing a lot of physical activity with the gloves on your hands, you'll probably want to pay special attention to the type of liner. The waterproof outside is important, but something that also wicks away moisture inside and allows the sweat to escape will be ideal.
Select the Right Type
You'll also need to factor in what specific activities or situations the gloves will be used for. Do they need to be for sports, daily life, or dressy? Gloves used for winter sports are, in most cases, quite different from those for daily life and dressier events. Casual, daytime gloves and gloves you can wear with a nice dress or suit are closer in design but can still vary. If you need a pair to bridge the gap between daytime and nighttime, weekdays and weekends, leather may be the best choice (though some may require you to waterproof them yourself).
In today's world, an additional aspect to think about is whether your gloves need to work with a touchscreen. If it's important to have gloves that will allow you to use your smartphone and other touchscreen devices, you'll need to make sure you purchase a pair that are designed with the technology to do so.
Another consideration is how flexible you'll need your gloves to be and how much dexterity can you afford to lose. If you're going to need your gloves for all your day-to-day activities like driving, opening doors, carrying bags, etc., you're probably going to want a little bit of flexibility in your gloves and the ones meant for outdoor sports aren't going to be your best choice. If you're just going on a ski trip or using your gloves for other outdoor sports and activities (like shoveling snow), the extra insulation and protection from the elements will be more valuable than the ability to easily carry groceries or turn a doorknob.
How much and what type of insulation do you need? Down is lighter and warmer than synthetic insulation, but it's more expensive and doesn't work well to keep you warm if it does happen to get wet despite being paired with a waterproof exterior.
Once you have an idea of what you need, you can begin to look for the best fit. In some cases, you may have to sacrifice one feature for another, but there are styles out there for any activity that will keep your hands warm and dry.
Waterproof Winter Glove Options
Some gloves are pretty versatile while others are best for certain activities or really ideal for day-to-day life. Most will fall within a similar price range (around $100.00, plus or minus about $20.00), though there are some inexpensive and even more expensive outliers on the market as well.
Outdoor and Ski Gloves
- Black Diamond Women's Spark Gloves (less than $80.00). These are available in black or white goat leather in four sizes. They're inspired by work gloves but meant for winter sports, and the cuff style is designed to keep snow from getting inside. The liner is waterproof and the lining keeps hands warm in temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. They have a 3.8-star rating on Amazon.com, from men and women (the size chart addresses men's and women's sizing). Reviewers like how dry their hands stay, the grip, and the fact that they can perform certain tasks they may not be able to in other gloves (like tying shoelaces). However, some say they aren't the warmest option, so you may want to look elsewhere if you'll be in extremely cold conditions.
- Marmot Women's Randonnee Glove (just under $100.00 at MooseJaw.com) is another option for ladies who like to ski or spend hours in the great outdoors when it's cold outside. This style has a tough Gore-tex liner that's waterproof and breathable, major insulation, moisture-wicking lining, and there's even a built-in spot on the thumb you can use to wipe your nose. They're durable and designed for a snug fit at the wrist. These were given a 4.3 rating on the Moosejaw site, with reviewers singing these gloves' praises when it comes to keeping their hands warm and toasty despite freezing temperatures. Concerns seem to be mostly about the sizing, so be sure to check the size guide.
- Black Diamond Equipment has a serious pair of 'Legend' waterproof gloves for women, available in black or white in sizes XS to L. The shell on these is made from goat leather, while other features include PrimaLoft® One insulation, GORE-TEX inserts, Kevlar® stitching, neoprene cuffs with a hook-and-loop closure, and padding on the knuckles. These gloves are designed to be ready for anything. Expect to pay a little over $100.00. This style consistently earns about a 4-star rating on sites like Black Diamond, BackCountry, and Outdoor Gear Lab. Reviewers appreciate their warmth and durability, but again, sizing can be an issue.
The Canada Goose Down Gloves (just over $120.00 at BackCounry.com) may be your best bet if you're looking for something extremely warm. These are sure to give you a snug fit, thanks to a drawstring and hook-and-loop closure. They feature a waterproof, breathable insert and white goose down insulation to keep your hands dry, warm, and comfortable. They're only available in black, but they come in sizes from XS to L. These rate a 4.4 at Amazon.com for warmth, quality, fit, and how waterproof they are, and they have a glowing five-star rating at BackCountry.com (based on warmth and ability to keep hands dry). Some users, however, reported cold fingertips, while others said the gloves cost too much for how well they perform.
Lightweight and Waterproof
The Seal Skinz Sea Leopard Glove is ready for whatever winter throws at you. They're lightweight, breathable, windproof, waterproof, and warm. They come in black in sizes small through large, and you can expect to pay just under $50.00 for them. These are appropriate for most everyday situations in performance and aesthetics. They have a 4.1-star rating at SealSkinz.com, and reviewers tend to appreciate their versatility, warmth, and how waterproof they are.
Versatile Everyday Styles
- If you're looking for something with some color, since most options are black (and these do come in black, as well), the Igloos Solid Waterproof Ski Gloves from Kohls (around $20.00) come in raspberry and estate blue. Choose from two sizes: S-M and M-L. They're designed with grips on the palms, Thinsulate insulation, cinched wrists, and ribbed cuffs. These have a bit of a lower rating than other gloves, with a 3.3 at Dick's Sporting Goods. These lost points for lack of durability, but reviewers did state that they were warm.
- Hestra Winter Forest Glove (less than $80.00 at BackCountry.com). This isn't a fully waterproof glove like the ones used for winter sports or jobs that have you outdoors for hours at a time, but they have a waterproof exterior to keep your hands dry, and they're one of the more fashionable choices on the market, with synthetic fur collars and a buckle detail. For warmth, they offer microfleece lining and PrimaLoft insulation. Get them in size five, six, or eight. Hestra gloves have earned a 4.4 average at Sierra Trading Post as a whole, though this particular pair of gloves has no reviews of its own there. Reviewers repetitively remark upon the quality and warmth of the Hestra brand.
Stay Warm and Dry
It may take a few tries to find the right gloves for your hands, your wardrobe, and your lifestyle. Try on a few pairs in the store to see which styles feel most comfortable and allow you to have the most control (if they're too bulky or big, they will be frustrating to wear). If you're ordering online, be sure to check the size chart or look for sizing tips to ensure that you get the best fit. You can expect a pair of waterproof gloves to be fairly expensive in most cases, but those gloves are usually designed for durability and will hopefully last several years with proper care.