Best Hiking Gloves
If you are an avid hiker then you know that the higher you climb the cooler the temperatures get and some mountains the temperatures can get quite cold, and when it comes to hiking and enjoying time in an outside environment, hands have it the worst. Not only do you need to protect them from the weather, scrapes, punctures and general fatigue, but you also need to worry about being able to use your fingers and hands to do a wide range of tasks.
This is why hiking gloves can be a lifesaver when climbing, and with the wide variety on the market there are many options to choose from that will provide you with the protection and comfort you will need to climb the most intense mountains. Most of them have, indeed, found a good balance between manual dexterity and keeping the hands and fingers warm and protected from the elements.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 8 hrs of research
Superior protection from the elements
Easy to put on and take off
Great manual dexterity
- Outdoor Research Alti
- SealSkinz All Season Gloves
- Black Diamond Soloist Finger
- North Face TKA 100 Microfleece
- Marmot Spring
- REI Co-Op Polartec Power Stretch
- Marmot Randonnee
- Outdoor Research Versaliner
- Glacier Waterproof
- Black Diamond Midweight
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Outdoor Research Alti
Superior protection from the elements
Easy to put on and take off
Great manual dexterity
May run a bit small
If you’re looking for a pair of hiking gloves that find a great balance between protection from the elements and the need for finite control and great manual dexterity, these hiking gloves from Outdoor Research are very hard to beat.Read more
These gloves are designed specifically to promote the use of the fingers and hands in a wide range of situations where manual dexterity is not only useful but a requirement. The glove was designed using a state of the art 3-D design program that helped to improve the overall ergonomic function and comfort of the glove. Moving fingers independently of each other is fairly easy, although the added bulk may cause issues for some.
These gloves are made from a combination of nylon and spandex materials that not only provide superior protection from the elements, but also a good deal of flexibility and stretch when needed.
The Alti Gloves by Outdoor Research are available in sizes ranging from small to extra-large, so finding ones that fit you will probably not be an issue. It should be noted that they can run a little small on occasion, so take that into consideration when making a purchase.
Protection from the elements is one area where these hiking gloves from Outdoor Research really excel. The outer shell is both waterproof and breathable, and the glove itself can easily pull moisture away from your skin and protect you from the harshest wind out there. In addition, the drawstring closures at the base make it easy to keep the weather away from your hands. It does lose a bit of dexterity based on the insulation, but the protection from the elements more than make up for it.
These hiking gloves feature a full-finger design that covers the fingers, hand and a good portion of the wrist depending on size. There is a drawstring enclosure at the bottom providing the ability to close off the hands nearly completely from the winter elements if necessary.
These gloves from Outdoor Research are a fantastic choice if you want protection during the colder weather months without sacrificing too much dexterity and practical applications. While they can run a little small, overall these are some of the most versatile and popular gloves around.
2. SealSkinz All Season Gloves
Very comfortable to wear
Good quality materials
Not designed for extreme cold
If you're looking for a great lightweight option, that will still keep your hands nice and toasty, check out these SealSkinz. With a polyester and spandex blend, these gloves will keep your hands warm without adding any unnecessary bulk.Read more
It doesn’t matter whether you need to thread a needle or grip a branch while cutting it out of your way. These gloves will allow you the dexterity and fine motor control you need to do it. These gloves are both lightweight and warm, and also feature a thumb and index finger touch-screen compatible tip to keep you connected on the go.
These gloves are created from a combination of polyester and spandex. It allows for superior strength and flexibility, but added warmth.
These hiking gloves come small to XXL sizes, although they are known to have a snug fit, and may feel a bit small to some. Generally speaking, though, most customers find these gloves very comfortable to wear.
If you’re looking for protection from the harsh, colder temperatures of winter and deep snows, you probably want to consider our top pick before this one. These gloves are designed for use in cold weather but maybe not slogging through deep snow. They are great for protection from abrasions and the cutting wind, but really can’t be considered to have significant water resistance or cold temperature protection.
These gloves feature a classic full-finger design that covers the fingers, the hands, and part of the upper wrist depending on the sizing options chosen. In addition to hiking, these gloves are also well suited for cycling, running, or light climbing.
Although SealSkinz All Season gloves are a relative newcomer when it comes to outdoor apparel, they are certainly worth paying attention to in our opinion. These hiking gloves are extremely comfortable and versatile, offering a good deal of protection during cool or warm weather.
3. Black Diamond Soloist Finger
Superior Grip Strength
Great protection during colder weather
Split finger design can be somewhat limiting
If your hiking expeditions involve some serious alpine type climbing, you’ll definitely want these gloves from Black Diamond along for the adventure. The split finger design is perfect for holding onto the rope with ease, and the protection from the elements that it provides is truly second to none.Read more
These gloves are not designed for fine motor work. You won’t be able to tie a knot or thread a needle, but in colder weather, it provides enough warmth and dexterity to get most jobs done with a little ingenuity. The design makes gripping objects fairly straight forward, and maintaining a strong grip is easy enough.
This glove is comprised of a nylon/spandex shell with a goatskin palm and polyester lining. It’s designed to be both lightweight and stretchable. The gloves also feature a removable liner with insulation and fleece edging.
Most customers found this hiking glove to fit very well based on what they expected, and it comes in a variety of sizes, from extra-small to extra-large.
These hiking gloves offer protection from abrasions, water, colder temperatures, and are wind resistant as well.
This pair of gloves features a split finger style where three of the fingers are housed in a second area, while the index and thumb are treated as independent digits. This allows for greater strength when it comes to gripping, pulling, or grasping.
While not practical in every situation, if you’re planning on doing a little climbing with ropes in your next outdoor adventure, these gloves by Black Diamond is certainly something to consider.
4. North Face TKA 100 Microfleece
Doesn’t offer much protection from the elements
These gloves from The North Face provide a great way to keep your hands warm and ready for action when the summer heat starts to give way to the nip of fall. Designed for natural movement and a great overall fit, you’ll be hard pressed to find another glove that fits your lifestyle so well.Read more
This pair of gloves is specifically designed to allow your hands and fingers to move and flex in the most natural way possible, making it one of the better choices when it comes to manual dexterity.
These lightweight gloves are made from polyester micro-fleece material, making them some of the most comfortable hiking gloves on the skin.
These gloves from North Face are designed to fit and move with most hands easily. They range in size between extra-small and extra-large and fit hands with circumferences of between six inches and nine and one half inches. In addition, the way these particular hiking gloves are designed, they usually keep their shape and size relatively well by using a trademarked “5 Dimensional Fit” to ensure proper proportions for nearly any hand.
While these gloves may feel fantastic next to the skin and fit remarkably well, they really offer very little protection from the weather or things that might cause abrasions in the great outdoors. They are truly a lightweight glove, and can only be counted on to take the edge off a chill on an autumn day.
These gloves feature the classic closed full finger style of most athletic gloves on the market today. They also do not have an interior liner.
These hiking gloves from North Face are a great choice for a weekend stroll through the park or a trail hike during pumpkin picking season. While they won’t offer that much protection from the cold or abrasions, they certainly are comfortable to wear.
5. Marmot Spring
Comfortable to wear
Under cuff design great for gripping
Lifetime warranty offered
Can run a little small
Whether you’re enjoying the woods during a winter hike, setting up camp in the valley or simply taking a walk around the block, these hiking gloves by Marmot are a great way to keep your hands warm and comfortable.Read more
These gloves offer a great range of movement and articulated fingers and palms that allow for easy adjustability when tightening or grasping small objects. While we wouldn’t suggest trying to tie a pair of shoelaces with these gloves, most every other task that you might encounter in the great outdoors is not a problem.
The gloves consist of a 20 layer nylon shell that is both breathable and only allows for water to pass from the skin to the outer shell. The palm consists of a goatskin material, and the lining is a polyester fleece that is designed to wick moisture away.
These gloves range in size between extra-small and extra-large, with most customers finding that they fit remarkably close to what was expected, with a few indicating that a larger size would have been a better choice. The only other area of contention was the closure at the bottom of the glove, which some felt was too much of a hassle to use effectively.
While these gloves perform fairly well as far as manual dexterity is concerned, it also does remarkably well in the realm of protection from the elements. It provides a great deal of insulation and warmth and offers moderate wind and water resistance.
These gloves feature an under cuff design that is well suited for gripping items such as poles, ropes, and branches relatively easily. They are a great companion to cross-country skiers or people who enjoy a bit of mountaineering added to their hiking adventure.
When cold weather is in the forecast, having a pair of gloves that is both easy to use and offers decent protection from the elements can be a pain to find. With these hiking gloves from Marmot, not only do you have adequate protection from the weather, but you also have the ability to easily grasp the items you need to seize the day.
6. REI Co-Op Polartec Power Stretch
Very comfortable to wear
Excellent manual dexterity
These gloves from REI provide a great way to keep your hands warm during the cooler autumn hikes without losing much dexterity at all. They are designed for people on the go that demand excellent range of movement along with superior warmth, these gloves will serve a hiker well.Read more
Because they feature a great stretch material and a silicone palm for increased gripping power, these gloves provide a good amount of motion and larger range of motion than what could be expected. Each finger can move relatively independently from each other, and performing routine but small detailed oriented tasks are no trouble at all.
These gloves are created using a polartec power stretch material as well as a silicone grip area on the palm and fingers. The combination allows for a wide range of movement along with great gripping strength.
These gloves are somewhat limited in sizing, offering just small, medium, and large sizes. However most found the gloves to be a comfortably snug fit, and the integrated pull tab at the bottom makes it easy to pull on or take off.
These gloves offer a limited amount of protection from the elements, mainly cutting the effects of wind and colder temperatures by a great deal. They don’t appear to offer much in the way of protection from water, and only offer low protection from abrasions and punctures.
These gloves from REI feature a full finger design that covers the fingers, palm, and a portion of the wrist as well. They are designed to be pulled on and off easily.
While these gloves will certainly keep you warm and provide the ability to perform a great many tasks with ease, they are not something unique among the best hiking gloves on this list. If you’re looking for gloves that will serve you well during the cooler fall months, this is a great choice.
7. Marmot Randonnee
Comfortable to wear
Warmth for weight
Liner not removable (to dry)
These highly insulated gloves from Marmot are going to keep your hands warm in the great outdoors. With a hard outer shell and a Thermal Insulation, these are a great option especially considering the decent price.Read more
While these gloves do offer a good bit of overall dexterity, they are thick enough to make some fine motor skills difficult. But, when buying these gloves you're more than likely looking for something to keep you extra warm. And that is what you can expect.
These gloves are created with a 2-layer MemBrain material on the shell. This provides excellent protection against snow and but, but is also very breathable. The insulation layer has Marmot's Thermal R insulation. This is made from polyester fibers and provide great warmth even when wet. They also have a DriClime lining made from two different denier yarns so it pulls moisture away from the skin and leaves you comfortable.
Most people find these gloves true to size, with only about a third finding them to be slightly on the small size overall.
While these gloves offer a ton of protection from the cold. These are made with very cold weather in mind and you should have no problem staying warm.
These gloves offer a full finger styling with an extended lower area that is flared out to cover part of the wrist area. Included pull tabs make them easier to pull on and take off as well.
These Marmot Randonnee gloves provide an excellent amount of protection from the cold. With multiple layers to keep you warm, these gloves will keep you out on the trail longer and with less annoyance from cold fingers.
8. Outdoor Research Versaliner
Comfortable to wear
Staying active outdoors when the weather is less than cooperative can be a little bit tricky. It can mean either wearing heavyweight and cumbersome gloves or learning to live with lighter gloves and stiffer hands. Thankfully, there are some gloves, like the Versaliner that tries to find the balance between superior cold weather protection and flexibility.Read more
Overall, these gloves offer a moderate amount of flexibility and a decent range of motion, although not as much as some of the other examples on this list. These gloves will allow you to easily grip a pole or stick, or handle keys or a padlock with relative ease.
These gloves are relatively lightweight and created with 100% nylon material with a fleece liner fabric in the interior portions of the glove.
These gloves come in small, medium, or large, and are known to be true to fit about 88% of the time according to customer reviews. When the size does vary from what is expected, most people find them to be a little on the smaller size. In addition, a tapered wrist design helps to keep the overall fit fairly snug.
These gloves offer a moderate amount of protection from the cold temperatures but really do well as a way to keep your hands dry and comfortable. They are highly water resistant, and allow for quick wicking of perspiration and sweat away.
These gloves feature a closed full finger design with a tapered base to allow for easier heat retention and wearing.
Whether you wear these gloves as liners underneath or by themselves, these lightweight and versatile gloves can offer a good deal of protection from colder temperatures and water as well.
9. Glacier Waterproof
Excellent protection from the elements
Wide array of sizes
Easily keeps hands warm
Limited manual dexterity
When it comes to hiking, sometimes full protection from the elements is where you need to be. If you’re searching for a pair of hiking gloves that can withstand just about anything that Mother Nature has to throw, these gloves by Glacier Glove may be just what is needed.Read more
Although these gloves offer superior protection from the elements, they have limited manual dexterity due to their curved knuckle design. While they can easily grip things such as thicker ropes, branches and handles, they aren’t as well equipped to handle smaller objects or situations where fine motor control is needed.
These gloves are made from quality Yamamoto neoprene, one of the most well-respected brands of neoprene on the market today. In addition, these gloves are lined with soft fleece material.
These gloves come in a wide range of sizes, from double extra-small to double extra-large, so finding ones that fit your hands shouldn’t be too much of an issue. They were also shown to be true to fit about ¾ of the time, with gloves running slightly on the larger size overall.
While these gloves may offer limited flexibility, they truly excel in the area of overall protection. The neoprene material makes the gloves essentially water proof and highly tear resistant. In addition to protection from water and abrasions, these gloves also help to keep your hands surprisingly warm due to the fleece lining.
These gloves are full fingered, with a pre-curved bend to the fingers to allow for maximum grip strength and curvature during colder temperatures.
If braving the bitter cold and wetness of winter is in your adventure itinerary, finding gloves that will save your hands from the onslaught is important. This entry from Glacier Gloves can help you do just that.
10. Black Diamond Midweight
Great protection from the wind
Limited protection from water
These hiking gloves from Black Diamond occupy the last spot on our top ten list but they are certainly well worth a serious look. Designed to be useful in a wide range of situations, they are both lightweight and flexible, and perfect for both warm and cool weather.Read more
Overall it’s pretty easy to move fingers around with these gloves, and they provide a wide range of motion. In addition, the box finger design and leather palm and thumb patches add to their gripping power.
These gloves are created using Polartec Power Stretch Fabric fleece material and a nylon outer shell. The palm and thumb area also feature goatskin leather patches, and an elastic band at the wrist helps to keep everything in place.
These gloves are available in small and extra-large, and most people are able to make one or the other work for their needs. However, the limited selection of sizing can be an issue for some.
These gloves provide great protection against wind and cooler temperatures, but offer little protection against water and serious abrasions. While they are perfect for a gentle stroll through the woods, we wouldn’t suggest using them to climb over rocky terrain.
These gloves feature a full finger design with an extended base area that flares out to help cover the upper wrist area.
If you’re looking for a pair of gloves that makes it easy to keep doing the things you love even in cooler temperatures, these hiking gloves from Black Diamond are definitely worth a serious look.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
In this case, the manual dexterity of the glove refers to the ability, or sometimes inability of the glove to allow for independent movement of the fingers, thumbs, and palm area of the hand when necessary. This is perhaps one of the more important aspects to consider when buying a hiking glove, considering all the different activities that a person needs to be able to perform while wearing them.
Most manufacturers of hiking gloves try to find a balance between a higher manual dexterity and overall protection from the elements. One way to provide additional warmth and protection is to allow for more insulation around the finger area, which unfortunately can decrease the glove’s manual dexterity. Another preferred method, such as found in the Black Diamond Soloist glove, is to gather a group of fingers together into one area in the glove and utilize the proximity warmth to keep the fingers protected from colder temperatures. And while this does work quite well for keeping the hands and fingers warm, it is of little help when finite control is needed.
In the past, gloves were made primarily from natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, or leather. And while those natural fibers certainly still exist in the world of quality products, they are not the only ones available. Synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, spandex, and Gore-Tex have all made their appearance and usefulness known to the world. These materials are sometimes lighter, more durable, offer better temperature control, and are less reactionary to sensitive skin than natural fibers.
In the case of the hiking gloves presented here on this list, the materials used give an indication of not only the overall durability and flexibility of the glove but also the best environment to use them. Gloves that are designed to be used in colder temperatures will usually have materials that will provide additional insulation and warmth while trying to minimize the loss of manual dexterity. The ones that are designed to be used during warmer weather, or as liners in colder temperatures will often have an increase in ventilation and use materials that promote moisture wicking or be more lightweight in nature.
There is an old adage that advises that when something “fits like a glove” it means that it is perfect for the task at hand, or is a perfect fit for the person using it. While many such sayings have dubious origins, in this case, the truth of it rings out. A pair of poorly fitted gloves is sometimes worse than having no pair of gloves at all. If a pair of hiking gloves doesn’t fit well, there could be significant losses in the departments of overall protection, manual dexterity, and overall usefulness of the glove.
In the case of the products presented in this list, the overall fit of the gloves is certainly taken into account. A wide range of sizes is presented, and the manufacturers have taken the time and effort to make sure that the gloves fit well enough to not hinder movement overall and provide the protection required in most outdoor situations.
By definition, hiking gloves should be designed to be used in multiple different outdoor environments. A hiker should feel comfortable using his gloves while hiking through the forest, climbing through a mountain pass, or pulling in a canoe while standing on the shoreline of a lake. The reason for this comfort and versatility lies in the gloves ability to protect the wearer from a wide array of potential dangers, including bites, scrapes, stings, moisture, temperature extremes, and burns to name a few.
The overall protection offered by many of the products on this list is provided through the use of quality materials, good design and overall workmanship. In some cases, such as the gloves designed to be used during colder temperatures, protection is offered through the use of increased insulation. Other, such as those gloves designed to be used in warmer temperatures; the focus is mainly on using materials that reinforce certain high-stress areas of the glove, such as the thumb crotch or fingertip areas.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Layering your gloves is a great idea. Depending on the change in elevation, there could be a big difference in the weather as you hike. Having multiple pairs that you can use singularly or together is incredibly helpful. A water-resistant pair is also great to carry.
For some people, being able to use their cell phone with gloves on is very important. If you plan on documenting the trip on your touch screen phone, this may be a feature that you want to look out for.
Other Factors to Consider
And finally, another aspect of the best hiking gloves that we took into consideration was the overall style of the gloves we reviewed. In this case, style refers to the actual type of glove, such as full fingered versus mitten versus half finger gloves, and not the overall sense of fashion. And while fashion can be a factor to consider, practicality and usefulness often top the list for most hikers.
Frequently Asked Questions
The first step in making sure your gloves fit well is to choose the correct size. The easiest method is to take a glove that already fits you well to the store and compare the sizes of the different gloves to the one you already have. Once you find a few good contenders, try them on and move your fingers and hands around.
Unfortunately, the convenience of online shopping often means that the in-person technique isn’t readily available. In this case, you pretty much have two options available to you. First, take a pair of gloves you already have, the ones that fit you well and determine the size. Next, go online and find gloves that meet your criteria and have a similar size. Then, make a note of whether or not they run small, large, or are true to size and make the necessary adjustments to try to get to the closest fit you can get. This may mean increasing or decreasing the size you choose. Another option is to measure around the palm of your hand just below the knuckle area to determine the circumference of the hand in inches, and then converting that number into an overall size. While there are some differences in size conversions between different manufacturers, in the most cases a glove is considered to be small if this palm measurement falls between 6.5 and 8 inches, a medium usually falls between seven and nine inches, and large usually accommodates a circumference measure between eight and 10.5 inches.
Hiking gloves by their very nature are designed to be either general or very specialized in nature. There are gloves that are designed to be used in colder temperatures, and others that are more suited to the time of year when warm showers are the dominate feature. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consider when you are most likely to use the gloves that you are considering. If you’re primarily going to be going out in warmer weather, you’ll want gloves with the ability to move perspiration and moisture away from the skin while maintaining some level of protection from punctures and abrasions. If you’re looking to use the gloves while the snow flurries are in the air, you probably want to look for gloves that are either made from heavier weight materials, or provide layers for increased warmth.
In essence, gloves come in a number of different “weights”. Ultra-light gloves, as the name implies, are often made with strong, very thin material and they focus significantly more on manual dexterity and promoting the feeling of not wearing gloves at all. Unfortunately, they usually don’t provide a great deal of protection. From that point on the spectrum you have lightweight, medium weight, and heavyweight gloves. Each time you move along the spectrum, there is an increase in the protection ability of the gloves versus their ability to allow for fine motor control.
When choosing a pair of gloves, it’s important to think about the level of protection you’ll need versus that amount of fine motor control you’ll desire. This is not only dictated by the weather during your hiking trip, but also by the nature of the environment that you will be moving through. If you expect to be moving through an area with a significant amount of rocks or heavy brush, you’ll want a pair of gloves that are well suited to provide protection from abrasions or punctures. If you are headed into more mountainous terrain, where snow and colder temperatures may dominate, a pair of gloves that offer great insulation may be of better use.
Hiking gloves are important depending on the type of hiking you will be doing. If you are going to be finding yourself in colder climates or situations where you will need to be using your hands, you will want hiking gloves as part of your gear. If you will doing some light hiking and will be in warmer climates and not using your hands as often to climb then hiking gloves may not be as important. Either way hiking gloves are a good accessory to have on hand as sometimes when hiking you never know what you will encounter.
Synthetic material is the best material for hiking gloves as they retain the best warmth and when they get wet they are still able to retain heat better than cotton or wool. If possible look for gloves that promote ventilation and also are weather resistant so you get the best protection.