Mittens vs Gloves – Which One is the Best Option for Winter?

Mittens vs Gloves

Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding or climbing up the mountains in winter, it’s important to keep your hands warm. And if you’re going outside on a chilly winter, you have to have your hands protected from the cold. You wear earmuffs for your ears and scarves for your neck, so you also have to have the proper winter gear.

There are two things you will often reach out for warmth, it’s either a mitten or a glove. Mitten vs glove, what the difference between these two? Should you get a toasty pair of mittens or fancy gloves?

Choosing the right winter gear will make you feel at your most comfortable. And If you’re skiing, comfort can also reflect on your performance. And you will not be able to have fun on the slopes if your hands are effing cold right?

Glove and Mitten – What’s the Difference

Technically, both gloves and mittens are great for skiing, but they can also function differently. Let us sit these two warm babies side by side so that we can see the difference.

What are gloves

When you wear gloves, your fingers will be wrapped in fabric individually, this will allow for better dexterity. Say, you’re always reaching for a gear or you often need to adjust your boot buckles, gloves will come in more handy.

Lightweight gloves can also be worn when you’re snowboarding or doing any activity where your body still generates heat.

What are mittens

Mittens, on the other hand, clumps your fingers together. So they aren’t wrapped individually. Since the fingers are not separated by fabric, this can provide more warmth for your hands. You may still use mittens to hold your gears or carve the mountains, but they will not provide the same level of dexterity as gloves.

Gloves Vs Mittens- Which Is Better

To answer the question above, let us discuss two aspects- mobility and warmth.

Glove or mitten- which offers more mobility

In this aspect, gloves will provide better mobility. As we have mentioned above, when you’re wearing gloves, your fingers are individual wrapped in the fabric. So this will allow soft better movement since your fingers are not clumped up together.

But not all gloves provide the same level of dexterity. Depending on the materials used, some gloves will offer better mobility compared to other brands. And gloves should also be properly fitted so you have to have the right size. Otherwise, you will not be able to hold onto your gears properly with an ill-fitted pair of gloves.

While mitts do not provide as much mobility as gloves, some brands can keep up a bit. Some brands of three-digit mittens instead do the usual two if fingered mittens. This will help you adjust your boot buckles better. In case you need the warmth provided by the mittens but also need more mobility, these three-digit mittens are a great option. Though your fingers do not feel as free when you’re wearing gloves, it might suffix in some cases.

Glove or mitten- which is warmer

Clammy hands are not comfortable at all. To get the best protection from the cold, you have to either wear mittens or gloves. But which is warmer?

As mentioned earlier, mittens have your fingers all clumped up together. Thus they can provide better insulation from the cold. Your fingers share the heat and there are fewer parts exposed to the cold. So mittens are warmer than gloves and you can expect a toastier comfort too.

But not all mittens can keep you cozy and warm, it also depends on what material is used in the mittens. We’ll discuss the different types of insulation used in mittens or gloves. Head onto the next section below used

What Keeps Your Hands Warm- Types of Insulation in Mittens and Gloves

There are two common types of insulation often used in mittens or gloves


Down is an excellent material for heat. It can provide a toasty warmth to your hands and can retain its loft longer. Though there are some downsides. One, it’s quite expensive. And two, you have to keep your hands dry. Once down gets wet, it loses its insulation capacity.

Synthetic Insulation

Synthetic insulation is cheaper compared to down. It also dries faster, that’s why it’s often a favored material for gloves and mittens used in snowboarding and skiing. The downsides are, it’s bulkier than down yet it will not be able to provide the same level of warmth as down.

Which is better for you

Both gloves and mittens have their pros and cons. That makes it difficult to choose between the two. Some would just buy both and switch a more appropriate gear if the situation warrants it. But what if you just have to buy one? Which one would you choose?

Consider these questions.

1. What are the activities that you will be doing?

If you are going to engage in activities or snow sports that need more mobility of the hands, gloves are the best option. But if your hands still feel too cold with gloves, you may, however, make use of glove liners. This will amp up the warmth that you get from the gloves.

And if you find yourself always removing your mittens just to be able to tie your boots or reach for the phone, it’s best to wear gloves with liners instead.  

2. How fast do your hands get cold?

If your hands easily get cold, mitts are the best option. When it comes to cold versatility, mittens are the winner.

3. What’s the weather like?

Since mittens offer more versatility in the cold environment, it’s a better option during harsh winters. And gloves, on the other hand, are suitable for a not so cold environment. And If you will sweat, gloves are a good option too.

How to Choose the Best Mittens or Gloves

How will you know you’re buying a suitable pair of gloves or mittens? See our buying guide below. You have to consider these aspects when buying a pair. Otherwise, you might not get the needed insulation from the cold.


Waterproofness is very important, whether you’re wearing mittens or gloves. A well-insulated pair of gloves or mittens will be useful once your hands get wet. Especially if you are skiing and snowboarding, this is an important feature that you should never overlook.

The best snowboarding and ski gloves and mittens have breathable waterproof barriers that are in the form of a membrane. It’s placed between the outer shell and the insulation material. This allows sweat and moisture to escape so your hand will not be drenched.

One of the more popular waterproof materials used in ski gloves and mittens is the gore-tex. It provides impressive protection from moisture, and at the same time, it allows your hands to breathe so you will feel comfortable.

Heated gloves and mittens

When the weather is too cold for anyone, battery-powered heated gloves and mittens can be your savior. These mittens or gloves have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery mini heater. You can also control the level of heat output. It’s like a personal heater for your hands.

The downside is, heated gloves can really be bulky. Well, expect it to be since it has a personal heater inside.

Touch screen capability

Do you often find yourself removing your gloves just to be able to use your phone? Quite a hassle right?

Gloves and mittens with touch screen capabilities will eliminate this hassle. This will allow you to text or call without the need to remove your glove. Some come with a full palm capability while others offer just finger touch screen capacity. It’s a great option for people who always use their phones.

The fit and size

To be able to allow for better dexterity, gloves, and mittens should be properly fitted to your hands. Even ill-fitting gloves won’t be able to provide better movement. It will still be difficult to hold on to your ski poles with ill-fitted gloves.

It should neither be too fit nor too loose. So how should you know if it is properly fitted? There should be at least 1/4nch of the material left from your outstretched fingers. Too tight mittens and gloves can be restricting. While too loose mittens will have more surface area and can expose your wrists to the cold. And too much airspace will make it colder. It’s also easier for the snow to get in if your gloves are too loose.

So make sure your gloves and mittens fit a T, it will provide you with two benefits. .One, it will allow for better movement. And two, it will keep your hand sufficiently dry and warm.

Additional features

There are several features that you might need to have in your mittens or gloves, depending on your circumstances. So it’s best to look for one that can tick all the boxes in your list.  

Thumb wipes

These are soft material on the thumb part of the mitten or glove. You can use it to wipe your nose if it drips. Because the cold weather can make your nose berserk, this is something you might need.

Leather palms

If you need a better grip, look for gloves or mittens with leather palms. Compared to synthetic palms, leather will help you get a good grip on your ski poles.

Writs cinches

Writs cinches ensure a snug fit. They also prevent snow and rain from entering your gloves and mittens.

Zippered pockets

Zippered pockets or slots allow you to slip in pocket-size hand warmers. These can be convenient during extra frigid winters.

You may also like: Best Ski and Snowboard Mittens

Long Gauntlet cuff

These mittens or gloves can extend over the sleeves of your jacket. This further prevents snow and rain from getting inside.

Wrist cords

This secures your mittens or gloves to your wrist so it doesn’t fall off when you’re skiing or riding up the mountains.

How to Keep Your Hand Warm and Toasty in the Winter

When the temperature is frigid and effing cold, mittens or gloves might not suffice. You might need a bit of help from these:

Liner gloves

If you love the dexterity of gloves but can’t stand the cooler air, liner gloves are heaven-sent.

This is also referred to as an inner glove that can provide additional insulation from the cold. It’s the best way to add extra warmth to your beloved pair of gloves. And when wearing mitts is out of the equation, glove liners are the best solution.

The best glove liners that can provide warmth and insulation are often made from merino wool. Though you may also find ones that are made of silk and synthetic material. They can also provide warmth, it’s just that the merino wool is more toasty and cozy.

Chemical Hand warmers

These are small pockets of personal warmers that you can easily slip into the zippered pockets of your gloves or mittens. Remember to never put these directly on your skin. The chemicals can irritate and burn your skin.


Mittens vs gloves, who won? There isn’t any clear winner as to which of the two is the better. If you need warmth go for mittens because mittens are warmer. And if you need mobility go for gloves. It can be as simple as that, or not. There is still an ongoing debate as to which is better. So if you have other things to consider you have to weigh each option carefully.

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