The best way to enjoy a beautiful snow-covered forest is through cross country skiing. Using your own body and energy, you and your most adventurous friends can ski through the hills and valleys of the snowy mountain top. Together, you can leave the beaten tourist covered path and find a serene, untouched area for yourselves to ski in. But cross country skiing takes a lot of energy, and you need to have reliable and durable equipment. Imagine using a thin pair of gloves to protect you from the freezing weather for more than 8 hours. Your hands would get frostbite, and you would need medical attention quickly, or else you would lose your hand. So you need to have well-made gloves that retain heat to protect your hands, but they need to be durable to last through the rigorous activities that come with cross country skiing. But how do you find a pair of gloves like that? It will take a lot of research, but luckily I have done it for you already. In this guide, I will show the criteria needed for a pair of cross-country ski gloves and the best ones on the market today.

Best Gloves For Cross Country Skiing 

In this section, I will explain the differences between a pair of gloves and a pair of mittens. Skiers need to use gloves, but they can use mittens if they’re willing to work through the issues that come with them. Snowboards usually use mittens because they don’t need to grip anything.

What Is The Difference Between A Glove And A Mitten?

You may think that this is an odd question, but it is a necessary one. Many people believe that gloves and mittens are the same things. However, that is not true.

We all know what a glove is. It is a piece of winter clothing that keeps your hand warm. When you wear a glove, every single finger is individually wrapped in fabric, so you can move your fingers all by themselves.

However, this is not what a mitten. The biggest difference between a mitten and a glove is that the mitten in cases the last four fingers on a person’s hand all together in a single fabric. So each finger is not wrapped individually. All of the fingers are together, so they can share each finger’s body heat. This is why mittens are much warmer than gloves. But for that warmth, you must sacrifice agility and the ability to use your pointer finger. Even if a mitten has smartphone-compatible material, using a glove is still much easier. 

Skiers prefer using gloves over mittens for two reasons. 

The first reason is that the mittens take away a person’s dexterity. They no longer have the full range of their fingers, and they are unable to lace up their boots and grab onto straps and handles. 

The second reason is that skiers need the full grip of their hands because they need to hold on to their ski poles. By being able to use all of their fingers, they can maximize their grip and use their ski poles to push them across the snow with all of the strength in their muscles. 

Important Features In Cross Skiing Gloves

Room for a hand warmer

Keeping your hands dry and warm is an absolute necessity when you’re out in the cold. All gloves are designed to lock in your body heat, so your hands stay warm. But what if you don’t have very good circulation in your hands. Many people have cold hands, which could be a major issue. But some gloves a hand-warming pocket designed into them so you can place a hand warmer into the fabric. The pocket keeps the hand warmer between the glove’s shell and the liner, so your hands will remain free to grab your ski poles.

Durability

Cross country skiing may not be the most intense type of skiing, but it does take a lot of endurance to do. You will travel miles and miles by only using your body and your skis to get there. So you need gloves that can last longer than you do. Cross country skiing gloves need to be resistant to friction damage as well as wind and sun damage. Unless you’re wearing a glove that has a specific thin lining technology, don’t choose a thin glove. They’re more likely to fall apart or develop ripped seams or holes.

Moisture absorbent

As you pull your body across the snowy tundra and plains, your body will produce a lot of sweat. That goes double for your hands because you must keep a tight grip on your poles to pull yourself across and up mountain tops and trails. But if your hands accumulate a lot of moisture, you could get a rash, and your hand will always feel greasy. The fabric inside a cross country ski glove needs to absorb all the moisture your hands produce. If your gloves have a liner, you can switch out the liner for a fresh one when the current liner is unable to absorb any more sweat.

Quick-drying

If your hand sweats a lot then you need gloves that take the moisture away from your hand, your hand is an end up a soggy mess. If your hand is too wet for a long time, then you may develop a rash. But what happens when the fabric that absorbs the moisture becomes soggy as well? Your hand will constantly touch moist fabric, which is not good for preventing frostbite. But If the material that makes up your gloves is not only moisture absorbing, but also quick-drying, then you won’t feel any type of moisture in your glove. Any quick-drying fabric allows the moisture that touches it to evaporate quickly so the glove will not become a sweat-soaked mess. It can continue to absorb moisture from your hand.

Liner

A glove that has a liner is extremely easy to take care of. When the inside of the glove becomes dirty from your sweat, but the outside shell of the glove is clean, you can take out the glove and wash it by hand or put it in the washing machine. There is no need for you to watch the entire glove. And if the inside of your gloves is damaged and no longer absorbs your sweat, then you can purchase a new liner without having to purchase the rest of the gloves. 

Reinforced fabric

One of the biggest reasons why a pair of gloves is more durable than other gloves is reinforced fabric. This means that there is extra fabric over areas that wear out faster than other parts of the gloves. One important area that wears out and becomes less usable is the fabric around the glove’s palm. Since skiers have to hold onto their skis for prolonged periods of time, the fabric on the palm wears out faster than the fabric on the back of the hand. Many well-made gloves add extra material on the palm so the fabric will not wear out.

Battery Powered Heater

Hand warming pockets and thick insulation are great, but what if you could warm your gloves with a built-in heater? Some gloves have battery-powered heaters built into them, so you don’t have to rely on your own body heat to stay warm. These gloves tend to be more expensive, but they’re well worth it, especially if you have poor circulation, and your hands are cold, even in hot weather.

Straps

You should do everything you can to prevent your gloves from falling under the ground. Not only does the ground turn your beautiful clean glove into a dirty mess, but the snow also can get into the inside of your glove and soak it. This will make your glove unusable, and now you are in the wilderness in Sub-Zero temperatures without a glove to protect your hand. If your glove has a strap, then you can slide the strap on your wrist so you can keep your glove safe from the ground, but you will also have both hands-free to do what you need to do.

Smartphone compatible

Trying to use a smartphone while wearing gloves is ridiculous. The touch screen will not interact with your gloved finger, so you have to remove your gloves to use them. There is a new feature called touch screen compatible fabric. This special fabric is woven onto the fingertips of the gloves, so you use your smartphone. Touch screen compatible fabric is extremely common, so it should be easy for you to find gloves that you like with this feature. 

Pocket

Fumbling around in your pocket and struggling to pull out your wallet is difficult. But if your gloves had a small pocket around the wrist or on the back of the glove, you will have enough room to place your ID and some money. This makes the most important parts of your wallet easily accessible to show your ID or purchase something quickly. 

The Best Gloves For Cross Country Skiing

Choosing the perfect pair of gloves for cross country skiing is difficult, and you may be paralyzed with all of the different choices available online and in winter sports stores. So here are several of the best gloves that I have found for cross country skiing.

Best Men’s Gloves For Cross Country skiing

Hestra Gloves Army Leather Patrol Insulated Gloves

Hestra Gloves Army Leather Patrol Insulated Gloves

If you would like gloves that would help you blend into the snow, you’ll like these Hestra Army leather gloves. With a black gray and white design, these gloves are not only camouflage, but they’re also quite fashionable. Made out of goat leather, the fabric is not only waterproof, but it is also windproof. The anti-wind material prevents the blowing wind from going through the glove’s material and affecting your hands. 

Even though these gloves are made of leather, the material is extremely breathable, so your hands won’t smell from sweating. One of the biggest issues with gloves is how the seams are constructed, but the Hestra glove has external seams so you won’t be able to feel them while your hand is inside the liner. It may be one of the best gloves for cross country skiing men because of its great construction. This glove is available in sizes 8 to 11.

DAKINE Titan Insulated Gloves – Men’s

DAKINE Titan Insulated Gloves - Men's

Reliable and comfortable, these Titan insulated gloves have pockets on the back of the hand so you can insert a hand warmer if you need help keeping your hands warm. The fingers of the glove have touch screen fabric so you can use your smartphone without taking off your gloves. There is rubber material on the palm, so it provides extra traction and grip when using your ski poles. The show of the glove is coated in a waterproof finish, so you don’t have to worry about water seeping into your glove when you touch snow. It has a removable liner so you can wash the liner and not the shell if the liner has an odor. The reviews’ comments say that these gloves are warm, but the fabric is not extremely thick, so it will not impede your hand’s movement. These gloves are available in sizes small to extra large.

Swix Star XC 2.0 Gloves – Men’s

Swix Star XC 2.0 Gloves - Men's

If your biggest struggle with gloves is that they wear out in certain areas of the hand, you will enjoy using the Swis Star Gloves. The fabric is reinforced with acrylic material, so they not only last longer, but they are fitted as well. The fabric is very breathable, so the wearer’s hands won’t feel stuffy and hot while they’re inside the glove. It is designed for Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing, and even snowshoeing. The reviews say that as long as you care for the gloves and wash them often, these gloves can last for years. The only real issue with these gloves is that they do not have a lining, so when you need to wash the inside to get rid of this wet, you have to wash the entire glove. It is available in sizes small to extra large.

Best Women’s Gloves For Cross Country Skiing

Outdoor Research Stormtracker Sensor Gloves – Women’s

Outdoor Research Stormtracker Sensor Gloves - Women's

If you are adventuring somewhere that has extreme winds and extreme blizzards, then these model of gloves is right for you. Created with thick leather, it is designed to prevent winds from entering through the scenes and fabric and affecting your hands. The inside lining is made from a polyester fabric, which traps in your body heat to keep your hands warm. The type of polyester also absorbs excessive sweat and moisture from your hands so they can stay dry. It also allows the moisture and sweat to evaporate from the fabric, so there is no moisture build-up around your hands. If you need to take off these gloves, you can loop them on your wrists with put on loops, so they do not fall from your pockets and touch the ground. The cup is extended past your wrist and fitted to protect against the cold from entering your gloves. The Stormtracker sensor gloves are only available in small, medium, and large. There is no extra-large size.

Burton Sapphire Gloves – Women’s

Burton Sapphire Gloves - Women's

For both the construction and the price, this may be one of the best gloves for cross-country skiing women. The special fabric on the fingertips, called Screen Grab tech, allows the wearer to use their smartphone. The fleece liner within the glove is made from a special fabric, so each individual finger stays warm. One of the biggest issues with wearing winter gloves is that the fingers are often still cold while the palm of your hand is well insulated and warm, but these gloves will keep your fingers warm. There is a sticky-icky grip on the palms of the hands, so these gloves provide you with extra grip and traction. Your ski poles or anything else you are holding in your hand will be less likely to escape your grasp. The entire glove is ergonomically designed, so it is fitted to the shape of a real human hand, and it does not impede the dexterity of your fingers or your wrist. It is available from sizes extra small to extra large.

Best Unisex Gloves For Cross Country Skiing

Ski & Snow Gloves – Cold Weather

Ski & Snow Gloves - Cold Weather

Made to be insulated and durable, these Ski and snow gloves are reinforced and heavy lining inside for more insulation. On the palm, there is synthetic leather that improves your grip and increases durability as it is the fabric around the palm that wears out fastest on a skiing glove. On the wrist, there are adjustable straps so you can wrap up your wrist as tightly or loosely as you like. There are three layers of fabric within the glove that absorbs the moisture from your hand that allows that moisture to escape so the fabric inside stays clean and dry. Some of the reviews say that this glove is extremely comfortable, but it does take some time to break into it. When you first purchase it, it will be very stiff, but the longer you use it, the more flexible it will become. This glove is available in extra small to extra large sizes.

SEALSKINZ unisex Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Glove

SEALSKINZ unisex Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Glove

Most flexible and durable, the Sealskinz unisex extreme cold glove can fit the hand of a man or a woman. It is 100% waterproof, so the water cannot seep into the seams. It is also windproof, but the fabric is extremely breathable, so your hands won’t feel stuffy and sweaty. Although these gloves are insulated and think, there’s no need to break them in. Once you slip on the glove, there will be no resistance, and you’ll be able to move and flex your hand as much as you need to. As per the manufacturer’s instructions, you should never put this pair of gloves in the washer, and you cannot dry clean them. They are hand wash only gloves. This model of glove comes in sizes small, medium, large, extra-large, and extra, extra-large.

Wildhorn Tolcat Unisex Waterproof Leather Ski Gloves- Touchscreen Compatible

Wildhorn Tolcat Unisex Waterproof Leather Ski Gloves- Touchscreen Compatible

Being able to use your smartphone is a necessity in this day and age, so you don’t need gloves that prevent you from interacting with the touchscreen. But you’ll be able to make calls and use any touchscreen that you own with the Wildhorn Unisex leather gloves. Endorsed and actively used by the US ski team, Both the liner and the shell of the glove are economically designed, so they fit according to the hand’s natural shape. You will not need to break in your gloves or struggle with your range of movement. This model of gloves is available in sizes 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Conclusion

Protecting your hands from the freezing cold is extremely important, and every cross-country skier needs gloves that are insulated and durable. Always look for gloves that are reinforced in common places where parts of the glove tend to wear down. It is always better to purchase a glove that has a liner so you can wash the liner by itself if it becomes too sweaty, and there is an odor inside. You won’t have to wash the shell of the glove, which may take longer to dry than the liner. Cross country skiing required the skier two people physically fit and have a high endurance rate. It is not a race. It is more like a marathon, so you need to be able to keep your energy levels up. Be sure to pack plenty of energy-filled snacks and electrolytes with you before your trip and check yourself for any injuries or cuts or wounds before you go out into the wilderness. With enough hours and miles, you’re sure to find a beautiful spot skiing that is all your own.


Harry Sowers

Harry has been skiing and snowboarding since he was a boy growing up outside of Denver Colorado. He is most passionate about skiing and when he was in college a UC Boulder he even participated in the olympic trials for the USA Olympic Downhill Ski team.