In ever-changeable hillwalking weather, pack a pair of hiking gloves you can count on, recommend Peter Macfarlane and Francesca Donovan.
Hiking gloves are a vital part of our kit list for a trip to the hills, and an item we can easily pack a few pairs of to see us through the varying conditions we might encounter on the day. The models we’ve tested for this review of the best hiking gloves are classed as three-season – which means they’re good for general use outside of full winter hill conditions – but this definition becomes more nebulous when you look at the other factors involved in choosing a pair (or several!) of gloves.
Our reviewers have different needs when it comes to insulation levels, and they will find different designs more suitable and comfortable for their personal use in the same weather. Those of us who ‘run hot’ and have warm hands will need less insulation and so might opt for lighter gloves with better dexterity; cold hands will need bulkier gloves and sacrifice dexterity but might gain something in durability, to offset a potentially more expensive purchase.
Just like with hiking boots, fit is important. A hiking glove that is too tight can make our hands feel the cold quicker. Too loose and dexterity will suffer, meaning we might remove our gloves to complete tasks and thereby risk cold fingers. Wrist cuffs vary greatly; a short cuff will interfere with your waterproof jacket or other layers less and leave a watch more accessible but can leave a potential cold spot at your wrist. Cuffs that are longer and low-profile can tuck easily under a sleeve; looser and they’ll fit over it.
Fabrics vary greatly in performance, and we’ve covered as many options as possible in this review: windproof, waterproof, leather, merino and synthetic. All these fabrics have advantages and disadvantages in different conditions – hence why carrying multiple pairs of gloves is a viable option. Wet and windy will require a different amount of protection to cool and calm.
Hiking gloves can also work well together as a system. The lightest liners can be the only gloves you wear all day and can stay on your hands when the weather changes. Rather than change gloves, you might slip a bigger glove over the top. It means you’ll still have protection if you have to take a glove off to rummage in a rucksack or work with a navigation device.
One thing we realised during the testing was how easy it is to lose a black glove in your hiking pack or at camp, something made worse when carrying and testing multiple pairs – so it’s worth checking to see if the model you like comes in different colours or with an easy-to-spot logo.
Our picks of the best hiking gloves
In this guide you will find some of the best hiking gloves for hillwalking and hiking. We’ve tested some of the best products from brands such as Montane, RAB, Alpkit, Outdoor Research and many more.
- Women’s Windjammer Lite Windproof Gloves | $70 | £50 (Available from montane.com) – Best on test
- Trekmates Ogwen Stretch Grip | International shipping available | £18 (Available from sportshoes.com)
- Outdoor Research Waterproof Liner | $55 | £46 (Available from shop.ordnancesurvey.co.uk)
- Rab Transition Windstopper | $45 | £35 (Available from sportsshoes.co.uk)
- Alpkit Mica Glove | $55 | £40 – Best on test
- Extremities Evolution Waterproof Glove | International shipping available | £55 (Available from amazon.co.uk)
- Hestra Infinium Fleece 5 Finger | $70 | £55 (Available from alpinetrek.co.uk)
- Montane Dart Lightweight Liner Gloves | $29 | £20 (Available from sportsshoes.com) – Good budget option
Features of the best hiking gloves
Whilst you might think your feet see most of the action on the hills, your hands are also in almost-constant motion – from gripping trekking poles to scrambling up rock or reaching for water. A good glove will be constructed with seams that minimise rubbing, and some offer taped seams to improve water resistance. Ensure the inner seams don’t rub and the glove is constructed well externally.
To avoid the frustration of one lost glove, look for a pair that comes with a leash or clip that can be used to attach your gloves to each other – or, even better, to your pack too.
Exposing the wrists is one of the most efficient ways to dump heat. Longer cuffs are warmer, whereas a low-profile cuff will be more breathable and less likely to interfere with your other layers or a watch. A Velcro strap or cord closure can improve the fit on your wrist and offer additional protection from rain and snow.
Textured, reinforced fingers and palms can offer much-needed grip when using trekking poles. Leather options are bulkier and less dexterous but are generally more durable than their synthetic counterparts.
Whilst less important in three-season gloves than in winter gloves, it’s still handy (pardon the pun) to have good touchscreen compatibility in a hiking glove, especially for those who use smartphone hiking apps to help with navigation or who are prone to snapping photographs. The usability of touchscreen fingertips varies wildly between models, so test this out before purchasing if it’s an important feature for you.
If you remove your gloves, it’s useful to be able to clip them together to dangle across a rucksack hipbelt or hook onto side straps. Wrist leashes and clips prevent your gloves separating or being dropped if you take them off.
Bizarrely, gloves are usually measured in inches. To find your size, measure around the widest part of your hand – usually the circumference of your palm and knuckles – with a tape measure (excluding your thumb). It’s best to measure your dominant hand as it can be fractionally bigger. If you’re between sizes, you’ll usually be warmer in a bigger glove, as air insulates.
There’s no major difference between men’s and women’s gloves, except in sizing. Women’s gloves tend to go to much smaller sizes, and often have slightly shorter fingers and narrower palms.
A good three-season glove doesn’t have to be all-singing and -dancing, but a nose wipe can prove a godsend on a windy, cold day!
How we tested these hiking gloves
Francesca tested these gloves hillwalking and scrambling in snow, rain and high winds, as well as on unseasonably milder days in the Southern Uplands, Eryri (Snowdonia), the Lake District and the Peak District throughout late winter and spring. Temperatures ranged from just below freezing to 10 degrees. She says her hands run hot. Francesca wears a size Small and weights (per pair) are supplied from her own digital scales.
Peter wears a size Large in gloves. He suffers from cold hands, and so he wears them almost every time he leaves his house. His review pairs were tested daily over many months from front door to mountain top and everything in-between. The gloves have seen extensive use on the Scottish hills and trails with ice axe and pole use on the Munros and their dexterity has been tested doing everything from camp cooking, fitting crampons, making emergency repairs to a deer fence using tools and wire, and changing a mountain bike tyre on the trail. All weights are for a pair and from Peter’s digital scales.
The best hiking gloves
Here are the best gloves for hillwalking and hiking tested by our two experts Francesca Donovan and Peter Macfarlane, read their thoughts on this great group of gloves to see which ones have come out on top for them.
Best in test: Women’s Windjammer Lite Windproof Gloves
- Pros: Durability, fit, details, women’s sizing
- Cons: Inner seams
- Price: $70 | £50 (Available from montane.com)
- Weight: 64g
Materials: shell face: 85% nylon, 15% elastane / shell backer: 100% polyester | Features: nose wipe, low-profile cuff, goat leather palm | Sizes: XS- L | Women/men version: yes
The Windjammer Lites are a go-to pair for longer mountain days due to their durable fabric and goat leather palm and fingers. They offer a great range of movement, contoured shaping, and a snug fit. They are windproof and fast-drying, but the beading is impressive. They are less breathable than other gloves, but the nose wipe is a great design feature. The inner seams are slightly bulky and may irritate if the fit isn’t right.
Read more: Montane Women’s Windjammer Lite Windproof Gloves review
Trekmates Ogwen Stretch Grip
- Pros: Affordability, lightweight, comfort
- Cons: Durability
- Price: International shipping available | £18 (Available from sportshoes.com)
- Weight: 46g
Materials: 92% polyester, 8% elastane | Features: one-piece silicone print palm, four-way stretch | Sizes: S-XL | Women/men version: unisex
Trekmates have produced an excellent pair of three-season hiking gloves at an affordable price. The soft inner and outer brushed back jersey fleece material offers unparalleled comfort and warmth, while the four-way stretch material provides the widest range of dexterity without compromising on warmth. The slim fit contributes to both comfort and warmth, and aids touchscreen compatibility. The one-piece silicone print palm offers decent grip, but some pilling on the palm may be an aesthetic consideration.
Read more: Trekmates Ogwen Stretch Grip review
Outdoor Research Waterproof Liner
- Pros: Stormproof, warm
- Cons: Weight, bulk, fit
- Price: $55 | £46 (Available from shop.ordnancesurvey.co.uk)
- Weight: 78g (Size S)
The OR Waterproof Liner hiking glove is noteworthy for its warm, windproof qualities. It has excellent seam taping and Ventia waterproof construction technology, and was used in rain, sleet and snow. The sizing on this unisex pair of gloves is generous, and the pull loops can be used to attach the gloves to a pack when not in use. However, the sizing and fit issues mean no ‘Recommended’ this time, but the glove is still a solid performer.
Read more: Outdoor Research Waterproof Liner review
Rab Transition Windstopper
- Pros: Low-bulk, breathability, dexterity
- Cons: Less warmth, not rainproof
- Price: $45 | £35 (Available from sportsshoes.co.uk)
- Weight: 40g (Size S)
Materials: 97% polyester / 3% elastane | Features: low-bulk 3-layer membrane | Sizes: XS-XXL | Women/men version: unisex
The Windstoppers are the lightest offering by 6g in this test, yet they provide surprising levels of warmth. The Gore-Tex Infinium material with the Windstopper technology’s light weather resistance keeps hands warm and comfortable in high places on quick jaunts. They are ideal for staying comfortable on super-fast ascents and for quick blasts in the spring and summer. The all-over silicone palm grip is ergonomically designed and provides plenty of wiggle room for gripping. The durability exceeds expectations on such a lightweight model.
Read more: Rab Transition Windstopper review
Alpkit Mica Glove
- Pros: Comfort, durability, warmth
- Cons: Wet weather performance
- Price: $55 | £40
- Weight: 114g (Size XL)
Materials: leather, 50/50 wool/nylon blend, polyester | Features: leather reinforcing, low-profile stretch cuff | Sizes: XS-XL | Women/men version: unisex
The Mica is a very capable outdoor glove with a chunky knitted wool and nylon blend cuff and back. It is warm and windproof, but performs poorly in rain. The palm is soft leather that is supple enough to require little breaking in, and the area between first finger and thumb is reinforced. The leather at the fingertips is ‘rolled’, giving excellent feel and dexterity. Breathability has worked well for me, and handwashing them is straightforward enough to keep them fresh. It’s worth noting that I tested an XL of the 2022 model where I usually wear a Large. Alpkit says this sizing issue will be addressed.
Read more: Alpkit Mica Glove review
Extremities Evolution Waterproof Glove
- Pros: Comfort, waterproof, warm
- Cons: Touchscreen fingertips rarely work
- Price: International shipping available | £55 (Available from amazon.co.uk)
- Weight: 64g (Size L)
Materials: X-Dry Stretch, merino wool | Features: waterproof fabric, silicone grip palm | Sizes: XS-XL | Women/men version: unisex
The Evolution is a waterproof and stretchy glove made from Extremities X-Dry Stretch, a three-layered fabric with an inner made of a merino wool and acrylic mix, a waterproof and breathable membrane, and a nylon and elastane mix. It is windproof and has excellent DWR, with touchscreen-compatible tips on the thumb and forefinger and a reflective logo for nighttime safety. The cuff is long and slim-fitting to seal gaps with clothing layers, and the palm’s silicone print grips poles and ice axes effectively. Dexterity is excellent with the seamless close-fitting design.
Read more: Extremities Evolution Waterproof Glove review
Hestra Infinium Fleece 5 Finger
- Pros: Comfort, performance
- Cons: Durability
- Price: $70 | £55 (Available from alpinetrek.co.uk)
- Weight: 68g (Size 9)
Materials: Gore-Tex Infinium Windstopper | Features: zoned inner fleece, PU palm grip print | Sizes: 6-11 | Women/men version: unisex
The Infinium is a three-layer laminate with a windproof breathable membrane in the middle. Two different weights of Infinium are used in the gloves, with a lighter jersey knit fabric with gridded microfleece inner for the palm and inside of the fingers and a heavier fabric with pile-style inner fleece for added insulation. The gloves are pre-shaped with curved fingers and have a polyurethane printed pattern for added grip. Dexterity is good, but the softer fleece on the palms and inner fingers is liable to abrasion damage. Breathability is good, although some clamminess is generated when working hard. The cuffs are short and are neither wide nor low-profile, making them easier to wear with a watch.
Read more: Hestra Infinium Fleece 5 Finger review
Montane Dart Lightweight Liner Gloves
- Pros: Comfort, compatibility with other gloves
- Cons: A lot of seams, undersized
- Price: $29 | £20 (Available from sportsshoes.com)
- Weight: 17g (Size L)
Materials: recycled polyester | Features: Polygiene odour control | Sizes: S-XL | Women’s version: XS-L
The Darts are a lightweight liner glove that has all the necessary features of an ideal liner glove. They have full freedom of movement and insulation, but the construction is overly complicated. The fabric face is smooth and the Darts stay in place when removing the over glove, but they don’t layer as well with the fabric reversed. A simpler construction could increase comfort and take full advantage of the fabric’s excellent performance for less than the £20 price.
Read more: Montane Dart Lightweight Liner Gloves review
More of the best hiking gloves
This next set of reviews were done by Judy Armstrong and David Lintern. They reviewed these products in 2022 but many of these gloves are still available and relevant.
Judy’s testing notes: With early winter weather veering between ‘silly-mild’ and ‘life threatening storms’, conditions were ideal for testing gloves. Judy trialed her varied selection of handwear on foot, mountain bike and touring skis, in the North York moors, Lake District and the French Alps. Judy is a women’s medium, or unisex small, and weights are from her own digital scale.
Trekmates Taktil Dry Glove
- Rating: 5/5
- Likes: Dexterity, curved fingers, touch screen, warmth, waterproofing
- Dislikes: nothing
- Price: £40
- Weight: 102g (Small)
Fabric: shell; polyester/elastane, DRY Protect membrane (PU), palm; Amara (polyester microfibre + polyurethane), lining; polyester pile | Sizes: S – XL unisex
Trekmates have ticked virtually every box with these gloves. In fact, the only improvement would be to have a women’s specific fit. It’s a cold-weather glove courtesy of its silky, almost faux-fur, pile lining, and the DRY Protect waterproof, breathable membrane (5000mm hydrostatic head). But while they’re warm (not to full-winter levels, but fine around the 0C mark), they’re not chunky. The pre-curved fingers (which are the key) in a box construction plus stretch panels ensure real dexterity, and I found myself reaching for these gloves as first option for the widest variety of activities.
Read more: Trekmates Taktil Dry Glove review
Sealskinz Women’s Waterproof All-Weather Lightweight Glove
- Rating: 5/5
- Likes: Waterproof, breathable, grip
- Dislikes: Nothing
- Price: £35
- Weight: 77g (women’s Medium)
Fabric: shell; 94% polyester, 6% elastane, palm; 50% polyester, 50% polyurethane, lining; 100% polyester | Sizes: S – XL (men S-XXL)
This is a truly versatile glove from British brand Sealskinz. They’ve been keeping our extremities warm and dry for 25 years and are so confident in their ‘waterproof’ claims they offer a lifetime guarantee. This glove is from their women’s range; in hindsight I should have gone to a Small (my hand is 7.5”, usually a Medium). The glove has a fairly tough outer, with a textured palm. This textured fabric has a fair amount of horizontal stretch and is used between the fingers and down to the thumb. It gives the close-fitting glove mobility and dexterity, which makes it both supple and grippy.
Read more: Sealskinz Women’s Waterproof All-Weather Lightweight Glove review
Mountain Equipment Super Alpine Women’s Glove
- Rating: 4.5/5
- Likes: Oiltac leather, dexterity, durability, no loose lining
- Dislikes: gauntlet
- Price: £75
- Weight: 100g (women’s Medium)
Fabric: shell; Pontetorto soft shell (polyamide, elastane), palm; Pittards Oiltac leather, lining; microfleece (polyester) | Sizes: XS-L (men S-XXL)
This is an unusual glove from one of Britain’s most established alpine brands. It combines a durable, windproof, highly water resistant (not waterproof) soft shell outer with a beautiful Pittards Oiltac leather palm. Oiltac was originally created for football goalkeepers’ gloves and incorporates polymers that promote contact adhesion, plus a tanning process that offers a high degree of water resistance. This both protects the leather and guarantees grip in difficult weather conditions.
Read more: Mountain Equipment Super Alpine Women’s Glove review
Salewa Leather Finger Glove
- Rating: 4/5
- Likes: Soft goatskin, slim cuff/gauntlet, low bulk fit
- Dislikes: Warmth-to-bulk ratio, leather reinforcement patches
- Price: £95
- Weight: 150g (XS)
Fabric: shell; goat leather, palm; goat leather, lining; Alpine Wool Responsive (78% merino wool, 22% nylon fibres with embedded minerals) | Sizes: XS-XXL unisex
Strange – the test glove was size XS / 6 and should have been too small, but in fact was the biggest glove here. As is the case with most Salewa products, particularly their hiking boots, these are very well made. There’s no arguing with the quality , especially the use of soft, supple goatskin leather (naturally windproof and water repellent although not technically waterproof). The Alpine Wool Responsive lining was warmer than I expected given how slimline the glove feels but it’s definitely more ‘lining’ than ‘padding’. I honestly couldn’t feel the Responsive element, which claims to ‘absorb infrared heat and reflect back to the body’; my hands quickly got cold in cooler conditions, and I wouldn’t reach for them in a winter freeze.
Read more: Salewa Leather Finger Glove review
Black Diamond Mercury Mitt Women’s
- Rating: 4.5/5
- Likes: 2-in-1, warmth, waterproofing, winter protection, recycled fibres
- Dislikes: Reduced dexterity with inner and outer combined
- Price: £110
- Weight: 248g (women’s Medium)
Fabric: shell; 100% recycled polyester ripstop stretch, 100% recycled polyester stretch with BD Dry insert + GTT Empel DWR, palm; premium goat leather, liner; 170gsm Primaloft gold + 133g PrimaLoft gold, recycled fleece lining | Sizes: XS-XL (men XS-XL)
So much to say about this mitt, but in a nutshell, there’s a waterproof shell in recycled, stretch polyester with supple, grippy goat leather palm, thumb and finger capping hosts a waterproof BD.dry insert and hard-wearing, high-performing PFC-free DWR. A removable liner is stuffed with a fat dose of Primaloft Gold Cross Core (amazingly warm for the weight) on the back of the hand and a lesser quantity on the palm (to allow grip), plus a recycled fleece lining.
Read more: Black Diamond Mercury Mitt Women’s review
5 of the best men’s hiking gloves reviewed
David’s testing notes: The gloves were trialled over a few months from the end of summer into the beginning of winter, mostly in the Cairngorms. Gloves are easy to test as they pack down small and are needed often: all of these items enjoyed numerous day trips and saw some extremely challenging backpacking weather in late autumn. David takes a size large glove and weights are as supplied.
Mountain Equipment Mantle
- Rating: 5/5
- Likes: Warmth, breathability, fit
- Dislikes: nothing
- Price: £28
- Weight: 40g
Fabric: Cycloknit fleece | Sizes: XS to XL (womens XS to XL also)
The Mantle might just be my new favourite glove for colder conditions. ‘Cycloknit’ is a patented fleece – on the inside, there’s high lofting, gridded fluffy goodness, and on the outside, a flat, fine weave which shrugs off snow and light rain easily. The fingers seams are constructed on a box (3 seams on each finger) design and the overall fit is just right for me – the fingers are not too long, and I can slide a very thin liner glove underneath without constricting the hand.
Read more: Mountain Equipment Mantle review
RECOMMENDED: Outdoor Research Versaliner
- Rating: 4.5/5
- Likes: Versatility, warmth
- Dislikes: tapered fingertips
- Price: $59 | £50
- Weight: 79g
Fabric: Shell glove is Pertex Shield 2.5L. Inner glove is a polyester/spandex softshell | Sizes: S-XL (womens S-L)
With the Versaliner, you get two for one. The main glove has a fleece inner and a smooth, soft-shell-like outer. The palms have tiny siliconised dots for grip, which function well, and the glue (often a weak point) hasn’t failed yet. The cuffs fully cover the wrist, are not tapered and have a loop at the wrist, all of which is makes for practical, grab-and-go protection. And on the outside of each glove, there’s a pocket which contains… a second, over-glove! These are a highly water-resistant shell which vastly improves warmth and, while not technically waterproof (the seams are not taped) they are about as waterproof as gloves get.
Read more: Outdoor Research Versaliner review
Extremities Sticky Power Liner
- Rating: 4/5
- Likes: fit, mid-range warmth
- Dislikes: slightly slower to dry
- Price: £25
- Weight: 83g
Fabric: Polyester (93%), Elastane (7%) | Sizes: wide range of 8, from XS to XL
Extremities will be known to many readers, as the glove manufacturer enjoys wide distribution in physical shops. This, alongside a very wide range of available sizes means they are a popular choice. The main component here is a medium weight fleece inner with a smooth faced outer, equipped with fine siliconised ‘threading’ on the palm and 3 of the fingers. These low-profile grips have proved durable so far and I find them less intrusive than dots.
Read more: Extremities Sticky Power Liner review
Rab Forge 160
- Rating: 3.5/5
- Likes: warm for a liner glove
- Dislikes: long fingered fit, some piling
- Price: £18
- Weight: 30g
Fabric: 46% Merino wool, 53% part recycled polyester | Sizes: S-XL (women’s S-L)
The Forge is one of two ‘true’ liner gloves in my selection. This one is a mix of (non mulesed) merino wool and polyester, at a ratio of 46/54%, of which 35% of the polyester is recycled. As a result, it dries slightly more slowly than a fully synthetic equivalent but is much warmer for its weight. At any rate, it’s so thin that it should dry in a sleeping bag or jacket pocket overnight.
Read more: Rab Forge 160 review