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Warm gloves — whether they’re fleece-lined, insulated, or waterproof — are a nonnegotiable accessory for making it through the colder months, whether I’m wearing them to run errands, bike to work, or shovel a driveway for five hours. But picking out a good pair of gloves that fits your needs could take you all winter, especially when you try to balance dexterity and functionality against warmth.

As a writer covering outdoor and fitness gear, I spend a lot of time outside in the cold. I’ve commuted through snowpocalypse winters in Boston, dangled from the sides of cliffs while winter climbing in Colorado and New Mexico, and, most importantly, made dozens of dreaded late-night journeys to the bodega for snacks. Through all of those adventures, I’ve tested numerous pairs over the past six years to find the right ones for all kinds of activities. In addition, I talked to gear experts, ski instructors, fishermen, and filmmakers — whose hands are constantly exposed to the cold — for their recommendations and their favorite pairs. Below, I’ve organized our top recommendations by glove type and the activity they’re best used for.

The material of the glove will tell you a lot about the best use case and the level of warmth you can expect. Leather is windproof but not so good in damp conditions unless it’s been treated. Polyester or fleece will dry quickly and let your fingers breathe, but that means it’s not the most windproof. Neoprene gloves are designed to get wet (they’re made with the same material used in wetsuits).

Thicker gloves will generally have more insulation, which keeps your hands warmer. More insulation usually equates to less breathability (which means your hands might get clammy), but some models are designed with more breathable construction, such as having less or lighter material on the back of the hand while maintaining warmth in other areas. If you’ll be using your hands a lot while wearing gloves and need to maintain dexterity, you’ll want a slim pair with a tight fit. If you’re not going to be using your fingers much and just want to keep your hands warm, a thick, bulky pair may be your best choice. If you need warmth and some dexterity, you’ll want a pair with medium thickness that packs in warmth but still gives your fingers some freedom. I’ve noted below whether each glove is thin (second skin), medium (warmer, but not so thick you lose dexterity), or bulky (minimal dexterity).

I’ve noted below if you can use touchscreens while wearing each pair.

Material: Leather, nylon, and polyester | Thickness: Medium | Touchscreen compatible: Yes

If you’re going to buy only one pair of gloves for cold weather, I recommend this touchscreen-compatible medium-weight pair from Outdoor Research. Of the dozens of gloves I’ve tested, the StormTracker best hits that sweet spot of dexterity (more common in thinner gloves) and warmth (which you get with thicker models). Over the past year, I’ve worn them around town and for cold-weather hikes, and they’ve kept my digits warm and never clammy.

My top recommendation used to be the Black Diamond Midweight Screentap gloves (which are still my top pick for touchscreen compatibility), but after wearing them on some truly frigid days, I found them a little too thin to wear on their own — they work best as a liner glove. The StormTracker gloves are slightly beefier than the Screentaps, and they have a Gore-Tex membrane and windproof Gore fabric that protects my hands from blasts of cold air. Plus, they are touchscreen compatible and have zippered gauntlets around the wrist, which allow me to secure them to my hand and lock in more heat.

Material: Fleece, nylon, and polyester | Thickness: Medium | Touchscreen compatible: Yes

These thin polyester-fleece gloves keep my hands toasty while I’m walking around town, biking, and on runs. The Midweight Screentaps’ most notable feature is their excellent dexterity and touchscreen compatibility — it’s easy to pick up small things like keys and credit cards and to scroll and type with them on a touchscreen. They are a bit thinner than they might seem in pictures — they feel more like liner gloves. But as someone who runs hot for almost everything, I prefer a thinner glove, which is why the Screentaps have been my main pair of winter gloves for two years.

The Midweight Screentaps are also our top pick for touchscreen gloves and one of our favorite pairs of women’s gloves. They come recommended by Strategist writer Katherine Gillespie, who praised them for their comfort on chilly morning hikes in Patagonia’s Torres Del Paine National Park. “They’re thin enough to provide ample dexterity when fishing items out of a backpack or taking photos of scenic vistas yet thick enough to insulate against frosty mornings or random rainstorms,” she writes. “The touchscreen fingertips are highly responsive, and the stretchy cuffs prevent cold wrists.”

Material: Leather, wool, and neoprene | Thickness: Medium | Touchscreen compatible: No

I like to think of these cowhide gloves from Hestra as my “nice” winter gloves for two reasons: They are made from a supple leather that isn’t waterproof (but can be treated to shed water), and they are significantly pricier than other medium-weight gloves on this list. But, along with the Black Diamond Midweight Screentaps, I use these gloves the most out of all the others I’ve tested. They’re versatile: My fingers have stayed warm in them on both 15-degree days and 40-degree days, and they have a removable wool liner (which feels like the interior of a fuzzy sock) and a paracord wrist adjustment to cinch them down tight. Overall, you could consider this to be a “splurge” pick, but if you’re not doing any extreme winter sports, I think these gloves are well worth the investment.

Material: Fleece and polyester | Thickness: Thin | Touchscreen compatible: Yes

The Etip Recycled gloves are a thin, touchscreen-compatible glove that work well as a standalone option in temperatures of 40 degrees or higher and are best as a liner glove in colder weather. I’ve used these gloves for winter trail runs and loved how I could check my map and tap on my smartwatch without taking them off. When our columnist Chris Black went on the hunt for gloves that look cool, keep his “digits toasty,” and don’t cost a lot, he found these fleece gloves from the North Face. The fleece, which is made from 93 percent recycled polyester, is designed to keep hands warm for short periods or during movement, such as on winter runs or hikes. What Black likes most is that they’re touchscreen-compatible. The fleece on the palm side of the glove is U|R Powered, which means you can use all five fingers on your touchscreen. Plus the palms have a gripper so you won’t lose hold of your phone. NYC-based comedian Matthew Broussard likes the Etip Gloves for biking around the city, noting how their touchscreen compatibility allows him to check his phone for directions to his next gig.

Material: Wool and polyester | Thickness: Thin | Touchscreen compatible: Yes

If you prefer the feeling of wool over polyester, I recommend these liner gloves from Hestra. They a favorite of Krupnick, who is also a dad and most-of-the-year cyclist. “You don’t need a lot of warmth most of the time unless you’re skiing or outside all day — you need to be protected from the shock of touching cold things. Most winter, I live in glove liners,” he says. “These are my favorite — light and elegant and not at all baggy.” Unlike the North Face gloves above, Hestra’s are made with wool, which is an efficient insulator for both dry and wet conditions.

Material: Knit acrylic and latex coating | Thickness: Medium | Touchscreen compatible: No

I’ve used these Kincos for bicycle maintenance and have found their medium thickness and grip excellent for working with smaller tools that require more dexterity. They’re a must for Adam Butler, a general contractor in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He and his colleagues “generally try to not wear gloves except for winter work as carpenters. In the northeast, at least, we like to develop calluses,” he tells me. “Our winter work go-tos are rubber-dipped gloves like the Frost Breakers.” They have a latex coating on the palm and on the fingers, which provide grip — great for lifting heavy objects and handling tools in cold environments.

Material: Polyester, spandex nitrile metal wire | Thickness: Thin | Touchscreen compatible: Yes

If you’re going to be working with sharp tools and objects in the cold, these Schwer gloves are my top recommendation. For our roundup of the best touchscreen gloves, Grant Zwayer, founder of Cedar Hill Design & Co., recommended these cut-resistant gloves, which are coated with nitrile — a material that helps prevent punctures and scrapes against the skin. But that layer of protection doesn’t mean the gloves lack dexterity or touchscreen compatibility. “With these, I don’t miss customer calls trying to remove them — I can just answer the phone,” Zwayer says.

Material: Goatskin leather | Thickness: Medium | Touchscreen compatible: No

I’ve been using these leather work gloves for the past three years for all sorts of activities: chopping and carrying wood, cleaning up my patio, and gardening. They’re my most reliable pair of work gloves, and their leather construction has held up to abuse like handling splintery wood and even shoveling snow (they shed water thanks to this waterproof treatment I apply). They don’t have any added insulation, but I find the goatskin leather keeps the cold out somewhat while I’m working with them and using my hands. Their leather construction reminds me of the original Give’r gloves I mention below, except they’re slightly thinner since there’s no insulation. That medium amount of thickness lends good dexterity, so I can grip wrenches and other tools that fit in my palm, but if I’m working with smaller tools (such as the Allen wrenches I use on my bike), I prefer a thinner, more dextrous glove. The inside liner feels soft and velvety, so they’re a delight to wear year-round. Over the years, the leather has gotten more supple and developed a nice, shiny brown patina.

Material: Polyester and nylon | Thickness: Medium | Touchscreen compatible: Yes

I think it’s quite hard to find a waterproof glove that also offers dexterity, but these polyester gloves from Sealskinz fit the bill. Eric Lin, a cinematographer based in Brooklyn, New York, swears by them. “A few years back, after a memorable night shooting in freezing rain outside, I realized my warm gloves didn’t mean much if they weren’t waterproof,” he says. “So I went on the search for waterproof winter gloves and I found Sealskinz gloves.” There are probably warmer gloves out there, Lin says, but the fact that they were waterproof and allowed him enough movement to be dexterous with his fingers, he found them perfect for what he needed. Lin used an older version of the Waterproof All Weather Glove, but the line has since expanded to include an insulated version, which is built with a leather palm and neoprene.

Material: Polyester, acrylic, and latex | Thickness: Thin | Touchscreen compatible: No

I’ve used these Atlas gloves for dinghy sailing in college, where I was part of my school’s club team. The latex grip allowed me to hold onto wet lines without them slipping out of my hands during maneuvers or strong gusts. (Some of my teammates created a fingerless version of the Therma-Fits by cutting off the finger tops with scissors, which allowed water to flow through them more easily.)

“I’ve been wearing Atlas Therma-Fits for about 25 years,” says Christopher Nicolson, who works as a coastal fisherman in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and spends his winters as a winemaker in Red Hook, New York. “Since my hands are always soaked when I’m fishing, and since my hands are in the water all of the time, I like the Therma-Fits because they stay warm when your hands are wet.” Nicolson appreciates how the Therma-Fits insulate similarly to a wetsuit and trap a little bit of water between his skin and the glove. He also likes them because they have a very thick, grippy latex “dip” on the palms. Nicolson says they’ve worked equally well for him in dry conditions, but they are especially suited to wet environments.

Material: Leather palm, fleece and wool lining with GORE-TEX insert and PrimaLoft Gold insulation | Thickness: Bulky | Touchscreen compatible: No

If your hands and fingers will be exposed to lots of snow, I always recommend a glove that’s waterproof and provides plenty of insulation — especially for those long days on the slopes. Jeff Lane, a former snow ranger for the Mount Washington Avalanche Center, swears by lobster-claw mitts, which he wears at the ski resort and on cold days in the backcountry.

“Discovering this type of mitt-slash-glove was a game changer when I worked on Mt. Washington. Nothing beats a full mitten for warmth, but these come close,” he says. “They give you a lot of dexterity that you don’t get with a full mitten but still can keep your fingers warm on the coldest days. When it’s a not too cold day, they live in the bottom of my pack with a balaclava, just in case.”

Lane tells me he used a version from Outdoor Research for the last ten years, and the lobster-claw-mitt model the brand currently makes might not be exactly the same. He currently uses these Guide Finger Gloves from Black Diamond.

Material: Pigskin leather, cotton-blend canvas, and polyester elastic knit | Thickness: Medium | Touchscreen compatible: No

These ubiquitous work gloves are well known in the ski industry, and I’ve seen them on slopes and at resorts throughout the West. They come recommended by Lane of the Mount Washington Avalanche Center and by Ruben Kimmelman, a former snowboard instructor on Mount Baker. “These seem to be a standard uniform piece for ski-area employees everywhere,” Lane says, noting that they’re far less expensive than other outdoor gear brands but just as effective. “I wear them patrolling, and if they start to wear out, then they move into my garage for around-the-house use.” Lane recommends applying a waterproof coating on them, like Nikwax. Kimmelman agrees: “Add a little Scotchgard or Minwax to waterproof them and they are the bomb for $30.”

Material: Grid fleece with water-resistant shell flap | Thickness: Thin | Touchscreen compatible: Yes

I’ve used the WindHood GridTech gloves for running on especially cold and blustery days. The hooded flap protects my digits from the bite of a strong gust, and it packs down into the wrist cuff when you’re not using it. Lane likes these gloves for high-output activities like winter running or nordic skiing. “The on-the-move adjustability is perfect,” he says. “I start a run in mitten mode and after 15 minutes or so, when my blood is finally flowing through the fingertips, it’s super-easy to pull back the shell and let the fingers breathe a bit more.”

Material: Polyester with wind-resistant shell flap | Thickness: Thin | Touchscreen compatible: Yes

I run hot, so I prefer thinner gloves that can let my hands breathe. The Brooks Draft has been my main pair of cold-weather running gloves for the past year because of its just-right level of thickness. Like the Black Diamond GridTech gloves above, the Draft has a stashable wind shield to protect your fingers on frigid days. Plus, there are magnets at the wrists to keep the pair together. The Draft is also a favorite of Boston Marathon champion Des Linden, who says temperatures in the high 40s with a long-sleeve shirt and gloves is her ideal running weather. “When it gets hot with the mitten flaps on, you can ‘turn on the AC’ and flip them back. They’re very versatile,” she says.

Material: Leather and Thinsulate insulation | Thickness: Bulky | Touchscreen compatible: No

I’ve used these mittens from Give’r — a brand based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that specializes in insulated leather gloves — for two winters now, and they’re the warmest, most durable pair I own. Strategist contributor James Lynch likes the original Give’r gloves, but I prefer the mittens and the four-season version, which are both warmer (the mittens being the warmest). The mittens’ insulation is the most impressive thing about them: They have a layer of Thinsulate (used in gloves, jackets, and other warm apparel) wrapped in a heat-shield layer, then a durable, waxed cowhide leather exterior. Strategist contributor Maggie Slepian likes their insulation, too. She works on film sets in Montana where temperatures can dip to minus-15 degrees, and she poaches the Frontier Mittens from her ski bag to use for filming winter movies. Give’r can brand custom initials on each pair.

Material: Leather | Thickness: Bulky | Touchscreen compatible: No

I recommend these three-finger mittens if you want a warm winter glove that offers a slight boost of dexterity (compared to regular mitts). They are also Krupnick’s preferred pair of heavy gloves. “Mittens keep you warmer [than gloves], but just a tiny bit more dexterity makes it possible to do all kinds of things: adjust your hat, zip a kid’s coat, carry things,” he says. “When I’m working in the cold, I feel comfy taking them off for fine camera adjustments, knowing that when I pop them back on, my hands will be immediately cozy.”

Material: Wool, acrylic, nylon, spandex, with rubber grip | Thickness: Thin | Touchscreen compatible: No

These thin yet grippy knit gloves are the ones I recommend for winter cycling. They also come recommended by New York City bike messenger Paul Solis, who wears them for riding in cold, wet weather. After cycling through less-reliable models that claimed to be waterproof, Solis turned to this wool pair, which works similarly to the Atlas Therma-Fits and Kinco FrostBreakers above. “They’ve already survived a couple winters,” according to Solis.

Chris Black, Strategist columnist
• Adam Butler, Portsmouth, New Hampshire–based general contractor
Katherine Gillespie, Strategist writer
• Ruben Kimmelman, former Mount Baker snowboard instructor
Jacob Krupnick, Brooklyn, New York–based filmmaker
• Jeff Lane, former Snow Ranger for the Mount Washington Avalanche Center
Eric Lin, Brooklyn, New York–based cinematographer
Des Linden, professional marathoner
James Lynch, Strategist contributor
• Christopher Nicolson, coastal fisherman and winemaker
Maggie Slepian, Strategist contributor
• Paul Solis, New York City bike messenger

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best men’s wardrobe basics, white T-shirts for men, jeans for men, white sneakers for men, Chelsea boots, and flattering clothes for men. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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