Keeping your hands warm and dry in the winter can be a real challenge. When you’re touring uphill or skiing aggressively downhill, your hands might be so toasty they start sweating. The moment you stop moving, that moisture will freeze and leave you with painfully cold fingers.
One of the best ways to regulate temperature in your hands is with a good pair of glove liners. Glove liners provide just enough insulation to keep your hands warm, but not so much that you start sweating. They’re also great at wicking moisture when you’re working hard. When it gets cold, you can easily fit a big insulated pair of ski gloves over them to warm up your hands.
In this guide, I’ll show you the 8 best glove liners for skiing, touring, mountaineering, and cold weather hiking and help you choose the right pair for every winter adventure.
My Review Process
I have cold hands, so I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about glove liners. In fact, I usually carry at least two pairs of liners with me anytime I head out skiing, and even more if I know I’m going to be climbing snow in the springtime.
I’ve tried out glove liners of varying thicknesses and materials and used them for everything from downhill skiing and ski touring to ski mountaineering and winter running. My picks for the best glove liners are based on my experience using different liners for all of these activities.
The Hestra Touch Point Dry gloves are my favorite pair of glove liners for skiing, and especially for backcountry skiing. They're made with a blend of merino wool and polyester that's warm, breathable, and fast-drying. I've found that they do a great job of keeping my hands dry on the uphill and warm on the downhill.
There's not much to these gloves. They have touchscreen-compatible fingertips, but that's about it. To me, the simplicity is a plus and helps to keep the price affordable.
The Icebreaker Sierra gloves are an excellent choice for skiers who prefer a little extra warmth.
They have more merino wool than the Hestra glove liners, but still incorporate Lycra and Spandex to add quick-drying properties. I've found that this fabric blend is a little more durable than typical merino-polyester blends, but not quite as breathable.
A stretchy cuff helps to keep snow out, although it also makes the gloves a little more difficult to put on and take off. The fingertips are touchscreen-compatible.
The North Face Apex+ are the perfect liners to provide a boost of warmth on cold days. They're made with Heatseeker Eco insulation, a fleecy material that does a great job trapping body heat. In addition, the backside of the gloves is a windproof softshell material that blocks out the wind.
These gloves are warm enough to wear on their own in the fall and spring, and they're very toasty if you wear them under a bigger pair of ski gloves. Just keep in mind that the insulation makes them a little bulkier, so you might want to size up your ski gloves if you plan to use these liners.
The Outdoor Research Waterproof Liners are the perfect outer gloves for warm spring days. They're like having rain jackets for your hands - they keep water out but still breathe well enough to prevent you from sweating. I use these gloves when touring in the spring and for most spring snow climbing.
I prefer using these liners as standalone gloves, but they do also work underneath a big pair of ski gloves. Don't expect much heat retention from these gloves, as they're primarily a windproof/waterproof layer. They're also not as soft against your skin as merino wool or silk.
Heated glove liners are a great option for ultra-cold downhill skiing, snow camping, and anyone with circulation problems. I like the Snow Deer Heated Liners because the heating elements run all the way to the fingertips. They also have 3 adjustable heat settings and a battery life indicator built into the control button.
You can't recharge the gloves with a USB cable, which is a minor disappointment. The batteries pop out of the gloves and must be recharged with the included charger. On the bright side, this design allows for bigger batteries that last longer on cold days.
The gloves are made with fleecy fabric to hold in warmth. However, they're thin enough that you'll probably want to wear them underneath an insulated ski glove.
The Dakine Element Wind Pro gloves fall in between what I’d normally call a glove liner and a full ski glove. They’re made with 300 grams of Polartec Wind Pro fleece, which is both extremely warm and windproof. The polyester and nylon outer material is also fairly breathable for how substantial it feels.
The glove liners are enough on their own for mild winter days, but they’re also form-fitting enough to easily slip under most ski gloves and mountaineering gloves. The only drawback I’ve found is that they need to be hand washed. But let’s be honest—it’s not very often that I’m washing my gloves anyway.
Silk glove liners like the Terramar Thermasilk are ridiculously soft against your skin and extremely breathable. If you think merino wool feels good, just wait until you try these gloves.
The downside to silk gloves is that they're usually thin. I like the Thermasilk gloves because they're a little warmer than average, although you'll probably still want to use them in combination with heavy-duty mittens or even heated ski gloves. On warm spring days, they make for very comfortable and fast-drying standalone gloves.
If you tend to destroy glove liners like I do, having a pair of budget liners you don't mind beating up is great. The KastKing Morning Frost liners are cheap and work well for just about everything. They're warm, stretchy, and offer touchscreen-compatible fingertips.
These gloves are made from polyester and fleece, providing a fair amount of warmth. However, they're less breathable than merino wool and don't dry out as fast as more expensive gloves on this list. I often use them for climbing, which is very destructive to soft glove liners, and swap them out with a nicer pair of liners as soon as I stop moving.
How To Choose Glove Liners For Skiing
Now that you’ve seen my 8 favorite glove liners, you need to decide which pair is right for you. Here are the main factors I consider when picking glove liners for ski touring and other winter adventures.
Glove liners can be made of several different materials, including fleece, merino wool, silk, and polyester blends. These materials are all similar in that they’re highly breathable and stay warm even if they get wet.
My favorite glove liners use a blend of merino wool and polyester. The wool is extremely breathable and odor-resistant, while the polyester helps the liners dry out faster if they get snow on them. Merino wool on its own is also great, but it tends to stay wet for much longer.
I keep several pairs of glove liners in my backpack on most trips, and the biggest difference between them is how insulated they are.
Thin liners can feel like almost nothing on your hands, providing just a little protection from the wind. Thicker liners may have multiple layers of fabric and offer a fair amount of warmth, especially for spring skiing.
Often, I’ll put on my thinnest liners for skinning uphill and not worry too much about letting them get wet. Then I’ll switch into my dry, thicker liners and waterproof ski gloves for the downhill.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, I absolutely love waterproof glove liners. They’re perfect for spring skiing when the snow is wet and I’m frequently shoving my hands into the snow to anchor myself with my ice axe.
However, waterproof liners won’t necessarily do you much good in the winter, when the snow is colder and drier. Most downhill skiers would also be better off with waterproof ski gloves and a non-waterproof pair of liners.
Little features in your glove liners can make a big difference when it’s freezing outside and you don’t want to take your hand out of your liner, even for a second.
One feature I’d consider essential these days is touchscreen compatibility so you can use your favorite ski app with your liners on. I also like having sticky material on the palm since it makes it easier to grip your ski pole or ice axe.
Glove liners can make a huge difference in keeping your hands warm and dry while skiing.
I recommend the Hestra Touch Point Dry liners as the overall best glove liners for skiing. The merino wool and polyester blend is great at wicking moisture and dries out quickly, and they’re breathable enough to be comfortable while touring uphill. I also like the Icebreaker Sierra gloves, which offer a fabric blend with more merino wool for insulation.
Ski glove liners can help keep your hands warm while offering more dexterity than a large ski glove or mitten. They’re also designed to be breathable and to help wick moisture away from your hands when you’re working up a sweat.
Wool, fleece, and polyester blends are all warm materials commonly used for glove liners. All of these materials stay warm even when they get wet, which is important for liners.
Glove liners offer light insulation to help keep your hands warm on cooler days. On cold days, you’ll definitely want to pair them with a pair of ski gloves or mittens to ensure your hands are warm enough.
Heated glove liners can keep your hands toasty on very cold days. They’re most effective when put underneath an insulating ski glove or mitten.
Yes, you can wear glove liners alone if it’s not too cold out. However, keep in mind that many glove liners are not waterproof and can get wet if you get snow on them.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.