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Best hiking and walking gloves for staying warm outdoors

However cosy your core is on a winter walk, freezing fingers will make your life a misery. Our guide to hiking and walking gloves will help you keep warm.

Man hiking in the snow in winter. /Credit: JGI/Tom Grill/Getty

Gloves; a small item with a big impact. It’s easy to forget them on a winter walk, but you’ll probably end up feeling miserable without them. And although they might seem like an afterthought when it comes to hiking gear, there are several key factors you should look out for when buying a pair.

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A great set of hiking gloves will protect against the wind and rain and help you conserve heat to keep your hands nice and toasty. To do this, they’ll need a fleece, wool or thermal lining. Look out for ethically sourced merino wool blends for extra warmth. 

Gloves with removable mitten attachments can provide both warmth and flexibility. And you may want to opt for a pair with an innovative ‘touchscreen finger’ if you find yourself reaching for your phone during countryside strolls. 

For more inspiration, take a look at our guides to the best hiking shorts, socks, shoes and backpacks

Best hiking gloves to keep your hands warm on cold walks

Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Gloves

Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Gloves

Sealskinz is a popular brand when it comes to outdoor gear – and for good reason. It’s got 25 years of experience creating waterproof gloves, socks and hats to stand up to the toughest conditions.

These all-weather gloves are made with 100% waterproof materials to protect against the wind and rain. They’re also breathable and they have good flexibility, thanks to the pre-curved fingers. 

One major benefit of these gloves is the control they can provide. There’s no liner movement and Sealskinz has added a PU suede section over the palm for extra grip. 

Jack Wolfskin Vertigo Glove

Jack Wolfskin Vertigo Glove

On dry but chilly days, these gloves from Jack Wolfskin should keep in the heat. Complete with 200-weight fleece with a soft thermal lining, they provide comfort and warmth. 

Extra benefits include the reinforced palms and elasticated wrists to stop cold draughts from reaching your hands. 

This is a versatile pair of gloves, designed to be used for a wide variety of different outdoor activities.

Craghoppers Gallus Gloves

Craghoppers Gallus Gloves

These gloves have a 50% merino wool blend, which provides excellent protection against the cold, thanks to the material’s effective insulating properties. They come with a soft, knitted construction and a ‘touchscreen finger’, so you can use your phone without taking them off. 

Also included in the design is a handy pairing attachment to help you clip the gloves together for easy storage.

Forclaz Mountain Trekking Mittens

Forclaz Mountain Trekking Mittens

If you’re after a practical and highly durable pair of hiking gloves, try these ones from Forclaz. They have a removable mitten attachment, so you can switch to a fingerless glove design whenever you want. Magnets hold the mittens in place for a secure fit.

The cord at the base of the gloves makes it easy to pull them on, and you can use the straps on the fingers to take them off again.

You won’t need to worry about cold fingers either; these gloves are 100% windproof and have a fleece lining for extra comfort. Plus, there’s a reinforced panel on the palm and thumb, so they should be ideal for tough outdoor tasks and activities.

Extremities Fingerless Thinny Glove

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If you want to keep your fingers free to fiddle with your phone or GPS, these stretchy, knitted, close-fitting Thermolite gloves made from polyester give you some welcome protection from Jack Frost. When it’s really freezing, wear them as a base layer beneath more substantial gloves.

They are lightweight and fast-drying, and provide excellent warmth for their weight. The gloves come in one size fits all. 

They’re ideal for fiddly tasks and wearing as a base layer to line thicker gloves.

Outdoor Research Waterproof Liners

Outdoor Research waterproof liners

If you have a great pair of outer gloves that are warm but not waterproof, these could be the ideal solution: waterproof and fleecy liner gloves. The first ever, according to Outdoor Research. They are windproof whilst still being lightweight and breathable, with a pull-on loop and tapered wrist.

The fabric is touchscreen compatible, allowing you to use your phone without shedding a layer, and silicon is embossed on the palm and some of the fingers to improve your grip.

This is a versatile pair of gloves – wear them on their own in cool weather or beneath bulkier outer gloves when the sleet comes in.

Extremities Vortex GTX Glove

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If you suffer from cold fingers, the rain is often a worse foe than snow. Once your gloves are soaked, the wind chill really kicks in.

These neat gloves are made from a waterproof Gore-Tex outer, lined with soft microfleece and filled with a layer of synthetic insulation. They are less bulky than many other similar gloves, so you’re much more likely to reach for them repeatedly through winter.

They have touchscreen on the forefinger and thumb, to save you having to take the gloves off if you need to use any devices whilst out and about.

These are smart gloves that look and feel the part on the hill, at the market or walking the dog.

Outdoor Research Transcendant mitts

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There’s no messing around with these super-cosy mitts, stuffed with responsibly sourced goose down. These are the kind of thing you’ll want to wear when winter really bites – whether walking in the snow, shopping in a Christmas market, or watching wildlife in a frosty wetland. A slightly sticky silicon coating on the underside helps you grip hiking poles or binoculars.

Bear in mind that once wet, down stops insulating. So wear on cold dry days or add a mitt cover like the Minimus mitt below to keep moisture out.

Extremities Insulated Waterproof Sticky Power Liner Glove

Extremities Insulated Waterproof Gloves

With a warm insulating layer and a waterproof membrane to keep your hands dry, these gloves offer some effective weather protection. They also boast a grid of slightly sticky silicone on the palm and the inside of the fingers. This improves your grip – until it gets wet, when it  loses its adhesive quality.

The size came up a little large for me, and the extra bulk made them more difficult for fiddly tasks than I expected. The outer fabric on the palm is not attached to the inner layers and tends to slide around on them as you grip things. This might not bother you, but I would recommend you try for size before you buy if you can, as a close fit might resolve the problem.

These gloves are best for driving and other light manual tasks in freezing conditions.

Montane Minimus Waterproof Mitt

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These waterproof mitts or glove covers (made of a fabric called Pertex Shield) fit into a tiny stuff sack and weigh just 44g, so you can pop them in your pack in case of a downpour. The elasticated wrist provides a close fit, and there’s an adjustable hem. 

Yes – these gloves have a pretty stiff price tag, but they can keep your hands dry and warm on tough winter hikes. In rugged uplands, they would be a good addition to your pack all year round.

Outdoor Research Meteor Mitts

Outdoor Research Meteor Mitts

The waterproof mittens protect your hands from really harsh winter weather. The outer layer is made of a tough, water-resistant nylon fabric. Inside, there are removable fleece mitten liners, the thumb and tip of which can be folded back and fastened with a pair of sewn-in magnets, to quickly expose your fingers when needed. A wrist strap on each outer mitt can be tightened with your teeth to keep drafts out.

Note that we haven’t had a chance to try the mitts out in heavy rain, but Outdoor Research’s Infinite Warranty guarantees that the Pertex Shield membrane is 100% waterproof.

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