What Are The Best Hiking Gloves for Men

Men's Gloves

Price

Our Rating

Black Diamond Soloist Cold Weather Gloves

​A

Outdoor Research Men's Alti Gloves

​B

REI Co-op Power Wool Gloves

​C+

The North Face Men's Etip Hardface Gloves

​B+

​Mountain Hardwear Hydra Pro Glove

​B+

It’s easy to misplace gloves. Actually, allow me to rephrase that: it’s easy to misplace a glove.

Gloves are like socks. I’ve never, in my life, lost an entire pair of socks. I’ve never woken up on a freezing cold morning and thought “thank goodness I invested in that quality pair of gloves earlier in the year,” reached into a drawer and found both of the gloves missing.

Only one is missing.

Where did it go? One of my work colleagues has a theory on the epidemic of pairless socks that complicate her wash days - that there’s some supernatural being, a sock-fairy, who delights in absconding with single socks. If so, they double up as a glove thief, too.

Lost gloves are no laughing matter, of course - especially when you’re out on the trail. Anyone familiar with the literature of mountaineering disasters (let’s be honest, the only mountaineering literature read by non-mountaineers) recalls those passages where an errant glove blows away down a Himalayan ridge and the climber knows they’re in trouble.

If you’re out on the trail in cold weather gloves are arguably your most important piece of gear. Lose them in cold enough conditions and frostbite is almost inevitable. Wearing gloves that are flimsy, made of the wrong material or otherwise unsuitable can be every bit as bad.

If you’re a serious hiker you’ll need a serious pair of gloves. Our guide will help you find the best hiking gloves.

​Value for Money

Everyone wants value for money. There are plenty of cheap gloves on the market but what price do you place on your fingers? If you’re hiking anywhere there’s the remotest chance you could encounter freezing conditions, you’ll want to ensure your gloves are up to the job.

Since gloves may turn out to be your most important piece of kit let’s take some time to look at the features of high-quality hiking gloves for men.

Style​

Mittens have only two flaps - one for your thumb and one for the rest of your fingers. The chief advantage of their design is warmth.

Tested.com checked the science and confirm that mittens are warmer than gloves as they allow heat from individual fingers to pass to each other rather than “radiate their heat” into the cold air as individually cloaked fingers do. The chief disadvantage of mittens is obvious: try doing anything fiddly with only a thumb and one giant, mitten-shaped finger!

Traditional gloves have five flaps, one for the thumbs and each finger. Dexterity and flexibility are their strengths, but, as we’ve seen, they lose more heat than designs with less fingers.

Lobster gloves are popular with cyclists and offer an interesting midway option between mittens and gloves. They have three flaps. One for the thumb, one for two fingers and one for the other two. They offer more flexibility than a mitten and, by bunching two fingers together, retain more heat than a five-fingered glove.

Material​

We live in a material world and nature provides the sternest test of any material. Out on the trail your hands could be battling rain, ice, rock and mud on the outside and, no less significantly, your palm sweat on the inside!

The current consensus on a three-layer approach to hiking clothing (2) applies to gloves, too. Your base layer will, ideally, be a breathable material that will wick sweat away from your skin; your mid-layer is all about insulation and warmth; the outer layer should be water, wind and weather-proof.

Merino wool is a natural material that wicks moisture away the skin and provides odor resistance - a major base layer bonus to anyone who’s ever played soccer or baseball and “smelled the glove!”

Nylon is probably the most common synthetic alternative to merino wool. It performs a similar function and is generally considered more durable in the long run, though lacks natural odor protection.

Fleece can also be used as a base layer. As this educational YouTube video (worth checking out for the bizarre voiceover alone) explains, fleece is ”lightweight yet breathable”- valuable qualities for the outdoors. As fleece also helps retain heat it can be a good insulating material, too.

Gore-Tex, Pertex and Membrain are common examples of the kind of high-tech materials used for the outer layer of hiking gloves. Gore-tex is marketed as “waterproof, windproof and breathable” (3), which will stand you in good stead in difficult conditions.

Size and Durability​

If the glove fits wear it. That’s how the saying goes, right?

You certainly don’t want to be caught in a winter storm wearing the wrong sized gloves! Check out this sizing guide to make sure you know the best fit.

Your gloves will also be worse than useless on the trail if they fall apart or start leaking icy water. Durability is key. You’ll want to look for gloves with features such as seam-lock stitching and outer layers reinforced with materials like leather and silicone to ensure that they’ll hold up under the toughest conditions.

If your definition of hiking includes a bit of rock climbing or scrambling you may want to up the durability even further. Kevlar, the same stuff that’s used in body armor, is used to reinforce some specialised gloves. Talk about a bulletproof choice!

​Touchy-Feely?

If you’re anything like the countless individuals who almost walk into me in the street, so entranced are they by the screen of their smartphone, you’ll want to look out for another feature of high-quality gloves: touch screen compatibility.

Some gloves have specially designed finger and thumb prints that will allow you to use your phone without removing them. Joking aside, this could be a lifesaver, since continually removing gloves to make an emergency call could expose you to frostbite.

Dexterity and the ability to perform fiddly tasks in your gloves shouldn’t be underrated. Many pairs of hiking gloves have detachable layers so that, in milder conditions, you can wear only the inner part of the glove and layer up as it gets colder. In fact, it could be argued that gloves with removable layers are the ultimate hiking glove since they are suitable for every conceivable condition you’ll encounter on the trail.

​Let's look at some of the best hiking gloves 

So we know what we’re looking for, right? A glove that’s durable, flexible, wind and waterproof with a base layer that wicks away sweat, detachable outer layers and fingertips so dextrous they can be used to operate a smartphone!

Not a lot to ask for, is it? Let’s take a look at five gloves on the market to see if any come close to our prima donna needs.

​REI Co-op Power Wool Gloves

rei co op power pro gloves

Made from a carefully considered blend of natural and synthetic materials, a merino wool interior and a “synthetic fibre” exterior, these gloves are specifically designed for hiking and promise a blend of softness and warmth.

A Durable Water Repellent (DWR) exterior finish provides protection from the elements and the palms are patterned with silicone to improve grip and provide touchscreen compatibility.

The waterproofing and synthetic exterior would have helped me out on my last winter outing, when fresh snow clung to my thick wool gloves in ungainly clumps that gradually reduced my dexterity to zero.

PROS

  • Merino wool naturally resists odors and wicks away sweat
  • Some waterproofing
  • Touchscreen compatible
  • Comparatively low price

CONS

  • Under-the-cuff design may not be suited for severe weather conditions
  • No detachable layers for flexibility
The north face mens etip hardface gloves

​The North Face promise that these Hardface Gloves are “twice as warm as our traditional Etip™ gloves.” Predominantly synthetic, the gloves are 94% polyester and 6% elastane smooth-face brushed-back fleece.

Like the Rei gloves in the previous product review, the palms of the gloves are reinforced with silicone and are compatible with touchscreens. The glove’s fleece design is marketed as “wind blocking,” a useful feature if you're used to hiking at elevations where the wind is a persistent, at times stunning, force, but the glove has no waterproofing features.

PROS

  • Polyester and fleece are both lightweight and breathable so palm sweat shouldn’t cause much trouble in these
  • Windproofing present
  • Touchscreen compatible
  • Low price

CONS

  • Under-the-cuff design may not be suited to severe weather conditions/prolonged hiking
  • No detachable layers for flexibility
  • No waterproofing features
Mountain Hardwear Hydra Pro Glove

​These gloves are in a whole different price range to the previous two on the list - we’ve gone from low to high - but offer a range of more advanced features. For the first time all three suggested layers are present in the design, with an insulation layer comprised of a special material called Thermal Q Elite joining a polyester base layer lining and a waterproof outer shell.

The palm of the glove is reinforced with goatskin leather but those whose acquaintance with wind and rain inevitably provokes an endlessly running nose will be far more interested in another feature - a suede thumb patch specifically designed for wiping your nose!

PROS

  • Base layer, mid layer and outer layer all present
  • Waterproof
  • No more messing around with hankies in 20 knot winds! Use the thumb patch!

CONS

  • Though all three layers are present none are detachable, limiting the glove’s flexibility
  • No touchscreen compatibility
  • High price point
Black Diamond Soloist Cold Weather Gloves

The first over-the-cuff gloves on our list also feature the first removable insert. Marketed as “100% waterproof” with “170 g Prim aloft Gold insulation on back of hand and 133 g Prim aloft Gold needle punch palm insulation,” the liner is equipped to stand alone as a pretty handy outdoor glove in itself.

The shell of the glove is comprised of a mixture of nylon and spandex, with a goatskin palm and fingertips to withstand the rigors of climbing and scrambling. There are attachment points for carabiners on the fingertips, making the gloves suitable for hardcore climbing as well as trekking.

PROS

  • Over-the-cuff design - the style best suited to serious and prolonged outdoor activities
  • Base layer, mid layer and outer layer all present with a detachable insert to increase adaptability to conditions
  • The base layer and outer layer combine to offer wind and waterproofing

CONS

  • No touchscreen compatibility
  • Mid-to-high price point
Outdoor Research Men's Alti Gloves

​The final entry on our list has the highest price point but, arguably the most features of any of the sampled gloves. Indeed, in many ways the Outdoor Research product can be seen as two gloves.

The liner detaches and contains 170 grams of PrimaLoft Gold insulation, making it a robust glove in itself, but when attached to a shell that contains a further 100 grams of PrimaLoft (a form of insulation that retains heat even when wet) and a wind and waterproof Gore-Tex covering, the glove becomes extremely robust.

The presence of pull loops, carabiner loops and gauntlet closures highlights that this is a very serious glove, one destined to be worn by men hanging from ropes on icy cliffs and trekking through icy wastes.

PROS

  • Over-the-cuff design - the style best suited to serious and prolonged outdoor activities
  • Base layer, mid layer and outer layer all present with a detachable insert to increase adaptability to conditions
  • The base layer and outer layer can essentially be seen as two separate gloves, both with insulating properties

CONS

  • No touchscreen compatibility
  • Very high price point

Our Favorite 

Picking a winner is rarely easy but, all things considered, the Black Diamond Soloist Cold Weather Gloves come out top of this list.

They do not have all the features you would look for in a modern glove - touchscreen compatibility is a big miss - but the combination of a detachable waterproof liner capable of functioning as a mild weather glove and a robust, over-the-cuff shell that could elevate protection from the elements to a high level make this a winner. The Outdoor Research Men's Alti Gloves ran them close but lost due to a notably higher price point.

Of course, it may be that you don’t seek ultimate cold weather protection in a glove. If you don’t expect to encounter freezing temperatures where you’re trekking the first three entries on our list may appeal to you more, especially with their touchscreen compatibility.

However, your fingers are a serious business. We’ve gone for a glove that will work for you in any conditions, a glove you could trek with in Alaska or Arkansas. Just make sure you don’t lose one!

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