5 Best Hiking Gloves of 2021

Last Updated: January 2021

Jump to the Reviews / Buying Guide

A quality pair of hiking gloves is essential to any outdoor adventure.

However, hiking gloves come in many different shapes and styles, so finding the right one for your mountain excursions can be tricky.

To help you choose the best pair of hiking gloves for your upcoming trip into the great outdoors, we’ve reviewed five of our favorite models on the market today.

Plus, we’ve even created a guide to everything you need to know about gloves, so you know what to look for before you start shopping.

Top Pick





Black Diamond Torque

Outdoor Research Activelce

Black Diamond Mercury Mitts

Black Diamond Lightweight Fleece

Black Diamond Lightweight


Hiking Glove Reviews

hiking gloves choosing

To help you choose the best pair of hiking gloves for your upcoming trip here are our favorite models on the market today. 

Best Overall Hiking Gloves

 Black Diamond Torque

Important Specs:

  • Weight: 2.7oz (77g)
  • Style: Full Finger

What We Like:

  • Very sticky palm for improved grip in cold conditions
  • Woven softshell fabric is abrasion-resistant for durability
  • Neoprene cuff with velcro closure provides a better fit

What We Don’t Like:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Not waterproof

The Black Diamond Torque is a pair of high-end gloves for mountain pursuits. They’re specifically designed to be ultra-durable, thanks to their thick abrasion-resistant softshell fabric.

Thanks to this softshell fabric, the Torque are highly breathable, which is ideal for use on light and fast trips into the mountains. They also have a soft tricot lining on the inside for next-to-skin comfort and a bit of added warmth on cold days.

What sets the Torque apart, however, is their super grippy palm. Due to the stickiness of the leather on the palm of these gloves, they provide excellent grip on trekking poles and other gear, even in cold, low-dexterity situations.

Also check out: Black Diamond Midweight Gridtech Liner Gloves

For a slightly more affordable pair of gloves that offer good all-around performance in the mountains, the Black Diamond Midweight Gridtech Liner Gloves are a solid choice. They are made from performance grid fleece with a suede leather palm for an improved grip. Plus, they are touchscreen compatible and weigh just 0.9oz (25g), making them some of the lightest gloves on the market.

Best Hiking Gloves for Summer Hiking

Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves

Important Specs:

  • Weight: 0.7oz (19g)
  • Style: Fingerless

What We Like:

  • Very lightweight
  • Active cooling technology with UPF 50+ protection
  • Moisture-wicking and quick-drying

What We Don’t Like:

  • No finger protection
  • Does not offer any warmth or water-resistance

If you spend enough time outside, at some point, you’ll get sunburnt. A proper pair of sun gloves, however, like the Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves can help protect your hands from the sun’s harmful rays.

The Spectrum Sun Gloves use ActiveIce technology, which infuses xylitol crystals into the fabric of the gloves to actively cool your hands as you hike. They wick away sweat and are quick to dry for a more comfortable summertime hiking experience.

Additionally, the Spectrum Sun Gloves have an anti-slip palm print to give you more control and grip. They also provide UPF 50+ sun protection, which is ideal for anyone that spends a lot of time in sunny, alpine environments.

Recommended Alternative: Outdoor Research ActiveIce Chroma Full Glove

The Outdoor Research ActiveIce Chroma Full Glove provides even more coverage than the Spectrum Sun Gloves for hikers that want maximum sun protection. Due to their full fingerstyle, the Chroma Full Gloves are slightly less breathable, so they’re ideal for anyone that prioritizes sun protection above all else.

Best Hiking Gloves for Winter Hiking 

 Black Diamond Mercury Mitts

Important Specs:

  • Weight: 9.2oz (260g)
  • Style: Mittens

What We Like:

  • Fully waterproof construction is good for use in the snow
  • Durable Pertex shell for protection from the elements
  • Removable insulated liner with split-finger design for dexterity

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Fairly heavy

The Black Diamond Mercury Mitts are a pair of premium winter hiking mittens for cold weather use. They feature a durable Pertex shell that provides complete waterproofing protection against the snow and foul weather. The shell is also fully removable, so it can be used on its own for rain protection during summertime hiking.

The Mercury Mitts also feature a removable split-finger liner that allows for ample dexterity in cold weather. This liner is packed full of PrimaLoft Gold insulation and high-loft fleece for warmth when you need to lace up your boots or rifle through your pack.

Plus, the liner comes with its own waterproof BD.dry insert, so you won’t get your hands wet if you need to take off the Pertex shell to pack up your tent. Finally, Black Diamond crafted these mittens using a goat leather palm with kevlar patches and sticking for added durability in the harshest of conditions.

Recommended Alternative: Black Diamond Arc

The Black Diamond Arc is a more affordable alternative to the Mercury Mitts for milder winter conditions. They feature the same waterproof BD.dry insert for weather protection as well as some microfleece for insulation. These gloves have a Pittards Oil Tac leather palm for durability and improved grip, as well as a stretchy fabric for added comfort in the mountains.

Best Budget-Friendly Hiking Gloves

Black Diamond Lightweight Fleece Glove

Important Specs:

  • Weight: 1oz (28g)
  • Style: Full finger

What We Like:

  • Highly affordable liner glove
  • Made with Polartec microfleece for warmth
  • Very breathable and quick drying

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not waterproof

The Black Diamond Lightweight Fleece Glove is an excellent addition to any backpacking gear list. At just 1oz (28g), these gloves are some of the lightest on the market, so they’re easy to throw into your pack before hitting the trail.

They are made with 126g Polartec microfleece insulation for warmth on cool shoulder-season mornings. Due to their lightweight and slim design, they’re also a good option for use under a thick pair of mittens during the winter months.

For added dexterity, Black Diamond designed these gloves with a digital thumb and index finger. This makes these liner gloves easier to use with your phone for taking photos in the mountains or for regular use around town.

Also check out: Outdoor Research Vigor Lightweight Sensor Gloves

If you’re looking for an affordable glove that provides a bit more in terms of wind resistance, the Outdoor Research Vigor Lightweight Sensor Gloves are a solid choice. These gloves feature ActiveTemp thermo-regulating technology to help keep you cool and comfortable when charging up a slope. Plus, like the Black Diamond Lightweight Fleece Gloves, the Vigor Lightweight Sensor Gloves are fully touchscreen compatible.

Best Lightweight Hiking Gloves

Black Diamond Lightweight Softshell Glove

Important Specs:

  • Weight: 20z (58g)
  • Style: Full Finger

What We Like:

  • Weather-resistant softshell fabric
  • Highly breathable and moisture wicking
  • Stretchy cuffs to keep cold air out

What We Don’t Like:

  • Somewhat expensive for lightweight gloves

The Black Diamond Lightweight Softshell Glove is a performance glove for use during chilly weather conditions. Thanks to their softshell fabric, these gloves are highly weather-resistant and can offer enough protection during periods of light rain as you hike.

The softshell fabric on these gloves also features a four-way stretch for added comfort, as well as a DWR treatment to shed moisture in wet conditions. At the same time, they’re impressively breathable and can wick away sweat.

Black Diamond crafted these gloves with a lightweight stretch cuff, which is easy to take on and off throughout the day. However, the stretchy cuff also helps to block out cold air to keep your fingers warm throughout your adventures. Finally, they have a digital thumb and index finger for full touchscreen compatibility in the mountains.

Recommended Alternative: SmartWool Liner Glove

The SmartWool Liner Gloves are another excellent option for hikers that need a lightweight pair of gloves. Due to their merino wool construction, they’re a particularly good choice for anyone that wants a bit more warmth than softshell gloves like the Black Diamond Lightweight Softshell Glove can provide. While they don’t offer much in the way of weather protection, they are comfortable, warm, and fully touchscreen compatible.

Hiking Gloves Buying Guide

hiking gloves choosing

Gloves might seem like a simple piece of gear, but it turns out that there are hundreds of different pairs of hiking gloves available, each jam-packed with high-end technology. Up next, here’s what you need to know about gloves before you choose the pair that’s right for your needs.

Types of Hiking Gloves

There are many types of hiking gloves out there. Here’s how each type performs in the real world:

Full Finger

Full finger gloves are what most of us think of when we picture a pair of gloves. They provide full hand and finger coverage, which is ideal for protection from the sun, cold, and rain. 

While full finger gloves offer a good mix of dexterity and warmth, though, they don’t excel at either. Instead, they’re a good middle ground for people who want more warmth than what you can get from fingerless gloves but don’t want to sacrifice all their dexterity with a pair of mittens.


Fingerless gloves provide a decent amount of warmth, but not enough for the coldest of winter days. Since they leave your fingers exposed to the elements, fingerless gloves are best for rock climbing or other similar pursuits where dexterity is key.

Additionally, fingerless sun gloves are highly popular because they provide a lot of protection for the back of your hand without sacrificing dexterity or breathability.  


Mittens are a fan-favorite when it comes to maximizing warmth in the mountains. Since mittens keep your fingers together in one single compartment, they are much better at keeping your hands warm in very cold conditions.

However, the very aspect of mittens that makes them warm also means that they’re not exactly ideal if you’re trying to tie your boots on the trail. At the end of the day, what you get in warmth with mittens, you lose in dexterity. So, mittens are generally best for wintertime hiking in very cold conditions where warmth is the primary concern.


Lobster gloves are a fairly new hybrid style of glove that combines some of the warmth of mittens with some of the dexterity of full finger gloves. They feature three separate compartments - one for your thumb, one for your forefinger, and one for your other three fingers.

This lobster claw-esque design allows for decent dexterity when it comes to checking maps, holding trekking poles, or doing other small tasks on the trail. While lobster gloves won’t give you the dexterity you need to tie your shoelaces, they’re a good compromise in very cold conditions.

Considerations When Buying Hiking Gloves

gloves hiking cold winter

When buying your next pair of hiking gloves, keep the following key features in mind:


Except for sun gloves, the primary purpose of hiking gloves is to keep your hands warm in the mountains. The warmth of a pair of gloves is a factor of the amount of insulation they have, whether that’s fleece, wool, synthetic insulation, or down.

That being said, warmth is always a trade-off with both dexterity and weight. The warmer the gloves, the less precision you’ll have with your fingers when doing tasks that require fine motor skills. Additionally, all that added insulation means a heavier (and bulkier!) pair of gloves in your pack. 


One of the most common features you’ll find on a pair of gloves is touchscreen compatibility. This is normally built into gloves using small sensor pads at the tip of the thumb and pointer finger.

Even if you don’t normally use your phone while you hike, it’s nice to have gloves that are touchscreen compatible. That way, you can also use your gloves when you’re walking around town during the winter to text and make phone calls without exposing your hands to the cold.


Fit is one of the most important features of any pair of gloves. Ultimately, if a pair of gloves don’t fit well, it doesn’t matter how awesome they are.

That being said, gloves can be deceptively hard to size, especially if you’re ordering online. It’s highly recommended that you check a manufacturer’s size guide for their gloves before purchasing. 

Take the time to actually measure your hand and compare it to the size guide to see which size will fit you best, rather than just guessing. Otherwise, you could end up with gloves that are too big or too small to work for your hands.


While gloves are generally designed to keep your hands warm, it’s also important that they’re breathable enough to wick away sweat and moisture from your hands. Otherwise, you’ll end up with sweaty hands, which is not a pleasant feeling.

Softshell liner gloves tend to be the most breathable option. However, breathability tends to decrease as gloves get warmer and better insulated as fleece, down, and synthetic insulation often traps in moisture.

Additionally, waterproof gloves tend to be less breathable than their non-waterproof counterparts. So, if you’re looking to prioritize breathability in your gloves, you may have to opt for a lightweight pair with minimal insulation and no waterproofing to keep your hands cool and comfortable in the mountains.

Inner Fabric

The inner fabric of any pair of gloves will directly impact how comfortable they are to wear for an extended period of time. Many companies build their gloves with inner fabrics and liners that are soft to the touch, using materials like brushed tricot polyester, wool, or fleece.


Waterproofing is essential for any pair of gloves that are going to be used in cold, rainy environments or during the winter months. Our hands tend to get cold very quickly, and wet conditions only exacerbate this problem.

In gloves, waterproofing comes from two main sources: a waterproof liner and a DWR coating. Most gloves designed for wintertime use will have a burly waterproof liner or shell fabric that’s treated with a DWR coating to encourage water to bead off the surface instead of soaking through to your hand.

However, waterproofing is also a sure-fire way to reduce dexterity in your gloves, even if they’re not very insulated. So, if you live somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of rain, a non-waterproof pair of gloves might provide better overall performance than a waterproof alternative. 

On the other hand (hehe), hikers that spend a lot of time in wet environments will often find that the decrease in dexterity in waterproof gloves is well worth the added protection from the elements.

Sun Protection

Some hiking gloves are made, not to keep your hands warm, but to protect your hands from the sun. Unlike other parts of our body, which we can fairly easily cover-up for a bit of sun protection, our hands are normally exposed to the sun’s harmful rays when we’re in the mountains.

This can leave our hands vulnerable to sunburns and excessive skin aging the longer we spend time outside. Thankfully, many companies now make sun gloves, which are specifically designed to protect your hands from sunburns.

These gloves tend to be very lightweight and breathable, making them an ideal choice for hot environments. Additionally, they’ll offer UPF 50+ sun protection as well as active cooling technology to keep your hands happy and comfortable, even on a hot day in the alpine.  For summer hiking, we like the Outdoor Research ActiveIce Spectrum Sun Gloves.

If you have enjoyed this guide, also check out our buying guides for camping showershammocks, or backpacking pillows.

Key Takeaways

Hiking gloves come in many different shapes and styles, so finding the right one for your mountain excursions can be tricky.

Knowing your needs is the first step to choosing the the best hiking gloves for your upcoming trip into the great outdoors.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

Related Posts