Kids ski gloves in snow

Kids Ski Gloves vs Mittens - What's the best option?

In the lead up to the ski season we often receive calls from customers asking for advice about buying the right kids ski gloves or mittens for their children. We've heard many stories about families missing out on an entire day of skiing as they've bought the wrong type or inadequate gloves for their kids and so have had to retreat from the slopes to buy new ski gloves.

What to consider when buying kids ski gloves?

Here we help you to decide which are the best kids ski gloves or mittens for your children, so you can leave for your skiing holiday confident that they have the right kit. This will depend both on the age of your child and how active they are, as well as how cold and wet the weather is likely to be. Remember keeping your kids hands warm really can make or break a ski holiday.

5 Key points for buying kids ski gloves

  1. Don't buy too cheap.
  2. Buy mittens for under 6yrs and older children who feel the cold.
  3. Older children tend to prefer gloves as it gives them better dexterity than mittens.
  4. Three-fingered gloves are a good compromise between a mitten and glove.
  5. Consider mittens for everyone if you are going to a very cold area (Lapland, Canada, Scandinavia).

For skiing children need insulated, breathable and waterproof gloves or mittens. Children (and their parents) under the age of 6 years tend to prefer mittens as they are easier to get onto small hands and generally warmer than gloves. Over the age of 6 years many children prefer gloves as they allow more movement than mittens, however, if your child feels the cold then mittens are still the best option. 

When buying mittens or gloves for a family ski holiday don't buy too cheap. Really cheap “ski” gloves and mittens are often poorly made and not very warm or waterproof. If your child gets cold hands whilst skiing, they are going to understandably be upset and they'll be even more unhappy when their fingers warm up and they get painful “hot aches”. There are corners you can cut to keep the cost of skiing down, but buying cheap, poor-quality gloves or mittens is not a good idea. 

Family skiing

Why choose mittens for kids skiing?

If you are taking your kids skiing under the age of 6 years, then it is a really good idea to kit them out with a pair of ski mittens and here are the reasons why:


  • Warmer
  • Easier to get small hands into

Firstly, ski mittens are warmer than ski gloves. In a mitten all your fingers stay in contact and share the heat rather than being isolated into separate glove fingers. As your child will probably spend quite a lot of time standing around in ski school or sitting on the snow (particularly if they are very young) making sure their hands stay warm is key for them to enjoy their skiing. 

Secondly mittens are much easier to put on your child than gloves. Trying to get a little ones four fingers and a thumb into the correct section of a glove can be really challenging, and you'll have enough on your plate trying to get out for your days skiing without battling to get a pair of little gloves on! Some styles of mittens have zip openings to make it even easier to get little hands inside. If they can easily pull their own mittens on, then that's a good indicator that they might be ready for ski gloves next season.


  • Less dexterity

As all four fingers are kept together you do loose dexterity when you are wearing mittens. As young children will still need help to zip their ski jacket up and secure their helmet, even when they're not wearing mittens, the loss of dexterity is outweighed by the warmth and ease of getting mittens on. However, as your children get older and more independent, they may find the lack of dexterity frustrating and prefer gloves.

One other consideration is that if you rip seam on a mitten then all of the fingers on that hand will be cold and wet, whereas with gloves only the closest finger should be affected. However, this is unlikely to happen, particularly if you use good quality mittens.

Hestra kids gloves in snow

Why choose gloves for kids skiing?

Once your children are around the age of 6 years then kids ski gloves become an option:


  • Better dexterity
  • More secure grip on ski poles

Ski gloves allow much greater dexterity than mittens. You can do a jacket zip up, adjust your ski pants or tighten up your ski boots all without removing your gloves.

You get a more secure grip on your ski poles with gloves. A proper pair of ski gloves should have a lot more insulation across the back of the fingers and hand and less across the palm. This gives you more insulation from wind chill when you are skiing fast downhill whilst still allowing you to grip a ski pole securely. 


  • Not as warm
  • Harder for young children to put on

Ski gloves are not as warm as ski mittens. This is less of an issue for older children who are likely to be more active and involved in ski lessons. But if your child feels the cold or you are going somewhere particularly cold then stick with mittens.

Ski gloves can be very tricky for young children to put on and they get frustrated trying to get their fingers into the correct slot.

Why choose three-fingered gloves for kids skiing?

Family skiing

Three-fingered gloves are a half-way house between a ski glove and a ski mitten. As you can see from the photo above a three fingered glove keep the thumb and index finger separate from the rest of the fingers. This means that you'll get better dexterity than a mitten, but it will be warmer than a full five-fingered glove. 

We've found these are really popular with children and they are easier to get on than a full glove. Not that many brands are currently making them for kids but the Hestra kids 3-fingered glove gets great reviews  

Don't forget kids gloves for Apres Ski?

A skiing holiday isn't just about skiing all day long, especially if you're a kid. There's plenty of fun to be had in the snow after skiing. Sledging, making snow men and evening walks are all very much part of the holiday. How do you make sure your kids hands stay warm for the apres ski?

The key here is you want to make sure that your kid's skiing gloves or mittens have time to air and dry out after the skiing. So, if your children go straight out onto the sledge after they come back from skiing then they'll keep the same gloves on. If you are going out and about later in the evening, then it's a good idea to take a spare pair of gloves to you allow plenty of time for the ski gloves to dry out throughout the evening and overnight. A pair of fleece gloves can be enough it you're walking to a restaurant or bar with hands in pockets. 

If you can it's a good idea to pack a spare pair of insulated and waterproof gloves which you can both use in the evening and then these also double up as a spare pair of skiing gloves as a back up in case your child manages to drop one off as chair lift.

Children wearing waterproof dungarees and jacket sitting in a puddle

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