Best Waterproof Gloves for Hiking: Our Top 5 Picks

Ever been out on the trail with wet, cold hands? Yeah, it isn’t pleasant. However, there is a solution. We have put together our list of the best waterproof gloves for hiking. A pair of these will keep your digits warm and dry next time you venture out on the trail. 

But, do not be fooled. Not all waterproof gloves are made equal. In fact, not all waterproof gloves are….waterproof. Many gloves which claim to be waterproof are actually water resistant. This is a big difference. 

At Cool Wilderness, we appreciate then when you buy a pair of waterproof gloves you expect them to do what it says on the tin. Therefore, you can be assured that we have done our research and are bringing you the best waterproof gloves for hiking on the market. 

Waterproof gloves are a specialist piece of kit. They need to be looked after and there functionality needs to be understood. That is why we have put together our ultimate buyer’s guide at the bottom of this article. 

By the end of this article you will be armed with the knowledge of what to look for, and how to look after your waterproof gloves. 

Table of Contents

Best Waterproof Gloves for Hiking: At A Glance

Best Waterproof Gloves for Hiking: All The Details

Frequently asked questions about the best waterproof gloves for hiking

What is good about waterproof gloves?

Well, the first and most obvious benefit is that they will keep your hands dry. This is important when hiking in cold or wet weather because your hands will rapidly lose heat. This can lead to medical issues ranging from aches and pains to hyperthermia. Dry hands are also a key part of having warm hands. Therefore, the best waterproof gloves for hiking should also have strong insulation properties which can keep your hands warm when out on the trail.

What is bad about waterproof gloves?

Even the best waterproof gloves for hiking have limitations. The fabric used to make these gloves waterproof is extremely robust and tight-knit. This causes a problem in that some gloves are not breathable or moisture-wicking. This can causes issues because if they get wet inside – which may be unavoidable if you are hiking in snow or really severe weather – they will not dry quickly. A further issue is that the mitten-style gloves or those with an added/thick layer to provide extra warmth will not be dexterous and users will find it difficult to work gadgets and electronic devices without removing the glove.

Our advice would be to look for a glove with a breathable or moisture-wicking base/inner layer to provide as much breathability to your gloves as possible. The rest is stylistic so you will need to decide whether the mitten-style is right for you despite the loss of functionality.

Many of the gloves in our list have removable inner layers which will have a huge affect in mitigating any breathability issues. 

What features should I look for?

If you’re looking for gloves to wear in the rain or snow, pick a pair that are fully waterproof (rather than water-resistant). The gloves should use a waterproofing technology such as Gore-Tex or give a waterproofing rating in millimetres. For added warmth, you should pick a pair with insulation. Mitten-style gloves that bunch your fingers together are good for preserving body heat too, but this comes at a loss of functionality such as being able to use a phone or GPS without removing the glove.

How Do Waterproof Gloves Work?

Waterproof gloves use layered technology to offer a multifunctional design. The inner layer, or base layer, is in direct contact with the skin. This layer is will wick away moisture to keep your hand dry as you sweat. This is an extremely important layer as there is no point having waterproof gloves if it cannot remove sweat from your inner glove. This layer is also important in acting as an anchor on your hand. If this layer fits well you will see increased traction which will assist with durability, dexterity and functionality.

The middle-layer is there to insulate the glove. This layer is important as it adds to the breathability of the glove whilst being the primary layer in keeping your hand warm. Some gloves have a large middle layer. This will add warmth at a cost of functionality. Some waterproof gloves have extremely thin middle layers. This improves dexterity but they will not be much use in winter when the cold bites.

The final layer is the outer layer or the shell layer. This is the waterproof layer that protects from chills and wetness. Materials such as TPU or nylon may be used in this layer.

How do I Maintain my Waterproof Gloves?

Most non-leather gloves will be machine washable according to the manufacturer’s label. If there is any leather, then you should not put the gloves in the washing machine. Instead, you should wash with hot, soapy water although this should be done only when absolutely necessary. When drying, you should avoid putting your gloves on radiators or close to open fires. Instead, you should dry them with a towel and squeeze from the fingers to the cuffs to draw out the water. To restore the shape of your gloves all you need to do is put your hand in the glove and make a fist. Also, to restore the water-repellence you can use waterproof spray – just make sure you use a spray suited to the material of your gloves.

How Do I Pick the Right Size?

This is the most important decision you will make when choosing the best waterproof gloves for hiking. It is also more confusing than it ought to be. This is because different manufacturers have different sizes. Therefore, you will need to measure your hand correctly so you can be confident about buying the right size gloves.

To do this, measure around the largest part of your palm (the circumference). This should be done on your dominant hand. Then use this number to match your hand to the manufacturer’s size chart. You can see a generic chart here.

Conclusion: Best Waterproof Gloves For Hiking

In this article, we have walked you through what to look for and how to look after the best waterproof gloves for hiking. We have also provided you with 5 excellent products which we would whole-heartedly recommend. These 5 were the highest ranked options in over 50 ‘waterproof’ hiking gloves we tested and/or researched.

Our favourite of these 5 is the Outdoor Research Meteor Mitts. We love how you can remove the inner layer and the Ventia technology which is extremely waterproof and incredibly breathable. We also love the value you get with the Meteor Mitts.

Whichever glove you decide is best for you – we are sure they will offer you great functionality and will, most importantly, keep you dry. 

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