Best Thin Winter Gloves: Trail Trialed & Tested [2024 Update]

Thicker gloves aren’t a good fit for every outdoor activity. If you need a little more dexterity on your winter outings, we review a selection of awesome lightweight, cold-weather gloves for hikers, skiers, trail runners, and mountaineers alike.

Written by: | Reviewed by: Kieran James Cunningham
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Though we seem to forget it every year, winter is right around the corner. We’re all familiar with the blistering cold weather and decreasing hours of sunlight, yet the frustration of cold fingers always happens to slip the mind.

Whether you participate in outdoor sports or hate your chilly steering wheel in the morning, there’s plenty of reasons to invest in a pair of thin, heat-regulating gloves. Not only do they keep your hands warm, but evidence also shows that they may improve blood circulation throughout the body.

In this article we review 5 pairs of the warmest gloves that are still thin enough to allow you the dexterity to check your compass, work or do some winter chores like shoveling snow.

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What are the Best Thin Gloves for Winter Hiking?

Whether section hiking the Appalachian Trail in winter, ice-fishing in Norway or skiing in Colorado, our review team has tested and shortlisted the following best thin gloves.

  • Smartwool Unisex Merino 150 Glove
  • The North Face Men’s ETip Glove
  • Aufwarmen All-Weather Touchscreen
  • Glacier Glove ICE BAY Fishing Glove
  • Mountain Made Outdoor
Smartwool SW017981001L Merino 150 Glove Black L

Smartwool Unisex Merino 150 Glove

Crafted from eighty-seven percent Merino wool, the Smartwool 150 gloves are designed for maximum comfort, fit, and touchscreen compatibility. No matter the weather, these ultra-thin gloves lock in body heat to keep your hands warm in any temperature.

With thumb and index finger pads, you’re able to interact with any touchscreen without the hassle of taking off your gloves. Moreover, customers love how the thin yet extremely warm fabric can function as a base layer for long ski trips or a companion for chilly car steering wheels.

The gloves’ comfort is enhanced with a thirteen percent Nylon blend that’s fully machine washable. Nylon is also known to provide just the slightest amount of give for distinctly shaped hands. Merino wool is well known to be moisture-wicking, thermoregulating, sustainably made, and soft even after dozens of washes.

However, some customers complain that the composite blend causes the fibers of the gloves to come apart after extended use. Unlike pure fabrics, blends will always be subject to slight durability issues due to friction around the finger seams.

  • PROs

    • Crafted from thermoregulating fabric that keeps hand temperature even in extreme cold
    • Perfect to pair with larger gloves or wear on their own
    • Touchscreen friendly
  • CONs

    • Nylon and merino wool composite fabric may create loose threads after frequent use

Bottom-Line: Smartwool gloves offer some of the most refined moisture-wicking and heat-regulating capabilities for backpackers and city slickers alike. Perfect as either liner gloves or sufficient to keep your hands warm on their own.

THE NORTH FACE Etip Recycled Gloves, TNF Black, X-Large

The North Face Men’s ETip Glove

Over the past fifty years, the North Face has become a trusted brand in the outdoor apparel, equipment, and footwear industries. Known for cost-effective yet durable products, the North Face touts the Men’s ETip glove as one of the company’s annual top performers in November and December.

Made from one hundred percent polyester, the Men’s ETip glove has a slightly boxy build to accommodate most shapes and sizes. With a sensitive touch screen tip at the thumb and index finger, the ETip finger pads have become increasingly necessary in liner glove design.

They are best suited for customers who perform high endurance sports in the wintertime since polyester is a breathable fabric that lets cold air pass through. However, the gloves will quickly get your hands warm during brisk walks, exercise, and vigorous activity.

As always, clients appreciate the small details that make pricier models worthwhile. Offering a lock-clip system, they can be snapped together for hassle-free storage. Though it may be hard to notice at first, the palm has slight silicone grip molding that is tailored for the rugged outdoorsman and offers a better grip.

  • PROs

    • Ideal for customers who perform outdoors activities
    • Features unobtrusive lock-clip so that no glove gets lost in the offseason
    • Enhanced with a minimal amount of elastane to improve fit on distinctly shaped hands
  • CONs

    • Polyester will not be the best choice for sedentary activities, like driving or sitting, since it lets cold air percolate through the glove

Bottom-Line: The ETip are a good pair of gloves for those who are always on the move and need a glove that’ll keep them warm and dry.

Aufwarmen All Weather Touchscreen Gloves Mens Winter Gloves Women Glove for Winter Tactical Gloves

Aufwarmen All-Weather Touchscreen

The Aufwarmen gloves are made with a comfortable, form-fitting, and ergonomic design. Effective for most outdoor activities, the Aufwarmen offers warmth yet breathability through a unique polyester outer shell and thin velvet covering. Inside the gloves, fleece inner lining keeps you snug without sacrificing temperature regulation.

Moreover, the thumb and index fingers feature ultra-fine conductive fibers that allow for a high degree of touchscreen responsiveness. The entire palm features the same grippy yet conducive material that functions just like your hand’s grooves.

The Aufwarmen gloves are guaranteed to keep you warm in temperatures as low as 20 degrees, making them suitable for most environments. Whether you need good grip for rock climbing or taking your dog for a walk, they will keep your hands warm no matter your winter lifestyle.

  • PROs

    • A polyester base keeps them weather and water-resistant against heavy downpours
    • Warm and breathable due to the unique triple-layering of velvet, polyester, and an inner fleece lining
    • Features stylish, chunky side zipper that’s internally lined for maximum warmth
  • CONs

    • Some customers complain that the gloves’ sizing is unintuitive and not well-suited for larger hands

Bottom-Line: These stylish gloves are built for comfort, appeal, breathability, and warm enough for those cold winters days.

Glacier Glove Ice Bay Waterproof Gloves - Medium - Black

Glacier Glove ICE BAY Fishing Glove

Best Thin Work Gloves

The Glacier fleece gloves are tailor-made for most types of wintertime outdoors work. Featuring a deeply grooved, interstitially latticed design, the Glacier glove creates a better grip while maintaining warmth in even extreme cold. Additionally, they are still thin enough for users to complete intricate tasks with their hands.

Though the 2 mm neoprene-base may throw some customers off, rest assured that this pair of gloves don’t feel like a wet suit. Instead, they’re fleece-lined on the inside to create a soft yet form-fitting feeling. The neoprene layer gives them an extraordinary degree of grip. In addition to fishing, many customers use them for rock climbing, ice picking, and wading through lakes.

With a completely seamless design, the Glacier gloves have virtually no points of stitch-caused weakness. This allows them to retain one of the highest degrees of water and weather resistance — you can dip your hands in a chilly lake and feel no wetness.

Keep in mind that, although neoprene is waterproof, the gloves will be stiff when you first start using them. Over time, they should adjust to your hand’s natural curvature and the movement of your fingers.

  • PROs

    • Perfect for those who work outdoors and need full grip, control, and hand movement precision
    • Fully waterproof due to the materials used and glue-based construction of the glove
    • Grooved surface allows for use with touch screen devices
  • CONs

    • Customers need to make sure sizing is perfect since the gloves have no give or stretch

Bottom-Line: These neoprene gloves are incredibly waterproof, durable, and ideal for those who work outdoors with their hands.

Mountain Made Cold Weather Genesis Gloves for Men and Women (Black, Medium)

Mountain Made Outdoor

Best Overall

The outer shell is made from a combination of polyester and spandex, the Mountain Made outdoor gloves are made for all sorts of athletic purposes. Whether you’re hiking, driving, cycling, or shooting, the gloves’ sturdy construction maintains an anti-slip, form-fitting, and heat-preserving experience.

Although they’re made with potentially chilly polyester, the outer shell has just the slightest blend of PVC rubber that’s enough to improve heat retention considerably for all activities.

Overall, it’s the attention to detail that keeps this particular product popular every year: the chunky, fleece-lined side zipper and tight diameter wrist grip mean there’s little opportunity for the extreme cold to seep into the glove. Moreover, the web-palmed grip and conductive touchscreen fabric make them endlessly convenient.

Unlike other companies, the Mountain Made brand has a very generous return policy. These warm and dry gloves come for a one year no questions asked return policy and a lifetime service for any manufacturer defects.

  • PROs

    • Made with polyester, spandex, and trace amounts of rubber for maximum heat retention
    • Thin yet long and tight wrist closure keeps the chill at bay
    • 100 percent satisfaction guarantee provided through the manufacturer
    • Palm is constructed with unique grip pattern that’s ideal for climbing
  • CONs

    • Some complain that the web gripping tends to disaggregate from the polyester surface of the glove after dozens of washes

Bottom-Line: These warm gloves have a unique blend of materials, excellent thermoregulation, and are built for multi-purpose athletic activities.

How to Choose the Best Thin Liner Gloves for Extreme Cold?

Before you opt for just any pair, you should know that massive distinctions exist between individual products. The materials used, seam type, and degree of weather resistance can all play a significant role in the long-lasting performance of each particular pair.

Depending on your outdoor activity of choice, your perfect pair may be completely different from someone else’s. Someone that spends all day performing manual labor in the snow will naturally favor friction resistance and grip, while others may value comfort and style.

If you’ve landed here and are looking for a heavier-duty pair of gloves for your treks, then check out guide to buying the best hiking gloves for your winter wanders.


The product’s material will make the most significant difference in terms of its durability, warmth, and comfort during use. With such a wide variety of fabrics, it can seem challenging to make the proper choice. Luckily, it’s hard to go wrong when so many composite and pure fabrics have high-performance guarantees.

Many traditional gloves are crafted from leather, cashmere, and lambswool. Though they’re more pricey, these materials are very dense and strong. However, animal skins are not very breathable, which may make them too warm for vigorous exercise.

Athletes usually select materials that have an excellent combination of breathability and insulation.

Polar fleece, which is softer and denser than standard fleece, remains warm at very thin widths. Similarly, thermal gloves are made with internally insulated fleece and external polyester to create a thermoregulating effect.

Polyester, synthetic fibers, and elastics like spandex are crafted to be moisture-wicking, hydrophobic, and itch-free for maximal comfort.

In terms of water resistance, it doesn’t get better than PVC rubber and neoprene. These extremely dense materials are stiff at first yet gradually conform to your hand, providing complete protection against cold weather.

You should avoid porous materials like rayon and cotton since they provide little protection and may make you colder if they get wet. Many great gloves are triple-layered with polyester, PVC rubber, and polar fleece to achieve all the benefits of distinct materials.

Heat Retention and Thermoregulation Capability

There’s a significant difference between heat-trapping and thermoregulating. When gloves are advertised as heat retentive, they store enough warmth that you may overheat and sweat over time.

Mountain bikers and rock climbers would be disserviced by a heat-trapping pair since it could interfere with their grip during physical activity. If you move your fingers or clench your hands frequently, these gloves may cause you to sweat and lose warmth later on.

On the other hand, thermoregulating gloves maintain a core temperature that will dynamically change to preserve homeostasis. Consistently warm, heat-regulating gloves retain warmth while allowing small pockets of cool to permeate the glove. The result is a much more comfortable experience that’ll allow continuous wear during any physical activity.

Wind & Waterproofing

Water protection and weatherproofing are some of the most critical aspects of glove design. If your gloves don’t guarantee protection against the elements, it’s unlikely that they’re suitable for use in temperatures lower than thirty degrees Fahrenheit.

Most gloves are rated using a scientifically measured rating known as IPX, also known as the international protection rating. Ranging from scores zero to eight, IP-0 doesn’t provide any promises about dust, corrosion, or water resistance, while IP-8 is impenetrable to every external element.

Athletes should opt for gloves that are rated as, at the very least, IP-5. IP-5 protection guarantees weather and water resistance against droplets and dense sprays in any direction. Those who perform manual labor outdoors often choose IP-6 or higher, which are typically more expensive.

What Are The Benefits Of Thin Winter Gloves?

Though it’s reasonable to doubt the heat-trapping capability of sleek gloves, well-made thin pairs can effectively thermoregulate while retaining your ease of movement.

Thanks to advancements in composite fabric construction, thin winter gloves don’t have to sacrifice heat retention for style. Generally, below 2 mm thick in width, lightweight gloves are prized for allowing the wearer to complete more intricate tasks.

Rock climbers, fishers, and writers can use form-fitting pairs without feeling impeded at all. Many outdoor activities require that you retain the highest degree of motor control for your physical safety, making gloves a must. Ultimately, gloves are much more comfortable to wear over a long period of time than their thicker counterparts.

Modernly, most thin gloves feature conductive material on the index finger and thumb that allow wearers to interact with touch screens. You no longer have to take off your pair to shoot a quick message or snap a picture out on the slopes.

By contrast, thick gloves are hard to pack and may worsen heat retention, depending on their build, just like how the age-old adage of doubling up on socks in the winter doesn’t work, excessively layered gloves may prevent heat from reaching sensitive extremities.

Last update on 2024-05-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Brian has been an avid hiker and backpacker since he was a small kid, often being taken out into the wilderness on trips with his father. His dad knew everything about nature and the wilderness (or at least that's how it seemed to a ten year old Brian).

After high school, he went to university to read for both a BS and MS in Geology (primarily so he could spend his time outside rather than in a classroom). He's now hiked, camped, skied, backpacked or mapped on five continents (still need to bag Antarctica) & 30 of the US states.

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1 thought on “Best Thin Winter Gloves: Trail Trialed & Tested [2024 Update]”

  1. I experience cold hands below 50 F. I’m also a road runner. Late fall to early winter is traditionally a terrible time on my behalf of me. These gloves are the primary ones to provide me a relieved look when I’m outside. While my fingers still feel a touch cold, these are amazing compared to what I’ve experienced with other, dearer gloves. I highly recommend trying these thin gloves.


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