Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast or you participate in any kind of outdoor sports, there are a number of good reasons you’d want to get yourself a pair of thin, lightweight winter gloves.
Thick gloves can be very warm and cozy, yes – but they also inhibit one’s use of hands and fingers. The ones that are thin and lightweight, on the other hand, are warm enough for freezing temperatures but also allow for plenty of dexterity. In other words, they don’t hinder the user’s mobility and will allow you to do whatever you need to do outside in the cold without much effort.
Unfortunately, finding a pair of good thin cold-weather gloves isn’t as easy as it sounds. Just like in the case of other types of outdoor apparel, there are dozens of brands and hundreds of different models out there. Things can get particularly difficult if you’re a complete newbie when it comes to lightweight winter gloves – you simply won’t know where to start with the whole shopping thing.
Read also: Columbia vs Patagonia
Have no worries, though – we’re here to help you out. We’ve taken the liberty of analyzing some of the market’s most highly-rated thin winter gloves for you. Moreover, we’ve also written a short but comprehensive and informative buying guide that should help you find the right pair of gloves for your needs.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Thin Lightweight Winter Gloves – The Reviews
- 2 Best Thin Lightweight Winter Gloves – Buying Guide
- 3 Best Thin and Lightweight Winter Gloves – The Verdict
Best Thin Lightweight Winter Gloves – The Reviews
The North Face ETip
Over the last couple of decades, the North Face has established itself as one of the most renowned brands in the outdoor apparel, footwear, and equipment industries. Well-known for products that are both durable and cost-effective, the company has plenty of warm gloves on offer, with their ETip model being one of the finest examples.
Made out of 100% polyester and available for both men and women, the ETip glove sports a build that is somewhat boxy. As such, it easily accommodates most sizes and shapes. In addition, the thumb and index fingers of these gloves come with sensitive touchscreen tips. These “ETip finger pads” have pretty much become a necessity in liner glove design.
In our opinion, these gloves are best suited for folks who participate in cold-weather high-endurance sports. This is mostly due to the fact that they’re made out of polyester – it’s a very breathable material that will let the cold air pass through. That doesn’t mean that these gloves won’t keep your hands warm enough, though – they will keep them warm and dry during your cold-weather outdoor activities.
The thing that puts The North Face above the competition is its attention to small but convenient details. The ETip gloves come equipped with a lock-clip system, allowing the user to quickly snap them together and then store them away. In addition, the palm of this thin glove has a silicone grip molding, whose job is to provide outdoor enthusiasts with a better grip.
All in all, this is a very good pair of gloves and a fantastic choice if you’re an active person who needs gloves that will keep your hands warm.
- One of the best options for high-endurance winter sportsmen
- Provides a great fit and good grip
- Unobtrusive but useful lock-clip system
- Not the best choice for sedentary activities due to the polyester construction
Smartwool Merino 150
The Smartwool Merino 150 Gloves provide its user with a great fit, maximum comfort, as well as touchscreen compatibility. This is because these gloves are made from 87% Merino wool – regardless of weather, they are more than capable of trapping body heat and keeping one’s hands warm in extreme cold.
As they’re equipped with thumb and index pads, these gloves allow their users to use phones and other touch screen devices without having to take them off. A lot of customers give praise to the fabric used in the manufacture of these gloves – it is warm, thin, and capable of functioning as a base layer for cold car steering wheels and long ski trips.
The comfort provided by these gloves is further enhanced with a 13% nylon blend. Besides being fully machine-washable, this material is well-known for its ability to conform to various sizes and shapes of hands. Another important thing to mention here is that Merino wool is sustainably made, thermoregulating, moisture-wicking, and capable of staying soft even after numerous washes.
The only major downside of Smartwool Merino 150 gloves is that their fibers tend to come apart after months of everyday use. This is the direct result of Smartwool’s decision to use a composite blend. Due to the friction taking place around the finger seams, a composite blend is never as durable as pure fabrics.
If you want to get to know more about this brand, read our Icebreaker vs Smartwool.
In conclusion, Smartwool Merino 150 Gloves provide their users with excellent heat-regulating and moisture-wicking capabilities. They are ideal as liner gloves and can be used by both city slickers and backcountry explorers.
- Thermoregulating construction – keeps your hands warm and dry in extreme cold
- Can be worn on their own or paired with larger gloves
- Frequent use leads to loose threads due to a Merino wool & nylon blend
Glacier Glove Ice Bay Fishing
Next up are the Ice Bay Fishing Gloves made by Glacier Glove, a brand well-known to outdoor enthusiasts. As the name suggests, these gloves are suitable for most types of cold-weather outdoors work – including fishing.
The outer shell of these thin gloves features an interstitially-latticed, deeply grooved design. As expected, this is precisely why the Ice Bay Fishing Gloves provide a very good grip while at the same time maintaining warmth in cold temperatures. Nevertheless, these are still thin enough to allow their users to complete all kinds of outdoor tasks with their hands, which also turns them into capable work gloves.
Unfortunately, the 2mm outer shell of these gloves put some customers off. As far as we can tell, there’s nothing to worry about in that department – these gloves certainly don’t have the look and feel of a wetsuit. Instead, the Ice Bay Fishing Gloves have fleece-lined interiors.
As expected, this fleece lining provides the users with a soft, plush, and form-fitting feeling. The neoprene shell, on the other hand, gives these winter gloves an exceptional degree of grip. Besides fishing, you’ll be able to use them for winter hiking, ice picking, winter rock climbing, as well as wading through lakes.
Another great thing about this model is that it sports a fully seamless design. With no points of stitch, these neoprene/fleece gloves are highly water-resistant. These are, in fact, waterproof gloves – dip your hands into a cold lake while wearing them and you won’t feel any wetness.
However, keep in mind that despite the neoprene being waterproof these gloves can feel quite stiff when they’re used for the first couple of times. With time, they will slowly adjust to the movement of your fingers and conform to the size and shape of your hand.
In short, these neoprene/fleece work gloves are exceptionally durable and waterproof, which turns them into a phenomenal choice for folks who want to keep their hands warm while working outside or engaging in cold-weather outdoor activities.
- A glue-based construction makes these gloves fully waterproof
- Excellent work gloves – ideal for folks who work outdoors and require hand movement precision and better grip
- Touchscreen-friendly due to a grooved surface
- These gloves have no stretch or give – you need to make sure that the sizing is perfect
Aufwarmen All-Weather Touchscreen Winter
To put it simply, the All-Weather Touchscreen Winter Gloves sport an ergonomic, form-fitting, and comfortable design.
These lightweight, thin gloves provide their user with both breathability and warmth thanks to their combination of a thin velvet covering and a polyester outer shell. On the inside, the Aufwarmen Gloves are made out of fleece – this material is bound to keep your hands warm and snug no matter the outside temperature.
Another excellent feature of these gloves is that their index and thumb fingers have special pads made out of ultra-fine conductive fibers. As expected, this allows wearers to use their touchscreen gadgets without any issues. Even the palms of these warm, well-designed gloves feature the same conducive yet grippy material that’s very similar to the skin on our hands.
The Aufwarmen Winter Gloves are designed to keep their wearer warm in temperatures that go as low as -6 degrees Celsius (20 degrees Fahrenheit). As you can already guess, this turns them into a good choice for most environments. Whether you’re looking for a pair of gloves for urban walks or rock climbing, these are guaranteed to keep the winter at bay while allowing for plenty of dexterity.
In summary, the Aufwarmen Winter glove undoubtedly deserves its spot among the market’s best thin & lightweight gloves. Its fleece-made interior keeps the hands comfortable and warm while its outside promotes breathability and stylish appeal.
- Unique triple-layering promotes warmth and breathability
- Waterproof – a polyester base keeps the water at bay
- Chunky, stylish side zipper included
- Many customers reported unintuitive sizing
Mountain Made Outdoor
Available for both men and women, the Mountain Made Outdoor Gloves come from a company that’s well-known for making quality, athletic gloves.
The outside part of this glove features a combination of spandex and polyester – it’s a construction that maintains an anti-heat, form-fitting, and anti-slip experience and turns this product into one of the best options for shooting, cycling, driving, and hiking.
While it’s made from polyester, which is always potentially chilly, this glove features only a slight blend of PVC rubber. Its job is to allow some dexterity and improve heat retention. Whether you get this glove in the men or women version, you won’t have to worry about it hindering your movement or letting the cold in.
One of the best things about this model is how feature-packed it is. The tight diameter wrist grip and the fleece-lined zipper keep the winter at bay and your hands comfortable and warm. Another thing to like about this glove is its conductive touchscreen fabric, as well as the web-palmed grip – both of these features work together to make the model as convenient as possible.
Another thing worth mentioning here is that we really like Mountain Made’s return policy – it’s very generous. This lightweight, warm, and thin gloves come accompanied by a 1-year return policy (no questions asked), as well as a lifetime warranty that covers potential manufacturer defects.
Mountain Made Outdoor Gloves offer excellent thermoregulation, mittens-like warmth, and come accompanied by a great return policy. All of these features make it one of the market’s best options for men and women who need a pair of quality thin & lightweight gloves.
- Unique grip pattern on the palm – ideal for climbing
- A combination of rubber, spandex, and polyester for mittens-like warmth and comfort
- Accompanied by a great return policy
- Frequent washing can cause the web gripping to fall off the polyester surface
Best Thin Lightweight Winter Gloves – Buying Guide
One of the most important things to know when shopping for a pair of thin gloves is that there are massive differences between individual products. The degree of water resistance, seam type, and the materials used (wool, leather, synthetics, etc.) all play a crucial role in the performance and longevity of a particular pair.
Still, we’ll try to cover the most vital factors you should keep in mind while shopping – materials used, heat retention, and environmental resistance.
This is the most decisive factor and one that determines the durability of a particular glove, but also the comfort and warmth it will provide.
All types of gloves, from work to liner gloves, are made from a wide variety of fabrics. For that matter, the task of selecting the right model for your needs (as well as nailing the right sizing) may look very challenging, even downright frustrating. Still, many pure and composite fabrics come with high-performance guarantees – one can’t really go wrong in this department.
A lot of traditional winter gloves are made from lambswool, cashmere, and leather. While they may be expensive, these materials are quite tough and dense. However, many animal skins (pigskin leather, sheepskin leather, wool liner, etc.) aren’t that breathable. This makes them way too warm for strenuous exercise. Also, getting the right size can be a daunting task.
For that matter, active folks tend to select materials that pair good insulation with breathability. Polar fleece, for example, is dense, soft, and it provides great insulation from cold at very thin widths. To achieve a thermoregulating effect, many brands combine external polyester with internally insulated fleece.
Many elastics such as spandex, but also synthetic fibers and polyester, are crafted to be itch-free, hydrophobic, and moisture-wicking. When it comes to water resistance, on the other hand, neoprene is one of the best options. When used in a glove, this dense material may feel stiff, even inflexible at first, but it will start to slowly conform to your hands over time.
Porous materials, such as cotton and rayon, should be avoided. They may make you colder in case they get wet and typically provide little protection. In our opinion, the best glove is triple-layered with fleece, polyester, and PVC rubber to get the best out of each material.
There’s a pretty big difference between thermoregulating and heat-trapping. When a particular pair of gloves are advertised as heat-retentive, that means that their insulation stores enough heat that you may start sweating over time.
Thru-hikers, rock climbers, and even mountain bikers are usually disservice by heat-trapping models – it has a negative effect on their grip while they’re active. Men and women who clench their hands and move their fingers frequently will find that a glove of this type only causes sweating.
Contrarily, a thermoregulating glove (like Smartwool Merino 150) maintains one core temperature that changes dynamically to preserve equilibrium. Consistently warm, this type of glove is the best at retaining warmth. However, this glove will still allow some cold to permeate over the surface, which leads to a significantly more comfortable experience.
It’s very important for a glove to be waterproof and weather-resistant. If a particular pair isn’t waterproof and can’t protect your hands from the elements, it probably shouldn’t be used in genuinely freezing temperatures.
In this regard, most gloves are rated with IPX, which ranges from 0 to 8. As expected, a glove with an IP-0 rating is far from waterproof or weather-resistant and doesn’t provide any promises about water resistance, corrosion, or dust. A pair bearing an IP-8 rating, on the other hand, is fully waterproof and virtually impenetrable to most external elements.
The best option for physically active men and women are gloves with an IP-5 rating, no matter their sizing. Such gloves guarantee water resistance against dense sprays and droplets coming from any direction. Folks performing manual labor outside, like fishermen, typically go for IP-7 or higher.
Best Thin and Lightweight Winter Gloves – The Verdict
All of the gloves we’ve analyzed above are great in their own ways.
Still, we think that the Aufwarmen All-Weather Touchscreen Winter Gloves are the best product of this type on the market, mostly due to their unique triple-layering construction that keeps the cold at bay and promotes breathability. Just make sure to get them in the right sizing and they’ll keep your hands comfortable and warm in chilly weather.
I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.