Gear Check - Gloves & Mitts

Gear check - gloves & Mitts

Get it right when it comes to choosing the right gloves or mitts.

We have one of the largest selections of snowboard gloves and mittens in New Zealand and knowledgeable staff that can offer expert advice.

Gloves and mitts are some of the most important accessories for skiing and snowboarding. Getting the right pair for you may seem simple but there are some important differences.  Cold hands can ruin your day on the mountain.  Getting gloves that are specifically designed for skiing and snowboarding will help you stay warm, dry and have features necessary for a day on the hill.  This guide will help you understand differences in materials and features that will make skiing and snowboarding that little bit better.

To get your hands on the ideal gloves or mitts you will want to consider:

-       Gloves or Mittens
-       Warmth
-       Outer Material
-       Membrane
-       Insulation
-       Lining
-       Palm
-       Cuff Length
-       Features
-       Size and Fit

Gloves VS Mitts

This is the first decision you will make.  Do you prefer the dexterity and movement of gloves or the warmth and style of mittens?  There are gloves and mitts for all conditions.  Brands will often manufacture gloves and mittens with the same features (like the Burton Gore-Tex Glove and Burton Gore-Tex Mitten).  

Gloves give you better dexterity and movement, making it easier to do up your ratchets on you bindings, get into zips and adjust your goggle strap.  Mittens provide superior warmth.  Because your fingers are together in one compartment the generate more heat, however mittens limit mobility making it difficult to do some tasks.  

Another option is a trigger mitt which has a separate index finger, allowing you to get the dexterity of a glove with the warmth of a mitt.

Shop Mens Gloves & Mittens
Shop Womens Gloves & Mittens 

Gloves and mittens vary in the amount of warmth they provide.  Finding a pair that fits your needs is important.  Depending on where you are snowboarding – Mt Ruapehu, Queenstown, Japan or Alaska – is going to affect the level of warmth you will need.  Warmer conditions will require a thinner glove while colder conditions will mean having a more insulated glove.  Added to this, some people tend to get colder hands and will require a warmer glove in all conditions.

The warmth of a glove or mitten is reliant on the outer material (shell), type and level of insulation and how waterproof and breathable a glove is, after all, a dry glove is a warm glove!

Outer Material (Synthetic VS Leather)
Synthetic – Many ski and snowboard gloves and mittens are made from a synthetic fabric, normally nylon.  Higher quality models use waterproof breathable fabric with a membrane or coating such as ePTFE/Teflon or PU/Polyurethane.  At the top end, Gore-Tex models include a separate ePFTE insert (known as a membrane) between the outer fabric and insulation.  Fabrics can come in a hard and softshell with softshell fabrics more common in gloves and mittens designed for warmer conditions.

Leather – Leather gloves and mittens are a harder wearing option.  Normally made from cowhide or goatskin, they are more durable and flexible than synthetic materials.  Leather is naturally water-resistant and when treated and combined with a membrane, leather can be a good option for a waterproof, windproof, warm and durable option.  When maintained correctly with leather treatments, leather gloves and mittens can last for years.

Wet hands are cold hands.  The major cause of wet gloves is from sweat and a lack of breathability from the inside of the gloves and mittens.  In a waterproof, breathable glove the membrane is inserted between the outer layer and insulation and has very small pores that prevent moisture from entering but allow vapor (sweat) to esape making it a 2-way fabric.  How waterproof and breathable a glove is depends largely on the membrane.

There are many good waterproofing membranes including:

Gore-Tex – Gore-Tex typically offers the highest level of waterproof breathability.

Hipora – Hipora fabrics are waterproof, windproof and breathable.  It is a stretchable material making it more flexible than other options.

Polyurethane – Most waterproof and breathable fabrics have a laminated membrane of PU (polyurethane).  PU fabrics offer a good value solution for waterproof and breathability.

Finding the right level of insulation is important.  Properly insulated gloves provide improved warmth and breathability while allowing for improved movement and fit.  How cold it is where you are going to be skiing or snowboarding will affect the level of insulation required and you may want more than one pair.  

Different types of insulation include:

Down – Made from natural feathers and plumules, down traps air which helps keep your hands warm.  Higher rated down improve warmth while reducing weight and volume.  Down is incredibly warm when dry but if wet it can reduce its effectiveness and be slow to dry.Primaloft - Primaloft uses a synthetic microfiber insulation material to help the body retain warmth and conserve heat. This is a very good insulation choice in wet conditions and although Primaloft is not as warm as down by weight, but it’s breathable, compressible, water resistant and provides good insulation even when wet.

Thinsulate - Made of ultra thin microfibers, Thinsulate insulation from 3M has excellent insulating properties with less bulk, making it ideal for use in glove and mittens where dexterity and movement is important.

The glove lining is a layer of material built in for comfort and to help increase warmth.  Gloves and mittens are often lined with fleece or wool and often have moisture-wicking properties to help keep sweat away from your skin and to pass it through the breathable membrane.

Another good option is a removable liner such as a Burton Powerstretch Liner or Mons Royale Volta Glove Liner.  Both feature moisture-wicking properties to keep hands dry and warm with the added benefit of being able to remove them for warmer conditions.


Many ski gloves and mittens have reinforced palms with added grip.  This helps protect the gloves while adding grip for binding in or holding on to snowboard edges

Cuff Length

Short or long?  Choosing cuff length comes down to personal preference.  Short Cuffs are designed to go under your jacket sleeve and can provide better mobility.  Long Cuffs feature a longer, wider fit and are designed to fit over your jacket sleeve and can prevent snow getting in.

Additional Features

Articulated Fingers – Some gloves pre-curved fingers, helping you to grip a board or chairlift bars easier.
Zippered Pockets – These can work as vents for warmer days or to put a hand warmer in on colder days.
Touch-Tech – More common now, Touch-Tech allows you to use your smartphone while keeping gloves on.

Size and Fit
Having gloves and mitts fit correctly will help with warmth, comfort and improve movement and dexterity.  A proper fitting glove should fit snuggly and allow enough room at the tips of the fingers to pinch around 5mm of fabric.  When making a fist, the glove should not be so tight that it constricts movement.

Many glove manufacturers use different fits for mens, womens and youth gloves.  Buying a gender specific glove will help with getting a correct fit.

Shop from our range of Burton, Pow and Rad gloves and mitts now.

Boardertown is New Zealand’s premier snowboard and skateboard store, offering the best range of skateboards, snowboards, footwear and apparel.

Need more help?  Call Boardertown on 0800 4BTOWN, email us or drop by our stores in Auckland and Queenstown for expert advice.


Rider Profile - Morgan Schofield

Rider profile - morgan schofield

Park to powder - Morgan Schofield has it on lock.

Where are you from? 
Albany, Auckland

How did you get in to snowboarding and how long ago?
Mum shipped me off on a snowboard camp for a school holidays in 2005. I was hooked from the moment i made my first not so graceful falling leaf.

Where's your favourite place to ride in NZ, and overseas? 
Remarks is the spot in NZ, so much terrain to hike if you have the legs for it. Hokkaido, Japan probably the most fun I’ve had on a snowboard snaking through tree lines and sending it into bottomless landings.

What's your best travel tip for snowboard missions?
Extra socks, you can be cold hungry and tired, but there's nothing worse then wet stinky feet.

If you weren't snowboarding, what would you be doing?
Surfing.  My Whanau grew up surrounded by the ocean so it would have been only naturally to get on a different board sport.

Where do you see the future of snowboarding going, quads or carves etc?

There;s only a few guys doing quads so… Carves, grassroots snowboarding will never die!!!, Snowboarders minds are expanding on the creative side so i only see it fit that we explore every possible realm of the carve... plus anyone can do them. 

What are your goals for winter 2016, adventures or tricks etc?

My overall goal would be to pack as many adventures i can into the season, while shooting photos with some photographer pals and stacking footy for a full part. Fingers crossed all goes to plan!

What's your current setup and sponsors?
Boardertown, Capitahl, Bataleon Snowboards and Switchback Bindings.  
This season ill be boosting on a Evil Twin Asym 156 with some fresh Switchback Universe bindings for a good transition between sending booters and riding Remarks chutes. 

What's your stance, any secret tips or tweaks?
Degrees: +9, -9 degrees
Stance Width: not sure on my width... I’m short as so not very wide!

Find something that is most comfortable for you, play round with a bunch of widths and angles until you find something you like the feel of.  Everyone's is different so just play around and find whatever feels good!

If you were a cake, what kind would you be?
Cake…. nah!  Chocolate self saucing pudding - YES! 

Rider Profile - Leon Thomason

rider profile - leon thomason

Straight outta Howick.  Find out what makes Leon tick.

Where are you from?
Born in the Boardertown Botany back room, Auckland, New Zealand. 

How did you get in to snowboarding and how long ago?
Getting into snowboarding was from the strong influence of an older cousin.  My first time snowboarding was 15 years old at Snowplanet

Where's your favorite place to ride in NZ, and overseas?
Snowplanet has been home for the last 9 years and I wouldn’t be where i was today without it but most fun park in NZ has always been The Remarkables! Overseas Whistler Blackcomb is next level but for a fun day Perisher in Australia on a sunny day!

What's your best travel tip for snowboard missions?
Best tip for a snowboard mission is to double, triple and quadruple check board, boots and pants…. all other things can be improvised.  

If you weren't snowboarding, what would you be doing?
If i wasn’t snowboarding I would be pretty damn unhappy. Wakeboarding is a close second but you don’t get the freedom!

Where do you see the future of snowboarding going, quads or carves etc?
My goal for the future in regards to snowboarding has always been to be able to have my kids say wheres dad…. Oh he’s still lapping the park. Also, definitely going to see what Europe has to offer! 

What are your goals for winter 2016, adventures or tricks etc?
For winter this year as it has been every year doubles are back on the cards. Finally feeling like I’m finding my rhythm over summer. I'm hanging out to find jumps with a bit of size to have a crack at a few new things! 

What's your current setup and sponsors?
For the last five years I have had amazing support from the guys at Boardertown which has been accompanied by my sponsors Bataleon, Switchback, Sandbox and Rad Gloves. This year I am back on the Bataleon Evil Twin which for me is the perfect mix of board and the fourth time I’ve ridden this model! 

What's your stance, any secret tips or tweaks?
Goofy stance, always set as wide as possible with 15 degrees on each binding. Secret tips is to think outside the square, some of the best looking tricks are the easiest but never tried… next time try cab off your toe edge. 

If you were a cake, what kind would you be?
If i was a cake I be anything but a sponge cake…. dam i have to stop getting injured.