Cross-country skiing is a fun, exciting activity. However, it can also be quite cold. To deal with that, you need to protect yourself from the elements in a way that won’t make you overheat. To make that happen, you need suitable clothing, including a pair of solid and flexible gloves.
I’m a skiing fanatic, and that includes cross country skiing. I’ve been on the snow for decades, and I know what to look for in high-quality equipment that is effective on the trails. I’ve also researched the many models out there to determine the best gloves for Nordic-style skiing.
The Arc’teryx Venta AR is my pick for the best cross country ski gloves of the season. This lightweight model is perfect for serious nordic skiers, and they still give you a lot of warmth and waterproofing.
I’ll provide you with several solid options for great cross-country gloves in this post. Whether you are a seasoned Nordic skier or just want to give it a try for the first time, you need good gloves to help you make the most of your time on the snow.
Let’s wax up and get out there.
Who Should Get This
No matter how long or short their journeys, all cross-country skiers need a good pair of sturdy-but-lightweight gloves to make it through the snow. Every model in this guide fits that bill, making them excellent options for every snow enthusiast.
The lighter models covered in this article are especially great for cross-country skiers who exert a lot of energy during their time outside. If you find yourself sweating quite a bit or tend to do a lot of working out while on your skis, the following gloves are for you.
Cross country ski gloves aren’t necessarily made to be the warmest gloves around. You can technically wear any type of gloves for Nordic, but the models here will give you the best performance attributes with moving fast and efficiently in mind.
Best Cross Country Ski Gloves & Mittens: Top Picks
Here are all my top picks for the best cross country ski gloves of the season. If you love to go Nordic skiing, these will keep you warm and comfortable all season long.
1. Arc’teryx Venta AR
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Lightweight, sturdy, waterproof, flexible, slim fit, breathable
- Insulation: None
- Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
- Cost: $$
The Arc’teryx Venta AR earns the top spot for the best cross country ski gloves of the season.
This is a very lightweight option, making it great for any serious Nordic skiers who don’t want extra material flapping around as they ski.
A Gore-Tex outer layer gives you serious waterproofing while also keeping the gloves breathable to keep you dry from all angles.
These aren’t necessarily made for extreme cold, but they will have you covered in just about every situation on the cross-country trails.
2. Outdoor Research Arete
- Best for: Snowy Conditions
- Key features: Insulated, warm, comfortable, moisture-wicking, heat pocket, waterproof, AlpenGrip palm
- Insulation: 100-weight fleece
- Waterproofing: Synthetic
- Cost: $$
If you want a little extra protection from the snow and cold, the Outdoor Research Arete (review) is an excellent option to explore.
These come packed with 100-weight fleece insulation to give you an extra layer of warmth. They also stay pretty breathable despite being well insulated.
The gloves also have a waterproof shell, AlpenGrip palm to give you extra grip on your poles, and a heat pocket for even more warmth.
The Arete is a bit bulky, which some cross country skiers might not want.
3. Hestra Windstopper Tour
- Best for: Comfort
- Key features: Comfort-fit, windproof, breathable, durable, wrist straps, Micro-Check lining
- Insulation: Fleece
- Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Infinium
- Cost: $$
The Hestra Windstopper Tour is a solid pair of gloves for comfort-focused cross country skiers. They also look really cool and are available in several different colors.
These have a fleece and Gore-Tex construction that gives you the perfect blend of softness and protection against the elements.
They also come with a Micro-check lining to help keep warm air from escaping and a velcro wrist strap to ensure the gloves stay in place as you ski.
If you choose a lighter color option, these can get dirty quickly, so just know that you might have to wash them if you want them to look new.
4. Swix Star Xc 2.0
- Best for: Racing
- Key features: Lightweight, slim fit, insulated, Amara palms, stretch fit, hybrid cuffs
- Insulation: PrimaLoft
- Waterproofing: No
- Cost: $
The Swix Star Xc 2.0 Insulated gloves are a solid option for anyone who likes to Nordic race.
These are low-profile, lightweight, and are made from one of the most trusted cross country skiing industry brands.
They have PrimaLoft insulation to give you extra warmth and remain highly breathable to wick away moisture as you ski.
These aren’t highly waterproof, so you won’t want to go digging through the snow with them on.
5. Marmot Power Stretch
- Best for: Lightweight
- Key features: Light, comfortable, 3-dimensional wicking, Grip Zone fingertips
- Insulation: None
- Waterproofing: No
- Cost: $
If you want a minimalist option for the trails, the Marmot Power Stretch is a recommended model.
This extremely lightweight model is made from a stretch fabric that provides you with a firm but flexible fit.
They also have 3-dimensional wicking to help keep moisture from building up. Grip Zone fingertips let you hold on to anything while you ski as well.
These don’t have any insulation and aren’t really waterproof, so be careful in extremely cold weather. However, if you just want something to cruise with, these are perfect.
How to Choose Gloves or Mittens for Cross Country Skiing
When choosing the best gloves or mittens for cross country skiing, be sure to keep the following consideration in mind.
Just like any other type of ski gloves, cross country models need to offer good waterproofing. While these models are often a lot less bulky than alpine gloves, you still need to keep your hands dry and protected from the snow.
Cross-country skiing is a taxing experience that requires a lot of work. As such, no matter how cold it gets outside, you’re going to sweat.
That isn’t a problem in warmer weather, but colder temperatures can cause excess moisture to freeze to your skin and lower your body temperature. For that reason, you need light gloves that let your hands breathe.
Always get suitable materials that let moisture escape and keep any excess sweat off your skin. You never want to use cotton or synthetic materials that won’t let your hands breathe.
Cross-country gloves are light. However, that doesn’t have to mean weak or flimsy. You need gloves with expert construction that can stand up to all types of weather. Thinner gloves are a must for the nordic trails.
However, you’re going to see all types of snow, sleet, and ice while you’re out there. For that reason, invest in sturdy gloves that you can take on your adventures year after year. Every option on this list is made of high-quality materials that are built to last.
Liners are an essential part of premium ski gloves. Switching up how warm your hands are is a great function for cross-country skiers because it allows them to freely adapt to the climate you ski in.
If the outside temperature is quite cold and you have an extra layer for protection, you can remove some of the insulation if you’re sweating or it warms up. Just know that liners can make the gloves a bit bulkier, which is not always ideal.
Useful Tips & Resources
Advanced skiers can take advantage of the gloves and mittens listed here. However, if you’re new and want to get into cross-country, it’s pretty different from alpine skiing, and there is a lot to learn about. Check out these tips if you are a newbie to Nordic.
Cross country skiing is one of my favorite forms of exercise. It can be an extremely taxing activity and burn more calories than many other sports. If you want to stay in great shape for any other physical activity, this can be a great addition to your training.
The video below touches on some good health aspects of cross country skiing and is worth a watch.
The Arc’teryx Venta AR is my top pick for the best cross country ski gloves and mittens of the season. This lightweight and sturdy model will have you covered in all but the worst winter weather conditions. They are super strong and built to last.
Each option reviewed here comes with all the attributes and design cross country skiers to stay warm and productive on the trails. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but be sure to read closely to find your perfect pair.