5 Best Leather Gloves for (Backcountry) Ski Touring

Leather Ski Gloves

Leather gloves are a good choice for skiers, and they can be a solid option for any backcountry ski touring situation. This type of glove will provide you with freedom of movement while also being exceptionally durable. 

I’ve been skiing for decades and am highly passionate about the sport. I’ve been on many backcountry trips over the years, and I’ve used a lot of different leather gloves during those adventures. I know what to look for in the best options available. 

The Black Diamond Kingpin is my pick for the best leather gloves for ski touring this season. These are a very lightweight and flexible option that will provide you with a good grip, decent warmth, and a lot of breathability.

In this post, I’ll provide you with several other high-quality leather glove options. Whether you want to venture deep into the wilderness or just get away from the resort for a day, all of the options here will help you out. 

Let’s get out there. 

Quick Summary

Who Should Get This

Leather gloves may not seem like the most common choice for ski gloves, but they have natural durability that helps them last. If you want a warm glove that will hold its comfort for years, leather models are the way to go. They also have a classic look that many skiers will enjoy.

These models are helpful for the backcountry when you want a rugged, reliable, and warm glove. There are also lightweight options that give you added dexterity and flexibility, which comes in handy on long tours. 

Best Leather Gloves for Ski Touring: Top Picks

Here are all my picks for the best leather gloves for ski touring. Every model below features a full leather, or mostly leather construction, and is built to last. 

1. Black Diamond Kingpin

  • Best for: Overall 
  • Key features: Affordable, lightweight, very durable, comfortable, hook and loop closure
  • Insulation: 100 grams fleece lined
  • Waterproofing: None (need to be waterproofed)
  • Cost: $$ 

The best leather ski gloves for the backcountry are the Black Diamond Kingpin. This is a lightweight and flexible model that will give you serious comfort and durability. 

A goat leather construction makes the gloves very soft while also providing excellent freedom of movement, which pays off when you need to react quickly in the wilderness. 

One hundred grams of fleece lining add a layer of warmth while also providing extra comfort that is easy to get used to. 

These don’t come waterproofed, so you’ll need to add a product before you head out. They also aren’t the best option for extremely cold conditions. 

2. Black Diamond Guide

  • Best for: Warmth
  • Key features: Extremely warm, waterproof, breathable, abrasion-resistant shell, guantlet-style 
  • Insulation: 170 grams PrimaLoft Gold
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
  • Cost: $$$

The Black Diamond Guide gloves (review) are an excellent option for any skier who wants a leather option that won’t sacrifice a degree of warmth. 

This model is built with an impressive 170 grams of PrimaLoft Gold insulation to deliver outstanding warmth in just about any condition you find yourself in. 

They also have an extended cuff to block out deep powder and howling wind, while a Gore-Tex membrane gives you reliable waterproofing. 

These are expensive and not 100% leather, but they are 100% worth it if you need to stay warm in the backcountry. 

3. Burton Gondy 

  • Best for: Fit
  • Key features: Great fit, comfortable, breathable, Gnar Guard leather shell, warm, living lining
  • Insulation: Thermacore
  • Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
  • Cost: $$ 

The Burton Gondy gloves will provide you with a fantastic fit that won’t slip or slide around when you ski. 

This comfortable model is made with a Gnar Guard leather shell that gives you all the benefits of leather with a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane for extra protection against the elements. 

The Gondy also comes packed with Thermacore insulation, which is added for warmth and comfort in a low-bulk design. 

These can get a bit stiff in really cold conditions, but they break in nicely after time. 

4. Kinco Premium 

  • Best for: Budget Option 
  • Key features: Affordable, durable, flexible, comfortable, great style
  • Insulation: Heatkeep Thermal 
  • Waterproofing: Pigskin with Nikwax
  • Cost: $$

Leather gloves can sometimes be expensive, but the Kinco Premium gloves are a great budget-friendly option to check out. 

These low-profile gloves are made out of pigskin that offers outstanding softness, comfort, and durability for reliable use all winter long. 

They also come with Heatkeep Thermal insulation made of spun polyester fibers to create a barrier of air pockets that block out cold air and keep warmth in. 

These don’t come with a cuff, so you’ll want to make sure your jacket is long enough to prevent snow from creeping in. 

5. Hestra Army Leather Heli

  • Best for: Versatility 
  • Key features: Warm, comfortable, durable, excellent construction, solid grip, breathable 
  • Insulation: Synthetic Fiberfill
  • Waterproofing: Triton 3 Layer Polyamide
  • Cost: $$$ 

If you want a versatile glove that can work in the backcountry, or anywhere else you want to explore, the Hestra Army Leather Heli (review) comes highly recommended. 

These are a favorite glove of many skiers outside the resort and on the slopes and have a solid goat leather construction that makes them extremely durable. 

Synthetic fiberfill insulation will keep you effectively warm, and a Hestra Triton 3-layer polyamide shell adds extra waterproofing. 

This is an expensive option but seriously worth it for all the versatility it offers. 

How to Choose Gloves for Backcountry Skiing or Touring

Here are some essential things to keep in mind when choosing gloves for backcountry skiing or touring. Some of this advice applies to any style of glove, and some is intended for leather-only models. 

Design

Leather gloves come in several styles, and each one has a different look or design. The classic leather glove has a stylish, minimalistic appearance, but it doesn’t come with an extra cuff to keep out snow in deep powder. 

Other styles have a longer cuff that can be better suited for big mountain and backcountry situations. Some leather gloves have a secure wristband design as well. Match the design to your preferences or needs in the backcountry. 

Type of Leather

Leather gloves can be made from many different types of leather. All varieties hold up to the elements, so the choice comes down to personal preference. Common leather types in ski gloves include goat leather, pigskin, deerskin, and cowhide.

Each has a slightly different feel, but they will all last a long time. I like goat leather or deerskin. As long as you choose high-quality leather, you should get lasting durability and adequate protection against the elements.

Waterproofing

While leather has a bit of natural waterproofing, most gloves made of this material come treated with a waterproofing product to ensure lasting performance. But this can wear out over time, especially when using them in the backcountry. 

To ensure that your gloves remain waterproof, you might need to treat them with a waterproofing product from time to time. I’ll discuss this in a little more detail in the following section, but just know you’ll need to work a little harder to keep leather gloves dry.  

Added Features

Even though leather ski gloves are classic and simple, you might want to consider an option that has added features. That could include extra insulation, touch screen compatible fingers, a wrist cuff, or any attribute that enhances your skiing experience. 

Such additional options come down to personal preference, as well as skiing style. Sometimes, a classic pair of leather gloves is all you need. If you want to use your gloves for other purposes or save some money, simple can be better. 

Useful Tips & Resources

As I mentioned above, leather gloves require more maintenance to keep them in good shape than full synthetic styles. You’ll want to treat them with a waterproofing product to make sure they keep your hands warm and dry. 

Common products used to waterproof leather include beeswax, SnoSeal, and Nikwax. All of these do a solid job of ensuring your gloves stay waterproof. Check out this good post for some tips on how to apply these products. 

If you have never used leather gloves before, it’s good to know that they break in differently than other materials. Leather can change colors and feel over time. This doesn’t mean they are failing or defective. It’s simply the natural process for aging leather. 

The video below has some more tips for caring for your leather gloves or mittens

Final Verdict

The Black Diamond Kingpin is my pick for the best leather ski gloves for ski touring this season. This highly functional model will give you a good grip and breathable protection from the wind and snow. 

All of the leather gloves you see above come highly recommended. I think every skier should have at least one set of leather gloves because they are so versatile and effective in a range of on-snow situations. This applies in the backcountry and beyond.

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