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Best gloves 2023: Prepare for winter (or summer) with a pair of waterproof outdoor gloves

Save your digits with our pick of the best gloves for winter (or British summer) months

The best gloves act as an essential line of defence against the unpredictable British weather. As the winter months roll on through, you’ll soon find yourself wishing you had a warm pair of waterproof gloves to protect against the inevitable combination of freezing temperatures, buffeting winds and light sleet – even if you aren’t making the arduous walk to and from the station each morning.

In the summer, a stiff wind can swiftly whip up while you’re out hiking, cycling, climbing or camping, and leave you with hands shoved firmly in coat pockets (a disaster when climbing). The best gloves will of course prevent your hands from freezing, and waterproof designs can help you work or play for longer even in a downpour.

Picking the right gloves can be tricky, though, as there’s a huge range of styles, materials and prices on offer. Here’s our guide to the best outdoor gloves on the market, along with tips on how to choose the perfect pair.

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Best gloves: At a glance

How to choose the best gloves for you

What type of gloves should I buy?

The first thing is to decide where you’ll be wearing your gloves, and what you want them for. A fully waterproof pair is useful if you want to play sports or go walking in uncertain weather conditions. Warm gloves with touchscreen-compatible fingers are great for commuters, as the last thing you want is to have to take off your gloves every time you want to use your phone. Fleece and wool gloves may not be waterproof, but are wonderfully cosy and comforting on dry, icy days.

Needless to say, you’re not limited to one pair: if you spend a lot of time outside, you’ll find it useful to own a bit of a glove arsenal, to protect your paws whatever the weather.

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How do I ensure a good fit?

Hands vary a lot – and so do gloves, so it’s always worth trying on a new pair before you buy. Even if you think you know your size, different brands have different ideas of what constitutes “medium”, “large” and so forth. Some brands offer different sizes for men and women, but there’s nothing inherently gendered about the products themselves: indeed, you may find that a design marketed for the opposite sex fits you like, er, a glove.

As a rule, gloves should feel comfortable and roomy, but without too much space at the top of each finger. Look for a snug but not restrictive cuff and check you can make a fist without feeling any tightness. Adjustable cuffs that tighten with velcro or toggles are great for keeping rain out and warmth in.

What features should I look for?

If you’re looking for gloves to wear in the rain or snow, pick a pair that’s fully waterproof, not just water-resistant. Ideally they’ll use a waterproofing technology such as Gore-Tex, or give a waterproofing rating in millimetres. If you’re after maximum warmth, pick a pair with insulation such as PrimaLoft. Mitten-style gloves that bunch your fingers together are good for preserving body heat too.

For more casual use, such as dry-weather winter walks or commuting, you may as well plump for a sumptuously soft pair of knitted gloves to keep you cosy, or a light fleecy pair for warmer weather. Touchscreen-compatible fingertips are popular, as they make it easy to use your phone on the go; they’re good for cyclists and walkers too, as they let you access your navigational system without having to peel off your gloves.

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The best outdoor gloves for men and women you can buy in 2023

1. Black Diamond Soloist gloves: Best gloves for extreme conditions

Price when reviewed: £120 | Check price at Black Diamond These gloves are stonkingly expensive, but they’re packed with high-end features. Made with alpine climbers in mind, they’re fully, reliably waterproof and feature removable liners, providing extra warmth and making them easier to wash and dry. They’re easy to adjust too, with lovely luxe goat leather palms and PrimaLoft insulation to keep your mitts warm in the harshest conditions. A top pick for serious outdoor types heading into the mountains

Key specs – Material: Goat leather, PrimaLoft; Sizes: XS-XL; Colours: Black; Waterproof? Yes; Adjustable fit? Yes

Check price at Black Diamond

2. Berghaus Touchscreen: Best touchscreen gloves

Price when reviewed: From £16 | Check price at AmazonIf you don’t want to have to keep ripping off your gloves to control your GPS while you’re out running or cycling – or if you’re just addicted to your smartphone – then touchscreen gloves are the answer, with conductive metals woven into the fingertips of the thumb and forefinger that allow you to type and tap without exposing your fingers to the elements. There are plenty of touchscreen designs on the market, but Berghaus’ offerings are exceptionally warm, using fleecy Polartec material to keep your hands cosy – and if need be they’re light enough to double as liners inside a waterproof pair.

Key specs – Material: Polartec®; Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL; Colours: Black; Waterproof? No; Adjustable fit? No

3. Smartwool Cozy: Best gloves for cold, dry conditions

Price when reviewed: £37 | Check price at AmazonOn crisp winter days, there’s no need for hefty waterproofing – warm woollen gloves are more breathable and less bulky. Smartwool specialises in this sort of glove, and these ones are brilliant for country rambles, walking the dog or keeping snug on your bike. Just be warned that the fingers are rather long – if you have stubby digits they may feel a little lost.

Key specs – Material: Smartwool; Sizes: S/M; Colours: Black; Waterproof? No; Adjustable fit? No

4. Quechua Kids’ Hiking Fleece gloves: Best children’s gloves

Price when reviewed: £4.99 | Check price at DecathlonIf you’re looking for a multipurpose, affordable glove to protect your children’s hands, then we think this offering from Quechua is an ideal candidate. Quechua has established itself as a trusted brand when it comes to outdoor gear and it’s not hard to see why. These gloves are made from a thick, durable fleece material that not only protects from the cold but should do so for many years to come.

Although the gloves are thick and warm, they are far from clumsy. The material is flexible and dextrous, and there are grips on the fingers and palms to help with everyday use. When you pair the long-term, versatile protection that these gloves offer with their highly affordable price, it’s hard to deny that they’re a highly appealing option.

Key specs – Material: Fleece; Sizes: Years 6-14; Colours: Black, grey and pink; Waterproof? No; Adjustable fit? No

Check price at Decathlon