Best Thin Lightweight Winter Gloves [2020]: Latest Tech

Best Value
  • Incredibly well made
  • Touchscreen compatible.
  • Works as a warm base layer.
Best High-End
  • Fast Drying
  • ColdGear Technology
  • The inside cover retains natural body heat

One of the very first things you learn about cold weather outdoor activities is the importance of ensuring you always keep your extremities warm and dry. In cold weather settings, whether it’s a chilly fall day or the dead of winter months, it is the feet and hands that get cold first.

It isn’t too difficult to find hefty boots and thick wool socks, plus the activity of walking or otherwise moving also helps to keep feet and legs warm. Hands are a bit of a different story. Specifically, good thin warm gloves….

My Favorite Thin Winter Gloves

If you are still on the fence, these ARE my go-to picks. They are affordable, tech-friendly, and surprisingly warm. They also work great as liners for other gloves so you can mix and match as needed.

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Fingers and hands can quickly become painfully cold extremely fast in freezing temperatures. Plus the lack of fat and muscle on fingers means that even if your core is warm enough that you can perceive some sweat, your fingers can still be dangerously cold. Therefore it is vital that you very carefully select what col weather gloves you will wear, especially if you’ll be deep out in the woods and you need hunting gloves or on a trail on the outer.

It’s easy to find exceptionally warm winter/snow gloves, but it’s another thing to try and find gloves that are toasty warm but also thin.

Typically thin gloves offer no insulation, making them inappropriate for winter conditions.

Fleece lining, sheepskin leather, wool liners, pigskin leather, etc. There are many types of materials you can find in gloves, but many cheaply-made thin winter months gloves sadly have little or no waterproof features, which can spell disaster if you’ll be making contact with water or snow. Cold hands are bad enough, but cold wet hands can lead to serious problems, so you better be dry.

Rather than risking winter glove failure by purchasing the first pair of thin winter gloves you see, consider purchasing a pair of these 4 lightweight but durable winter gloves instead. Take a look at the best thin winter gloves!

#1 Smartwool Liner Gloves

Smartwool Merino Wool Liner Glove - Touch Screen Compatible Design for Men and Women (Black, M)
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When it comes to keeping your hands warm in bitter cold temps you must layer, just as you would with your clothing. A good pair of form-fitting, light glove liner that work as a warm base layer are vital. Liner gloves can be worn alone, but what really makes them great gloves is that you can remove your heavier, bulky gloves/mittens (fingerless glove) but still have some hand protection with the liner.

The Smartwool Liner Gloves are an excellent investment for two main reasons – they are incredibly well made and they are compatible to touchscreen devices as a winter glove. These are unisex gloves available in XS to L sizing, all of which retail for an even $24 (check here for the latest price). You also get three different color choices which makes them even more perfect.

As you’d guess from the brand’s name, these liners are made of wool material, or more specifically a wool blend. The main part of this glove is a Merino wool, acrylic and nylon blend. The thumb and index finger are primarily polyester, however.

The reason for this is these two fingers are touchscreen-friendly (etip gloves). The big advantage here is that you can still keep your hands warm while using your smartphone, GPS or other touchscreen devices.

My Ideal Use: I love using these as Ski gloves, particularly for a removable liner to either layer up with a thicker glove or layer down depending on where you are on the mountain (chairlift, windproof, base-camp, etc…). 

Bottom line: these are some of the best thermal gloves for winter that I’ve owned. You can pick yours up at either REI Co-op here, or via Amazon at this listing.

#2 The North Face Etip Glove

The North Face is a very well-known outdoor gear brand, probably most popular for their apparel. However, they do have an impressive selection of great gloves as well. When it comes down to thin, lightweight winter glove selection, you can’t go wrong with the Etip here.

TKA stands for Thermal Kinetic Advancement, which is a technology added to TNF’s fleece glove lines to improve insulation and durability. These gloves are available in both Men’s and Women’s options, with the only differences between the two being anatomical sizing.

That small design feature alone really helps ensure a snug but comfortable fit, especially for women with smaller hands that find unisex smalls are still too large.

The TNF Etip glove has a 5-way dimensional fit and are designed for light warmth in cool conditions. These are a great choice for more mild winters or to wear when running errands outside. Some customers have also used them as a liner glove when temperatures really get cold.

While the gloves do lack tech-friendly fingertips for touchscreen devices (touchscreen glove), they are still a very nicely made, quality pair of breathable lightweight fleece cold weather gloves. These are a mid-priced glove (check for the latest price) and come exclusively in black.

#3 Under Armour ColdGear Infrared Fleece Gloves

Under Armour Women's ColdGear Infrared Fleece Gloves, Black (001)/Rhino Gray, Medium
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Under Armour’s ColdGear line is highly respected and most pieces have excellent reviews, so it isn’t too much of a surprise that their Infrared Fleece Gloves are a great gloves option.

Like most UA gloves, the ColdGear Infrared come in Men’s and Women’s sizing, along with a few different color options. These retail for $39.99 (check here for the latest price), which is a bit pricier than others but worth every penny when it comes to warmth ratings.

The ColdGear Infrared gloves are made of a blend of polyester and elastane. The exterior fabric is not a waterproof glove but it is fast drying because of its breathable material. The perfect brushed interior lining is made of ColdGear Infrared technology, which is a soft shell thermo-conductive material that absorbs and retains natural body heat given off by your hands.

The palm is made of suede for better grip and the gloves also have extended wrist cuffs. Last but not least, UA added Tech Touch print to the thumbs and fingers so you can still use your phone without having to take your gloves off.

Despite being sleek and thin looking, the ColdGear Infrared Fleece Gloves are wonderfully warm and great for winter activities. You’ll find that they aren’t too bulky for casual wear and offer enough dexterity for outdoor activities or even working outside.

#4 Head Multi-Sport SensaTEC Gloves

While not as well-know of a brand as the above 3, the Head Multi-Sport SensaTEC gloves are great for winter athletic activities. These gloves are surprisingly warm yet fit the hand very well. The overall design allows for amazing dexterity and use of electronics as well.

These are designed to be able to be used for numerous different types of activities, and customers find this is certainly true. You’ll find these work great for hiking, running (street or trail), cycling, golf, and more.

The palm of these gloves is finished with a silicon design, which offers a better grip on tech devices, handlebars, trekking poles, etc. The SensaTEC technology is a material present in the fingertips of the gloves which allows you to use a touchscreen device without having to expose your bare hands to the elements.

The Head SensaTEC gloves have an extended cuff for a closer, more comfortable fit. These gloves are designed with unisex sizing in mind, with sizes from X-Small up to XLarge/2XL. There are also two color options – Black and Grey.

These retail for about $30 to $50 (check here for the latest price) depending on the retailer and sizing. You can find these readily online through sites like Amazon, but may also find these at Walmart and Costco. When you need something that is tougher than fleece, warmer than a liner and lacks any unnecessary bulk, these are a go-to choice.

Best Thin Gloves for Extreme Cold -20c

Summary: Once you get to -20c, you have to compromise SOME dexterity for insulation. Still, there are some reasonably think options here. If you are dealing with particularly frigid conditions where you still need a competent windproof work glove, our top pick here is definitely the Alpha SL Glove from Arc’teryx available here

Best Waterproof Thin Winter Gloves: Sealskinz All Season

Summary: Perfect for cold and WET conditions where moisture is the enemy, featuring supple, stretchy, and durable goatskin, a 3-layer membrane, and thumb and index finger touch screen mobility grip.

Best Thin Gloves for Extreme Cold: The Final Touch

Pro Tip: I generally avoid traditional leather palm gloves in this category because 1) they tend to need more fabric to be insulated, and 2) tend to be heavier than most synthetic or fleece alternatives.

When comparing different gloves and generally shopping around, keep in mind that you should select a pair that has a temperature rating that is the lowest you’d expect to encounter. It is much better to have gloves that are a bit too warm than not warm enough.

It is also a good idea to carry a backup pair of gloves or liners in your backpack if you can, especially if there is any chance of your gloves getting wet or damp during whatever activity you’re enjoying.

Finally, if you are purchasing liner gloves or a pair of thin gloves you may like to layer your heavy pair with, be sure to take them with you when shopping in store so you can ensure both will compliment each other in terms of fit.

My Favorite Thin Winter Gloves

If you are still on the fence, these ARE my go-to picks. They are affordable, tech-friendly, and surprisingly warm. They also work great as liners for other gloves so you can mix and match as needed.

View Prices on REI.Com Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Further Reading on Winter Gear & Gloves

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