Why Do Snowboarders Wear Mittens?

The most important thing to take care of when snowboarding is your hands. Nothing can ruin a day on the mountain like a set of frozen fingertips.

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The most important thing to take care of when snowboarding is your hands. Nothing can ruin a day on the mountain like a set of frozen fingertips.

Snowboarders and skiers are similar with the type of gear and equipment they use, but not when it comes to mittens. Snowboarders are best served with mittens because they offer more warmth and hand protection on the mountains. Because snowboarders do not need much dexterity, they work perfectly.

If you are new to snowboarding and not sure what is best for you, this guide will include all of the information you need to know about mittens. They are a more effective way to keep your hands warm in the cold and improve your experience while boarding. You can even use both gloves and mittens to determine what fits you best.

After riding on many different cold trails with gloves, the change to mittens was a complete shift in the overall snowboarding experience. You will experience much more warmth and hand protection this way. In this guide, you learn exactly why mittens are preferred by snowboarders.

Table of Contents

Why Do Snowboarders Wear Mittens?

Snowboarding is a sport that requires that you use your hands and fingers to propel yourself. The problem with the cold is that it can put a lot of pressure on these delicate parts of your body.

Mittens offer warmth and protection for your hands and fingers because they fit snugly around them. Mittens are not only warmer, but they also cover your hands and fingers that might be sensitive to the cold.

The edges of the mittens protect from sharp rocks and trees on the mountain or when falling down. The mittens prevent snow from getting into their gloves and to maintain warmth, they usually wrap them around their wrists like a cuff.

A mitten usually has less dexterity but it is warmer than the glove because it covers all of your hand rather than just your fingers, which decreases heat loss through your digits. Because snowboarders do not require much dexterity when riding, they can afford to wear mittens for comfort and warmth.

Mittens also provide more protection from cold as they cover some areas that gloves leave exposed. They are meant for grip, but also to protect their hands from the cold. They let you feel the mountain through your fingertips.

Mittens Vs Gloves For Snowboarders

Mittens have long been preferred among snowboarders because they provide warmth without restricting movement too much, but some people do not like them for this reason because it is difficult to hold onto the handlebars when wearing them.

Gloves are more common because they have less bulk and offer better dexterity than mitts. However, mittens work best for snowboarders because they do not require much dexterity on the mountain.  

The three most important factors when comparing mittens and gloves are hand protection, warmth, and dexterity.

Hand Protection

Snowboarders will often use both mittens and gloves to protect their hands from the cold and the damage of riding on snow. Mittens offer more protection than gloves and usually fit better than gloves.

When riding down the mountain, it is not uncommon to fall down onto the hard ground. There are concerns when falling near rocks, ice, and tree branches that could lead to injury. With mittens, you are getting the best overall hand protection when compared to gloves.


Snowboarders use mittens because they offer more warmth than gloves, especially when temperatures get colder or windy. The reason for this is that they offer more protection from the weather, which is essential in cold conditions such as snowboarding during the winter months.

Mittens provide greater protection against frostbite because it covers all fingers. They are also warmer than gloves since they cover more body parts with a single layer of fabric.

There is nothing worse than getting caught in the middle of a day on the mountain and feeling your fingertips freezing. Mittens will protect you from these cold temperatures.


When looking for dexterity, gloves have the advantage. Because you have an individual pocket for each finger, you have much more freedom with your handles to handle gear, equipment, and zipping up your clothing.

Mittens restrict your fingers and dexterity more with only a single pocket for all of your fingers. However, this is why mittens work well for snowboarders because they do not require much dexterity when on the mountains.

If you don’t mind a small sacrifice, mittens will provide much more warmth and hand protection when compared to traditional gloves.

Best Mitten Styles For Snowboarders

Not all mitten styles are created equal when it comes to snowboarding. Everybody will have a personal preference and each style offers specific benefits.

There are a few different mitten styles for snowboarders. These include traditional mittens, lobster mittens, and heated mittens.

Traditional Mittens

The traditional mittens for snowboarding are designed with five fingers and one thumb, which limits its use in snowboarding. In order to improve mobility when riding, gloves have been developed with fewer fingers and more open palm space.

These mittens for snowboarding are made with wool, fleece, and other soft materials to keep your palms warm. They are often more breathable than gloves while still providing some protection from the cold.

Lobster Mittens

Lobster mittens are created to help snowboarders with their grip and handling on the slopes. They are made of high-quality material and feature a red lobster design.

These provide more dexterity because they have a separate pouch for both your thumb and pointer finger. This allows you to handle equipment and gear easily without the same struggles you might face when using a traditional mitten.

Heated Mittens

Heated mittens have a similar design to a traditional mitten but they have a feature that keeps your hands much warmer. They will cost a bit more but they are an excellent choice if you notice your hands are always cold while snowboarding.

These are a breathable alternative made with waterproof materials. The interior gets warmer based on changeable settings to maximize the circulation through your hands while out in the cold.

How To Keep Your Hands Warm When Snowboarding

Snowboarders should make sure that they have all the equipment they need to keep their hands warm and safe.

A good tip for keeping your hands warm while snowboarding is to strap your boots onto your leg before putting them on so you won't lose any warmth from your feet before you get going.

It is also best to not clench your fists when outdoors. While this seems like a way to warm your hands up, it actually restricts your blood flow to the hands and makes you even colder.

Another tip is to keep your body warm, including your head and your feet. Using larger jackets and layering up will keep your entire body warmer making it easier to keep your hands warm too.

How To Choose Mittens For Snowboarding

To choose the best pair of mittens for snowboarding, you should consider everything from warmth to performance and durability. The best pairs of mittens for snowboarding will be those with a good grip.

It is also important that the design is breathable and has low-profile stitching or else it might become uncomfortable when wet or dirty. Mittens are also made of materials like leather for even more warmth and protection.

A good snowboarding mitten has excellent grip and warmth properties. It also has a proper fit so that it will not slip off when you are in a hurry. They are also sold as under the cuff and over the cuff options to seal your hands away from the cold air.

You should consider the breathability, waterproof properties, insulation, and lining in a mitten before making a purchase. All of these features determine how reliable it will be for snowboarding.