Ski Racing Gloves: What To Look For

Getting ready to gear up your little ski racer for the upcoming ski season? Second only to protecting their brain, (see our article, Ski Race Helmets: What's Different About Them?), hand protection is critical for ski racing. You need to keep your little skier's hands warm and dry, but also protected from the inevitable gate strikes that come with ski racing. A well-protected little ski racier, is a happy little ski racer!

Let's look at some key things to consider when shopping for new ski racing gloves and ski racing mittens:

Mittens vs. Gloves: Pros and Cons

There's no right answer in determining whether ski race mittens or gloves are the better choice for your child. Each have their pros and cons...

Ski Racing Gloves

Ski Race Gloves:
  • Articulated fingers provide greater mobility for gripping poles, pulling zippers, adjusting goggles, etc. 
  • Knuckle protectors are easily lined up with each finger
  • Fingers lack the advantage of body warmth that mittens provide, thus not likely to sweat
  • Glove liners can be worn for extra warmth, but may compromise mobility

 Ski Racing Mittens

Ski Race Mittens:
  • Extra warmth for little fingers is generated by body heat from the fingers being together
  • If fingers sweat, moisture more easily builds up in mittens, and you may have wet mittens after a full day on the slopes
  • Little kids can put mittens on easier than aligning each finger to the respective finger hole of a glove
  • Knuckle protection may not perfectly align with each finger
  • Glove liners can be worn for extra warmth, but that defeats the idea of a mitten...

Wearing gloves or mittens while ski racing (or recreational skiing) is a personal preference. We recommend you talk to your child, and help them determine how they'd like to protect their hands this ski season. If your family skis for several consecutive days, you may consider buying two pairs of ski racing gloves or ski racing mittens, or one pair of ski racing gloves and one pair of ski racing mittens for your budding ski racer.  

Outer Shell Material

Frankly speaking, more expensive ski racing gloves and mittens will most likely be made of high-quality leather, (goat skin or Japanese cowhide to site two examples), for a flexible fit and durable performance. Other, less expensive but highly protective ski race gloves will have partial leather coverage, or use synthetic leather. Outer shell protection of ski racing gloves or mittens include the following options and benefits:

  • High-quality leather, complete glove/mitten coverage: flexible, soft, durable, warm; naturally water-proof
  • Partial coverage of high-quality leather, typically less costly than full-coverage leather glove/mitten
  • Heavy-duty nylon, or other synthetic fabric will lower the price, but may not last for years 
  • Kevlar fabric reinforcement for added strength, durability

All product descriptions at XSPKids will clearly state the outer shell material of the ski race gloves / ski race mittens you are considering for your child. We also include whether the ski racing gloves or mittens have double stitching for increased durability.

Knuckle protection

Ski Racing Gloves Knuckle ProtectionsSki racers are fully aware of the importance of knuckle protection as they attack the gates. Ski racing gloves and mittens include protection for at least your first set of knuckles, (at the base of your fingers/top of your hand). Some ski racing gloves or mittens also protect the knuckles in your fingers. Different manufacturers feature different technology for ski racing glove/mitten knuckle protection. In choosing ski racing gloves or mittens for your little ski racer, you'll notice options such as...

  • Hard plastic knuckle protection, and perhaps a hard plastic plate covering all of the lower knuckles
  • EVA, or other type of padding above the knuckles, sometimes in conjunction with a hard shell
  • Advanced technology, perhaps patented, specific to the manufacturer of the ski race glove or mitten

Most importantly, ski racing gloves and ski racing mittens should offer some level of protection for your young ski racer's knuckles.

Fingers (and thumb!) protection

Like knuckles, fingers and thumbs take a beating from the gates. Look for ski racing gloves or mittens that protect at least the middle two fingers. Preferably, the ski racing gloves or mittens will protect the outside three or, ideally, all four digits. Finger and thumb protection takes many forms, including:

  • Soft padding
  • Manufacturer-specific, shock-absorbing material, sometimes a patented material
  • Leather reinforcement on the fingers or thumbs, or just on the finger tips.
  • Kevlar reinforced finger protection
  • Leather glove or mitten construction adds an extra measure of protection for fingers

Again, XSPKids includes a detailed description of all our ski racing gloves and ski racing mittens. We want to ensure that you choose the proper ski race gloves or mittens for your young ski racer. 

Wrist protection

Snowboarders aren't the only ones on the ski slopes that need wrist protection! An additional layer of soft foam pads are added at the top of the wrist in many ski racing mittens & gloves to help provide relief from gate strikes. 

Reinforced Palms

Ski Racing Gloves With Reinforced Palms

Most, but not all, ski racing glove and mitten manufacturers feature reinforced palms. The reinforcement is often leather, but could be another material such as Kevlar or grippy silicon beads. Whatever the material, palm reinforcement aims to improve durability where the gloves/mittens meet the poles.


3M Thinsulate is probably the most popular ski racing glove and mitten insulator on the market today, and for good reason. Thinsulate keeps hands warm with less bulk, thus not limiting agility. Thinsulate also has a nice soft feel against your hands, and dries quickly. Some ski racing gloves and/or mittens may feature a wool liner coupled with Thinsulate insulation. If your child's skin is sensitive to wool, be sure to read the XSPKids product descriptions carefully before placing your order. Insulation used in ski racing gloves and mittens include:

  • Thinsulate (mentioned above)
  • PrimaLoft (a polyester/cotton blend)
  • Fleece
  • Down feathers

Some ski racing glove manufacturers develop their own insulation technologies. We describe them in detail on our product description pages. 

Cuff Length

Ski Racing Gloves With A Short Cuff

Some ski racers reject a longer cuff feeling it limits wrist mobility, and prefer ski racing gloves or mittens with a short cuff. Some ski jackets have sleeves designed to keep out snow such as built-in cuffs that slip over a ski racing glove or mitten with a short cuff. Check out your child's jacket sleeve and confirm his or her personal preference before ordering their ski racing gloves/mittens.


Find a soft tape measure or a piece of string. Ask your child to squeeze their four fingers together, and keep their thumb extended away from their fingers. Wrap How To Measure Your Hand/Determine Glove Sizethe tape measure, or string, around their hand, just below the knuckles and above the thumb. (Do not include the thumb.) Note that measurement in inches. Next, measure from the tip of their middle finger to the base of their hand, in inches. Whichever measurement is longer is your child's ski racing glove or ski racing mitten size. If you use string, simply measure the string along a ruler or yardstick to compare measurements and determine your child's ski racing glove or mitten size. 

Unique to Level Ski Racing Gloves and Level Ski Racing Mittens is a custom fit capability. CF (Custom Fit) models of Level Gloves can be heated at 80 degrees for 3 minutes, and then put onto your child's hand while she or he grips their ski racing poles. In 3-5 minutes, as the gloves cool, they conform to the exact shape of your son or daughter's hand. A custom fit is created, improving comfort and accuracy of grip.  


We all live in the real world (or, most of us do...) where price is a consideration. Fast-growing kids may only get one or two seasons out of their ski racing gloves or Price Consideration mittens, so it makes sense to shop carefully. Fortunately, there are several excellent options in youth ski racing gloves and mittens that won't break the bank. Weigh the above options in order of importance to your youth ski racer against the price of the ski racing gloves or mittens. We're confident you'll be able to find the right pair of race gloves or mittens to suit your budget and your child's ski racing glove and/or mitten preferences.


Now that you know what to look for, shop our collection of  ski racing gloves and/or ski racing mittens. Need a bit more info?  Call us at +1.800.930.4084 or send an email

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