The Best Mittens for Cold Weather - My Favorite Mittens Ever!

Features that Make the Best Mittens for Cold Weather:


A long and wide gauntlet cuff.

To have the best mittens for cold weather, this feature is a key one for me. It allows the mitt to fit easily over my jacket sleeve (even the puffiest of coats) to provide an overlapping layer of weather protection over my forearms and wrists. Keeping wrists warm is critical as they have no insulation of their own and blood vessels are close to the surface. When our brains sense our wrists are getting cold, survival mode kicks in and less warm blood is circulated to our extremities, which contributes to cold hands. To keep cold air (or snow) from entering the end of the gauntlet, cord locks easily snug up the shock cord. I can also cinch up the wrist area with the webbing and slider.

A wide and long gauntlet goes a long way to keep hands warm!

A warm glove with a long gauntlet cuff to capture body heat.

A roomy hand section.

The hand section is large enough that my hand and fingers are not constricted but not so large that I am trying to 'heat' extra space. The side band construction helps achieve this comfortable fit. This is crucial in buying or making the best mittens for cold weather

An anatomical curve.

It's not always easy to find, but this is one feature I love. The biggest advantage of this to me is that it reduces hand fatigue that can occur when you have to work too hard against the loft of the insulation to let your hand curve naturally or when you are doing an activity that requires you to grip something for a period of time (handlebar, shovel, ski pole for example).

A slight curve to the mitt is much more comfortable to wear and reduces hand fatigue.

Extra insulation over the hand

I love this feature as well. While there is some insulation on the palm side, it is thinner than on the back of the hand. The palm side insulation also feels denser. The benefit of this is that although it is thin, it blocks heat/cold transfer well. The lofty back side is created with batting-style insulation and there is a PrimaLoft® tag confirming the brand. Can’t say for sure the specific style of PrimaLoft, but my educated guess is there are multiple layers because of its thickness.

Soft, thin and fast-drying liner.

In the hand area, there is a thin brushed fabric/fleece while the gauntlet section is lined with a light nylon (for ease in sliding over jacket sleeves). Polartec Fleece Lining is a good choice for the hand area (fleece side against your skin). Moisture-wicking and fast drying is important to keep dampness from sweat at bay, especially if you are camping or don't have a good method for drying out your mitts after wear.

The benefit of making your own mittens for cold weather is that you can choose where you put the insulation, and custom design for your needs, from fabric to design. 

 The inside of the mitten should be soft but gauntet should slide over jacket sleeves.

An inside that is soft and cozy for the hands and slideseasily over jacket sleeves

A pliable outer fabric.

As a disclaimer, I am an adult and I don't wear these mitts to dig around in gravely snow:) The outer fabric of my mitts is a very lightweight ripstop nylon and while I have not babied these mitts in the slightest, I have not used them for activities where they were subject to abrasive surfaces or conditions. The more pliable the fabric, the less hand fatigue. In other words, try to avoid very stiff shell fabrics as we are adding thickness/warmth with our insulation and too thick an outer fabric, will impact how easy it is to use your hands.

My final tip.

Wristlets! Known by many other names, wristlets are a fingerless glove designed to keep the wearer's wrist protected and warm and are a great addition if your hands are always cold. If your brain senses your wrists are getting cold, it reduces blood flow to your hands and your hands will be much harder to stay warm.

A couple of suggestions: Choose a cozy fabric with a smooth surface such as Polartec Power Stretch or Northern Lite so your mitts and long-sleeves slide overtop easily. They should fit closely but should not constrict. Add a pocket on the inside of the wrist for a hand warmer - more convenient than bunched up in your palm!

A wristlet that is worn inside a larger mitten with a pocket to hold a warming device.

Fabric Options

While there are likely hundreds of fabric combinations to try, here are a few to consider for making the best mittens for cold weather


When making your own mittens for cold weather, these technical shell fabrics provide protection from the elements. Stretch is not an important factor in the shell, so if choosing Polartec Neoshell both stretch and non-stretch styles are fine. 


When choosing or making the best mittens for cold weather, the lining must serve the purpose of keeping your hands dry. Therefore it should be moisture-wicking. It also should add some warmth, but the most warmth will come from the insulation layer.  


Mitten PacksWe recommend Primaloft Gold when available, as well as Primaloft Silver as the best runner up to Gold. If you are making mittens for chilly but not extreme cold, you can use other lofty fabrics to insulate, such as Polartec High Loft. It is technically an outerwear fabric but does work well for many winter climates.  We often include High Loft as the insulating layer in our Mitten Packs, which are intended for those learning to make mittens. 

Ask for Advice!

This blog deals mainly with what to look for when buying mittens. As a group of sewing enthusiasts, we typically focus on making our own, especially when you can't find what you are looking for.  We are here to help!

We love to help with fabric choices, which is why we have a Facebook Group.  If you ask in our group, be specific about where you live (climate), what you will be using the mittens for.  We will try to make suggestions will help with your project.  We prefer questions be asked in the group where others can learn from the questions asked as well. Our Facebook group is Sew Inspired by Discovery Fabrics. Please join us!