It’s the most wonderful time of the year—snow season. And this year, rather than pile on layer after layer of fleece-lined leggings, we’re picking up the best women’s snow pants money can buy to ensure our legs stay warm and dry all winter long. Whether you’re looking for something to make shoveling the driveway feel less draining or need a style that can handle daily slalom runs, these pairs have got you covered. Literally. Here are our recommendations for the best women’s snow pants on the internet.
The Best Women’s Snow Pants to Keep You Warm and Dry All Winter Long
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The Best Women’s Snow Pants at a Glance:
- Best Overall: The North Face Freedom Insulated Pants
- Best Bib Design: Helly Hansen Powderqueen Bib Pants
- Best for Super-Cold Days: Helly Hansen Switch Cargo Insulated Pants
- Best for Cross-Country Skiing: Outdoor Research Skyward II AscentShell Pants
- Most Inclusive Size Range: Eddie Bauer Powder Search 2.0 Insulated Pants
- Best for Athletic Builds: Burton Vida Pants
- Best Plus-Size: L.L.Bean Wildcat Waterproof Insulated Snow Pant
- Most Splurge-Worthy: Arc’teryx Sentinel AR Pants
- Best Eco-Friendly Option: Patagonia Insulated Powder Town Pants
- Best-Seller at REI: REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib Snow Pants
- Best Shell Pants: 66 North Snæfell Shell Pants
- Best Color Options: Halfdays Alessandra Pants
- Best Stand-Out Design: Farm Rio Mixed Scarves Ski Pants
- Editor’s Pick: Kari Traa Emma Pants
What to Look for When Buying Snow Pants:
The most important features in good snow pants are waterproofing and warmth. Look for durable materials listed as being treated with DWR (a waterproof finish) and taped, water-tight seams. Insulation is also key, although this can range from a fleece-lining to down feathers depending on what activities and temperatures you have in store.
While it’s important that your snow pants keep your legs toasty warm, you don’t want to trap sweat and excess heat in there. If your legs are wet with sweat, you can end up feeling much colder and, in a worst case scenario, put yourself at risk for frostbite. So be sure to read up on the materials used on the inside of the pants as well as the outside. (P.S. All the snow pants on this list are designed with sweat-wicking capabilities.)
No, we’re not talking about the University of Florida mascot. Gaiters are a built-in layer on the bottom of snow pants with an elastic hem meant to prevent snow from sneaking in the top of your boots. They typically sit under the outer layer which flares out a bit to accommodate clunky winter boots (often there are side zippers to help with this, too). You can buy and wear gaiters separate from your snow pants, but the best designs will include them already.
4. Full Range of Motion
Whatever activity you’re doing out in the snow—shoveling, sledding, skiing—you’re going to be moving around a ton, so not feeling constricted is majorly important. If you like a looser silhouette, make sure the legs aren’t too wide or baggy, so you won’t trip over them or feel like your legs are all tangled up. And if you prefer a slimmer fit, be sure to opt for stretchy materials and do a few squats or lunges in them before you remove the tags.
5. Zippered Pockets
With that full range of motion comes the risk that important things (like your car keys or phone) might come flying out of your pocket. Always pick zippered pockets, with a water-tight seal, over Velcro or snaps to ensure your essentials stay safe and secure.
1. The North Face Freedom Insulated Pants
This slim-fit pant is one of our absolute favorites, whether you need something just for shoveling the driveway and building snowmen or something to see you through a series of ski moguls. They’re waterproof and come with The North Face’s second highest warmth rating, meaning you’ll still be comfy on cold chair lift rides but won’t overheat on a hard descent. And they have just enough stretch to give you full range of motion without feeling loose or stretching out. Plus, the 2022 version is made almost entirely from sustainable, eco-friendly materials, a major bonus for those looking to green up their winter wardrobe. Some reviewers suggest these run small, so if you’re between sizes we suggest going with the larger, and they also come in both Short and Long inseams, so petite and tall gals rejoice. Oh, and did we mention they also come in ten chic colors?
2. Helly Hansen Powderqueen Bib Pants
Best Bib Design
Overall and bib designs are ideal for snowboarders looking to ensure no snow sneaks in the back of their waistband, as well as anyone who doesn’t want to be bothered with a constrictive waistband or the risk of flashing your midriff to the elements. This Helly Hansen pair has a flattering straight-leg fit and easily adjustable straps, as well as a number of pockets for storing everything from your resort pass to an avalanche beacon to an afternoon’s worth of snacks. You can also attach your jacket’s powder skirt to the belt loops for even more snow protection. Reviewers love the level of waterproofing for backcountry excursions, but multiple buyers suggest going up a size, especially if you’re between sizes or if you hope to layer underneath.
3. Helly Hansen Switch Cargo Insulated Pants
Best for Super-Cold Days
For cold stretches sitting on a ski lift or unpleasant mornings spent digging out the car, you’re going to want a pair of waterproof pants that can keep you toasty warm for hours, and these do just that. The combination of Primaloft insulation and a durable two-layer outer fabric with fully water-tight seams means your legs will stay dry and warm no matter the weather. The waist is easily adjustable thanks to a hook-and-loop patch on each hip, and the legs are fitted enough to not look baggy but with enough room to comfortably layer another base underneath. Per one avid skier, “I ski every day and I've been wanting these for a long time. I finally splurged. I love them and they are super comfortable and functional. I just skied in a wet falling snow the other day and I was warm and dry all day.”
4. Outdoor Research Skyward II AscentShell Pants
Best for Cross-Country Skiing
For downhill skiing, our main concern is definitely staying warm. But for cross-country skiing it’s more important to find a pair of snow pants with improved breathability to keep you comfortably cool during hard efforts. This hard shell pant by Outdoor Research offers both water-resistance and breathability, and has plenty of stretch so you can twist, turn and bend with ease along the trail. It also comes with vents on the outer thighs should you really start to warm up. And there are also four zippered pockets, including an avalanche beacon pocket with a clip to secure it in place. One reviewer, Jenny in Quebec, writes, “Loved these pants so much I bought a second pair. They are perfect for ski touring days and milder mountain days. I wear them 90 percent of the time, unless its -20° then I opt for my hardshell Gore-Tex. The fabric is light and stretchy. They have withstood lots of wear and tear!”
5. Eddie Bauer Powder Search 2.0 Insulated Pants
Most Inclusive Size Range
We’re not going to lie: Finding snow pants in plus, petite and tall sizes is a real challenge. Most brands simply stick to XS through XL (or even a more limited Small to Large), but that’s not the case with Eddie Bauer. These water and windproof pants come in 16 different sizes, so you’ll have an easier time finding a pair that fits you exactly as you want, no adjustments necessary. And you won’t have to sacrifice on quality either: The polyester outer lining is coated with StormRepel Super DWR, which is the brand’s longest-lasting waterproof finish, and the cuffs are reinforced with tough overlays to prevent wear-and-tear at your wrists and ankles. There are also two inner-tight vents to help with airflow on cross-country adventures and other hard efforts. They’re designed to have a middle-of-the-road fit—not too tight, not too loose—and based on reviews, Eddie Bauer got it exactly right. One reviewer raves, “Bought these for skiing and just love them! I have never been cold in them, even in temperatures as low as -20c. I've taken some rough falls with no sign of tear or damage on the pants.”
6. Burton Vida Pants
Best for Athletic Builds
These lightweight pants were made with athletes in mind, from the roomy legs (perfect for more muscular thighs) to the inner mesh panels which allow for better air flow on hard efforts. They’re also designed with an adjustable waistband to give you an even more precise fit. The Vida comes in six colors, all with two zippered front pockets and two pockets at the back that give your booty a flattering lift without adding bulk or discomfort when sitting on a chairlift. As for waterproofing, they’re made from a double layer of 10,000mm Dryride fabric with fully taped seams so you can rest assured absolutely no moisture will soak in no matter how hard you hit the slopes.
7. L.L.Bean Wildcat Waterproof Insulated Snow Pant
L.L.Bean’s Wildcat snow pants also come in straight sizes (as well as Petite lengths), but reviewers specifically mention how well the plus sizes fit, especially given how hard it is to even find plus-size snow gear. “I'm happy and relieved to find 2X snow pants that actually fit me well. Size chart is accurate. These sit at my waist, not on my hips. I'm curvy, and the waist, hips and thighs all fit well,” says one shopper from Alaska. As for warmth, they are insulated with 60-gram Primaloft Silver insulation, which basically means they will keep you warm even down into single digits without adding a ton of bulk. We love the streamlined silhouette with minimal zippers and pockets, as well as the adjustable waistband.
8. Arc’teryx Sentinel Pants
If you’re willing to spend a little extra, we cannot stress how great Arc’teryx’s Sentinel pants are. The Gore-Tex outer-liner is fully waterproof, and the easy-access pockets are also sealed with a water-tight finish. One of our favorite features is the adjustable waistband, which works with a slide belt rather than Velcro or drawstrings, which allows for a comfier fit around the hips. They have ample room for layering underneath, but don’t look baggy, and there are two side vents at the thighs to increase airflow when needed. They definitely don’t come cheap, but multiple reviewers mention how well they hold up even after years of aggressive use. One satisfied customer even mentions that their pair from six years ago still looks brand new. If you’re looking for a resort ski pant, you might want to opt for something a little warmer, or at least wear an extra-warm layer underneath, but for warmer days and more taxing cross-country touring, they’re the perfect mix of lightweight and cozy.
9. Patagonia Insulated Powder Town Pants
Best Eco-Friendly Option
If sustainability is most important to you, you can’t do better than Patagonia. Even if it’s not your top priority, we highly recommend these insulated snow pants, which are well worth the splurge. We love the streamlined silhouette, which still packs 60 grams of Thermogreen 100-precent recycled polyester insulation for warmth but without a ton of added bulk. But just in case you find yourself overheating, there are two zippered mesh vents on the thighs. The outer shell is fully waterproof, with a PFC-free DWR finish (aka, no harmful chemicals), and there are also three pockets—two at the hips and one on the thigh—for stowing snacks, you phone or even an avalanche beacon.
10. REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Bib Snow Pants
Best-Seller at REI
REI has long held a special place in our hearts as the ultimate place to stock up on all the best outdoor gear. This includes the company’s in-house brand, REI Co-Op, which frequently offers more affordable, but still high quality, alternatives to brands like Patagonia or Outdoor Research. These bib-style snow pants are currently the top-selling pair on the site for that exact reason—they cost less than $200 but are also highly technical and will keep you dry, warm and comfortable all winter long. The outer shell has DWR waterproofing to keep snow from seeping in, and there’s also 40 g synthetic insulation to warm your legs on chilly lift rides up the mountain. Reviews say they run a tad small, but are otherwise a great investment. “Took these snowboarding in Idaho and as a new snowboarder, I spent a lot of time on my butt strapping into my board. Stayed dry the ENTIRE time,” reads one review. Another says, “I got these mid-winter and have used them for all kinds of skiing since, both resort and touring. They are very well designed for the price, pretty waterproof and the fit is small but I sized up and they were good. I think the petite length would’ve been better for me (I’m 5’4”), but they were out of stock so I just roll the cuffs. I wish the vents were a bit bigger for touring, but can't complain at this price!”
11. 66 North Snæfell Shell Pants
Best Shell Pants
For sunny days or spring skiing, sometimes a shell pant—i.e., one without built-in insulation—is the best way to go. This waterproof design by 66 North is made with Polartec NeoShell fabric, which is both breathable and highly effective at keeping out wind, rain and snow. And there are zippers on the side of each leg that go up quite high (on the 5’8” model they hit just below the knee) to make it easy to switch from ski boots to snow boots for the drive home or to simply get a bit more ventilation when needed. As for fit, they run true to size, and there is an adjustable belt built into the waistband so you can tighten or loosen as needed. There’s also plenty of room for a base layer underneath, and you could even rock a puffer pant or thicker insulated layer in the colder months to get double the use out of these fabulous shell pants.
12. Halfdays Alessandra Pants
Coolest Color Options
Halfdays launched just a few years ago, but has already developed a dedicated cult following, likely because of the founders’ intense focus on crafting quality gear by and for women, specifically. That and the gorgeous color options offered, with new styles always on the horizon. Rather than simply adding a few inches for hips and offering a pink option, Halfdays worked with hundreds of real-world testers to determine exactly what women want from their ski gear. The result is a line of sustainably-made, 100 percent vegan jackets and snow pants, including the best-selling Alessandra pants. The no-fuss silhouette is incredibly flattering, with a hook-and-loop adjustable waistline and one hidden pocket at the front for your ski pass or other small items. A note on sizing: We previously noted that these pants tended to run a bit small, but since last winter the designers have made tweaks to the fit so that it runs truer to size, especially for the larger sizes.
13. Farm Rio Mixed Scarves Ski Pants
Best Stand-Out Design
“My dad’s vision is pretty bed and if you add to that any kind of inclement weather—like snow falling on an already snow-covered mountain—it’s terrible,” says avid skier Emma H. “I have always preferred super bright or even garish ski gear so that he can more easily pick me out from a crowd, but Farm Rio’s new ski collection lets me both stand out and look chic. A true win-win.” Indeed, the Brazilian company best know for its gorgeous, unique prints recently introduced a ski and snow collection, with three jackets, thee pairs of pants and three snowsuits. They feature bright flying toucans, neon cashew fruits and a bevy of other rainbow-hued tropical flora and fauna to help you pop on the slopes. The waistband is also adjustable and there are two zippered pockets at the hips for a ski pass or other small items. And as one last bonus, they’re also machine washable.
14. Kari Traa Emma Snow Pants
Kari Traa was founded by the famous Norwegian Olympic skier of the same name in 2002 as a ski and outdoor gear brand specifically for women. And while we first fell in love with the brand for its gorgeous, comfortable and highly functional base layers, we’ve since grown to become fans of so many more styles, including the Emma snow pants. The mid-waist hits in exactly the right spot to be both flattering and comfortable, and hook-and-loop pulls on both sides allow you to adjust the waistband to fit either tighter or looser depending on your shape. The articulated knees make it easier to move with ease, even over demanding moguls, and the legs have plenty of room to feel comfortable without looking baggy.