The Best Women’s Snow Pants to Keep You Warm and Dry No Matter How Many Inches (or Feet) Have Fallen
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 nine pairs have got you covered. Literally. Here are our recommendations for the best snow pants on the internet.
OUR PICKS AT A GLANCE:
Scroll down for in-depth reviews of each.
Best Overall: The North Face Lenado Pants
Best Bib Design: Helly Hansen Powderqueen Bib Pants
Best for Super-Cold Days: Helly Hansen Switch Cargo Insulated 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
Best for Ski Touring: Arc’teryx Sentinel AR Pants
Best Sustainable Design: Patagonia Powder Bowl Pants
Best New Brand: Halfdays Alessandra 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 you 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.
The 9 Best Women’s Snow Pants in 2021
1. The North Face Lenado 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 come with The North Face’s highest waterproofing rating and are incredibly warm (great for sitting on the chair lift). And they have just enough stretch to give you full range of motion without feeling loose or stretching out. Plus, the 2021 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.
Available in sizes XS to XL, also Short and Long
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.
Available in sizes XS to XL
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.”
Available in sizes XS to XL
4. 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 X-Small through X-Large (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.”
Available in sizes XS to 3X, also Petite and Tall
5. 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 is 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.
Available in sizes XS to XL
6. 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.
Available in sizes XS to 3X, also Petite
7. Arc’teryx Sentinel AR Pants
Best for Ski Touring
If you’re willing to spend a little extra, we cannot stress how great Arc’teryx’s Sentinel AR 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.
Available in sizes XS to XL
8. Patagonia Powder Bowl Pants
Best Sustainable Design
We’ve long loved Patagonia for its dedication to preserving the environment, and these pants fit right in with that sustainable mindset. They’re made from 100 percent recycled polyester Gore-Tex and are made in factories that meet the Fair Trade Certification. The inner lining is a sleek brushed mesh, which helps wick away sweat to keep you comfy from the inside out with the aid of two side panels. The original design is intended to be worn as a shell and will definitely keep you warm in the 30 degree range, but if you’re looking for something with some extra oomph we suggest the Insulated Powder Bowl pant ($379) for the same great fit and durability, just with a lower temperature rating.
Available in sizes XS to XL
9. Halfdays Alessandra Pants
Best New Brand
Halfdays launched just over a year ago, but it’s already developed a dedicated cult following, likely because of the founders’ intense focus on crafting quality gear by and for women, specifically. 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.
Available in sizes XS to XXL