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Our pick of the best ski pants to buy this year

best ski pants

Just like jackets, a good pair of ski pants is massively important to your overall skiing experience. You need to be comfortable, dry and warm so that you can focus on shredding the mountain rather than worrying about being cold, wet, and uncomfortable.

We've skied or snowboarded in all of these to work out what makes one pair great and another simply average. Our reviews cover the strengths and weaknesses of each so that ultimately you can make a sound buying decision.

Roxy Outsider Bib pants

Roxy Outsider Bib

These lightly insulated bib pants are high performers but backed up by excellent comfort. They feature a Primaloft Black 100% recycled insulation which offers a touch of warmth along with fantastic breathability on the mountain. 

Inside there’s a mix of silky-smooth lightweight polyester taffeta and fleecy brushed tricot which all adds to comfort and warmth and makes the pants easy to get on and off.

The 15K Roxy DryFlight membrane is backed up by fully taped seams for all over waterproofing but the exposed zips don’t have a rubberised treatment to stop water getting through.

Elasticated suspenders hold up the high bib and the pant to jacket attachment system helps hold everything in place. The elasticated waist is really comfortable and secure, and pockets front and back give you plenty of room for your bits and pieces.

The inner leg vents are handily mesh lined, this stops loose bits of snow passing through and maintains your dignity!
Offering excellent value, great specs and lashings of comfort we think the Outsider Bib Pants are well worth a look.

  • Verdict Comfortable and excellent specs for the money.
  • Overall rating 8/10
  • RRP £220

Picture Under Ski Pants

Picture Under Pant.jpg

The Under pant favours great looks over out-and-out tech. As an example, all the pockets use storm flaps rather than waterproof zips, and there are four ‘faux’ pockets hinting at styling rather than pure function. But if looks are high on your list of priorities then you’ll do all right with the comfortable Under pant - the soft and supple Dryplay fabric and baggy cut make them easy to wear all day, and 10,000mm of waterproofing is not to be sniffed at. There’s a good bib-like waist, and Picture gets eco points for using recycled materials to make their snow gear.

  • Verdict A good value option for people who go for looks as much as performance in their ski gear. 
  • Overall rating 8/10
  • RRP £190

 

Salomon QST Bib pants

Salomon QST Bib

Salomon’s QST line is a minor step below athlete focussed S/Lab but offers most of the performance at a much lower price.
Still highly technical gear, the QST Bib pants are 3l shell pants that are designed for shredding. They feature a Pertex Shield membrane which is highly waterproof and breathable but a bit softer than Gore-Tex Pro. Salomon’s MotionFit 360 is put to good use, it’s another way of saying the pants are designed for active use, they move with you no matter how demanding your skiing.

The stretchy bib has a nifty zip to release as well as its own little mesh zipped pocket. It’s held up by removeable elasticated suspenders which are both comfortable and practical. The whole bib also zips out in case you want to convert the QST pants into standard ski pants. With a soft lined waist that’s Velcro adjustable the QST pants work equally well in both configurations.

Exposed zips are protected by aquaguard treatment, and the large cargo pocket has a popper sealed stormflap for both protection and great looks. Airflow through the QST pants can be optimised with vents on both the outer and inner legs so you rarely overheat.

Adjustable Cordura insteps with elasticated gaiters ensure that the pants work well with ski and snowboard boots and can deal with abrasion and the overall build quality is excellent.

Overall, the QST Bib pants offer top notch performance at a slightly more palatable price than the S/Lab equivalents. 

  • Verdict Most of the performance of the S/Lab pants at a much lower price.
  • Overall rating 9/10
  • RRP £360

Eider Rocker Ski Pants

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The Rocker Pant is a fuss-free piste skiing option with little not to like. The four-way stretch fabric is soft and very comfortable - couple this with a mid-loose cut, decent articulation and great quality, durable fabric and you’ve got a pair of ski pants that won’t ever hold you back on the slopes. Fully taped seams and good breathability combine to ensure that you’re dry and not overly sweaty. There are only two hand pockets and one zipped pocket on the rear of the Rocker Pants, but this is in line with the muted styling, and is still plenty of room for your phone and wallet.

  • Verdict The Rocker Pant is a good value buy if you’re looking for classic styling and dependable reliability. 
  • Overall rating 9/10
  • RRP £220

 

The North Face Bellion Bib

The North Face Bellion Bib

If you like to stand out the Bellion bib pants should suit you, aesthetically at least.

Features include North Face’ DryVent fabric technology, which is a 3-layer fabric made with recycled and bio-based materials. It’s well proven and is highly breathable and waterproof for long days on soggy slopes. All the seams on these ski pants are sealed to stop water getting in and any exposed zips have neat little storm flaps over the top.

The high bib provides fantastic protection against the snow and the elasticated suspenders are comfortable to wear. There’s good adjustment all over including a webbing waist adjuster, not necessarily needed in a pair of bib pants but welcome, nonetheless.

You get two small pockets in the bib chest and there’s a zip running down the front for easy toilet breaks.

There are also two zipped hand pockets and two Velcro sealed patch pockets, altogether loads of room to stash your bits and pieces.

At the hems you get elasticated gaiters and a boot hook as well as a small amount of adjustment with a popper expander. This makes the Bellion pants fit well and stay in place over ski or snowboard boots. The reinforced instep keeps the bottoms of the ski pants free of damage too.

The general fit and feel of the Bellion pants is good, as with much of North Face kit there’s an air of form over function, which will appeal to some and put others off. If the bold colourway and baggy design is to your taste, then the Bellion pants offer good value given the decent performance.

  • Verdict Good performance for the money, marmite looks. 
  • Overall rating 7/10
  • RRP £295

Salomon Iceglory Ski Pants

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The Iceglory offers excellent waterproofing, and a great four-way stretch and articulated cut means it feels comfortable and flexible to wear. The Iceglory is so highly insulated, however, that the pant is only really useful for resort skiing on the coldest days, although decent vents on the inside leg do help a bit if you overheat. Looks wise, the Iceglory is pretty stylish, with a nice soft drape to the fabric, which combined with their cosiness makes them very comfy indeed. The Iceglory has the great, durable quality we’ve come to expect from Salomon, and the cut is nice and relaxed, too. 

  • Verdict Great quality and cut, the warmest pants we tested are best suited for very cold weather use. 
  • Overall rating 8/10
  • RRP £190

Picture U77 Bib Pants

Picture U77 Bib Pants

Picture are masters of good value, high-quality ski gear that appeals to the slightly cooler end of the ski and snowboard spectrum. the U77 bib pants fit well into that mould, the design and aesthetics are excellent, but the technical features are also on point. They have a freeride friendly look, but with impeccable attention to detail in the practical design elements.

The high bib has adjustable suspenders and a neat little chest pocket. The two-way water-resistant front zip is perfectly designed, with a dual popper closure over the waist and a zip that can be zipped up from the bottom. The waist is adjustable via Velcro straps, the same principle as the adjustment in the suspenders. These work surprisingly well in the snow, but webbing strap adjusters would feel more secure.

We found the hand and patch pockets to be a tad small but still functional. They’re both zipped with water resistant zips complete with chunky pullers and the patch pockets have additional popper secured storm flaps.

Venting is available via zipped openings on the outside of the legs, these are mesh lined to stop snow ingress. The hem has a gaiter, boot lace hook and dual popper bellows opening to easily get them on over ski or snowboard boots.

The material is really soft and smooth unlike some other ski pants and it’s made from sugarcane waste that is converted into bio-based polyester so it’s fairly eco-friendly.

The Dryplay membrane offers up 20k/20k waterproofing and breathability which is a good level considering the relatively low cost of the U77 pants. All seams are fully-taped to make sure absolutely no water gets through from the outside.

Overall, we feel these are a better option than North Face’s more expensive Bellion bib pants. They have some of the same aesthetics but with a higher spec and generally better thought out design.

  • Verdict Some of the best bib pants for the money.
  • Overall rating 9/10
  • RRP £260

Helly Hansen Powderqueen Bib Pants

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Bright blue corduroy bib pants anyone? The Powderqueens are certainly eye-catching, and we were also really impressed by the fit. They’re very comfortable to wear, with a nice fleece lining for some added warmth. Despite the soft look and feel of the outer fabric, the material still provides good waterproofing. The shoulder straps are comfortable, and there are plentiful pockets.

  • Verdict These eye-catching, flattering and tech-savvy pants will take you all over the mountain. 
  • Overall rating 9/10
  • RRP £240

 

Best value: Protest Miikka Ski Pants

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Protest’s Miikka pants tick all our tech boxes, offering 20,000mm of waterproofing, fully taped seams and decent breathability. This combo means they’re dependably weatherproof out on the slopes, keeping you fully dry no matter how bad the conditions, and we also found them very breathable when working up a sweat. Insulation is effective, if a tad on the thin side, making them best suited to warmer days. The detachable straps are comfortable  and adjustable. At £130, these are great ski pants for a fair price.  

  • Verdict Overall, the Miikka pants are superb value for money for a decent all-rounder of a ski pant.
  • Overall rating 8/10
  • RRP £130

 

Ski pants buyer's guide: What to look for in ski pants

Before buying ski pants ask yourself these questions.....

 

Are the pants fully waterproof and how do I tell?

Get the basics right first, make sure your ski pants are fully waterproof. We would suggest a minimum level for skiing and snowboarding of a 10,000mm hydrostatic head, this information can be found on the tag of the jacket or on the manufacturers web page. If you're really putting the pants through their paces then you should aim for a higher level of 20,000mm or above.

 

What are taped seams and do I need them?

Taped seams are important to stop the gradual creep of moisture past small holes created when the various panels of the pants are sewn together. It's rare to find ski pants without fully taped seams i.e. every seam has a layer of waterproof tape bonded over the top of it, but some more freestyle orientated options or those on the very edge of the budget end of the scale might only have critically taped seams.

 

Are the zips waterproof?

Any zips will need to either have storm flaps - a flap of material over the top of the zip - or preferably be water tight. If they don't have either eventually moisture will creep through. You can tell if a zip is watertight by looking at the area either side of the teeth, if it has a rubbery looking coating then you're good to go. Also make sure that all zips run smoothly and have chunky pullers so you can easily use them with gloves on or simply with cold hands.

 

How many pockets do I need and do I need vents?

We don't recommend keeping too much stuff in your ski pants but it's useful to have at least a couple of hand pockets - one for your phone and another for a wallet. If you're going to be doing a lot of high intensity skiing or ski touring then thigh zips are a must for ventilation through the legs.

 

Do I need an insulated ski jacket?

Whether you go for shell or insulated depends on the conditions you're going to be skiing in and whether you like to wear baselayers or not. We generally recommend pants with at least a little insulation for most skiers and snowboarders, as unlike shell jackets you can't easily put extra layers on underneath if it gets cold.

 

Is down any good for skiing?

As a general rule synthetic insulation is better than down for ski clothing as it retains most of its insulating properties when wet. Be careful not to buy overly insulated pants as you'll quickly find yourself getting hot and clammy when you're skiing or hiking.

 

Do I need bib pants?

Bib pants offer extra protection with a raised bib at the front and back held up by suspenders. This stops cold wet snow sneaking in between your jacket and pants so is a definite bonus, especially for freeriders sending powder snow up, behind and around them. If your skiing is much more sedate and mainly on piste then a bib is probably overkill as there's little chance of the hardpack snow making it's way into that area.

 

Other features

Make sure your ski pants have boot gaiters. These sit below the outer material and are elasticated to hug your boots, stopping snow getting in and keeping your pants in place. If you're worried about abrasion from boots, bindings and ski touring kit then look for reinforced insteps - patches of sturdier material on the lower legs.

 

All our reviews are independent and unbiased. We may earn a commission when you buy from links to Amazon and other affiliates on this page.