If you’re forgoing the comfortable temperatures of an indoor workout this winter, that can mean dealing with a lot of snow, ice, hail, rain, and sleet. Winter running has just as many challenges as running in extreme heat, but with the right gear, you’ll stay warm, dry, and happy. Your comfort level depends on many factors, including how fast you’re moving, how comfortable you are in the cold, and how long your workout, so your perfect winter running outfit may differ. However, below are some of our favorite winter running clothes, whether you’re running snowy, freezing conditions or slighter warmer temps.
Winter Running Outfits for Below and Above Freezing
When It’s 32 Degrees or Below
Merino Wool Base Layer
Icebreaker BodyfitZone Merino 150 Zone Short Sleeve Crewe Thermal Top
Start with a merino wool base layer like a sports bra and thermal tee. We like Icebreaker’s BodyfitZone Merino 150 Zone Short Sleeve Crewe Thermal Top, above, because it includes merino wool but combines it with stretch to help move with your body. The soft natural fiber regulates your body temperature in all weather conditions.
Spyder Savona Zip T-Neck | $95
A long-sleeve layer should go on top. The Spyder Savona Zip T-Neck is a great stretchy mid-layer with superior wicking, and comes in lots of colors to match your mood.
Tall Wicking Socks
Smartwool PhD Ski Ultra Light Pattern Socks | $25
Slip on wicking socks that go up to your knees to keep your calves warm. Lightweight ski socks do just the trick, like the PhDs from Smartwool, because they are made of a natural and synthetic blend that keeps your toes warm without too much bulk.
Warm Running Tights
North Face Winter Warm High-Rise Tights | $85
Find some warm running tights for your legs. These tights from The North Face are made with a thicker fabric and with reflective attributes for those dawn and dusk winter runs.
Oiselle Lux Gloves | $28
Gloves are a staple for winter running clothes, but it can be tough to find ones that aren’t too bulky or get too hot. The best running gloves (or liners) will protect your hands. These from Oiselle (a women-owned brand) are highly rated because they are thin and soft.
Hat and Neck Warmer
Wear a thin hat to keep your head from getting too sweaty. We recommend New Balance’s lightweight skull cap: It doubles nicely as a layer to put underneath a ski to snowboarding helmet. On super cold days, put on a fleece neck warmer as well. The versatile wrap from Nike above can keep your neck, chin, or face warm.
Shoes, Gaiters, and Traction
Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra | $75
Waterproof but breathable, good running shoes help make snowy or rainy conditions bearable for your feet. Try a trail-running shoe like the Merrell MQM Flex 2, made just for bad winter weather. Wearing gaiters over your calves will keep your ankles and legs dry when the snow is deep. When the ground is icy, slip on a set of crampons on your running shoes to give you more traction and prevent slipping on hard snow or ice.
Skin and Eye Care
Protekt SPF30 Clear Mineral Sunscreen Stick | $16
Facial sunscreen and lip balm with SPF are both musts (yes, even in winter), as are sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays and the blinding light bouncing off the snow. Try Protekt’s chemical-free sunscreen stick for hours of non-greasy protection.
When It’s Above 32 Degrees
If temperatures are chilly where you live but haven’t hit that freezing mark, you still need to dress for the weather. While all of the above are winter essentials in snow country, layering that many winter running clothes on your body in 40-degree weather can lead to a sweaty, uncomfortable run. Dressing like it’s 20 degrees warmer than it is will help ensure you don’t over-layer. With that said, here are some guidelines for those (relatively) warmer winter runs.
Skip the Mid-Layer
Tracksmith Off Roads Tee | $88
Dress in layers, but leave out the insulating middle layer. If you are running for a long time and temperatures are 40 degrees or higher, try a short sleeve moisture-wicking tee, like the one above from Tracksmith that has a cool color-blocked color combo. Put on a lightweight zippered jacket that you can easily take off when your body temperature rises.
Brooks Hybrid Jacket | $119
A waterproof windbreaker with vents to allow airflow will ensure you are dry and comfortable if it rains. Also, look for a jacket with zippered pockets as well to stash any headgear or gloves when you warm up. The Brooks Hybrid Jacket fits the bill.
Under Armour ColdGear Base 4.0 Leggings | $80
If it’s windy, running tights are clutch to help insulate your legs from the chill. If there is only a slight breeze, fast-drying pants will work. Under Armour’s Base leggings are made for cold-weather activities and have quick-drying capabilities.
Lululemon Run for It All Earwarmer | $28
If you find that hats trap too much heat while you run in warmer winter weather, look for ear-covering headbands that keep your ears warm while preventing overheating. This ear warmer from Lululemon, with water-repellent stretch fleece, will be a cute addition to your jog look.
Salomon’s S/Lab Ultra 3 | $180
Rainy winters call for shoes that protect your feet, so look for shoes that have as little mesh as possible for your wet winter runs. Trail runners work perfectly, just be sure to wear non-cotton moisture-wicking socks and avoid puddles as much as possible. Try Salomon’s S/Lab shoes for long-distance traction.
Uniqlo Women Function Gloves | $20
Any cold weather can chill your extremities and cause discomfort while you run. Pick thin, wind-resistant gloves without the bulk, like Uniqlo’s Heattech gloves that come in multiple sizes, and stash them in your pockets after you warm up.
Nike Windshield Elite Pro Field Tint | $169
UV rays can pass through clouds, so even if you’re running under cloudy skies, sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses still need to be worn. Try Nike’s Windshield Elite shades to keep the glare away.