There’s nothing better than a brisk run in the autumn or winter seasons, but to make it comfortable and productive to your training and health, certain cold-weather running gear is necessary. Here, we’ll talk about the best gear you can buy for running during the colder months and why you ought to opt for it despite the sometimes hefty price tags. For some wisdom on clothing decisions, New York City-based triathlon and running coach Jonathan Cane says, “Dress as if it were 15-20 degrees warmer and you weren’t running. The faster you run, the more heat you’ll generate.”
Layering is the key piece of advice for all winter runners. Wearing a sweat-wicking outer layer that you can strip away or open to let your skin breathe is a key component most runners miss, thinking it best to layer up in thick cotton. Remember that your skin wants to breathe and you’ll heat up exponentially once you start running, so wearing running shorts and a t-shirt isn’t a bad way to go. Once the temperature drops, add a running jacket that you can easily take off.
Some shoe companies make a winter-specific running shoe that will keep you warm and safe on the road, or you can opt for shoe covers with or without spikes to help you clamp down on the snow to avoid slipping. Wool socks are also a great investment, but be sure to buy several pairs so you can rotate through your selection. Running hats, caps, and beanies are also prudent for your ears and scalp to keep your body temperature insulated. Some favorite items of triathlon and running coach Jonathan Cane are the Under Armour Base Layers and the YakTrax traction cleats.
Winter running doesn’t have to be scary, it can be fun in fact. Often, you’re the only person out there doing your thing, and the landscape is beautiful and barren. So check out our favorite cold-weather running gear to help you hit your goals as the temperature drops.
1. Under Armour Base Layer 4.0 Crew
For base layers, you can’t go wrong with Under Armour. If it becomes too toasty in there, strip down to this or a lighter t-shirt underneath on especially cold days. The 4.0 Crew layer is made from sweat-wicking material and dries very quickly, providing comfort as well as practicality on a cold day. Wear this piece of cold-weather running gear when it’s freezing outside and you don’t want to go — it’ll warm you up and keep you warm as you run, even when you sweat. With the sweat-wicking function, you won’t find yourself coated and wet, which will make you colder. Enjoy your run outdoors with the Under Armour Base Layer.
Under Armour Base Layer 4.0 Crew
2. Asics Lite Show Half Zip Top
More of a cool-weather running jacket than a shirt, the Asics Lite Show half zip is a great choice for winter jogs. Cool off by unzipping halfway but retain your heat with the half zip feature. This jacket has great reflective patches for nighttime visibility and the brushed knit fabric on the top half the jacket helps you retain warmth and keep your mobility. Don’t let the gray winter skies keep you from meeting your goals, simply bundle up and get out there.
Asics Lite Show Half Zip Top
3. District Vision Tadasana Top
District Vision has long been an eco-friendly favorite brand over here, and their long sleeve heather gray top is a great choice for your cool, mid-afternoon winter run. Stay warm with this quick-drying top that’s made from recycled wool pulp and refined in a closed-loop system that is more sustainable than using cotton. Keep your body safe and dry during the chilly winter months but keep your eye on sustainable fashion as well.
District Vision Tadasana Top
4. District Vision Lono Full-Length Tights
If you’re on a District Vision binge like we are, then you have to get the tights as well. How else will you keep your legs warm when it’s below 30 degrees? These tights are made from Italian milled, 100% recycled four-way stretch fabric that are sweat-wicking and maintain odor prevention. You won’t regret investing in a pair or two of these for the long winter training months ahead.
District Vision Lono Full-Length Tights
5. Tracksmith Franklin Quarter Snap Pullover
If you’re looking to invest in a fleece running jacket this year, look no further than our favorite running brand, Tracksmith. Made from high-quality materials, with a quarter snap feature to keep you cool after you’ve done the dirty work of heating up, this lightweight pullover will be the best gift you’ve given yourself this year. The side stretch panels give you full range of motion and the feather-light Polartek material of double-knit velour fleece will keep you warm and happy. Run into the new year with a new favorite pullover.
Tracksmith Franklin Quarter Snap Pullover
6. Meriwool Merino Wool Beanie
This unisex style merino wool beanie is great for a run on a cold day. It will protect your ears and keep the heat inside your body, which is especially important for maintaining a healthy body temperature in the cold. Merino wool is one of the best fabrics for regulating body temperature and keeping you dry once you begin to sweat. The Meriwool beanie is a versatile item to purchase because it will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The Meriwool beanie comes in dozens of colors to choose from and is a must-have as far as the best winter running gear goes.
Meriwool Merino Wool Beanie
7. DeFeet Men’s Woolie Boolie Socks
DeFeet is a superior athletic sock brand made specifically for runners, and their Woolie Boolie socks are a great companion for cold, blustery days. Test out their hardy socks in rain, snow, and sleet and you’ll find yourself still dry and comfortable. Made from 100% polyester, DeFeet’s winter socks will make your run so much more enjoyable.
DeFeet Men's Woolie Boolie Socks
8. YakTrax Traction Cleats
The YakTrax are going to be your new best friend. Simply attach them to your running shoes on icy or snowy days, and hit the road or trail for your run without the fear of slipping. Scared of black ice? We are too, so that’s why we’ve tried the YakTrax Traction Cleats and can report back that they’re grippy, secure, and will make your run very enjoyable. Stop sliding on ice or slipping through snow and actually grip the surface you’re running on with the YakTrax cleats.
YakTrax Traction Cleats
9. Merino.tech Thermal Base Layer
These thermal pants are sure to be a great fit for any runner intent on heading outdoors in the winter. With a close fit, this piece of cold-weather running gear will keep you warm and dry on a wet day. The Merino.tech brand has even thrown in a pair of merino wool hiking socks to sweeten the deal. Get ready for the winter with the best base layers possible.
Merino.tech Thermal Base Layer
10. Tracksmith Allston Running Tights
Tracksmith has an amazing array of winter running gear and the Allston tights might be our favorite. Made from a compressive nylon and elastane blend with bonded seams and a breathable, quick-drying ability, these will be your go-to tights for low-temperature runs. There’s a soft elastic waistband to keep you comfortable all day and a hidden zipper pocket for small items.
Tracksmith Allston Running Tights
11. Bislett Pants
These water-repellant joggers by Tracksmith will keep you dry and warm during a rainy-day jaunt in the woods. The key components of these pants that sets them apart are the stirrups that hook around your feet for extra security, as well as the quick zips on the back of the calf for easy warm-ups. Keep warm when you need it and cool off when you don’t. These Tracksmith Bislett pants will become your new piece of cold-weather running gear when it comes to rainy days.
Tracksmith Bislett Pants
12. Nike Men’s Base Layer Gloves
Keep warm with Nike’s running for all cold-weather runs. Stay dry but also warm with these thin gloves that are perfect for training. Compatible with a touch screen, you won’t have to worry about removing your gloves for a moment on any cold days.
Nike Men's Base Layer Gloves
13. Gore Wear Headband
Keep the cold off your ears with a Gore Wear headband. Soft, warm, and easy to wash, this headband will keep you toasty for an entire season. Don’t fear the stretch, it’s made to fit snugly but comfortably around different-sized heads. The Gore Wear headband comes in a variety of colors and is made from a moisture-wicking fabric that will keep the sweat off your face. Stay warm this winter with the Gore Wear Headband.
Gore Wear Headband
14. BUFF Cool Net
Keep your face warm while on a run with a face buff that doubles as a face mask. With only your eyes uncovered, you’ll be able to retain your heat and keep going for longer. The BUFF Cool Net is made from 95% polyester and 5% elastane and comes in a variety of colors to choose from. Keep your winter training on point with this cozy cold-weather running gear.