Some people say there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
For those cold winter days when running might seem impossible, the right clothing strategy can make it possible. Here's what you need to know to dress comfortably—and safely—for winter running.
Understanding the art of layering is more important than each individual piece of gear itself. No layer is more important than the other—they all work together to provide you with the most efficient warmth.
The Base Layer is the first layer to touch the skin, its purpose being to manage moisture and wick away sweat from the skin and regulate your body temperature. This is essential—if your skin stays moist in freezing temperatures, you won't only not warm up, you put yourself at risk for becoming hypothermic.
Pro Tip: stay away from cotton as a base layer in winter—it holds moisture instead of evaporating or wicking it away and can make you colder. Merino wool and polyester are good materials, and some brands have even created their own proprietary synthetic blends, such as Mizuno’s Breath Thermo.
While the base layer creates warmth, your Middle Layer helps retain the heat that is naturally generated from the body. The more efficient your middle layer is at trapping heat, the warmer you'll be.
Just as with base layers, you have a broad range of options, both synthetic and natural. In general, thicker (or puffier) equals warmer, though the efficiency of the insulating material is also important.
Finally, the Outer Layer is your protection from rain, wind, and even snow. They keep you dry so your other layers work functionally.
Most outer layers are wind resistant, water resistant, and coated with a DWR finish (durable water repellent) while others are completely waterproof. When deciding what outer layer to wear, it may seem obvious, but check the weather—consistently wet weather calls for a waterproof jacket, while dry conditions offer the opportunity to wear a softer, water-resistant jacket.
Give your legs all the warmth and breathing room that they need, no matter the elements. Shop our favorite Winter tights and pants here.
From weather-resistant to fully waterproof, these styles were made to combat all that winter can throw at you. While still allowing for superior performance and providing thorough comfort, of course.
Socks: Avoid cotton socks in the winter as they absorb moisture instead of evaporate or wick it away. Choose a synthetic material or Merino wool to keep your feet warm and dry.
Gloves: Your hands are often the first thing to get cold. Gloves with a snug fit will keep a tight seal against the cold.
Headwear: In cold temperatures, cover exposed ears with a headband. When it dips below freezing, switch to a beanie to trap even more heat. In freezing temperatures, look into wearing multi-purpose balaclava-style headwear to protect everything north of your shoulders.
Visibility: Running lights aren’t just nice to have when daylight hours run short—they’re a necessity. Lights, reflective vests and accessories are all designed to keep you safe while you’re outside in low or non-existent light.