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As the saying goes: There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.
When you’re properly dressed for the conditions, nothing can stop you from crushing an outdoor workout. And since it’s perfectly safe to exercise outside all winter long, you can keep logging those miles even when the mercury drops.
Learn to love a cold-weather run by layering up with these 13 cold-weather running essentials.
- $ = $30 or less
- $$ = $31–$80
- $$$ = more than $80
Get kitted up and hit the block.
You can’t go wrong with a base layer from the company that pretty much invented them.
This basic long sleeve is actually not so basic. It features Under Armour’s exclusive ColdGear technology, a double-layer fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin while also maintaining body heat.
The special lightweight construction keeps you warm and comfortable without extra bulk that can slow you down.
Here’s a pro tip: When looking for gear for inclement weather, turn to specialist outdoor brands like The North Face.
Products get tested in the toughest conditions and have a lifetime guarantee (yes, the duration of your entire life). This fleece is like hygge for your run.
It’s as soft as it is warm and makes for the perfect top or mid layer on a chilly run.
You only need one really good outer layer for cold runs, and this one is it.
The wind-resistant panel along the front keeps your torso protected, while the stretchy knit fabric on the sleeves and sides won’t limit your range of motion.
We’ve been running in freezing, snowy, and bitter cold temps in this for 2 winters and counting!
No need to mess around with trendy patterns or crazy colors here.
This pair of classic black tights comes from a brand known for Nordic ski gear (no doubt they’re about keeping you warm).
The brushed fleece interior feels like butter when you slip them on. And skintight leggings can boost your self-esteem, too.
On a warm day, you might just grab any old pair of socks.
But when you exercise in the cold, your body sends blood straight to your major muscle groups, leaving body parts like your fingers, toes, ears, and nose to get extra cold.
So grab a medium-weight wool sock like this one. It has a special construction that hugs the curves of your foot and stays put, so there’s no loose material to rub you the wrong way.
While, yes, over $25 for a pair of socks is a lot, these will last for ages and keep you sticking to that Couch-to-5K plan in all weathers.
(Wait, does that mean… no blisters? 🙀 Sign us up!)
Yeeeeeah, this is where we always get excited: The kicks.
Designed specifically for winter running, the Peregrine Ice+ has more grip than your traditional road-running shoe (meep meep), so you’ll feel traction on icy surfaces.
The water-resistant upper keeps your feet warm and dry through the deep winter and straight into spring.
The quickest way to make every shirt in your arsenal more versatile: Add a gaiter. Top a tank, tee, or long sleeve with one of these to transform it into a turtleneck-style top.
Scrunch it down for scarf-level warmth or pull it up over your nose for bitter cold, windy conditions.
Your winter kit is not complete without an ear warmer. That horrible stinging you get in your ears after a run in chilly weather can become a thing of the past.
This creation from Atneato doubles up as a sweatband, and it strikes a great balance of lightness and flexibility with providing enough fabric to keep the wind chill out.
On some days, a headband just won’t cut it. That means it’s time reach for a full-coverage hat. This one features Nike’s Dri-FIT technology, which helps keep your head dry and comfortable, as well as reflective elements so you stay visible in low-light conditions.
🎼 Run glove, run glove, let’s… get… together and… feel alright. 🎤
The most important feature for running gloves (other than warmth, of course) is a tech-tipped thumb and index finger, so you can keep your music and run tracking apps in play at all times.
This pair has that covered plus a secret pocket in the palm so you can stash a little cash or credit card for emergencies (like a post-run hot chocolate situation).
Do you really need a winter-specific pair of sunglasses? Truthfully, no. Any pair will do. But trust us when we tell you: This pair is worth consideration.
You know that blinding feeling you get when you walk outside on a bright winter day, and the sun reflects off the snow? Well these lenses specifically filter white tones so you can see more clearly without being blinded by the glare.
If you’re into snow sports, they’ll also do double duty on the slopes, so they’re worth the investment. Still not sure? Just try on a pair and you’ll instantly understand.
Price: From $
These bad boys aren’t just for your parents during tailgate season.
It’s a good idea to stash a box of these near your gloves for below-freezing days. Slip a pair into your gloves to keep your hands toasty through every mile.
However, take note: If you wear them right next to your skin (without a layer between, like a glove pocket), they can burn your skin.
We fall squarely in the can’t-leave-home-without-lip-balm camp — especially during dry conditions. The post-run burn, we can handle. Cracked lips? Less so.
This balm locks in moisture and prevents water loss from your lips, but can also be used around your nose and as an anti-chafing body balm for long runs.
Bonus: It’s got SPF 30, which is a must for outdoor workouts. On bright, snowy days, sunburn can still get you.
You might check the forecast during winter months and shudder at the thought of getting in some roadwork.
Why couldn’t you just pay for a gym subscription, save yourself some dollars on protective gear, and stay even warmer?
- Improved bone growth. Running outside puts more impact on your bones, joints, and the tissue that connects them. As a result, your bones replenish more over time then if you use a treadmill, which has a softer surface that moves as you run. This can keep osteoporosis at bay as you age.
- A super butt. Running on a stationary surface means that your hamstrings and glutes come into play more than they would on an already-moving platform. Cue a hench butt.
- A mental boost. The power of feeling the wind in your hair and seeing the scenery change can reduce anger, depression, and stress more than indoor exercise, according to a study from 2017.
- Improved stability. Running in a straight line means that your stabilizing muscles don’t work as hard. Exercising outside means you may have to adjust your course and avoid obstacles, meaning you give those stabilizers a bit more of a push.
- Improved focus. Especially if you’re training for a big race, practicing outdoors to prepare your body to maneuver around people and obstacles (which you won’t encounter on the treadmill) is essential for keeping a clear headspace on the day.
We take a closer look at indoor and outdoor running here.
Winter feels like a time to curl up and turn your back on your workout — but it’s important that you do anything but.
Think about it. If you can keep your motivation strong during hostile weather, imagine what you can achieve when it’s actually mild or even (whisper it) warm outside.
Outdoor workouts are safe as can be — in all weathers. So don your fancy hat, thermal tights, and ear warmers, and stomp the sidewalk today.