Couple running in Winter, through forest

Choosing Winter Running Gear

Follow our expert tips and tricks to keep yourself warm, dry, and cosy during outdoor runs this season, and ensure you have the right warm winter clothing.

Running in winter isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. Especially with the help of modern sports gear, it’s easy to stay comfortable on the run no matter the weather.

Your body generates a significant amount of heat when you run, particularly during intense runs. This means you might even perform better in cooler conditions than in hot weather since you're not expending energy to cool down.

Surprisingly, the extra heat you produce while running in winter doesn't slow you down; instead, it keeps you warm. That's why, even in freezing temperatures, you don't require as much insulation as when you're walking or standing still.

What you do need is proper coverage to shield your skin from the cold air, with particular attention to your extremities. Your face and fingers often need the most protection. If you suffer from circulatory conditions, your toes might also need additional insulation. It's vital to wear fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin and offer breathability. Even in the coldest conditions, intensive exercise can cause you to sweat. Therefore, it's crucial that moisture is drawn away from your skin to maintain a consistent body temperature.

Woman running in winter snowfall

How To Dress For Cold Weather Running

1. Moisture-wicking
Opt for a thin, synthetic moisture-wicking base layer against your skin. This ensemble should comprise tights, a performance-fabric long-sleeved shirt, a hat, thin gloves, and socks. These socks might be slightly thicker and taller than your summer ones.

2. Wind Protection
At the very least, you'll want a snug, windproof, water-resistant, and breathable jacket. In more frigid conditions, consider adding wind trousers or warm-up pants. Your wind shell should be compact enough to scrunch up and stash in a pocket if you overheat.

3. Insulation
Your mid-layer should provide insulation and additional coverage. In extremely cold conditions, you might need extra insulation like a down jacket or a thick Nordic jumper. Think about adding another slim layer, perhaps a fleece or wool shirt over your base shirt, and perhaps wool or fleece tights beneath your wind trousers.

For chillier and windier conditions, consider a denser hat made of wind-blocking fleece and comparably thicker gloves. For particularly cold periods, look into face and neck protection. Options include neck gaiters, thin balaclavas, or partial face masks. However, be cautious with full-face masks; they aren't the best for activities involving heavy breathing because they can freeze the moisture from your exhalations and fog up glasses or sunglasses.

4. Shoes
In mild conditions, your regular running shoes might suffice. As temperatures drop, switch to warmer socks crafted from materials like wool or Thinsulate. Ensure your shoes can accommodate thicker socks without restricting blood flow; your toes should have room to move! In icy or snowy conditions, shoes with enhanced traction are advisable. Trail running shoes usually offer deeper lug patterns for grip and softer, sticky rubber compounds for wet surfaces. Some even have a waterproof/breathable membrane for wet, slushy conditions.

Some runners even add metal or carbide studs for better ice traction. An alternative DIY approach is screwing short sheet metal screws into the soles of standard running shoes. While trail running shoes and studded shoes outperform regular shoes on ice, it's often best to choose winter-specific shoes crafted for icy and snowy terrains.

5. Other Considerations
Pockets can be beneficial, not just in your shell jacket but also in at least one other clothing item, to store any layers you shed. It's quite easy to overdress in winter.
A headlamp can be a game-changer. Even in well-lit areas, a headlamp improves your vision and visibility, especially since winter days are shorter, increasing the likelihood of running in the dark.

Hydration is paramount. The dry winter air can cause increased sweating, so drink plenty of water, even if you don't feel thirsty.
Remember, if outdoor conditions seem too challenging or hazardous, indoor training is always an option. A treadmill offers an excellent workout year-round.

Kipsta underwear KDRY100

Get Running

While it might be difficult to psyche yourself up for running in the cold with the frigid temperature and snowy conditions, there’s a lot you can do to keep yourself safe and cosy. Winter running has its joys, and your workout will be slightly more challenging as your body works harder to maintain its body temperature. So make sure you stock up on the right running gear and get motivated to beat your time!

Read Next

Man and woman running in evadict sportswear in mountains.

Find the Best winter running shoes for you

To love the winter outdoors it’s important to have the right gear. Winter running shoes can make or break your run, so it’s worth checking out these t

Two women running in city.

The Benefits of Running, Even in the Winter

Find out why you should stay active and keep up with your training, especially during the colder seasons. In association with Red January.

A runner wearing his headtorch

How to Choose Your Running Headlight

If you want to keep up the mileage over the darker months, here are some tips on how to choose the perfect running head torch for you.