When you’re running in the cold, you need to dress appropriately. Most of us have different needs, of course. My hands get really cold, for example, so I pay extra attention to keeping them warm.
Whatever your needs are, running when the temperature is anywhere below the 50s — or it’s raining — presents unique hardships to something that’s already hard: fitness.
You can, of course, skip piecemeal purchases and get yourself one of Patagonia’s men’s or women’s Yulex hooded suits, which cover your entire body. No? Didn’t think so. Prepare yourself with the right gear no matter where you’re cold running: Mix-and-match from our suggestions appropriately.
Let’s outfit you for a cold run from the ground up.
FOR COLD FEET
Protect your toes with socks designed for winter or colder climes, like Smartwool’s Hike socks, which will stand up to cold weather and many miles on the pavement or trail. Their arch brace holds your sock in place and a flat-knit toe seam adds some comfort when nature isn’t. The design of the women’s version of the sock is way more interesting, in my opinion. I like the light micro edition of the sock because I don’t like tall socks — again, the no show women’s version is way cooler. If you’re in need of compression, check out Amazon’s best-selling compression socks, which come in more than 15 styles.
After you’ve chosen socks for your feet, slip into weatherproof shoes, like Brooks’s Ghost GTX line. The Ghost 11 for men is designed to ride smoothly in both good and wet weather, while still giving you breathability and stretch when you need it. Unlike socks, the women’s edition is similarly designed.
FOR COLD LEGS
I’m a big fan of running tights and leggings, both because I can run in them with nothing else (except maybe some boxer briefs) or I can throw them on underneath a pair of pants. I’m drawn to Patagonia’s Peak Mission tights because of their price — less than $100 — and their emphasis on managing sweat and odor: Like most Patagonia fitness gear, these tights are outfitted with the patented Polygiene permanent odor control. A solid discount option is a pair of DRSKIN’s Compression tights, which have nearly 3,000 reviews on Amazon and maintain a very high rating. You can get them in more than 30 colors, like white or orange (fashionably unwise but very visible).
If tights aren’t your thing, the Terrebonne joggers will provide similar protection from wind and light rain. Notably, you’re getting not one, but two front pockets as well as a zippered pocket in the back. Take note, running attire makers: We want pockets and we want some with zippers. If you’re facing down heavy weather, you’ll want to take a look at the Wind Shield pants. Comprising a breathable mix of polyester and spandex means your heat is regulated but comfort is still a focus. Both hand pockets are zippered (see above) and the leg openings are zippered, as well as closed by a snap. Reflective logos show up behind the knees. Women’s options abound — and as always provide more and better designs.
FOR A COLD BODY
One simple pullover that hits it out of the park is Patagonia’s R1 pullover. Again, for less than $100, you get a lightweight and breathable long-sleeve, fleece turtleneck with a center-front zipper, not to mention a left-chest slim zipper pocket. The sleeves are stitched off your shoulder for running comfort, which is an often-overlooked or outright neglected feature in running shirts. The stylish among us will find real value in Lululemon’s Surge Warm hoodie zip-up. Along with the ridiculously attractive style of Lululemon’s running attire, you’re getting zippered pockets on the front — designed with a close-fitting hood that won’t ride down during cold weather runs.
For lighter runs, check out the Metal Vent half-zip and for heavier skies, consider the Nano-Air Hybrid running jacket. Ladies, I’m jealous of the running ecosystem Lululemon affords you, from this simple but awe-inspiring windbreaker to a heavier jacket with neck protection I’d love posses.
FOR COLD HANDS
Like I said before, my hands get really cold. Enter hand warmers. Air activates the packets, each of which warms up within ten minutes or so. I also use glove liners, which you slide onto your hands beneath your gloves. My favorites are HighLoong’s compression liner gloves. I get a small size, but the medium and large sizes are all priced the same at $10. If you’re in less temperate climes, consider investing in thicker wool liners. Both hand warmers and glove liners are designed to fit into your gloves, no matter their shape or size.
Speaking of gloves, you can’t go wrong with Patagonia’s Wind Shield gloves. They block the wind but are also breathable., Patagonia was cleverly able to design touchscreen capability into these at the thumb and index fingers. Lululemon covers women runners with its cross chill gloves, which are both reflective and tech-friendly.
Finger Ten’s running gloves are a best seller on Amazon and cost less than $15, featuring protection from cold as well as touchscreen access. Another great discount pair comes from OZERO, whose newly released thermal gloves are highly rated on Amazon and which gives you the capability to use your phone, too.
FOR A COLD HEAD
The simple Airdini Cap is about $20 and great to have around if you’re going to run in light rain or light winds. If you want something a bit more serious on your head, I highly recommend the highly rated running beanie from Tough Headwear. This best-selling skull cap has gained more than 5,000 great reviews and runs for $11 — it’s a no-brainer that protects your brain. Brooks running surprised me with some interesting headwear, like the Notch thermal beanie and the Run-Thru hat, which is interesting because it’s a breathable way to keep rain out of your eyes and can double up in casual setting if you’re stopping by the store before heading home from your workout.
An aside about visibility: Winter means less daytime, and less daytime means less visibility. Your running clothes hopefully include some modicum of reflection, but ensure drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists can see you with running bands. I like BSEEN’s double pack of LED armbands.
Whatever your needs are, running during wintertime necessitates wintertimes running clothes and accessories. Suit up appropriately so you solely focus on getting distance, speed, or both.
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