The best winter running gear can protect you from the elements and turn something unpleasant – running in the cold – into a more enjoyable experience. These specially crafted cold-weather and rain-resisting garments and running footwear can provide the right amount of protection, insulation and breathability for your cold-weather runs.
As much as we love summer training, we must admit that running during winter can also be a glorious feeling if you wear proper winter running gear. Those crisp Sunday mornings, when the weather is dry and cold, the sun shines bright orange, and it's just you and the road... Nothing can beat the tranquillity of those sessions.
As peaceful as winter running is, you still need to wrap your body parts up appropriately so your joints and muscles won't get hurt. The cold-proof garments on this list, including the best running shoes, best running tops, best running jackets and best running socks, have been tried and tested to work perfectly in cold conditions and provide maximum breathability, insulation and comfort. Finally, if it's water protection you're after, make sure you also read our best waterproof running jackets and best waterproof running shoe guides.
Best winter running gear to buy right now
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The R3 fits close to your body, and thanks to the runner-specific cut in combination with GORE-Tex Active Technology, it won't restrict your movement, nor will it let you get cold during your outdoor sessions. The technology also makes the jacket waterproof, windproof and highly breathable.
Designed for maximum breathability and reliable protection even in rainy weather, the R3 has an adjustable waistband and a chest pocket with zip and cable exit, keeping your phone/tissues/keys securely in one place. It is also backpack-friendly, much to trail and long-distance runners' delight.
What we love the most about the OutRun The Cold Long Sleeve is how soft the brushed knit fabric feels on the skin; exactly what we need when we need any incentive we can gather to go out for a run in freezing temperatures. It's also stretchy and breathable to keep you ventilated when things get hot under the hood.
Even better is the watch opening on the left wrist; no need to choose between keeping your hands warm and looking at your running watch! There are some reflective details on the top to make you more visible in low-light conditions, although we ran with a running head torch when testing the top, just in case (check our best head torch guide for more info).
We love a good synthetic base layer but Merino wool is perfectly is well-suited for keeping you warm and dry during physical activities. It is naturally odour resistant and also moisture wicking for extra comfort during during cold weather runs. Or walks. Or hikes.
The dhb Merino M_200 Long Sleeve Base Layer is made with 'superfine grade' 18.5 micron merino yarn and fits close to the body which is perfect as it will keep you warm without making you too warm, if you know what we mean. If you ever feel too tasty inside this base layer, you can let some more in by zipping down the neck.
The ASICS Lite-Show 2 Winter Long Sleeve Half Zip Running Top has not only got a very long name, but it also features Asics' Lite-Show "body mapped 360° reflectivity" – it's not just on the bike when it's useful to be seen but on the pavement, too. The half-zip nature of the top is great for adding some extra ventilation when you really get warm during your runs: a half-zip is an ideal compromise between a sweatshirt and running jacket, the former being too warm and the latter flapping around your hip as you run.
To save on your order, make sure you check our Asics discount codes.
The UA Storm OutRun The Cold Pants reminded us of the On Running Pants, but not only UA's version is cheaper, but it's also water-repellent and – most importantly –equally as comfortable as On's joggers. We were surprised at how stretchy the OutRun The Cold Pants were during testing; we sat, ran and squatted in them without them breaking a sweat (unlike us). They are also said to wick sweat more efficiently, something we couldn't test as the temperatures were so low we didn't sweat much. We appreciated the extra zipped pockets, though, helping us take out phones, keys and other accessories on our wintery runs.
The Asics Lite-Show 2 Winter Running Women's Tights is the bottom half of the Asics Half Zip top above; it offers the same great features, like heat retention and highly reflective panelling. The features that are exclusive to this garment, however, are the rear leg zip at the bottom of the legs for extra ventilation and the laminated rear media pocket for your phone or iPod Touch – does anyone still use those?
For sure, the Asics Lite-Show 2 Winter Running Women's Tights will keep your legs warm when they need to be warm and also keep the muscles stimulated, and joints protected all the way through your runs.
The performance-grade Proviz Unisex Pixelite Running Gloves are made of a mix of soft-touch fabrics and the highly reflective PixElite material, meaning you will feel good and be visible, even after sunset. Designed and manufactured in Italy, the Proviz Pixelite running gloves are designed to be stylish whilst also trying not to compromise too much on performance. And they do just that, although the gloves are not the thickest, so we wouldn't call them ideal for sub-zero conditions.
One thing you can't really cover up, even in the coldest of conditions, is your face. Sure, you can wear a balaclava, but not only it is not comfortable for running, you might also get some funny looks, even in the times of covid, by running around on the street wearing a full balaclava.
Instead, protect your face by applying some Premax Weather Defence Facial Cream before your runs. According to Premax, its cream is an "exercise-specific formula" that protects the skin when exposed to wind, cold and harsh weather conditions.
The Premax Weather Defence Facial Cream is formulated with bunch of natural ingredients such as rosehip, macadamia, lavender, shea butter, aloe vera and the list goes on. The cream itself absorbs quickly and doesn't make the skin greasy at all.
We highly recommend the Saucony Endorphin 2 Runshield as the current leader in the waterproof running shoe market. Having loved running in the Saucony Endorphin Speed 2, the Runshield model is just as easy to run fast in and to love!
Read our full Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Runshield review
Runners often forget to support their ankles, which is quite surprising, given how much pressure they must endure during running. Even in cold weather, many people often only put leg warmers on with ankle socks, leaving the ankle joints susceptible to cold weather conditions.
Give your ankles some much-deserved love, and wrap them up well in some nice supportive socks. The 2XU Vectr Ultralight Cushion crew socks use a system called 'X. Lock' for arch, ankle and plantar fascia support. The design promotes an anatomical, anti-blistering fit for reduced friction in the shoes.
2XU says the Vectr is "the ultimate sports performance sock, built for every sport and every shoe". The zoned mesh ventilation ensures breathability and comfort, along with the light 1.25mm cushioning at the soles, which deliver greater comfort inside tight-fitting sports shoes.
The Proviz Nightrider 10-litre backpack has a tough 600D nylon outer layer coated with a PVC lining to make it water-resistant to the highest levels. The inner lining is 210D polyester which adds strength, something that comes in handy when battling the elements outdoors. The chest strap helps to add stability during your runs and keeps the bag from bobbing up and down.
The outer shell is covered with Proviz's highly reflective paint, and there is even a cute little triangle on the top of the bar, which can be removed and replaced with the Triviz Light Pack (sold separately) for extra visibility at night. Use the Proviz Nightrider 10-litre backpack as a hydration pack or as extra storage space to keep a set of spare socks and snacks for longer rides.
As straightforward as it gets, the Nike Team Performance Beanie Hat will keep your head warm when it needs to warm. A no-frills, easy-to-wash hat that sports a reflective Nike swoosh logo at the front and isn't too warm, so it'd make your head boil. What else can you possibly ask from a beanie hat?
How we test the best winter running gear
This year, we were blessed with freezing weather from early on the year, which isn't good for our wallet but great for testing the winter running kit. We put the garments and accessories on this list through rigorous testing, which included multiple cold morning runs, baltic afternoon jogs and blisteringly cold evening strides. If we were lucky enough to have some rain on the runs, we even tested the water-resistance products on this list.
How to choose the best winter running gear for you
There are a few criteria winter running gear need to comply with. Putting on a parka and thick skiing trousers won't cut it, I'm afraid. Not only they will make you feel way hotter than needed, they will also restrict your movement' none of which is a desired thing when you run.
Winter running jackets and tops need to be warm enough so you won't feel cold at the start of your runs but also not too warm by end. the best winter running jackets provide insulation and breathability without restricting arm movement and chafing.
Running tights need to be, well, tight enough and also moisture-wicking so even if they get slightly wet, they won't weigh your legs down. The compression provided by the tights will keep your muscles oxygenated and warm as you run. It's also beneficial if the tights are windproof.
Accessories can also come handy, because as we know, it's all about layering when it comes to winter clothing. Lightweight neck warmers and beanie hats you can take off and shove in your pocket if needed are a great addition and can help you bridge the initial transition period of your runs.
Always check the weather before you head out and dress accordingly. Being mindful about winter exercising always pays off!