Best winter running tops 2024: cold-weather protection for your torso

With the best winter running tops, you'll never have to feel the cold again when jogging/pacing/sprinting in freezing conditions

best winter running tops: Two runners wearing New Balance's Official 2022 TCS London Marathon clothing
(Image credit: New Balance)

The best winter running tops are essential in every runner's wardrobe. It may be cold, dark and miserable outside, but thanks to the latest high-tech fabrics, the appalling weather is no longer a valid excuse to skip training sessions.

We've put in the miles in the best new running tops to see which will keep you the warmest without leaving you feeling like you're running in a duvet (in a nice way). Below are our current favourites from brands such as Arc'teryx, Finisterre, Nike and more.

We also have a general guide to the best base layers for various activities. For even more running gear roundups, look at T3's best running shoes, the best running shoes for women and the best trail running shoe guides.

Best winter running tops to buy right now

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How to buy the best winter running top for you

When covering the miles over the colder months, you can just throw on a hoodie to keep warm, but if you plan on being out for a while and putting some effort in, you’ll soon suffer under the weight of sweat-soaked cotton. You’ve got two main options: synthetic polyester or natural merino wool (or a blend of the two). But which is best when it comes to warmth and performance?

Merino is one of the finest (in thickness terms) fibres in nature, which means - unless you’re particularly sensitive - it’s itch-free and super soft. It’s also excellent at absorbing water and can soak up to 35% of its weight in water, expelling it into the air to regulate your temperature. This means you stay dry and comfortable in warmer climates and insulated on colder days.

Merino is also odour resistant, and traps stink in the fibres, releasing only when the item gets washed. Due to the lanolin and keratin wax produced by the sheep, these naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial properties mean merino base layers can be worn for days without needing to be washed.

Synthetic fibres like polyester are lighter than merino and don’t absorb water, so fabrics stay dryer for longer during intense workouts, which helps with overheating. Synthetic layers can also offer impressive breathability, helping you stay cool when things heat up. Synthetic fibres are also harder to wear and, on the whole, cheaper than natural alternatives, but you won’t enjoy the same warmth.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.

With contributions from