Best winter running tops 2022 to keep your torso warm in cold weather

Never feel the cold again with these fabulous winter running tops

Best winter running tops: pictured here, women and men running on road in brooks running tops
(Image credit: Brooks Running)

The best winter running tops are an essential part of any runner's wardrobe. It may be cold, dark and miserable out, but thanks to the latest in high-tech fabrics, the appalling weather is no longer a valid excuse to skip your training sessions. We’ve put in the miles wearing the best new running tops to see which will keep you the warmest without leaving you feeling like you’re running in a duvet.

We also have a guide on the best running tops for summer, should you want to feel a bit less toasty, as well as a general guide to the best base layers for a range of activities. For even more running gear roundups, have a look at T3's best running shoes, the best running shoes for women and the best trail running shoe guides. Plus, there is also the best Nike running shoe guide for your reading pleasure. 

Best winter running tops to buy right now

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

best winter running tops: Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie

(Image credit: Brooks Running)

1. Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie

Best winter running top overall

Reasons to buy

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Quick drying material
+
Sustainably made
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Arm-pocket for extra storage

Reasons to avoid

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Not waterproof

The Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie is the perfect solution for those intermediate days when a running jacket would be too much, but t-shirts would not be enough. It's warm and soft to the touch, and the notched interior wicks away sweat as well as channelling away heat.

The moisture control magic happens thanks to the DriLayer fabric, which wicks sweat away to keep you comfortable, dry and feeling light on your feet. Even better, the Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie is made with Bluesign-certified materials, which conserves resources and minimises impact on people and the environment.

Best winter running tops: Kalenji Run Warm Hooded Jersey

(Image credit: Kalenji)

2. Kalenji Run Warm Hooded Jersey (Women's)

Best cheap winter running top

Reasons to buy

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Unbeatable value
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Zipped pockets

Reasons to avoid

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Not especially breathable
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Not for brand snobs

Running brand snobs should probably skip this one, but for the rest of us, this hoody offers style, warmth and innovation for less than two cocktails in a night out. Its toasty, generously cut double-layered design can make all the difference on chilly mornings, especially with a thin breathable t-shirt underneath.

The high collar design protects your neck from biting winds, and the full hood proved particularly popular post-workout, and while it’s probably a bit too insulating if you tend to sweat buckets during a workout if you only gently perspire the underarm mesh panels will do enough to keep you cool.

Best winter running top: Tracksmith Fells Layer

(Image credit: Tracksmith)

3. Tracksmith Fells Layer

Best premium winter running top

Reasons to buy

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Stylish (but not in a running way)
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Extra warmth
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Merino dries quickly

Reasons to avoid

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Not everyone needs premium winter running top for a hefty price tag

New England-based but Old English at heart, Tracksmith make vintage-inspired running gear using natural materials. Their ‘Chariots of Fire’ esthetic is a welcome change from the more typical super technical, pro-athlete inspired kit, but it has been designed to still perform when you need it to. 

The new Fells Layer Henley top perfectly encapsulates this vintage styling, but by using a 65% Merino / 35% Polyester blend, you get the temperature-regulating, sweat-wicking, pong-minimising properties of the finest wool in a top that will survive more than a handful of wash cycles (not always the case with 100% merino layers).

It has a roomy cut with plenty of space for a t-shirt or base layer beneath and similar, albeit with more pre-war styling, to the ON Running Weather Shirt, the waffle helps circulate air, so it dries faster. And there’s no chance of zip chaffing here as they’ve been swapped out for super-smooth buttons.

Best winter running top: ON Running Weather Shirt

(Image credit: ON)

4. ON Running Weather Shirt

The best technical winter running top

Reasons to buy

+
Smartwatch compatible (not like that!)
+
Lightweight construction
+
Super stylish design

Reasons to avoid

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Athletic fit might not suit heavier runners

Aside from our wedding suit, it’s the most expensive thing we’ve sweated profusely in, but the Weather Shirt from ON Running justifies the high price by being incredibly warm, light and comfortable.

At first glance, it looks like a basic long-sleeve running top, but the fabric is an elevated form of polyester featuring lyocell – a material made using dissolved wood pulp, which helps add huge amounts of insulation without making it bulky. Look inside, and you’ll see a ribbed design that has been incorporated to trap in more air, warming you up while at the same time wicking away sweat, so you feel more comfortable for longer.

The ‘Athletic’ fit means it’s mercifully roomy and not skin-tight like many technical tops, so we could add an extra layer when the frost really bites, and the over-head design and short zip give a nice amount of ventilation without letting in the chill, and no hint of chin rub, which is always a bonus. There’s a bit of reflective edging to catch the headlight’s attention, but it’s only an accent.

How to buy the best running top for winter

When it comes to covering the miles over the colder months you can just throw on a hoodie to keep warm, but if you’re planning on being out for a while and actually putting some effort in, you’ll soon suffer under the weight of sweat soaked cotton. Thankfully, things have moved on since the Rocky montage.

In hi-tech running kit you’ve got two main options, synthetic polyester or natural merino wool, or a blend of the two. But when it comes to warmth and performance, which is best?

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% its weight in water, expelling it into the air to regulate your temperature. This means that you stay dry and comfortable in warmer climates, but also insulated on colder days.

Merino is also odour resistant and actually traps stink in the fibres, releasing only when the item gets washed. These naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, due to the lanolin and keratin wax produced by the sheep, basically means 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 wearing and, on the whole cheaper, than natural alternatives, but you won’t enjoy the same amount of warmth.