The best winter running gear can protect you from the elements and make an otherwise unpleasant experience – running in cold weather – into an enjoyable one. These specially crafted cold-weather and rain-resisting garments can provide just the right amount of insulation combined with breathability so you stay comfortable, even if the weather is not too warm outside. We also have a list of the best waterproof running jackets for your delectation.
We collected all the winter running essentials, including the best running tops, best running jackets, best running shoes and best running socks most suited for winter running conditions. Wearing a wooly jumper might seem like a good idea at first, but as soon as you warm up a bit, it will get uncomfortable pretty soon. The garments on this list have been tried and tested to work perfectly in cold conditions and to provide you maximum breathability, insulation and comfort.
As much as we love summer training, we must admit that running during winter is a glorious feeling too, should you be wearing the best 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. Warming up before each session is also a good thought and keeping the warmth in during runs is an even better idea.
How to choose the best winter running gear?
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!
The best winter running gear
The versatile Gore Wear R3 jacket is the ideal companion in cool weather conditions. As it should be, the R3 fits close to your body and thanks to the runner-specific cut in combination with GORE-Tex Active Technology, nor will it restrict your movement, neither will it let you get cold during sports.
The applied technology makes the jacket waterproof, windproof and extremely breathable. The Gore Wear R3 jacket is ideal for activities with very high physical stress. It was specially designed for maximum breathability and offers reliable protection even in rainy weather.
The R3 comes with 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.
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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 Women's Top has not only got a very long name, 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.
The Lite-Show 1/2 Zip Top is of the synthetic kind and was designed in a way to maximise moisture wicking without compromising heat retention. This is further enhanced by the mesh panels under the arm – say good by sweat patches!
The brushed knit fabric also just looks great; choose the black colourway to make your silhouette more slender if you wish or stand out a bit more with the purple version.
The Gore Wear R7 Windstopper Tights, as the name suggests, are suitable all year round, windproof, water resistant and extremely breathable thanks to Gore Windstopper technology.
According to Gore Wear, the R7 tights are "optimal for the performance-oriented road and cross-country runner with a tight fit". The Gore logo on both the front and the rear of the tights are highly reflective, for added safety.
These brilliant tights have foldable hems that turn long tights into a 7/8 tights. They also come with two front pockets and a zippered rear pocket as well as the waistband being adjustable using the elastic cord.
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 like the top.
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 whist 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.
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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.
The Saucony Ride 13 has a lot to offer for runners of all kind. The FORMFIT technology, also used in the Saucony Endorphin series, provides a comfortable fit and doesn't restrict the toes or other parts of the feet when you run. According to Saucony, the FORMFIT provides a "personalised 3D comfort" through the combination of a padded insole, the EVERUN foam in the middle and the reactive bottom layer.
Talking about padding: there is a lot of it so if you are after a plush ride, you'll love the Saucony Ride 13. The heel area is well comfortable as there is ample amount of padding around the ankle and under the heel, making landings a soft and pain-free experience. Even the laces and the tongue are soft and squishy, giving you the impression that the Ride 13 is made of marshmallows.
Not all energy is lost, though, as the PWRRUN cushioning does a good job in recovering some of the landing force and rolling it into forward momentum. Running in the Saucony Ride 13 won't be the most responsive experience for sure but it is not supposed to be anyway. For training and recovery, you should get the Saucony Ride 13.
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 sport 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 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?