Best winter running gear 2020: tackle the elements with the best winter running shoes, winter running tops and more

No matter the weather, wear the best apparel and accessories to protect yourself against the elements

best winter running gear
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Welcome to T3's best winter gear roundup! We collected all the winter running essentials, including winter running tops, jackets and even tights, as well as winter running shoes, running hats and high-viz backpacks you might need for your winter running sessions.

Summer training is great, especially if you can run on a sandy beach in Ibiza, barefoot. Any other times, we tend to forget the flies, the blistering heat and humidity, the copious amount of sweat and basically all the features that indeed come with running in hot weather.

Running during winter is a glorious feeling, though. 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 running 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.

You can't just chuck on a woolly jumper on top and expect it to work and you not to get too hot. 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.

best winter running gear

Running is a great sport all year round

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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 skying 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 beginning of your runs but not too warm so you'll feel toasted by the end of the session. This is achieved by applying a few thin layers of insulation and them having a close fit.

Running tights need to be, well, tight enough but not heavy so even if they get slightly wet, they won;t weigh your legs down. Winter running tights tend to be more solid than their everyday counterparts, to protect you from wind and all the other elements.

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

best winter running gear: GORE WEAR R3 Men's Jacket

(Image credit: Gore Wear)

Gore Wear R3 Jacket

Designed for runners with high breathability and comfort

Reasons to buy
+Permanently waterproof+Windproof+Breathable

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. 

Best winter running gear: Rapha Merino base layer – Long Sleeve

(Image credit: Rapha)

Rapha Merino base layer – Long Sleeve

Just as good for runners as it is for cyclists

Reasons to buy
+Wick moisture awayJust as good for runners as it is for cyclists+Odour resistant

Rapha might be famous for their cycling gear and this is technically a cycling top, but it works equally as well for runners, too. Rapha's merino blend wicks moisture quickly and efficiently and it is also extremely odour resistant.

Rapha also uses flatlock stitching so the top won't chafe and the seams are positioned behind the shoulders to avoid bag straps rubbing while running. The Rapha merino base layer is close fitting and cut long at the back so you can tuck it into your tights.

Best winter running gear: ASICS Lite-Show 2 Winter Long Sleeve Half Zip Running Women's Top

(Image credit: Asics)

ASICS Lite-Show 2 Winter Long Sleeve Half Zip Running Women's Top

The best warm winter top for woman

Material: 94% Polyester, 6% Spandex
Reasons to buy
+Moisture wicking+Extra underarm ventilation+Highly reflective 
Reasons to avoid
-It is a bit warm for anything but the coldest of weather

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. 

Best winter running gear: Gore Wear R7 Windstopper Tights

(Image credit: Gore Wear)

Gore Wear R7 Windstopper Tights

Stop the wind and keep your legs warm with these weatherproof running thights

Reasons to buy
+Windproof+Water resistant+Breathable
Reasons to avoid
-Tighter fit

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.

Best winter running gear: ASICS Lite-Show 2 Winter Running Women's Tight

(Image credit: Asics)

Asics Lite-Show 2 Winter Running Women's Tights

A matching set for for full winter protection

Material: 91% Polyester, 9% Spandex
Reasons to buy
+Laminated media pocket at back+Rear-leg zip opening

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.

Best winter running gear: Proviz Unisex Pixelite Running Gloves

(Image credit: Proviz)

Proviz Unisex Pixelite Running Gloves

Gentle to the touch, visible to the eye

Reasons to buy
+Highly reflective material+Soft touch fabric

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.

Best winter running gear: Stolen Goat Sputnik Bandido / Neck Warmer

(Image credit: Stolen Goat)

Stolen Goat Sputnik Bandido / Neck Warmer

For the sportsman with style

Reasons to buy
+Funky looks+Reasonably-priced

• Buy the Stolen Goat Sputnik Bandido / Neck Warmer directly from Stolen Goat

Stolen Goat is a British company that provides high-quality cycling, running and triathlon gear and accessories. They blend style with functionality and do it successfully so.

Their one-size-fits-all neckwarmer is the perfect accessory for keeping your ears, face, head and neck warm whilst enjoying your runs. The Stolen Goat Neck Warmer's main appeal is its versatility: pull it up if you are cold, pull it back down if you are hot. Easy as pie.

Another main appeal of the the neck warmer – and the brand in general – is the design. Wear a piece of clothing from Stolen Goat if you want to stand out; these aren't your plain vanilla garments.

Best winter running gear: adidas ULTRABOOST S&L SHOES

(Image credit: adidas)

Adidas UltraBoost S&L Running Shoes

Retro looks and great traction for the win

Reasons to buy
+Great looks+Continental rubber gives excellent traction
Reasons to avoid
-Not waterproof

We loved the Adidas Ultraboost 19 and this version build on the foundation laid by the one of the best running shoes on the market. What has been added is a leather upper, making the shoes more resilient and definitely more handsome than before.

The Adidas UltraBoost S&L running shoes are excellent for training days during winter. The stretchweb outsole flexes naturally and the Continental rubber gives the shoes excellent traction.

The Boost midsole provides temperature-independent cushioning; it will feel responsive in both and even colder weather.

The leather upper give the Adidas UltraBoost S&L a retro look, something you can wear for all occasions. Well, maybe not for a gala dinner but definitely to shops.

Best winter running gear: 2XU Vectr Ultralight Cushion Crew Socks

(Image credit: 2XU)

2XU Vectr Ultralight Cushion Crew Socks

Better have those ankles wrapped up properly, no one like them sprained

Reasons to buy
+Extra cushioning in soles+Top mesh for added breathability

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.

Best winter running gear: Proviz Nightrider Backpack - 10 Litres

(Image credit: Proviz)

Proviz Nightrider Backpack - 10 Litres

Hydration pack ready and fully waterproof

Reasons to buy
+Chest strap+Waterproof+High-viz

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.

Best winter running gear: Nike Team Performance Beanie Hat

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Team Performance Beanie Hat

A winter running essential

Reasons to buy
+Straightforward design+Reflective logo

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?