what to wear when running in winter

Winter Running: Don’t Stop me Now

It’s all too easy to glance outside and say it’s too cold, I can’t go for a run. Runners know that to be a good runner you need to keep it up regularly. Even if you go for a short run, it’s better than nothing. To stop for a few weeks, or even 1 week, and then to continue can have serious effects on your performance. In short, don’t let the weather stop you!

Even though you know you will get hot, dress for the cold but dress in layers. The rule is to dress for 20 degrees warmer than it is outside.

running headband for winter

The most important part? Keep everything you wear lightweight so you aren’t weighed down with bulk.

Let’s start with the winter running accessories.

Wear a hat or fleece headband. This will help wick away sweat, but also keep your head and ears warm.

TrailHeads Women's Ponytail Headband - 13 colors
TrailHeads Women’s Ponytail Headband – 13 colors


Wear light gloves that wick away sweat. In short, everything you wear when running should wick away sweat and be made of breathable fabric.

Keeping that in mind, get socks that wick away sweat (not cotton!), and keep your feet warm. You can get some that go up to your knees to keep your calves extra warm.

Saucony Women's Xodus 6.0 Gtx Trail Running Shoes
Saucony Women’s Xodus 6.0 Gtx Trail Running Shoes

Find running shoes with as little mesh as possible as the mesh with let in rain or snow. Shoes that have a thicker sole and are further off the ground, like Gore-Tex uppers, are preferred. Also keep an eye out for shoes with strong traction, and if needed when it’s really icy, you can add traction straps to your shoes.

Many people forget this but even if it is cloudy and there’s snow or rain on the ground, you still need to be protected from the sun. Sunrays are reflected in snow or rain and can still be harmful, even in the winter. Before you set out for your run apply a strong SPF sunscreen, and wear sunglasses while running.

Duduma Polarized Sports Sunglasses for Running
Duduma Polarized Sports Sunglasses

During the winter it can be dark when running early in the morning or at night. Stay safe and make sure you can be seen by wearing reflective gear. This can be a reflective vest, armbands or wrist straps.

Now for the important part: the clothing.

Invest in some windproof/thermal running tights – yes, men should wear tights also. Running in shorts is not a good idea in the Winter, and running in tracksuit pants can be un-comfortable.

Wear layers of technical fabrics that wick away sweat. Find tops and a zip up sweatshirt that vent air out as you heat up. You should be wearing a long sleeve running vest and zip up sweatshirt at the very least. Women should be wearing a sports bra as well.

Mizuno Running Men's Breath Thermo Seamless Half Zip Top
Mizuno Breath Thermo Seamless Half Zip Top

If it’s very cold out, you can add a wicking tank underneath a long-sleeved mid-weight base layer shirt. You can also wear a fleece neck warmer.

I came across this great article about running in the cold with lots of really useful tips. Have a read before you set out for a run.

If you are unsure about what to wear when running, or how many layers to wear, the same website has an awesome page that allows you to input the temperature, wind, time of day, and running conditions. It will then calculate what you need to wear. How cool?!

Now get out there and go for a run!

You make us proud.



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