I’ve definitely done my fair share of running during the winter—probably more than any other season while living in Alaska. So I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite articles of clothing for these bone-chilling cold winter runs. I am not made of money, so I’m sure there are better products out there. Most of my items were found at the Nike Outlet store, on sale at the end of the season, or while shopping online. Despite this, I think I’ve found some pretty decent items, so check them out.
If it it in the upper 20s or warmer, I prefer to wear a headband/ear warmer versus a hat—less bulk. But once it dips below that, I have to make the switch to a hat or my head freezes.
I’m not picky about the type of hat I wear while running. As long as it stays put and keeps my head warm, I’m good to go. I have a variety of hats from this really cheap fleece one I picked up at Wal-Mart eons ago to a newer one from Target with sweat-wicking properties. Both have served me well.
I bought this hat several years ago at Wal-Mart and paid $1 for it. There’s nothing fancy about it; it is simply a fleece hat, so you don’t have to spend much to keep your head warm.
I swear by something around my neck when the temps drop below about 20 degrees. During those frigid runs, the neck warmer always ends up over my nose, cheeks, and chin. I don’t know how people can have their skin exposed to those extreme temperatures. I notice a huge difference when my neck is covered.
I have three different fleece neck warmers I rotate between for my winter runs. One is extra long but tighter when I pull it up over my nose. The other two are shorter—and sometimes causes the back of my neck to be exposed, but they aren’t as restrictive around my face. I have not tried any other face masks because I’m cheap and keep using what works reasonably well.
I wear two to three layers on top during winter runs. I always start with a sweat-wicking top. My favorite are the turtleneck style ones with a soft fleece lining on the inside and ample length in the core and arms. My second layer is either another sweat-wicking layer or a thin fleece layer when it is really cold.
I have several jackets I rotate between depending upon the conditions. My heaviest jacket is this one from Asics. I’m not sure they even make or sell it anymore; I got it several years ago. It is much thicker than any other jackets I have, which is nice for those sub zero days.
I recently found this Brooks Nightlift Essential Run Jacket, and I’m in love with it. It is so bright, fun, and comfortable that I have found myself wearing it again and again for my winter runs. There are a lot of reflective areas (the opposite of many of my other jackets), and the fit is great.
For those really cold days I use these Saucony mittens. They really help to keep my hands warm since I can easily ball up my fingers inside. I also appreciate the soft fleece on the outside for wiping my nose or snow off my face.
I have several gloves depending upon the temperature. I do really like these Zensah gloves. The inside is soft and the fingers slots are nice and long. Plus the reflective areas and finger tips for operating electronics are added bonuses.
By far the hardest part of my body to keep warm. I don’t know what it is but my thighs get so red and cold, especially when the temperature drops below 20*F. I have tried wearing 3 pairs of pants, sticking those foot warmers to my pants, wearing snowpants, but nothing seems to keep my legs warm. Okay, the snowpants probably would have worked, but I wasn’t really able to run, which defeats the purpose.
My favorite pair of running pants for the winter are a new pair of Brooks pants that I picked up at REI just a few weeks ago. This is only the third Brooks item I’ve owned, and I’m quickly becoming a fan of their clothes. The fit is a little bit different with a smaller leg opening, but they don’t get in the way when running. I also love the extra reflective areas since 95% of my runs are done while it is dark here.
My second favorite pair of running pants are a pair of Nike tights I found at the Nike Outlet. They have a reinforced and extra layer of material on the thighs to help keep my tights a little warmer during the winter. I really like running in tights because there is no extra material that gets in the way when my legs are moving back and forth.
Thankfully I’ve never had a hard time keeping my feet warm. I can get by with wearing one pair of socks and not had a problem with cold feet. I will avoid wearing my super thin socks when the temperatures are super cold though.
And as far as my shoes, I am still loving the Wave Mizuno Rider 16s. I am onto my third pair and have no complaints about them. However, I hear the 17s are pretty sweet—can’t wait to try them.
For the winter, I do put studs in my shoes to help with traction. They really help when the roads are covered in snow.
Share your favorite winter running gear.