Best Cold Weather Running Gear
This is the time of year when everyone’s looking to lose weight. The holidays are over, and now it’s time to push away from the sugar cookies and pumpkin pie and fried turkey.
(Oh! But I loved the fried turkey … but anyway.)
But there’s one huge catch: It’s freezing outside! And there’s nothing worse than trying to pound the pavement and lose a few pounds when you can’t feel your fingers and toes.
I’ve learned, though, that simply having the right cold weather running gear makes all the difference. So see below for the best cold weather running gear on the market, and invest in some to help you lose that weight while it’s still frigid outside.
Best Cold Weather Running Hat
For Women: ASICS Women’s Themopolis LT Ruched Beanie
This is the one-size-fits-all hat of choice for even the most advanced and experienced runners. Let’s be honest: The marathoners you see crossing the line first in Boston or wearing a gold meal around their necks at the Olympics are training non-stop, year-round.
And they certainly know what kind of cold weather running gear works for them.
What I like about this hat is that it keeps me warm but it doesn’t feel too heavy and it doesn’t get too hot on long runs. It’s just right.
It’s also designed to fit a woman’s head, which, sadly, isn’t always the case. The sides feature unique contouring for the ears, and there’s a ponytail opening at the back.
If you’re going on shorter runs in sub-zero temperatures, you might want something substantial. But I wear this hat in temperatures that are hovering just a little above of below freezing, and I’ve found that this one item makes the difference between me getting up and going out in the cold for a few miles and staying in the safe confines of my bed.
Is the ASICS Women’s Themopolis LT Ruched Beanie right for you?
For Men: Adidas Men’s Paramount Beanie
I agree with Holly that a good hat is the right place to start when you’re searching for the best cold weather running gear. I found the Adidas Men’s Paramount Beanie at the start of this winter, and it’s made all the difference for helping me stay in shape — or least maintain the best I could through the holidays.
What I like best about this beanie is that it wicks away sweat and stays fairly dry, even when I’ve worked up quite a sweat over a long run. I’ve tried investing in cheap knit hats for running in the past, and they just soak up all the sweat — which makes it feel like you’re wearing a brick on your head by the end.
I’m not huge on the style aspect of my running gear, but I will say that this is a good-looking hat, too. If you want a hat that’s going to help you make it through the longest of runs on the coldest of days, the Adidas Men’s Paramount is there for you, both in function and style.
Is the Adidas Men’s Paramount Beanie right for you?
Best Running Vest for Cold Weather
For Women: ASICS Women’s Puff Vest
Here’s what I love about this vest: It really stops the wind. It’s not hard to find a running vest that keeps you warm. But it is hard to find one that keeps the wind from slicing right through you.
I also love that this vest includes plenty of storage and lots of reflectivity. I hate using the key pocket in my shorts or tights, but I love using the pockets on my vest. Plus, for long runs, I can stash my gels and other materials in the plentiful storage pockets. Not to mention: On short winter days you’re often running in the dark, so reflectivity is so nice.
And, finally, I really like the way my vest looks. I have the dark gray heather flow model, and it makes me feel like I’m turning heads while on my runs — if that matters at all to you.
Is the ASICS Women’s Puff Vest right for you?
What’s to love about the Patagonia Men’s Nano Air Light Hybrid Vest? What I like most is that it keeps me warm without creating the sauna effect on longer runs. That is, I never get cold, but the vest breathes in a way that prevents my from feeling suffocated.
You can also move in the vest, too. You don’t feel restricted by the material. That’s mostly because the back and under arms use a thinner, stretchier material than the front panel. The multi-material approach is great, because it helps keep the vest from feeling too weighty.
As Holly noted above about the ASICS vest, this vest is substantial. If you’re in the market for more of a windbreaker-style vest, you should look elsewhere. But this Patagonia vest is the perfect addition if you’re doing significant running in freezing temperatures.
Is the Patagonia Men’s Nano Air Light Hybrid Vest right for you?
Best Cold Weather Running Tights
For Women: Saucony Women’s Bullet Tights
The first reason is that they fit my body. Bodies are different, and you may find that these tights just don’t work for you. But you want tights that cling to your legs without bunching anywhere. When I buy these tights in my size, it’s like they were made for my body.
And the second reason is that they don’t sag in the back. I’ve had a hard time with tights in the past — even tights that “fit” — that sag down as I run. This is especially true when you’re trying to run with stuff in your pockets. These tights have plenty of storage, but I’ve never had a problem with them sagging.
Tights are the most highly personal item on this list. So make sure you’re finding something that works for you, your body and your style of running. But know that the Saucony Women’s Bullet Tights come highly recommended by at least one runner you know.
Are the Saucony Women’s Bullet Tights right for you?
The best part of about the ASICS Men’s Anatomic Softshell Tights is there durability. I’ve found tights in the past that won’t even make it through one season. These tights, on the other hand, have been on plenty of a cold-weather run with me, and they are no worse for wear.
These tights also check the other important boxes, including fit. As Holly notes about, there’s nothing worse than tights that leave slack along the contours of your legs. You won’t get that type of slack with these tights. I’ve found that they fit to my body, and they definitely keep me warm on runs short and long.
I’ll also echo another note from above: While these tights make a perfect fit for me, you may find another style that works best for you. That’s just the nature of tights. We all have different shaped bodies and different shaped legs, and you need to find tights that fit your body and legs.
Just make sure to consider the ASICS Men’s Anatomic Softshell Tights, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find similar durability from other brands and models.
Are the ASICS Men’s Anatomic Softshell Tights right for you?
Best Long Sleeve Running Shirts for Cold Weather
For Women: Nike Women’s Dri-Fit Knit Top
The reason I love the Nike Women’s Dri-Fit Knit Top is that it checks every box. Let’s start with warmth.
Your long sleeve shirt is likely to be a base layer, and you need one that’s wicking away sweat and keeping you dry. That’s exactly what Nike’s Dri-Fit technology does. If you get wet from sweat, your core is going to start to freeze in cold weather, which you obviously want to avoid.
Then there’s the comfort. The material feels great against the skin, and handy thumbholes help you keep the shirt in position during the longest of runs. Not everyone uses the thumbholes, but they’re nice to have.
And, finally, there’s the breathability. As noted in the vest section above, breathability is SO important. No one wants to feel like they’re suffocating while out on a long run.
You can find plenty of long sleeve running shirt options, but the Nike Women’s Dri-Fit Knit Top has become my favorite because it’s the most well-rounded that I’ve ever found.
Is the Nike Women’s Dri-Fit Knit Top right for you?
I feel like I made an incredibly discovery with the DRI-EQUIP Long Sleeve Moisture Wicking Athletic Shirt. These shirts provide everything you want out of cold weather running gear, and they are available at a steep discount over what you get from better-known brands.
These shirts from DRI-EQUIP are light, comfortable, warm and breathable, and they do an amazing job of wicking away sweat and keeping you dry. They are also available in a wide range of different colors, which means you can stick with one model while changing things up color-wise.
I like to buy several of these shirts at the start of winter, and they can typically get me through a couple of seasons. Make the small investment to try one out, and then go back and order some more if you find that you love them as much as I do.
Is the DRI-EQUIP Long Sleeve Moisture Wicking Athletic Shirt right for you?
Best Winter Running Jacket
For Women: Brooks Women’s Cascadia Thermal Jacket
If you’re looking for an outstanding jacket for running, look no further than the Cascadia from Brooks. They make models for both men and women — see below. And they also make vests if you don’t like our vest recommendations above.
I’ll be honest in that you pay a premium for this product. But the Brooks name is among the most trusted in running, and the Cascadia jacket is just about the best you can get.
What makes it such a great investment? Like most good cold weather running gear, it keeps you just warm enough without making you overheat. Part of the reason for this is that the jacket includes more padding around the core (where you need it) and less around the sleeves.
It’s great in the rain, too. In short, this is a good-looking, versatile, durable running jacket that’s going to last you for years.
Is the Brooks Women’s Cascadia Thermal Jacket right for you?
For Men: Brooks Men’s Cascadia Thermal Jacket
Here’s the thing: I don’t need a running jacket often. Where I live, it gets cold, but I can usually get by with just a vest. That said, every once in a while, I encounter an early morning when it’s 35 and rainy — and I just want to get a few miles in. That’s when I pull out my Brooks Men’s Cascadia Thermal Jacket.
It keeps the rain off, and it keeps me warm throughout my run. The jacket includes fabric around the waist and sleeves, but this fabric never collects sweat or rainwater. This is a really well-designed and attractive running jacket. In fact, it’s so attractive that I’ll wear it to a cold-weather or rainy ballgame from time-to-time.
Yes, this is an expensive product. But it’s durable enough to last you for years, and you can certainly use if for more than just running.
Is the Brooks Men’s Cascadia Thermal Jacket right for you?
Best Winter Running Headband
For Women: ASICS Women’s Felicity Fleece Headwarmer
I may love my headband more than I love my running hat, because it’s often much better for the weather outside. When you wear a hat, your head is obviously covered — which traps heat. You need that when it’s really cold outside. But, when it’s just kind of cold outside, it’s better to have something open on top.
Enter the headband, which leaves enough room for the heat to escape while still keep your ears warm. I swear by the ASICS Women’s Felicity Fleece Headwarmer, which is incredibly comfortable, fits my head well, and also includes the needed ponytail opening in the back.
This is an intelligently designed product that just fits and feels better than other headbands I’ve tried. I don’t know what they’re doing at ASICS with their running headgear, both hats and headbands, but I wouldn’t wear anything else.
Is the ASICS Women’s Felicity Fleece Headwarmer right for you?
You may have never heard of French Fitness Revolution. I hadn’t either until I found this headband, which has been one of my go-tos this winter. Much like Holly, I probably use a headband just as much if not more often than a use a hat.
Here’s what I like about this headband. It wicks sweat away from my face, which is just as valuable as having something to keep my ears warm. Seriously, the fact that it can remove sweat without the headband itself becoming heavy is super valuable.
This is also a durable product. I’ve found that lots of cold weather running gear is difficult to wash — hats, gloves, etc. They tend to lose their shape during the process, which makes them virtually unusable. That’s not the case with this headband from French Fitness Revolution. You can count on it coming out of a wash cycle with its same shape and fit.
Lastly, this is an affordable product. For the benefit of keeping your ears warm and your face clear of sweat, it’s hard to beat this headband.
Is the French Fitness Revolution Men’s Headband Right for you?
Best Cold Weather Running Gloves
For Everyone: New Balance Lightweight Running Gloves
When you want the perfect gloves for cold weather, look no further than these Lightweight Running Gloves from New Balance. They feel great, and they deliver the perfect balance that you want from any cold weather running gear — warmth without overheating.
New Balance has used advanced technology to ensure that these gloves are both warm and lightweight. It works. I also like that these gloves allow you to use a touchscreen, which is helpful when you’re using your phone for music or as a run tracker.
These gloves are also cheeky, as they include the name of one New York borough on each finger. Not sure what the meaning there is, but it’s kind of fun. Oh, and they’re available in lots of different colors, too.
I’ve tried a lot of gloves through the years, including going with some cheap options that I could just throw away. These gloves are both affordable and effective, which is what makes them such a great option for both men and women.
Are New Balance Lightweight Running Gloves right for you?
Best Cold Weather Running Socks
For Everyone: Balega Blister Resist Quarter Athletic Running Socks
If you’ve never heard of Balega, know that they make fantastic running socks. And here’s something that’s surprising: This pair is not only great for winter, but you can wear them in summer, too. Let me explain …
Drynamix used to make these socks wicks sweat away from your feet, which keeps them dry. This material also provides both a cooling effect in summer and warming effect in winter. So, these aren’t just seasonal socks.
As a bonus, they also protect against blisters, and I’ve found that they help me avoid plantar fasciitis, too. I used to get PF after building up lots of miles and I’ve found that thicker, better-cushioned socks do the trick.
If you’re looking for an alternative, either for plantar fasciitis or cold weather running, try wearing two pairs of regular running socks at once. You’ll get the heat that comes from having an additional layer, and you’ll also find that the added cushioning prevent PF — at least, that’s what I discovered.
Are the Balega Blister Resist Quarter Athletic Running Socks right for you?
Best Neck Gaiter for Running
For Everyone: Columbia Unisex Fast Trek Neck Gaiter
The neck gaiter is typically the thing I add when I have already put on my tights, gloves, jacket and hat — and I’m still cold. This is the proverbial last stand you can make on your coldest of winter runs.
I like this unisex model from Columbia. I only use it a handful of times each winter, but it really does the trick. It lingers around my neck to keep it protected from the wind, and then I pull it up over my mouth and nose when needed for extra warmth.
What I like most about it is that it’s not itchy. Also, it does a great job of stopping the wind, which is the main reason to use a neck gaiter. Yes, a neck gaiter can make you look a little like a marauding bandit — but it’s well worth it when you’re going out for a run on one of the coldest mornings of the winter.
Is the Columbia Unisex Fast Trek Neck Gaiter right for you?
Best Hand Warmers for Running
For Everyone: HotHands Hand Warmers
I don’t always keep them with me for the entire run. That’s the beauty of HotHands. They are completely disposable, so I can use them until my body has gotten used to the cold — and then I can pitch them in a garbage can without fear of fire.
Using HotHands is easy. You simply shake them up to activate the heat, and then you’ll have a heater to take along with you for your run. When you get a value pack, you have plenty to get you through a season of cold mornings or cold nights.
This is a deal that I can’t recommend enough. You can probably find other brands that offer similar products that do the same thing. HotHands has just always been the brand that I trust.
Are the HotHands Hand Warmers right for you?
Final Thoughts on Cold Weather Running Gear
It’s January as of this writing. And you may be thinking: Winter’s almost over, so now isn’t the time to buy cold weather running gear.
You’re wrong. And here’s why:
Now’s the time to get the best deals. You may find a jacket or vest available at a heavy discount, and you may find that some seller is just giving away gloves and hats. It’s all because they’re trying to clear inventory to make way for spring stuff.
So buy your cold weather running gear now, use if for the rest of winter, and then you’ll have it ready to go when the weather turns again later in the year. Sounds like a plan, huh?
Did we miss any of your favorite cold weather running gear? If so, let us know in the comments section below, or you can always use our contact form to reach out directly.
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