It’s easy to use the cold weather as an excuse to not go out and exercise. I can easily be guilty of this. However, I also know that running in the cold can be extremely rewarding, and almost as good as running in the summer. You simply need to ensure you have clothing that’s appropriate for the weather! Depending the extent of the coldness, different items of apparel are necessary for different temperatures. Some are staples no matter how many degrees below or above freezing it is. Others are optional depending on how easily your body warms itself up. Without further ado, here are my suggestions for the best gear when exercising outdoors in the wintertime.
You want leggings that are warm yet breathable. They should be athletic material, and designed for running outside. This means they’ll be thicker than they usually would be if you were buying them for spinning or yoga. Additionally, I’d definitely recommend they reach your ankles if the weather is under 40° F. — the extra material on your ankles makes a difference! I like Under Armour or Aritzia leggings. You can also wear pants that flare at the knees, just make sure they don’t drag on the ground.
Long sleeve athletic top
Whether it’s Lululemon, Athleta, Lucy, or any brand, you want something that fits close to your body and has a material that wicks sweat. A hugely important element of any running top is the sleeve length: let it cover your hands! The tops with the thumb holes are immensely underrated. That extra bit of fabric can make all the difference between a cold and comfortable run. Good brands are Athleta, Lululemon, and Old Navy.
This is optional, but super nice when it’s extra chilly outside. It adds an extra layer of warmth to your body, which is great when the temperatures are low. Find a vest that’s meant for physical activity. J. Crew has THE cutest vests ever, but, sadly, they aren’t desgined for working out. My favorites are North Face, 32 Degrees Heat, and Patagonia.
A headband that covers your ears is, for me, a must-have for running during the cold. It works just as a hat would, but allows your to easily wear a ponytail and is more breathable than a hat. My favorite running headband is athletic material and from Lululemon. It’s great for wicking sweat and staying warm. If I get too hot, the headband is the first thing I take off. That way it’s simple and I don’t have to worry about carrying extra layers.
This year, I invested in a Lululemon jacket that’s designed for running in the winter. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made—I use it everyday, and it’s absalotuely perfect for running. If I ever get too hot, which is rarely, I tie it around my shoulders. It’s not too heavy, water-repellent (running in wet or misty weather), and has the thumb holes I mentioned above. I can also put my runnign headband in the pockets when I get warm, which makes things easy.
If you don’t have a jacket for running, wear a sweatshirt or zip up hoodie. I did this all last year when I didn’t have my running jacket yet. Both are good to tie around your shoulders when you get hot. If you’re able to find a sweatshirt or hoodie that have cover your hands, I’d highly recommend that!
These aren’t needed every time, but I recommend them when the temperature outside is under 35° F. If you don’t have a shirt or jacket that covers your hands, I’d say good gloves/mittens are a must.
Having your ankles exposed can easily leave you feeling cold, so if you have shorter leggings, I’d definitely wear taller socks. Great brands are Adidas and/or Nike. If your leggings do reach your ankles, ankle socks work great!