One of the best things about running is that it can be enjoyed year-round in most places around the world provided you dress appropriately. For cold winter runs, it’s imperative that you have the proper attire and gear that can handle the wild winter elements. From snowy roads to blustery winds and sub-zero temperatures, pelting sleet to slushy puddles, winter brings a host of weather and precipitation that can be unpleasant for even the heartiest of runners if you’re not decked out layers that will keep you warm and dry without becoming stifling after just a few miles or weighing you down so that you can hardly move.
With winter rapidly approaching, we’ve compiled a list of our picks for the best winter running gear to help ensure you can be an all-season, all-weather runner ready to hit the roads or trails no matter what winter weather Mother Nature throws your way.
Our pick for the best winter running shirts for men is the Ibex Woolies Tech Long Sleeve 1/4 Zip. This slim-fitting shirt has an indulgently soft, next-to-skin feel. It works perfectly as a base layer under a running vest or jacket for colder weather or can be worn alone for milder conditions in the late fall. With the quarter-zip venting at the sternum, you can control the temperature and airflow as you warm up. There are thin holes for convenient stay-in-place security, ensuring your wrists will stay covered and protected from the elements, especially if you’re wearing gloves—no dreaded skin gap.
The Ibex Woolies Tech Long Sleeve 1/4 Zip is made from sustainable Merino wool with a durable nylon core. This combination of premium materials provides odor-eliminating, moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating performance while being incredibly soft, comfortable, and rugged. The flat seams prevent chafing and there is absolutely zero movement restriction or excessive swishing or bouncing. You’re sure to be comfortable, dry, and warm without feeling stinky, sweaty, or the least bit itchy.
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The Saucony Blizzard Tight is sure to keep your legs warm and limber throughout the run without restricting movement or flapping around loosely and causing a tripping hazard. They have a cozy brushed lining designed to keep specific key muscles and sensitive areas warm on cold runs to ensure you can focus on your training, not the winter chill. For example, there is a double layer of the cozy polyester fabric along the thighs and calves to keep these muscles warm and the supportive, fly-less pouch with an extra interior layer provides increased warmth and wind resistance to sensitive intimate areas. Made from 79% recycled polyester and 21% spandex, the Saucony Blizzard Tights are supportive and warm, yet breathable and not excessively hot. Finally, there are reflective details for added visibility and safety in dark conditions.
While it might technically be designed for skiing, the Jack Wolfskin Atmos Jacket is actually perfect for chilly winter runs. It is exceptionally soft and lightweight, yet warm and wind- and water-resistant without being bulky or swishy and loud as you run. You’ll stay warm and dry despite the winter elements without sweating profusely or feeling weighed down. The Atmos Jacket boasts premium materials and an intelligent design. For example, there’s a super stretchy, fleecy Nanuk Dynamic Natureblend on the sides and sleeve panels of the jacket to confer extra flex and give to these high movement areas. Jack Wolfskin uses sustainable fabrics and manufacturing processes and every detail of the jacket seems thoughtful and deliberate. With two hand pockets in a chest pocket, you can easily stash your phone and fuel for the run. The Atmos Jacket is so comfortable that you’re going to wish you could sit around in your running clothes post-run all day.
The Ibex Woolies Tech Base Layer Boxer Briefs are a must-have base layer for winter running. Protecting your sensitive anatomy from freezing temperatures and chilling winds will keep you bounding down the road in comfort rather than fearing frostbite. These comfortable boxer briefs are everything you want in a running brief — breathable, anti-odor, anti-itch, moisture-wicking, supportive yet unrestrictive, and soft. There’s a fully functioning fly and the merino wool and nylon construction make for supreme next-to-skin comfort.
Running shoes are arguably the most important running gear no matter what season it is, and while most seasoned runners have a favorite go-to model, we highly recommend the Saucony Men’s Peregrine 11 GTX for winter running. Because they are designed as a trail shoe, this neutral running shoe provides excellent traction for snowy or slippery winter roads, especially compared to standard road running shoes. The aggressive lugs, which are made from PWRTRAC tacky rubber, provide reliable traction and grip on frosty roads and a variety of terrains. Perhaps most importantly, the Saucony Men’s Peregrine 11 GTX keeps your feet warm and dry even as you slosh through slushy puddles and snowy sidewalks, as GORE-TEX Invisible Fit technology provides unsurpassed waterproof protection without making the running shoe feel heavy or stiff.
The Swiftwick Pursuit Four Socks are must-have running socks for year-round comfort. They are made from 63% fine-gauge, natural Merino wool, which effectively breathes and wicks moisture to keep your feet cool and dry in the summer while also keeping your feet warm and insulated from snowy roads in the winter. A sustainable resource, this Merino wool sock is super soft, anti-itch, anti-odor, and helps prevent chafing and blisters. There is a seamless toe box to reduce hotspots, reinforced toe and heel areas, and flex zones to conform to your feet. The nylon and spandex fibers that accompany the Merino wool make the socks lightweight, form-fitting so that they stay in place the entire run with no slipping into you. Finally, we like the ankle height of the Swiftwick Pursuit Four Socks for winter runs because it safeguards against any potential skin gap between your tights or running pants and sneakers should you be trudging through snowy or slushy roads.
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If your winter runs have you hitting the roads first thing in the morning or after work, you may be scratching your head wondering why sunglasses are included on this list of the best winter running gear, but for those who train mid-day, sunglasses can be essential for winter running. Due to the reflective glare of the sun off snowy or icy roads, you’ll need sunglasses to protect your eyes and eliminate the need to squint or strain your eyes. The Nathan Summit Polarized Running Glasses have premium TR90 frames, which are extremely lightweight and comfortable to wear and are designed with impact protection to endure falls. Polycarbonate polarized lenses eliminate glare and provide 100% UV protection and superior optical clarity. Moreover, these polycarbonate polarized lenses are injection-molded, which means the polarization is embedded in the lens themselves as opposed to simply being an easily-scratchable film on top. The Nathan Summit Polarized Running Glasses are temperature resistant, so they won’t crack or shrink on frigid runs, and have extremely grippy TPE inserts on the nose and temple to ensure that the glasses stay put for the entire run.
The BioLite HeadLamp 750 is a high-performing headlamp with an impressively neat, lightweight silhouette. With an impressive brightness of 750 lumens, the BioLite HeadLamp 750 will fully illuminate the road or trail before you no matter how dark the winter morning or night may be. The beam has a flood distance of 15 meters and a spot distance of 150 meters, which is 1.5 times the length of a football field!
The compact BioLight HeadLamp 750 features eight different lighting modes, including modes that automatically dim when you’re under street lamps, ones that stay bright no matter what, and ones that save energy when possible. There is a rear visibility light that can strobe or shine red, a safety feature that makes the BioLight HeadLamp 750 perfect for the reduced daylight hours of winter. You can also charge it while in use, though with a burn time of 7 hours on high and 150 hours on low, this pass-thru charging is rarely needed.
The BioLite HeadLamp 750 is 125 grams and has a 3,000mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The front panel can be tilted up or down with one hand and the headlamp can be operated with gloved hands, which is an excellent perk for cold winter mornings. Inclement weather is no issue with the BioLight HeadLamp 750 as it is water-resistant and can be operated in temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. BioLight backs the headlamp with a one-year warranty.
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It’s crucial to have a good pair of running gloves for winter training runs. After all, cold hands are not only uncomfortable and can make your training run feel even longer than it actually is, but they also make hitting your Garmin to capture your split or ripping open a gel mid-run nearly impossible. Convertible running gloves maximize versatility and temperature control by combining running gloves with an optional mitten flap for colder weather.
The TrailHeads Touchscreen Gloves with Reflective Waterproof Mitten Shell is a successful, lightweight, and comfortable convertible running glove design. The mitten layer conveniently tucks into a little pocket on the back of the gloves for milder days when you don’t need it, keeping it secure so that it doesn’t flap around as you bob down the road. The thin mitten shell is fully waterproof to keep your hands dry and warm on snowy, wet runs. There is also a convenient nose wipe fleece area on the thumb of the mitten, which comes in handy on cold morning runs.
The TrailHeads Touchscreen Gloves with Reflective Waterproof Mitten Shell are touchscreen compatible and the gloves have little magnets so they stick together when not in use, guarding against the all-too-common annoyance of trying to find a missing glove. With reflective material embedded in the running gloves and an extended length cuff, TrailHeads has seemingly thought about every detail when designing these convertible running gloves.
Read more: Best Men’s Gloves
The Smartwool Merino 250 Cuffed Beanie is sure to keep your head warm on the run without overheating. This comfortable, slim-fitting hat wicks moisture and insulates your head while still allowing airflow. Made from 100% high-quality Merino wool, the Smartwool Merino 250 Cuffed Beanie is double-layered for improved warmth, even on windy winter runs. It comes in many colors as well.
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You may want some invigorating music to motivate you to head out the door and brave the cold when temperatures drop, and our pick for the best running earbuds are the Skullcandy Push Active True Wireless Earbuds. These completely wireless earbuds have exceptional audio and stay in place no matter how much they are jostled on the run, due to the clip design, which secures the earbuds in place over your ears. This means you won’t risk losing them while pounding the pavement or trails. The earbuds are extremely lightweight and have a fairly slim profile, so they won’t press uncomfortably hard into your ears if worn under a tight hat or headband. Our favorite feature of the Skullcandy Push Active True Wireless Earbuds for winter running is the voice control, which allows you to ask the headphones to skip tracks, start a song over, play something entirely different, or even phone a friend without needing to take off your gloves and use your phone mid-run. Lastly, you get an impressive 44 hours of runtime between the earbuds and case.
Read more: Best Headphones for Running
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