16 Essential Pieces of Gear for Winter Runners

young male runner on the road

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If you’re a runner, when winter comes, you come to a fork in the road. You either: head inside on the treadmill or bundle up and brave the chilliest outdoor runs. Once the temperature dips and the snow and slush fill the streets and your favorite trail, it can make outdoor runs pretty miserable. (And based on this year’s Farmer’s Almanac forecast, the weather is going to be all over the place with rain, sleet, and snow.) But continuing to train during winter months is clutch to stay in shape and even make progress on your PRs, race goals, and even weight loss. (This guy lost 70 pounds thanks to running, and this new dad lost 45 pounds.)

So finding the right cold weather running gear is extremely important. You don’t want to head outdoors overly layered up so that your gait is affected, and you also don’t want to be under-prepared for the wind and ice you may encounter. It can be a tricky balance. However, there are tons of products on the market that are specifically designed to keep you from freezing your ass off while minimizing bulk.

From sleek compression gear, smart new wool materials, thick fleeces, insulated jackets, and sweat wicking fabrics, the capabilities of the newest outdoor running products will help keep you warm and dry without hindering your running performance. Plus, many are accessorized with reflective and visibility elements to keep you visible during darker runs. Ready to stock your closet? Here are 16 pieces that will make your winter run warm, and most importantly, safe.

Thermal Accelerate Compression Tights

Keep your legs warm and your muscles loose with these leggings made from extra warm 70D material. The graduated compression also aim to help with muscle soreness and fatigue, which is key for long runs on cold days. 

Weather Vest

On
on-running.com

$139.99

Cold core? This performance vest from On serves as a solid layering piece on chilly days when you might wind up taking off your jacket. 

Winter Fleece Neck Gaiter

Tough Headwear
amazon.com

$8.95

Who runs wearing a scarf? Keep your neck warm with this gaiter instead, which is made out of extra-warm fleece material. 

Brooks Spartan Pants

If the leggings-only look isn’t for you (or if you’re so cold that you need an extra layer), the pants from Brooks will keep you warm without the bulk. Key feature here for fans of joggers (the pants, not the activity): you can slip these on over your shoes without a struggle thanks to zips at the bottom.

Smartwool Intraknit 200 Crew Base Layer

Smartwool
rei.com

$120.00

Merino wool is having a moment in activewear, and this base layer top has everything that makes the material great. Flexible, lightweight, and moisture-wicking, this shirt will keep you warm without weighing you down.  

Nike Running Jacket Windrunner

This lightweight, sleek jacket is designed to keep you comfortable in the worst elements. When the weather gets really rough, zip the hood all the way up to cover your face and hit the road. 

Cold Terrain Run Gloves

Lululemon
lululemon.com

$42.00

Every winter running getup needs a solid set of gloves. These are made with sweat-wicking four-way stretch material, so you don’t lose all of your dexterity. 

Saucony Peregrine ICE+

Saucony
saucony.com

$150.00

These runners from Saucony are built for the snow, ice, and sleet you’ll be tackling on the winter roads. A Vibram outsole and water resistant upper are designed to help you conquer the conditions. 

Men’s UA RUSH ColdGear Seamless Mock

UnderArmour
underarmour.com

$100.00

Under Armour’s high-tech Rush material, which the company claims can essentially recycle your body energy, make this more than your typical base layer. Now, with cold weather approaching, you’ll have some options built to keep you warm, too.  

Running Beanie Hat

Tough Headwear
amazon.com

$9.95

Ditch your bulky beanie for this hat that will keep your head warm without making you overheat. 

LED Reflective Running Vest

ANCROWN
amazon.com

$22.99

This high-visibility running vest will keep you safe (and seen) when running in the early morning or after-work evening runs.

Drymax Cold Weather Running Crew Socks

If you bundle every part of your body up other than your feet, your going to have a bad winter run. These socks are designed to keep your feet warm and dry, with three layers of the company’s drymax fiber insulation. 

Challenger ATR 6

Hoka One One
zappos.com

$129.95

Runner’s World is a fan of these shoes for winter runs thanks to its soft and light midsole cushioning.

BALEAF Men’s Lightweight Warm Puffer Jacket

This insulated running jacket has quilted panels sewn into front parts to help you retain warmth in your core. It also has a detachable hood so you can choose to run with or without it.

ROCK BROS Fleece Ear Warmers Headband

ROCK BROS
amazon.com

$12.85

This oversized fleece headband is wider than most to keep wind and cold air out. It also has a large reflective strip to help keep you visible on dark runs.

Carbonite Tight

brooksrunning.com

$130.00

These tights from Brooks have 360 degree visibility that will make you visible from up to 600 feet away. They also have a sip-secure back pocket to keep your phone and cash.


Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running.


Emily Shiffer is a freelance health and wellness writer living in Pennsylvania. 

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