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Is your running wardrobe ready for winter?

Consider this your official winter running checklist

In many areas across the country, snowy winter weather has already arrived, and if it hasn’t hit where you live yet, it’s on its way. Now’s the time to start digging out your winter running clothes so that when those temperatures start to plummet, you’re ready for it. Take a look at this winter running checklist to make sure you’ve got everything you need to have a successful, enjoyable winter.

5 reasons winter is a great time to start running

The base layer

When it comes to staying warm and dry during the winter, your best bet is to layer clothing made of technical fabrics that are warm but still breathable. Merino wool is a great option, because it’s warm and wicks away moisture, but polyester or other synthetic fabrics work, too. Ideally, this layer shouldn’t be too bulky, so you have room to put a jacket over top. As the temperature continues to drop, you may want to add a couple more similar layers on top of your base shirt, too.


Some stubborn runners will wear shorts even in freezing weather, but for most runners, once the temperatures are in the single digits, you’re going to want something warmer on your legs. You may also want to invest in some fleece-lined tights for the really cold days, or consider layering a pair of shorts or half-tights underneath your tights.

Winter Running

Outer layer

On top of your other layers, you’re going to need an outer shell to protect you from the biting, cold winter wind. This layer should be waterproof, to keep out any precipitation (snow, cold rain, etc.), and ideally have some reflective patches to make you more visible in the dark.


Make sure you have a good hat or headband to protect your ears and keep your head warm. You lose a lot of heat through your head, so keeping it covered will go a long way in keeping the rest of your body warm. You should also have a good pair of running gloves, and may even want running mittens for when it really starts to get cold, since they typically keep your hands even warmer than gloves.

When it gets really, really cold, balaclavas and neck warmers add an extra layer of protection from the cold.

For your feet

Your little summer sport socks aren’t going to cut it in the winter. When the temperatures start dropping below zero, higher socks that reach above your ankles will ensure that you have no exposed skin (this is especially important for taller runners who have difficulty finding tights that reach their ankles). You may even want to consider layering two pairs of socks, for extra warmth.

Finnish runners ditch shoes, run sock-footed throughout winter

In the winter, even runners who live in urban areas and spend most of their time running on roads can benefit from a pair of trail shoes. These are typically designed for harsher conditions, and the extra tread will help you get more traction in the slush and snow and help prevent you from slipping on ice. You could also invest in some traction spikes that are designed for all types of terrain to wrap around your regular shoes.