Running is hard. Winter is cold. When you put the two of them together, it can feel like a mishmash of the Seventh Circle of (Frozen) Hell. Amiright?
But any runner will also tell you this: you just need to get over the hump. Sometimes, the hump is logging that first mile; other times, it’s getting out the door when the sky is puking snow and temps are hovering below freezing. No matter what that obstacle is, the RIGHT gear will make that hump feel a lot easier to leave behind.
What’s the right gear? I thought you’d never ask. Below I’ve included some of my favorite gear for winter running. Browse the list, see what you like, and let me know in the comments as to what I should’ve included (Yup, I said it.)
I live in the Colorado Rockies where this winter has seen two temps: freezing and below freezing. Thankfully, the Smartloft X-60 has helped me get through the chilliest of runs. The secret is the 50% recycled wool insulation that is both packable and breathable. Bonus: It doesn’t retain odor either, so I don’t stink as much as usual. Wind-resistant panels round out the garment that is quickly rising to the top of my go-to pile for dawn-patrol adventures.
A baselayer is a must when winter running, and here’s why: this next-to-skin layer wicks sweat away from your skin which helps prevent your body temp from dropping too low. Personally, I sweat like a pig on a good day, so a quality baselayer is key to my survival. Enter Le Bent. This Lightweight Crew top is a blend of bamboo and wool so it manages sweat while still feeling ultra soft next to your skin. Truth: I’m actually wearing it right now. This shirt is so soft that I routinely wear it as an everyday shirt, not just for running. How’s that for a selling point?
These suckers are routinely hailed as the best winter tights out there, and for good reason. Soft, brushed fabric feels comfy-cozy against your skin but also keeps your legs crazy warm when temps plummet. A back pocket stashes car keys and gels if needed, and a drawcord cinches down the belly so you don’t lose your drawers on the fly. Yes, they’re pants— but they are warm pants.
My hands are colder than the ice in my freezer, so if I tell you the mittens work, they work. The Venta Mitten offers lightweight weather protection with their Gore-Tex Infinium but still breathe well enough that you don’t end up with slick palms. Sensors on the thumbs even allow you to use your phone if you want, but pro tip: ditch the phone at home. No one needs to talk with you while you’re getting your run on.
Depending on where you live, ice in the winter can be a deal breaker. I mean, whose got time for falling on their face? Not me. A lot of runners drill spikes into their shoes but I personally prefer Kahtoola’s Nanospikes. The ten tungsten carbide spikes per foot bite into icy and frosted terrain so you don’t have to worry about your footing. Plus, the elastomer harness easily fits around your foot without any hot spots and friction points. Basically, the Nanospikes take the guesswork out of your run, so why wouldn’t you try them?