5 Essential Winter Running Gear To Keep You Going In Cold Weather

Winter Running Gear To Keep You Going In Cold Weather

Running in the wintertime can be a real roller coaster of emotions.

From November to March, there’s a chance that you will have to face a variety of challenging weather conditions, including rain, gale-force winds, extremely low temperatures, snow or ice (and perhaps a combination of all five!). 

Because of the extremes you could be facing, if you want to keep up your running routine through winter then you need to dress appropriately for the season.

Dressing the right way can make the difference between a fun workout and cutting your run short so you can return to the warmth of your house.

So what’s the best cold weather running gear to have on a winter’s day? If you don’t want to let the weather stop you, then you need to wrap up warm and make sure that you don’t overheat while running.

These 5 winter running clothing items have been designed with this in mind. 

Keep reading to find the best clothing items to wear when running on a cold day!

1. Smartwool Merino 250 Beanie 

Smartwool Merino 250 Pattern Cuffed Beanie Black Cherry Dot, One Size

This is the head warmer of choice for the courageous person that runs in all weather, including snow, sleet, and ice (which is not something we suggest).

The 100 % merino wool produced by Smartwool is double-layered for added warmth, but it’s also made of very breathable material that wicks away moisture and is resistant to odors. 

Unlike a lot of other beanies, this one won’t trap bad smalls inside, and after one wash any strange odors will be gone. 

This is also a very plush and comfortable beanie to wear. You can roll the cuff up higher for a more elegant look, or you can roll it down lower so that it covers your ears on the chilliest days. 


  • Lightweight 
  • Very soft and warming 
  • Double-layered for added comfort and warmth 
  • Can cover ears 


  • Sizes seem to run small 

Smartwool Merino 250 Pattern Cuffed Beanie Black Cherry Dot, One Size
  • Material: 100% merino wool
  • Style: roll-up
  • Recommended Use: casual
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 2 years

2. Trailheads Headband

TrailHeads Ponytail Headband - Adrenaline Series | Women’s Running Headband with Reflective Accents - Black/Reflective

For runners with long hair, wearing a beanie isn’t always an option, especially if you wear your hair in a ponytail while running. If you’re looking for beanie alternatives, then this winter headband is perfect for you. 

Made of stretchy poly-spandex fabric, this headband will keep any flyaway hairs out of your face while you run.

Even if you don’t have a lot of hair though, this headband is wide and stretchy enough to stay in place regardless of your hairstyle. 

Keeping your hair in place isn’t the only great design aspect of this headband though, it’s also very comfortable to wear and the cloth feels nice and soft against your ears. 

The ideal layer to keep your head warm while also wicking perspiration and releasing excess heat, this headband is plush and cuddly, with a snug fit that doesn’t feel tight enough to give you a headache from the pressure, but stable enough to stay in place no matter how far and fast you run. 

In addition to being thin and light enough to be worn beneath a helmet while cycling, it features many small reflective dots that enhance the wearer’s visibility in low-light environments.


  • Great for people with longer hair 
  • Reflective design for safety 
  • Secure and stays in place 
  • Warming 


  • Only one size is available (115cm)

TrailHeads Ponytail Headband - Adrenaline Series | Women’s Running Headband with Reflective Accents - Black/Reflective
  • PONYTAIL COMPATIBLE - The subtle, 4 ¼” slot opening is wide and stretchy so it accommodates most ponytails; this women’s headband style also works well for days when you choose not to wear a ponytail.
  • LUXURIOUSLY SOFT BRUSHED FABRIC - the unmatched softness of the brushed fabric makes this wide earband a favorite of TrailHeads’ popular ponytail headband collection.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT COMFORT - The moisture-wicking fabric is lightweight, but warm. Our headband can be used as under helmet ear protection for skiing or biking.
  • REFLECTIVE HEADWEAR - Reflective coverstitching and a reflective logo help you be seen during your late afternoon runs. For enhanced visibility, we also offer a version of this women’s ear warmer with a reflective print across the front.
  • TRAIL TESTED GUARANTEE - If you’re not happy with your purchase, let us know and we'll provide a replacement or refund - no fine print, no time limit. Nothing but our commitment to do what it takes to satisfy our customers.

3. Merino Sport Fleece Gloves

Smartwool Merino Sport Fleece Wind Training Glove Black, L

Thinner gloves are perfect for cool runs in the fall and early winter; however, when the weather turns truly nasty, you may want to switch to something heavier that offers greater protection from the wind and rain. 

These merino gloves, which come in a total of five different sizes, are just as lightweight and wooly-soft as the liners made by Smartwool, but they retain more heat, ensuring that your fingers will stay toasty warm even if the temperature drops below freezing. 

The back of the hand and the fingers each have a windproof panel, providing an additional layer of protection from the elements. Compared to other gloves, these blow the competition out of the water when it comes to heat retention. 

Perhaps the only downside to these gloves is that though they say they’re touchscreen compatible, like a lot of gloves they struggle with this.

If you want to use your phone while out running then you may need to sacrifice your hand warmth and take off your gloves. 


  • Windproof 
  • Warm and cozy 
  • Many sizes to pick from 


  • Not very touchscreen compatible 

Smartwool Merino Sport Fleece Wind Training Glove Black, L
  • Material: 47% polyester, 38% merino wool, 15% elastane
  • Insulation Weight: midweight
  • Style: glove
  • Palm Grip: nylon overlay
  • Touchscreen Compatible: yes

4. Lululemon Down For It All Vest

Lululemon Down For It All Vest (Dark Adobe, 2)

The Down For It All is constructed out of materials resistant to water and wind, and it’ll work to insulate you as you run through cold weather. 

One thing a lot of runners struggle with is where to put their personal belongings when exercising. What are you supposed to do with your keys and phone? This vest has the solution.

Store any small personal items in the lululemon vests’ deep side pockets. When running, these pockets keep everything tight to your body so you don’t feel anything bouncing around. 

Even if you’re only wearing a light long-sleeve under the vest, you’ll still feel warm and toasty in this outfit. This is because the interior of the vest is filled with goose down. 

This vest is available in seven different hues, including night driver, dark adobe, and lavender dusk, among others.


  • Keeps core warm thanks to the goose down material
  • Deep side pockets keep everything secure 


  • Very expensive 

Lululemon Down For It All Vest (Dark Adobe, 2)
  • Cold weather is running weather when you've got the right gear. Primaloft insulation warms places most exposed to rain and snow, while down feathers lock in heat at your core.
  • Thermoregulation : 700 fill power goose down provides for highest warmth in lightest weight.
  • Glyde fabric is water repellent to protect you from light rain and windproof. Added stretch in the side panels let you move without restriction.
  • Toss your gloves and beanie in the side pockets and you're ready to run.
  • Glyde: 90% Nylon, 10% Elastane. Reflective details.

5. Brooks Momentum Thermal Tights

Women's Brooks Momentum Thermal Tight

These tights have a 28-inch inseam and are woven with a fabric blend. Regardless of the material used, these tights will keep you from getting cold since they will wick away moisture and trap heat. 

Unlike a lot of women’s clothing that doesn’t include pockets, these tights feature large side pockets to store any belongings. This design feature is also on the men’s tights, which is very useful 

The comfort of the tights is outstanding, and they never rub or chafe on your legs and thighs as you run. The only issue is that there’s no reflective detailing so you may feel a bit nervous about nighttime running in these. 


  • Moisture wicking fabric 
  • Side pockets on both men’s and women’s tights 
  • Traps heat 


  • No reflective detailing 

Women's Brooks Momentum Thermal Tight
  • Stay warm during all your workouts with Brooks Momentum Thermal Tights.
  • Bodycon fit.
  • Two patch pockets at sides.
  • 79% recycled polyester, 21% spandex.
  • Machine wash, tumble dry.

Buyers Guide 

Before buying winter running gear, you must think about a few things first. 

Like how do you dress to stay warm at any temperature?

First, you need to decide on the type of run that you want to do. The number of layers you need to wear will vary depending on whether you are going for a short, speedier workout or a longer, slower run.

If you’re moving more slowly, you won’t generate as much heat, and if the temperature is low, you need to be aware of potential dangers like hypothermia. 

Always remember to bring extra layers with you if you plan on going for a run that is a little bit longer.

You also need to know both the real temperature outside, but also what it “feels like”. You need to think about the humidity, wind levels, and whether it will rain/snow while you’re out before you decide how to dress. 

50+ Degrees 

You can get away with either a pair of lightweight tights or shorts. You should be fine with just a running t-shirt with short sleeves, but if your arms get chilly easily, you might want to wear a base layer with long sleeves instead. 

If the forecast calls for rain or wind, make sure to bring along an outer layer that can withstand both.

The same advice applies for a quick run, with the exception that you can leave the extra layer at home unless it’s pouring rain.

41-49 Degrees 

Move from wearing shorts to tights.

If the weather is dry, adding a gilet over top of a base layer will help provide additional warmth; but, if it’s raining, you may want to wear a lightweight waterproof running jacket instead. Maybe wear breathable gloves as well 

You might want to cover bare legs with some lightweight tights. A technical base layer with long sleeves will give sufficient protection for your upper body, but you should still bring along an additional waterproof layer just in case.

32-40 Degrees 

Winter running tights, a technical base layer with long sleeves, and a windproof jacket will protect you from the elements. Gloves and a circular scarf are absolute necessities, and a hat is also good for some added protection. 

A pair of lightweight tights will still provide enough warmth, and a technical base layer and gilet will keep you from being either too chilly or too hot during a quick run. 

30 Or Below 

Your thermals (tights and a jacket) are still good to wear, but it may be time to add another long-sleeved top on top of a base layer.

Running in these conditions increases the likelihood that you will encounter slick surfaces, so you should use shoes that have a good grip, such as trail running shoes.

Thermal leggings, a technical base layer with long sleeves, and a heavy winter jacket are the essential pieces of clothing for a quick run.

You should wear gloves, and a circular scarf may easily be reshaped in the middle of your run to cover any sections of your head or neck that get chilly.

If the conditions turn snowy, and you are wondering how to continue running, we got tips for safely running in the snow.

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