The Best Winter Running Gear This Season

There’s something special about running on a sparkling, frosty day, or being the first to make footprints in a layer of freshly fallen snow.

But training in the winter is only enjoyable if you have the right gear, designed to protect you from the elements without hampering your performance and keep you warm while allowing your skin to breathe.

To help you prepare for the cooler temperatures I’ve put together this guide to the best winter running gear this season, from weatherproof jackets and running shoes to cozy socks and gloves.

I’ve listed the pros and cons of each along with all their main features, so you can equip yourself with everything you need to train in comfort throughout the colder months.

Let’s get started!

The Best Winter Running Gear This Season

Tips for Choosing Winter Running Clothes

When picking the right cold weather running gear to see you through the winter, there are a few things to remember:

Layer up

It’s easy to overdress when heading out on a chilly morning, but then you’ll find yourself sweating 15 minutes into your run!

Instead, be sure to dress in easily removable layers, with – depending on the temperature – a base and mid layer, covered by a weather-resistant outer shell.

woman running in snow

Pick the Right Materials

Steer clear of cotton – it absorbs moisture, traps it against your skin, and makes you feel damp, cold, and miserable.

Moisture-wicking merino wool is the best choice for base and mid-layers, protected by a running jacket made from water and wind-resistant fabric.

Add Accessories

Even when your body is warm, cold hands and feet can take the enjoyment out of winter runs!

Look for gloves, hats, and other accessories designed specifically for athletes, as these tend to be less bulky to prevent overheating and are lightweight enough to stow in a pocket or fanny pack when you warm up.

woman running in snow

The Best Winter Running Gear

#1. Best Winter Running Gear for Rainy Days – Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket

Fabric: Nylon, Sizes: S to 3XL, Pockets: 1, Plus Hidden Clip for Key

Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
Waterproof and windproofNo hand pockets
Very lightweightPricey
Packs into chest pocket

For the ultimate protection from heavy downpours, look no further than the Helium jacket from Outdoor Research.

With a 2.5-layer construction combining a lightweight nylon face fabric with windproof, waterproof, and breathable membranes, it will keep you snug and dry without overheating.

The seams are fully taped and you can adjust the hood, cuffs, and hem for a close fit.

It’s also tear-resistant, so it’s as useful for trail running as it is on the road.

See more of the best jackets for running in heavy rain here

#2. Best Winter Running Gear for Wind Protection – Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell

Fabric: 15D Light Weight Nylon Rip Stop Woven with DWR Finish , Sizes: S to XL, Pockets: 1, Plus Carabiner Clip Loop

Black Diamond Distance Wind Shell
Water repellent finish that won’t need refreshingNo hand pockets
BreathableHigh price tag

This is one of the most lightweight jackets out there and it packs to an incredibly small size, so it’s easy to tie around your waist and will take up very little space in your gear.

Despite the fact that the nylon ripstop fabric is so sheer that you can see through it, it does a fantastic job of standing up to chilly winds so you can run in comfort.

It features ‘Breathable Water Protection Technology’, an environmentally friendly PFC-free water-repellent finish fused to the individual fibers for protection against light rain.

Both the hood and cuffs are elasticated with a drawcord to cinch them in tight, while the fit is roomy enough to fit easily over any base layer and your running pack.

#3. Best Base Layer – MERIWOOL Long Sleeve Thermal Shirt

Fabric: 100% Merino Wool, Sizes: S to 3XL-Tall

MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer - Long Sleeve Thermal Shirt
Merino wool adapts to your body’s temperatureNone
Soft, fine fibers
Machine washable and dryer safe

Available in a range of colors, this shirt is made from all-natural, superfine 18.5-micron Merino wool that feels extremely soft against your skin and never itchy.

Easy to launder, it has a lightweight feel and is naturally odor-resistant, keeping you feeling fresh and clean from start to finish.

It’s also breathable and wicks away moisture effectively, so you’ll feel cozy on cold days without overheating.

#4. Best Mid Layer – Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie 2.0

Fabric: 91% Cotton, 9% Spandex, Sizes: S to XXL

Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie 2.0
Lightweight and very warmHood is not adjustable
Storage pocket on sleeve
Comfortable fit

This running-specific hoodie from Brooks is made from soft, notched thermal fabric that keeps out the chill and wicks away sweat from your skin as you warm up.

It has an antimicrobial finish to ward off odors and a snug fit that feels cozy without restricting your movements.

I really love the amount of thought that has gone into the design, resulting in some very cool features.

These include the built-in watch window on the sleeve that lets you check your stats on the go, the long sleeves with thumb holes to keep you extra warm, and the simple snap on the hood to stop it from flapping around when you don’t want to use it.

#5. Best Cold Weather Running Tights – Gorewear R3 Thermo Tights

Fabric: 91% Polyester, 9% Elastane, Sizes: S to XXL

Gorewear R3 Thermo Tights
Warmest tights in Gorewear’s running collectionRun small – consider sizing up
Lined with fleece
Non-chafing flatlock seams

Featuring a snug, runner-specific cut, these tights make training on very cold days a lot more comfortable, with a brushed fleece lining that feels warm and soft against your skin.

They are made with breathable, moisture-wicking GORE Selected Fabrics and have an elasticated waistband with an integrated drawcord, so you can cinch them in for a perfect fit.

They also have two handy pockets – a zippered one on the back for keys or other small items and an accessible one on the thigh for your energy gels.

The zippers on the lower legs make it easy to get the tights on and off, while the reflective details help with your visibility when running in low-light conditions.

See more of our favorite men’s running tights

#6. Best Running Gloves – TrailHeads Touchscreen Gloves with Reflective Waterproof Mitten Shell

Sizes: S/M, M/L

TrailHeads Touchscreen Gloves with Reflective Waterproof Mitten Shell
Innovative 2-in-1 designSeams could be more durable
Reflective accents for visibility

These are hands-down my favorite gloves for running in the winter as they are lightweight, breathable, and have so many useful features!

The extra-long cuffs really keep out the chill and extend right into the sleeve of your jacket for unbeatable warmth, while the full length of the thumb and forefinger are made from touchscreen-compatible fabric that allows you to use your phone.

There’s also a fleece covering on the thumb to wipe your brow and magnets in the wrists to keep the gloves together after use.

Best of all, you can easily convert them to waterproof mittens if you prefer, then tuck the mitten top into the pocket on your wrist to change them back.

Related page: Best Running Gloves for Every Season

#7. Best Winter Running Shoes – Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 Runshield

Category: Neutral, Heel Drop: 8 mm, Weight: 8.1 oz

Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 Runshield
Weather-resistant upperTraction could be better in wet conditions
Well-padded tongue and thick lacesNot breathable enough for warmer weather
Spacious toebox

Designed to keep your feet warm and dry even when running in snow and rain,  Saucony’s Endorphin Speed Runshield features a thicker, water-resistant upper that effectively blocks the wind, along with a roomy fit to accommodate thicker socks.

The sole is flared at the rear and forefoot for stability and the shoe feels lightweight and bouncy, with SPEEDROLL rocker geometry to help propel you forward.

The cushioning is soft enough to keep you comfortable over longer distances but still firm enough to be responsive.

As an added bonus, I find the PWRRUNPB foam isn’t affected as much as some other types by very cold temperatures, so the energy return remains consistent.

#8. Best Winter Running Socks – Smartwool Run Cold Weather Crew Socks

Fabric: 56% Merino Wool, 13% Nylon ,28% Recycled Nylon, 3% Elastane, Sizes: S to XL

Smartwool Run Cold Weather Targeted Cushion Crew Socks
Made with natural Merino woolNone
Highly breathable
Targeted cushioning

These tick all the boxes as the perfect socks for winter runs, specifically designed for athletes and combining durability with comfort.

They feature body-mapped mesh zones that allow your feet to breathe, along with the brand’s proprietary Indestructawool technology that uses premium yarns and knits them in a way that strengthens vulnerable areas.

They are also comfortably cushioned just where runners need extra protection, namely at the heels and balls of the feet.

The toe is virtually seamless to prevent chafing and irritation, and the crew height is perfect for chilly days, protecting your ankles and keeping you snug.

#9. Best Winter Running Gear for Low Light Conditions – BioLite HeadLamp

Lumens: 750, Battery: 1 Rechargeable Lithium Ion battery (included) – up to 150 hours, Weight: 1.75 oz, Water Protection: IPX4

BioLite HeadLamp
Lightweight and comfortableFit may be too loose for petite runners
Long-lasting rechargeable batteryPins holding the battery to the band are delicate
Front panel tilts down with one hand

A good headlamp is an invaluable part of your winter running gear, making you visible to passing cars and illuminating your path so you can avoid potential hazards.

Supplied with a 3ft cord for pass-thru charging on the go, the Biolite is a great example and offers plenty of power in a very compact package.

The beam has a flood distance of 15 meters and a spot distance of a whopping 150 meters -1.5 times the length of a football field! – and there are eight different lighting modes, including some that automatically dim under streetlights to conserve the battery.

There’s also a red light at the back that can strobe or glow solid, increasing your visibility to any vehicles around you.

See more of the best headlamps for runners here

#10. Best Multifunctional Winter Running Gear- BUFF Lightweight Merino Wool Neck Gaiter

Fabric: 100% Merino Wool, Sizes: One Size

BUFF Adult Lightweight Merino Wool Neck Gaiter
Can be worn in 12 different waysHand wash only
Lots of colors to choose from
Naturally wicks away moisture

Many runners refer to any neck gaiter as a ‘buff’, but this one’s the real deal!

Lightweight, comfortable, and naturally odor-resistant, you can wear it around your neck or over your face as a barrier to protect you from cold air.

But there are loads of other options, too, from turning it into a cozy beanie to converting it into a headband.

Although the Merino Wool feels soft, breathable, and warm against your skin, it’s also very durable, so this is a multifunctional product that will give you plenty of use, season after season!

The Best Winter Running Clothes: Key Takeaways

Choosing the right cold weather running gear will help you maintain your training schedule right through the winter and stay both comfortable and safe.

I hope you’ve found this guide helpful in choosing the best clothes and accessories to head out with confidence on cooler days.

Photo of author
Christine Albury is a dedicated runner and fitness nerd and certified personal trainer: when she's not working out she is studying the latest fitness science publications, and testing out the latest running gear!

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