What to Wear for Cold Weather Running

Natalie Cecconi
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What should you wear running in the cold?

Before starting out, let’s make it clear that you will need to adjust your gear according to the specific weather conditions and the length of your run. For example, if it is snowing or if the temperatures are excessively low, you will need to modify this advice.

So let’s start by saying that the only thing that you absolutely need to wear is a pair of running shoes.

If you are used to running in the cold and you want to extend your running season by a few months, there are so many clothes out there to choose from.

However, if you are not used to running in the cold, you might want to start with a very simple outfit.

Once you learn how to adapt to the cold and you can tolerate temperatures that are comfortably low, you can gradually add more layers or wear clothes made with a more water-resistant material.

So let’s see what you should wear.

The Importance of Layering

Winter running is challenging enough as it is, but once you throw in frigid weather and biting wind, it’s enough to make even the most devoted runners want to give up on it for good.

But since running is one of those things that you’ve worked so hard to maintain a regular habit for, you’re not going to give it up so easily.

Luckily, there are ways to make winter running not just bearable, but actually enjoyable. And the best way to do it is by layering your clothing.

The idea behind layering is, surprisingly, very straightforward. The trick is to put on enough layers so that you aren’t feeling the cold, while still being able to easily remove individual layers or add a new one for more warmth when you need it.

The most important layer is the base layer because it’s closest to your skin, directly touching it. The right base layer can be the difference between you shivering uncontrollably and staying reasonably comfortable during your run.

Fortunately, winter base layers are abundant and inexpensive, and even triathletes swear by using them during very cold weather races.

Layers for Your Long, Cold Run

Running can be one of the most efficient and effective ways to keep fit and lose weight. It’s a great cardio workout and helps you burn off a lot of calories in a relatively short period of time. It’s also incredibly good for your general physical condition as running tones the body and strengthen muscles. There is no doubt that running is a great workout!

But there is one problem: running in winter can be extremely tough and painful. The freezing cold weather can kill your running enjoyment and often deters many from running regularly.

But if you have already managed to fall in love with running, there is a way to keep it going even when the temperatures drop below freezing. All you need in order to run during the winter is a little bit of clothing made with the right materials and a desire to keep running.

In this article, I’ll discuss the warm-weather and cold-weather running clothing essentials based on my personal experience and research.

Why Your Running Socks are Just as Important as your Shoes

Running shoes are the most expensive pieces of gear you will need for your running adventures but your running socks are just as important. Running socks will be on your feet for the majority of your run, from the pre-run stretches at the beginning to the end post-run stretches and cool-down walk.

In some cases, your socks may be on longer than your running shoes.

If you are running in cold weather and your shoes are not warm enough, chances are they are not going to be warmer when your feet are stuffed into tight running socks.

So it is important to have running socks that keep your feet dry and warm during cold and wet weather runs.

Another important thing to consider when buying running socks is support and cushioning.

If you run on trails and uneven surfaces often, you will need socks that have both padding and support.

If you are a lightweight runner who doesn’t move around a lot, you may be fine with a thinner sock.

Ultimately it’s about what feels comfortable to you, so try on a few different pairs and see what feels good. Just remember that socks are something that really can make or break your next run. They are the foundation layer to your running shoe collection.

Wear Reflective Clothing While Running

In Low Light Conditions.

If you run in low visibility conditions, it is essential that you are visible to drivers of cars. You need to create more visual contrast between you and your background to prevent accidents.

Wearing the correct reflective running clothes and accessories will help drivers see you and allow both you and other road users to see you.

When choosing reflectives for running, you need to keep the following points in mind:

Reflective tape, while not the most attractive option, works well in low light conditions when other colors are not visible.

Reflective hat or headband can be worn all year round, rain or shine.

Reflective cross wear can be worn under or over your running clothes, depending on your preference.

Reflective belt is a good option to add some reflectivity to your ankles in addition to the front and back of your body.

Reflective running pants are available and can be worn during night, morning or winter running.

Remember, high visibility can keep you safe and light up your running experience.