No matter what fitness goal you’re chasing this winter, if you're training outdoors, the right cold weather running gear will keep you comfortable and happy—and that’s more than half the battle. Everyone has their own internal thermostat, and there’s always one kook wearing shorts when it’s 10 below, but we’ve compiled this list according to temperature. (A good rule of thumb: When heading out for a winter run, dress as you would for a walk—if it were 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature.) From gloves to tights to jackets, here are a few key pieces of winter running gear to add to your wardrobe.
When there’s a bit of a chill in the air…
…reach for a long-sleeved base-layer top. The key to comfort in any kind of weather is to stay as dry as possible—and the best way to do that is a lightweight, moisture-wicking layer next to your skin. This Big Stripe Baselayer from Oiselle ($68), combines cheerful stripes with high performance. (Guys, try New Balance's Challenge Base Layer Long Sleeve top, $44.99.)
When the temperature drops below 50…
…it’s time for mittens. Your fingers will keep each other warm in a mitten—but you’ll have a hard time hitting the lap button on your watch during a workout. Lululemon's Run Fast Gloves ($38) solve that problem with a windproof hood that folds back when you need to unzip your jacket. (For a unisex option, try Saucony's Ulti-Mitt, $26.98)
On sub-40-degree days…
If it’s literally freezing out…
…you’re going to want a breathable, windproof, water-resistant jacket. On snowy days, zip this Asics Accelerate Jacket ($140 women; $145 men) all the way up, and unfold the hood from the collar to keep your neck warm.
And once you’ve covered the basics, these accessories are useful luxuries:
*Sun’s out, guns out! Sometimes you want more than a shirt, but less than a jacket—and this NB Radiant Heat Bonded puffer vest from New Balance ($149.99) features heat-reflecting fabric lining the collar. (There's also a men's version.)
*Winter is here, and that means you’re bound to log some miles in the dark. Stay more visible with these rechargeable clip-on headlights ($59.99) for your sneakers.
*If you really, really hate the dreadmill—you’re not alone. Hardcore athletes can avoid cabin fever on icy days by strapping on Yaktrax Summit Boa ($81) over their sneakers.
*Valentine’s Day is coming up—be prepared to show your biggest fan some love. A layer of Aquaphor Lip Repair ($5.59) as you head out the door will keep chapped lips at bay.
Daphne Matalene is an NYC-based writer, editor, fitness coach, and two-time Boston marathon qualifier who’d much rather run in eight degrees than 80. Follow her on Instagram: @dmatalene