10 Winter Running Essentials to Wear When It’s Cold

Running in the middle of winter isn’t exactly my idea of a fun workout. But if you have certain fitness goals in mind, such as getting in more cardio or training for a race, you may have no other choice but to suck it up and hit the road. The good news is that running in freezing temps (or snow for that matter) doesn’t have to be a total pain. In fact, with proper preparation and the right accessories, you can grow to love winter workouts. Stay warm and speedy on your next cold-weather run with these expert-approved essentials.

Sugio Women’s MidZero Zap Tights ($100; amazon.com)

These high-density, fleece-lined tights are a must-have for frigid mornings. Katie Bottini, NASM personal trainer, triathlete, and running coach, says she can’t go on a winter run without them. The tights are also water resistant, light reflective, and have a pocket compartment big enough to fit your phone.

Under Armour Leg Warmers ($20; amazon.com)

Thankfully, ‘80s workout wear isn’t making a complete comeback, but leg warmers are ideal for keeping your muscles warm during long training runs. Bottini recommends wearing bright colors to stay insulated and keep drivers alert when daylight is sparse.

Trailheads Beanie ($26; amazon.com)

Keep your head warm in the dead of winter with this well-insulated hat that also keeps your ponytail in place. It's made of moisture-wicking material to keep your head as sweat-free as possible.

Nathan Strobe Light ($10; eastbay.com)

Bottini highly recommends keeping a strobe light on hand during darker winter months. If you’re an early morning or evening runner, having one of these attached to your clothing is a sure-fire way to stay safe by alerting drivers of your presence on the road. Look for versions that allow high-visibility blinking or steady light modes and are water resistant for rainy days.

Yaxtrax Run ($40; yaktrax.com)

Winter inevitably comes with snow, ice, and sleet, but don’t let that stop you from hitting a new PR. Get those training runs in by adding the right traction cleats to your running sneakers. Bottini says these sturdy attachments are known to make it easier to run on snow or ice.

Arc’Teryx Gaea Jacket ($189; amazon.com)

Lace up your sneakers and throw on an insulated jacket that keeps you warm and dry even in the most treacherous weather. Look for thermally-regulated options made from a breathable material so that you don’t overheat. This sleek pick is also water-resistant and intended to enhance performance in cold temps.

The North Face Women’s Aconcagua Vest ($79; zappos.com)

Keeping your core warm during outdoor workouts will help regulate your body temperature. Wear a down-insulated, full-zip vest like this one as a shell over your running layers to prevent body heat from escaping.

Saucony Ultimate-Mitt ($38; saucony.com)

Obvious but key: gloves. Keep your hands shielded from the cold, wind, and rain with these weatherproof gloves. Lightweight yet warm, these are touchscreen compatible, making them smartphone-friendly, and come with a mitt attachment to wear as an extra layer.

Drymax Cold Weather Run Crew Socks ($15; amazon.com)

If you want to maintain a comfortable stride while logging miles on a cold afternoon, these cushioned and blister-free socks will be your savior. They also have dual moisture removal, which means your feet will remain dry even with snow on the ground.

Under Armour HeatGear Armour ($32; Underarmour.com)

Choose long-sleeve shirts that are tight to the body to seal in heat and made of a breathable material that wicks sweat to prevent chafing. Top it with your vest or jacket before running out the door.

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