Best Winter Running Gear

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Baleaf Thermal Fleece Tights
Test Winner: Baleaf Thermal Fleece Tights
Amazon Link
While many of us begin to settle into our flannels, Netflix routine and start sipping on hot cocoa-like it’s our job during the colder winter months, there are those special outdoor enthusiasts who keep their work out routine going strong and enjoy the beauties of nature during the winter. Just because the weather outside has become colder and the clouds begin to drop down beautiful white snowflakes, does not mean that you should pack your gear away and quit running for the year. In fact, as long as you invest in the correct type of gear, you will barely even notice that you are running in colder and wetter climates. So before you pack up your gear to avoid dropping temperatures, remember, you can definitely keep up your running routine with the proper equipment.

Standout Picks

Baleaf Women's Thermal Fleece Athletic Running Cycling Tights
These Baleaf Thermal Fleece Tights are fantastic winter running pants. They work well for layering for extra warmth, or you can wear them by themselves if you are feeling up to it. The best part of them is that they will keep you warm and well ventilated.
Amazon Link
$32.99
SmartWool Men's NTS Mid 250 Zip T Top
The outer layer is merely one portion of covering your torso, as you need a base layer to go underneath of it. It is hard to think of a better one than the NTS Mid 250 Zip T from Smartwool. In fact, this provides so much warmth that in cooler weather, you could wear it by itself.
Icebug Women's DTS2 GORE-TEX BUGrip Studded Traction Running Shoe
Arguably, the most important gear for runners is their shoes. On long runs, your feet will be the first body part to inform you that they are in pain. Naturally, in the winter, when it rains ice can then form. Thus, you need to have a special set of sneakers that add more traction against ice. Enter in the DTS2 Running Shoe from Icebug.
Amazon Link
$209.00
Patagonia Torrentshell Rainproof Pants
It is a common misconception that you only need water when you're exercising and sweating. Hydrating your body is important in any temperature to keep up your stamina and overall health. This handheld bottle from Nathan is a great addition to your winter running gear. It features an adjustable hand strap with a stretchy pocket, and provide a grip-free carry.
180s Urban Ear Warmer
Your ears can be very sensitive when they are exposed to cold weather. As such, a top-quality pair of ear warmers should be in order for your winter running gear.
Amazon Link
$21.99
The North Face Men's Apex Bionic 2 Jacket
Running in winter wouldn't be complete without great upper body protection, and a fantastic place to start is with the North Face Apex Bionic Soft Shell Jacket. It is stretchy and sweat-wicking, so sweat won't cool down and begin to make you feel cold.
SmartWool Men's Hiking Medium Crew
Sure, your feet are probably going to sweat on your run but that does not mean they will not get cold. On bitterly cold runs, casual socks may not be sufficient enough. This is where the Smartwool Extra-Heavy Crew Socks come into play.
Everything Black 9
Skull cap beanies are more than just a fashion statement for skaters and hipsters. In fact, this particular version from Everything Black actually works terrific on winter runs. Even though it is thin, it will provide your head with a great balance of warmth and breathability.
Amazon Link
Kahtoola MICROspikes
If you have already found a great pair of shoes that are warm, comfortable, and durable, but the traction is less than desirable, this is the answer. These micro-spikes can be slid over your shoes. Twelve stainless steel spikes are attached to an elastane harness to keep you safe on slushy, snowy, or icy grounds.
Smartwool Unisex Merino 150 Neck Gaiter
Last, but not least, you may deem it necessary to add further protection for your neck in frigid conditions. If you do not believe a base layer and jacket will be enough, you can add a neck gaiter for additional warmth. Once again, its Smartwool that presents you with the best one out there.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Insulation

When the weather begins to shift outside and you begin to develop goosebumps when you step outdoors, you know that winter is here. For running enthusiasts, this is not going to be enough to deny you the satisfaction and pleasure in going for your daily run. But, normal running gear is not going to suffice as midway through, you will be freezing your tail off and unable to continue. So, you must switch out all your normal gear with gear intended for winter use. This accounts for everything from your shoes all the way up to the top of your skull.

However, what makes gear suitable for winter running? First off, the obvious answer, the warmth. Even though you will be sweating while you run, the cold air will require you to have warm gear. Past warmth, gear that has a natural resistance to both water and the wind are also ideally suited for winter. Howling winds can transform a cold day into an unbearably freezing climate. Blocking as much of the wind as possible is essential, but water-resistance is just as. When the snow melts, it turns into water and if your gear does not have a resistance to it, it will begin to absorb the water and become damp.

Comfort

Size and warmth are not the only aspects you must analyze when it comes to comfort, as there are plenty of others. As a whole, comfort ends up being the most important aspect to look for in running gear (let alone winter running gear). In addition to what has already been said and addressed, add these two to the list: breathability and the fabric.

The single most important factor to address for a fabric to be breathable is its ability to wick away moisture. It does not matter how cold the air is outdoors, after running for a while you will begin to work up a sweat. If the fabric wicks away this moisture, it will not build up inside and decrease the breathability. But, the fabric itself is also important. Fabrics such as wool and cotton have a coziness and comfort factor that can’t be ignored.

Overall Fit

Running can be difficult enough as it is, as it requires a great deal of stamina and fitness. As such, there is no reason to make the activity harder by running in gear that does not properly fit you. Improper clothing can add a great deal of discomfort and make the run less enjoyable than you wanted. Of course, you already know this as you have been wearing garments your entire life. Whether it is a base layer, hat, pair of pants, shoes, or gloves, size is everything and even the slightest tightness or looseness can bother you.

With some gear, manufacturers will design their product to run small or large. Whether they do this purposely or not is irrelevant, as your normal size may not be what you actually want. The best step you can take is to glance over customer feedback to see if there are any issues with size. This also comes into play with gear that is designed to be one-size-fits-all. Unfortunately, this is a little misleading as bigger and smaller people may not find that it fits properly.

Style

No matter if you are sufficient at running or even enjoy doing it, as long as you look good while you do it then you are good to go, right? Okay, so maybe this is not your primary concern when you are running. But, it is not arbitrary to say that you probably are fond of gear that you find visually appealing. Or, if nothing else, a design that you do not think is appalling. As you have seen with the products on this list, typically, sellers will create their product in a variety of colors. Thus, satisfying their consumers as not everyone enjoys the same color design and color schemes.

Top 10 Picks

1. Baleaf Thermal Fleece Tights

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$32.99
Baleaf Women's Thermal Fleece Athletic Running Cycling Tights
Amazon Link

These Baleaf Thermal Fleece Tights are fantastic winter running pants. They work well for layering for extra warmth, or you can wear them by themselves if you are feeling up to it. The best part of them is that they will keep you warm and well ventilated.

Read more

Insulation
These pants are made with soft fleece inside so that they are very warm; however, they are also very breathable and sweat-wicking.

Comfort
To keep you comfortable, the soft lining feels great against your skin. The fabric materials are 90 percent polyester and 10 percent spandex, and this means that they are sweat-wicking and still stretchy at the same time.

Overall Fit
These pants come in XS-XXL, so there are a lot of options for you to choose from.

Style
Only a few color options are available and they include balsam, green grass, and cayenne. As an added bonus, these pants have reflective elements to keep you seen in the dark.

Overall
These pants will keep you warm, comfortable, and still cool enough to run through any winter weather. The bonus factor with these pants is that they can be worn as a layer or alone if that is enough for you. They also have leg zippers that allow for easy on and off.

Amazon Link
$32.99

2. Smartwool 250 Zip T

SmartWool Men's NTS Mid 250 Zip T Top
Amazon Link

The outer layer is merely one portion of covering your torso, as you need a base layer to go underneath of it. It is hard to think of a better one than the NTS Mid 250 Zip T from Smartwool. In fact, this provides so much warmth that in cooler weather, you could wear it by itself.

Read more

Insulation
As a base layer, this fits next-to-your-skin. Because of the material utilized, Merino wool, this will not only provide you with warmth but also wick away moisture from your body. To top it off, this will also regulate its core temperature.

Comfort
Chafing can be one of the main reasons for discomfort when wearing clothes for extended periods of time during physical activity. But, this layer minimizes chafing with its flatlock seam construction.

Overall Fit
Size options are available from small to XX-large. However, note that the shirt is designed to fit close to your skin. If you do not pick the right size, it may fit too snug.

Style
Every single person out there should find a color that suits them with options for olive heather, black, charcoal, dark blue steel heather, orange, light gray, among others. Additionally, to eliminate the need for seams on the top of your shoulders, integrated into the base layer are shoulder panels. Plus, there is a center zipper that measures 10” that can be unzipped at your leisure.

Overall
This will be a perfect base layer to keep your torso comfortable and warm while running in the frigid weather which makes it a good part of the winter running gear. Remember, though, be wary of the sizes as you may want to go up one.

3. Icebug DTS2 Shoe

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$209.00
Icebug Women's DTS2 GORE-TEX BUGrip Studded Traction Running Shoe
Amazon Link

Arguably, the most important gear for runners is their shoes. On long runs, your feet will be the first body part to inform you that they are in pain. Naturally, in the winter, when it rains ice can then form. Thus, you need to have a special set of sneakers that add more traction against ice. Enter in the DTS2 Running Shoe from Icebug.

Read more

Insulation
These shoes will protect you from the rain and snow on the ground. The ripstop nylon upper, in addition, adds a further layer of durability and water-repellence.

Comfort
Besides traction and waterproofness, this shoe is aimed for comfort. With a fully cushioned midsole, soft padding in the collar and a wide-foot shaped design, it delivers comfort for hours.

Overall Fit
Options are available for 8 to 13, with increments of 0.5. Although, some have claimed that they run small so it may be wise to go up half a size.

On slippery surfaces, these will provide additional traction for you. Plus, with its 19 integrated steel studs, it provides you with even further grip and traction.

Style
Although there is only one color option available, the lone color (black and charcoal) will suffice for most people’s needs.

Overall
The chance is there that you may end up needing a different size but once you get through that hassle, you will never look back. In frigid conditions with ice everywhere you turn, these shoes will instantly become your favorite accomplice.

Amazon Link
$209.00

4. Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask

Where to buy
Patagonia Torrentshell Rainproof Pants
Amazon Link

It is a common misconception that you only need water when you're exercising and sweating. Hydrating your body is important in any temperature to keep up your stamina and overall health. This handheld bottle from Nathan is a great addition to your winter running gear. It features an adjustable hand strap with a stretchy pocket, and provide a grip-free carry.

Read more

Insulation
This eighteen-ounce bottle features double-walled insulation. For some runners, in the heat of summer, they don’t feel like it insulates as well as it should. However, it is only eighteen ounces of water and we don’t imagine that amount of water getting hot too quickly. The bottle itself is made from soft BPA free polyethylene plastic.

Comfort
Thanks to the padded and stretchy hand strap, you don’t need to grip the bottle. For comfort and automatic grip, there is a texturized rubber patch for your palm. This helps you keep the bottle in your hand with ease. Many runners prefer this handheld bottle over waistbelts.

Overall Fit
The bottle is available in only one size, but there have been no complaints about the sizing. The adjustable strap allows you to custom fit the bottle’s “jacket” to your hand.

Style
One of the best things about this bottle is the design and color options. The intricate design is reflective, as well as the strap. You can choose from twelve different color/style options.

The “jacket” of the bottle has a decent sized stretchy pocket that is great for storing cash, keys, energy gels, or a cell phone. The cap style is a race cap and provides you with quick bursts of water.

5. Degrees Ear Warmers

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$21.99
180s Urban Ear Warmer
Amazon Link

Your ears can be very sensitive when they are exposed to cold weather. As such, a top-quality pair of ear warmers should be in order for your winter running gear.

Read more

Insulation
With its unique fabric construction, the Degrees by 180s manage to balance thermal insulation and breathability. In times when the wind is howling and the snow is falling, these will provide the ultimate protection for your ears.

Comfort
Besides the warmth it provides in cold climates, it integrates a patented behind-the-head design that will fit comfortably over your head. In addition, the warmers are crafted from soft polyester fleece, making them extremely comfortable.

Overall Fit
Again, these are adjustable so one size will fit most here. Although they are designed for men, there is no reason why women can’t enjoy them.

When you are not using these ear warmers, they can be easily collapsed down for easy storage. As they are adjustable, they also can easily fit with hats, glasses, and helmets alike.

Style
There are only a few color options that you can choose from and this includes black, gray and java.

Overall
These are perfect when you do not want to wear a hat that covers your full head. Be aware, however, for men with bigger heads, these may fit a little snug. They are adjustable but do have a maximum length that they can go.

Amazon Link
$21.99

6. North Face Apex Bionic Soft Shell Jacket

The North Face Men's Apex Bionic 2 Jacket
Amazon Link

Running in winter wouldn't be complete without great upper body protection, and a fantastic place to start is with the North Face Apex Bionic Soft Shell Jacket. It is stretchy and sweat-wicking, so sweat won't cool down and begin to make you feel cold.

Read more

Insulation
This North Face Apex Bionic Soft Shell Jacket is warm and is also water-resistant. It zips up to just under the chin and has long sleeves. It can easily be layered with other items underneath so that it acts a bit more like a winter coat.

Comfort
Because the fabric it is crafted with is incredibly stretchy and breathable, your skin will not overheat and will remain content. As this jacket zips from bottom to top, it is easy to remove and put on.

Overall Fit
This jacket comes in sizes XS to XXXL.

Style
This jacket comes in a wide range of colors, such as black, grey, red, blue, green, and the list continues.

Overall
If you are looking for a jacket that is water-resistant, warm, can be layered, and comes in a lot of colors, this is your jacket.

7. Smartwool Crew Socks

SmartWool Men's Hiking Medium Crew
Amazon Link

Sure, your feet are probably going to sweat on your run but that does not mean they will not get cold. On bitterly cold runs, casual socks may not be sufficient enough. This is where the Smartwool Extra-Heavy Crew Socks come into play.

Read more

Insulation
No matter the condition that awaits you, even temperatures that go below zero degrees, the wool material will keep your feet warm and dry. As wool has a natural ability to wick away moisture, perspiration will not be an issue.

Comfort
Innovative and smart design features are at work here; such as a flat knit toe seam and extra-heavy cushion for the ultimate protection against absorption.

Overall Fit
While it can’t be promised that all size options will be available at all times, there are selections for small, medium, large and extra-large. To provide a secure fit, these socks integrate arch braces and a Fit System Ankle design. However, these socks have been said to be moderately baggy so if this is an issue, you may want to go a size down.

Style
There are a few color options, but they do resemble each other quite a bit. Still, you have options for charcoal heather, navy, and taupe.

Overall
For warmth and comfort, it is hard to do better than what Smartwool has provided for you. Although it is difficult to point out its best design feature, the natural ability of wool to wick away moisture and resist odors may be the most notable.

8. Everything Black Skull Cap

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Everything Black 9
Amazon Link

Skull cap beanies are more than just a fashion statement for skaters and hipsters. In fact, this particular version from Everything Black actually works terrific on winter runs. Even though it is thin, it will provide your head with a great balance of warmth and breathability.

Read more

Insulation
When you are running in winter, you never know when Mother Nature will unleash a bucket of snow. With this beanie and its double-layered knit design, it will not only keep the snow off your skull but also provide enough warmth to get you through the run.

Comfort
The fabric utilized for this beanie is 60 percent cotton and 40 percent acrylic. This is not only comfortable in its own right but also highly-breathable. In addition, with the lack of seams, there is no unbearable itchiness to deal with.

Overall Fit
As with most beanies that you will find, this implements a one-size-fits-most design with enough stretching to fit over most heads. When you are wearing glasses, though, if you have a large noggin this may prove to be a little snug.

Style
Outside of the traditional black color, you can select from royal blue, navy blue, maroon, gray, and brown.

Overall
It may not so on the surface, but this skull cap beanie is a terrific addition to anyone’s collection of winter running gear. In ridiculously cold temperatures, you may want something more substantial. Of course, you could also pair this with 180s Degrees ear-warmers for maximum heat.

Amazon Link

9. Kahtoola MICROspikes

Where to buy
Kahtoola MICROspikes
Amazon Link

If you have already found a great pair of shoes that are warm, comfortable, and durable, but the traction is less than desirable, this is the answer. These micro-spikes can be slid over your shoes. Twelve stainless steel spikes are attached to an elastane harness to keep you safe on slushy, snowy, or icy grounds.

Read more

Insulation
This crampon-style accessory offers no insulation. However, you can be the master of our own destiny by choosing exactly which shoe you would like to attach them to. Depending on the footwear that you slide these spikes over will determine your warmth.

Comfort
Besides the fact that you will feel more secure and stable when walking in slush, snow, or ice, you won’t notice these spikes. The elastomer shoe harness stretches over your shoe or boot and comfortably hugs it. They provide great traction. As long as your footwear is comfortable, you’ll continue to feel comfortable when using these spikes. The spikes weigh about six ounces each.

Overall Fit
These spikes should fit tightly over your snowshoes or boots. There is a great size chart listed to explain how the Small to XL sizing works on almost all affiliate websites. The welded chains are attached to an elastomer harness and feature twelve heat-treated 400 stainless steel spikes for each foot. To add extra durability the eyelets are reinforced.

Style
Confidence is style, right? While they may look a little funny at first glance, they will save you from the embarrassment of slipping on the ice. They can be worn easily over hiking shoes, snowshoes, or boots. For easy transport, there is a tote sack included, as well. To add a little more swagger to your stride, you can feel confident knowing that they come with a two-year warranty.

10. Smartwool Merino Neck Gaiter

Where to buy
Smartwool Unisex Merino 150 Neck Gaiter
Amazon Link

Last, but not least, you may deem it necessary to add further protection for your neck in frigid conditions. If you do not believe a base layer and jacket will be enough, you can add a neck gaiter for additional warmth. Once again, its Smartwool that presents you with the best one out there.

Read more

Insulation
Again, Smartwool uses Merino wool to ensure that this gaiter delivers an exceptional amount of insulation for your neck. The extended length is able to guarantee that every inch of your neck will be covered.

Comfort
With its Merino wool fabric, it is as soft and cozy as you could possibly ask for. In addition, as you already know, this type of wool will mick away moisture preventing perspiration from building up and causing discomfort.

Overall Fit
The neck gaiter measures 17.5” and it is designed to fit most people.

Style
The only three colors that you can select from are light gray, mineral pink and taupe. While it is not a terrific lineup of options, it should suffice.

Overall
Trust us, you may not think this specific garment is necessary but when you want to run in temperatures below-zero, this will be more substantial than you realize.