The co-founder of Nike and world renowned track coach Bill Bowerman once said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.” With autumn leaves slowly starting to turn brown and the temperatures declining that can only mean one thing… winter is coming. A lot of people become deterred to running outside during the winter months, but I ask “why?” With the ever changing science of running, sportswear companies have developed gear that is lightweight, warm, reflective, and weather resistant. The list below contains recommendations on headwear, face protection, jackets, base-layers, gloves, tights, underwear, shoes, and socks.
My love of running started over seven years ago in the small town of Winona, MN. There in Winona I trained in the shadows of such great athletes like professional runners Garrett and Elliot Heath, University of Kansas captain Don Wasinger, and many other runners who I will never forget. I learned that if I wanted to be like my idols I would never have to stop running, even with the challenges of the Minnesota winter. The list I have compiled comes from my opinion, and everything on it is either something I am currently using, have used in the past, or have done serious research on. Before purchasing footwear, make a trip to your local running store and talk to a running guru, such as myself, to see if the shoes I have recommend are for you.
Hats and Headbands
The body’s heat escapes quickest through the head and feet. The biggest problem I come across on my runs are cold ears, and they are not easy to fix when you are out in the middle of nowhere. Look for a hat or headband that properly covers your ears.
1. Salomon Race Beanie
The French company known for its snow sports and hiking gear has produced the perfect beanie for the long cold runs. I have always disliked running with a skullcap because regardless of the temperature my head overheats, but not with the Salomon Race Beanie. This hat is a cross between a headband and skullcap. With its soft, brushed fabric and breathable mesh upper this hat is a must at only $20!
2. Nike Run Cold Weather Headband
Races aren’t only for the warm weather months, so challenge yourself by running a winter race. I recommended racing in the Nike Run Cold Weather Headband. Headbands keep the ears warm, and when racing the slightest distraction, like cold ears, can ruin your stride. It is reversible with a warm brushed Dri-Fit interior, and a stylish print on its exterior. This headband is available at a wide variety of retailers for around $18.
For winter running a face mask is a must have accessory. Without a face mask, a runner is putting his or herself in danger of wind burns, hypothermia, and dry skin.
1. Original Buff
For a lightweight face mask, I recommend the Original Buff. Made solely of microfiber the balaclava is soft to the touch, breathable, and a fast drier. There are over a dozen ways to wear the Original, and tens of hundreds designs making this product truly one-of-a-kind. The Original Buff can be acquired for $20 on their website.
2. Buff Balaclava Pro
From the company that brought you the Original comes the Buff Balaclava Pro. Made from Gore-Tex® Windstopper fabric that will provide protection day or night from harsh winter conditions. With a fleece interior and flatlock seams, your head is in for a comfortable run. With laser cut incisions around the mouth, nose, and ears the balaclava helps you breath, hear, and keep your vision clear. The Balaclava Pro can be found on Buff’s website for $50.
3. AirTrim Heat/Moisture Exchange Masks
AirTrim masks are designed to help people breathe easier in cold and/or dry conditions There are many different filter types: Sport, Asthma and Racing 1, 2 and 3. The Asthma filter gives the most warming (lowest airflow) and is for people with asthma or angina who suffer from breathing cold air. This is a hard product to find, but there are some websites that carry the AirTrim for around $65.
Jackets are essential during the winter month. A heavy sweatshirt may have sufficed for autumn, but when the temperatures drop and the sun shines for a few hours less each day a well designed jacket is crucial for one’s health, safety, and performance.
1. Nike Shield Jacket
Designed for low light conditions, this jacket gives its runner increased visibility and weather protection. The jacket is made of Nike’s Dri-Fit fabric and is coated with a durable, water repellant finish. This jacket was given to me as a gift in 2011, and three years later it is by far my favorite piece of running gear I own. When temperatures are below zero, I can accompany this jacket with a t-shirt and still be warm. This jacket is comfortably worn from 30 degrees Fahrenheit to below zero temperatures. This jacket will provide you with years of wear, it is well worth the cost. Order one today for the price of $350.
2. Under Armor Storm ColdGear® Infrared Reflective Run Jacket
Crafted with one’s safety in mind. The UA Storm Jacket is fully reflective to maximize visibility, even at night, so if you are at work from dawn until dusk your run does not have to be saved for tomorrow. Lined with UA’s ColdGear® technology the jacket will absorb and retain your own body heat. Mesh panels on the back provide ventilation. Available on Under Armors website for $400.
Jackets should not be worn without base layers, and on the days when the temperature peaks above 30 degrees a base layer will serve as an excellent outer layer.
1. Adidas Climaheat Hoodie
The German sportswear company designed its newest innovation after an animal’s fur to trap more heat and dry faster. The climaheat series from Adidas puts hollow-core fibers into their shirts, hats, mittens, and shoes. The climaheat hoodie is an ideal running base layer for its lightweight material, reflective details, and clever add ons. This is the only hood with an adjustable face mask currently on the market. Find one on adidas’s website for $75.
2. The North Face Momentum Thermal 1/2 Zip
For those looking for a strong winter top, look no further. The North Face Momentum brings warmth and breathability into one lightweight piece of clothing. With a brushed interior to provide the runner with comfort, mesh panels to let the right amount of heat out, and thumb holes in the sleeves for more coverage this shirt will keep its wearer nice and toasty. Reflective details are present on both the front and back for added visibility. They are available at Running Warehouse for $80.
Do not even go out the door without a pair of mittens or gloves. Mittens are better for colder temperatures because the fingers will be at their closest, and gloves are better for non freezing weather. Runners without adequate hand wear will feel the freezing temperatures a lot faster than almost anywhere else on their body.
1. Saucony Run Mitt
The Saucony Run Mitt is one of the warmest mittens on the market. With an interior lined with fleece, and an outer layer made to resist the elements your hands will be toasty. This mitt also has fleece around the thumb for a soft nose wipe. Order yours today at Saucony’s website for $30.
2. Pearl Izumi Thermal Conductive Gloves
These gloves standup to their name. Pearl Izumi is a company know for having warm gear. With the Pearl Izumi Thermal Conductive glove one will enjoy its lightweight design without having to worry about sacrificing warmth thanks to its thermal P.R.O. fabric. The gloves also are made with conductive synthetic leather that will allow the user to use their touch screen devices. Available in black or neon for $30.
Now that winter is here, it is time for the short-shorts to be put away. Running tights are breathable, lightweight compression gear that are sweat-wicking and defend one from the elements. When temperatures plummet and wind gusts are high, put on a pair of windboxers to prevent hypothermia down there.
1. Nike Element Shield Running Tights
Nike has a strong collection of winter running gear, and their tights are the first thing you should buy in their Element Shield series. The front and back lower legs have the company’s special Shield fabric for enhanced wind resistance and water repellent. The lower leg area features zippers for ventilation, but also an easy on/off for slipping over shoes. With an elastic waistband that features an internal drawcord, and an articulated knee are for a greater range of motion the tights will not hinder its user’s range of motion. Order today for $90 on Nike’s website.
2. Craft Men’s PR Brilliant Thermal Tights
Extraordinary performance and extreme visibility are phrases that describe the Craft PR Brilliant Thermal Tights. When designing this product, Craft designed these tights to the realest fit possible with its fleeced thermal interior. Just like Nike, Craft incorporated zippers into their product for easy removal and temperature control. The neon and reflective elements will have the wearer standing out in style and with its reflective elements. Add these to your winter running wardrobe here.
3. ASICS Men’s ASX Windboxer
Running tights do not provide enough support, so when wearing tights make sure to have a pair of compression underwear on. The Windboxer gives the runner the basics: comfort, support, and breathability. The design may be simple, but when it comes to protecting that area the basics are sometimes all that is needed. Save 15% by ordering here.
Socks and Shoes
I am sorry barefoot runners, but it is time to put back on your shoes. Regardless of ability and skill, everyone should own a winter running shoe. When looking for a winter running shoe, it is best to look into the trail shoe field. Trail shoes offer stickier outsoles made of rubber that can better grip the snow and ice. They also incorporate less mesh into their design to help keep warmth in. Shoes won’t provide full protection however, pair them with a wool running sock and your feet will thank you.
1. Smartwool Men’s PhD Run Light Mini Socks
Smartwool socks are knitted with a combination of wool and elastic to provide the best fit. With increased ankle support, upper and lower instep bands, and arch bands these socks provide longer lasting protection to keep feet comfortable. Plain and simple, but their colors aren’t check out their Light Mini Socks and others at their website.
2. Adidas Energy Boost 2.0 ATR
My town of Lawrence received its first snowfall of the year last week, and I am glad I own these shoes. The shoes outsole is a grippy all-terrain web made of Continental™ Rubber which grips the snow and ice effortlessly. The shoe uses adidas’s boost™’s energy-returning cushion, and techfit™ upper for a warm sock-like fit. Adidas says “there is no off-season for runners” when describing these shoes, and they are right. Buy the energy boost 2.0 atr for $160 on their website.
3. Nike Zoom Terra Kiger
Since 1972 Nike has offered some of the greatest sporting products the world has ever seen. The Nike Zoom Terra Kiger is one of them. With a 4mm midsole offset, the Terra Kiger promotes a natural strike position just like one might have while running barefoot. The shoe’s outsoles are modeled after aggressive cross-country lugs to provide maximum traction. Durable protection meets a low-profile, responsive ride at Nike’s website for $125.
After reading through this list, I hope you have reconsidered the idea of winter running. Like Bill Bowerman said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.” With the recommendations I have provided, my only hopes are that you will have listened to my advice and are ordering a few more pieces of running apparel for the upcoming winter. If you have any questions, product suggestions, or just want to chat about running please email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.