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Best Cold Weather Running Gear for 2017 – Comparisons & Reviews

When the temperatures on the thermometer begin to dive, it can be hard to find the motivation to head outside for your runs. But with the best cold weather running gear in your corner, you won’t feel like skipping any of your winter workouts.

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Quick Look: Our Top Picks

Why Do I Need Cold Weather Running Gear?

Many of us who live in colder climates find our running really suffers in the winter. We get lazy and the thought of braving those single-digit temperatures has us shuddering from our seat on the couch.

Unless you live in a warm coastal region, you’ll need some warmer clothes for your winter runs. While you might be able to do some shorter runs in your favorite sweatpants if you want, you’ll need some actual running gear for your medium-length or longer runs.

While sweatpants are comfy if you’re lounging around, they aren’t ideal for running. The seams are often thick and bulky, which can lead to chafing over time. And the fabric can feel itchy and uncomfortable on your legs once you begin to sweat.

Comfort is just one of the reasons for wearing specially-designed cold weather running gear though. You’ll also need it for safety reasons.

How Can Cold Weather Gear Keep Me Safer?

The biggest ace up your sleeve when it comes to protecting yourself during winter runs is visibility.

In the winter, motorists aren’t on the lookout for runners on the side of the road. They don’t often expect us to be there, especially when the temperature is near freezing. But, since we’re too legit to quit just because common sense tells us to go inside, we are out there, mile after mile, no matter what the weather does.

To keep those motorists from hitting us, we need to wear something that calls attention to the fact that we are there. Reflectivity and bright colors are our best allies. Those are two qualities that many regular sweatpants and sweatshirts don’t have -- but running gear does.

By picking out bright outfits and jackets or running tights that have great visibility, we may be able to save ourselves from having our runs turn into an accident scene.

Another way in which running gear can keep us safer on the roadways is by protecting us from the elements. As runners, we have to be careful not to get frostbite when we are elevating our heart rates during winter runs.

Winter running gear is designed just for that purpose -- to keep us warm enough on our runs while not causing us to overheat as we work up a sweat.

What Kind of Cold Weather Running Gear Do I Need?

You need to keep your skin completely protected when running in the cold, especially if you plan to stay outside for longer runs. Instead of wearing bulky pieces, you should dress in layers so you’ll be able to remove some as you heat up during your run.

You need to pay special attention to making sure most, if not all, of your items are sweat-wicking material. If your clothes become too wet when you still have a few miles to go, you could be setting the stage for hypothermia.

Here are some of the items you should consider getting:

  • Gloves: You need something to protect your hands from the wind and the cold. You should look for a tech-friendly pair that will allow you to swipe the screen of your phone without having to remove your gloves.

  • Jacket: You don’t need to wear a thick winter coat when you run -- you’ll get too hot if you do. Instead, you should look for a jacket that’s designed to be lightweight enough to be comfortable while running. But, it should also provide the warmth you need during your run.

  • Running headband: A good wide headband can protect both your forehead and your ears. Ears are especially critical to keep covered during winter runs because sometimes you can’t tell when they’re getting too cold. That can be a dangerous situation.

  • Tights or pants: A good pair of running tights can keep your legs warm enough as you log your miles. You’ll want to make sure they aren’t capri length unless it’s a warmer winter day and you’re only planning to run a short distance. For really cold days, you’ll want running pants instead of tights.

  • Shirt: The shirt you choose will act as your base layer and it’s essential to your comfort. Look for a sweat-wicking shirt that will keep you feeling dry during your run. As far as material goes, use what you think is comfortable, but wool is a popular choice because of its warmth and how well it sucks away the moisture.

  • Face masks: You may look like you’re sprinting to your getaway car parked right around the corner, but even though you may look like a criminal, face masks can come in handy on cold days. Look for something that protects your cheeks and the tip of your nose if you can. If you can’t bring yourself to wear a face mask, get a neck gaiter instead.

  • Hats: One of the main things to look for in a running hat is one that will stay in place -- you don’t want it flopping around. You’ll spend a lot of your energy tugging it down every few steps.

Our Top 5 Picks For The Best Cold Weather Running Gear Products

Tesla Men’s Thermal Wintergear Top

If you aren’t very lean or muscular, this shirt will make you look like you have some spare pounds -- any extra weight will show up.

Trim Fit Life Running Gloves

These gloves can be used by both men and women and they come in a wide range of sizes. They’re also great for activities other than running, such as hiking, bicycling, and skiing.

Pros

  • The gloves don’t feel stiff and bulky, so you’ll still be able to press tiny buttons on your watch to track your performance.

  • The fabric will wick away any sweat, so your hands will stay warm and dry while you run.

  • The wrist fits snugly, so your glove won’t slip and slide down your hand -- it will stay in place.

  • You’ll be able to scroll on your phone while wearing these, which is good for runners who want to carry their technology with them.

  • These gloves use silicone grippers that will help you hold onto your water bottle without it slipping out of your hand.

  • They have a velcro closure to help keep the glove on.

Cons

  • They aren’t well suited for extremely cold weather, such as when the thermometer hits single digits.

  • These aren’t very water resistant, in case you’re running while it’s snowing.

  • They only come in one color and they don’t have reflectivity.

3. Tesla Men’s Performance Full-Zip Hoodie Jacket

Tesla Men’s Performance Full-Zip Hoodie Jacket

This hoodie jacket has a full zipper so you don’t have to pull it over your head. It’s heavy enough to serve as an outer layer on warmer winter days and a mid-layer when the temperature is below freezing.

Pros

  • It has great stretch, so you will be able to move around well without having your motions limited.

  • This jacket has a thumb hole so your sleeves will never slide up on you while you’re running.

  • It has a zippered pocket that has an opening for your earphones on the inside of the jacket, so if you want to listen to music as you run, you’re good to go.

  • Even if you’re a larger runner, this jacket may work since it comes in sizes up to 3X.

  • You’ll have your choice of many colors.

  • The price is affordable.

  • When you’re running in winter, you can still get too hot, but this jacket has enough breathability to prevent that.

  • It has decent moisture-wicking capabilities.

  • The flatlock seams will help prevent chafing.

Cons

  • This jacket runs a bit smaller than usual -- you may want to order a size up.

  • The zipper is on the left side instead of on the right side like most jackets.

Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Beanie

It only comes in one size so if you have a big head, it may not fit you very well.

Sugoi Women’s MidZero Tights

Made out of polyester and spandex, these pants will give you a comfortable fit with its stretch drawstring and elastic waist. Since you control how much to cinch it, it will never feel too baggy or too tight.

Pros

  • These are stylish and flattering for runners.

  • They have flatlock seams and legs grips for added comfort.

  • These tights have an interior key pocket.

  • The lining on these tights will feel warm and soft while you’re running.

  • When the wind is fierce on your run, these tights will protect your legs from feeling overly cold.

  • Even after lots of trips through the washing machine, these tights will be as good as new.

  • They won’t fall down when you’re running.

  • If you’re a fan of modesty, you’ll like that these tights aren’t see through.

  • They’ll feel lightweight, which is great for runners who don’t like bulky or heavy pants weighing them down while they’re running.

Cons

  • You’ll have to measure yourself to find the proper size.

  • They aren’t water resistant, so if it starts raining or snowing on your run, your legs will get wet.

  • These may be too warm for winter days that are in the 40-degree range -- you’ll want to save these for colder days.

And the Winner Is …

If you want to stay comfortable enough in the winter to avoid dodging out on your daily run, the best cold weather running gear is the Sugoi MidZero tights.

These will make you forget all about the chill in the air, but they won’t feel heavy while you’re wearing them. They’ll stay put without you having to play tug of war with your waistband.

While they could use additional colors other than just standard black, they are extremely comfortable with their flatlock seams and they’re stylish enough that you’ll enjoy wearing them.

Shannon Serpette
 

Shannon Serpette is an award-winning writer and avid runner. She ran her first 5k two years ago, and hasn’t stopped running since. She has completed a half marathon and recently earned her first Top 3 performance medal for her age category in a race.

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