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What Do I Wear For Winter Running?

A Reader Asks: Winter Running Wear?

FitSugar reader aprilmelissa12 needs some advice on cold weather gear and posed this question in our RunningSugar community group. Share your advice in the comments section below.

I'm new to running and I'm trying to figure out what gear I need for cold weather running. I live in San Francisco, which has a somewhat temperate winter. No snow, but we still need to turn the heat on (especially at night, yeesh). Do I need base layers and outer shells, etc. (I'm a novice when it comes to runner's gear as well)? Are some fabrics better than others? Are there brands you prefer?

Thank you, thank you everyone. I appreciate your thoughts.

Please share your tips and advice in the comments section below. Have a burning running or health-related question? Then join our RunningSugar community group or FitSugar Q and A group and ask the community for help.

Source: Flickr user mysza831

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cimisas cimisas 6 years
Love all LuluLemon clothing--BEST I've ever found for all workouts but particularly Define Jacket, slipless headband, Swiftly Tech longsleeve shirt and Wunder Under pant...
Dmonsegur Dmonsegur 6 years
Im new to running in winter too and have been experimenting with running fabrics since it got cold and agree with the wicking in the cold weather , if I don't have a wicking layers when I cool down I too get chilled , layers are a must for me , fleece just seems to trap the perspiration and then I get really chilled when I cool down , I tried a fleece vest and didn't like it . I also like gloves that cut off at the nuckel / with a mitten flap sometimes my hands sweat when I get real heated up and I can cool my hands off by just flipping back the mitten part of the glove , hat is a must on a real cold morning , I always make sure I have a pocket in my jacket to store that hat when I get really warmed up , that it , hope this helps . I also try to wear something real bright to stand out , don't want to get run over on these cold gray winter mornings .
ojodeazul ojodeazul 6 years
I am ALWAYS cold, so I probably wear more than most, I wear crops and a light long sleeve under 50, under 40 I wear a pullover and crops with a tank top under it. Under 35 I wear long pants, a heavier pullover, gloves and a hat. In fact, a hat is pretty standard for me under 40 as my ears are always cold and earwarmers don't work for me as much as I would like them too. If it is windy I have to wear a light jacket or the wind cuts me so badly, I freeze!
lowbatterysound lowbatterysound 6 years
@co18co awesome advice! i've just discovered UA base layers and tights. they're fantastic! also, like SheRunsSheShops said, i second the notion of headbands.. keeping the ears warm but letting heat escape the top of the head.
RunningOnCoffee RunningOnCoffee 6 years
Here's a fun "What to Wear" tool from Runner's World:,7152,s6-240-325-330-0-0-0-0-0,00.html It takes some figuring out of what works for you in certain temperatures and how warm/cold you like to be when you run. Also take into consideration the length and intensity of your run. I tend to wear warmer clothing for short or lower intensity runs -- and less clothing on longer or faster runs as I will warm up more over the course of a long run or speedwork. Personally, I wear shorts down to about 50 or upper 40s. Below that, I wear crops, and closer to freezing is when I wear full length tights. If it's around freezing and windy, I'll wear my warmer brushed tights. I like to wear my Lululemon Brisk earwarmer when it's mid 40s or cooler + windy. I have SmartWool glove liners (thinnish, but wool) that I wear when it's 40 or cooler. In the 40s I wear a long sleeve tech shirt, if it's windy I put a water/wind-proof TNF Momentum vest over it. (I have New Balance and Lululemon long sleeve tops that I like). Closer to freezing I'll wear a moisture-wicking short sleeve tee or tank with a lightweight (but warm) fleece on top. (I have some cheapo but good tanks/tees from Target's C9 line; I love my Marmot Power Stretch Half Zip fleece - you can unzip at the neck if you warm up) I have a reflective waterproof jacket with venting under the arms, stowable hood that I wear in mist/rain when it's in the 40s or cooler (Lululemon Run: Inspire Jacket). I also have a blinking light that clips on for visibility if my clothing is not reflective (and sometimes I still wear it when my clothing IS reflective so I know I'm seen, now that the sun sets at 4:40pm). Check,, for good brands like marmot, smartwool, patagonia, brooks, new balance, and lots more on sale. Lululemon has a (small) markdown section online, you're better off finding markdowns in store. Target's C9 line is always affordable!
jw55567 jw55567 6 years
April - here's an awesome, short, and simple article about cold weather running. It took me a long time to get the right mix of winter wear and I always found that I was getting way too hot in the middle of my runs. After reading this article, I started wearing less when the weather was 50 degrees or warmer and now I actually enjoy running in colder weather. Check it out:
kerry520 kerry520 6 years
I'm from the NE, I would agree with co18co. Layers! tech layers that wick, ear coverage, and light wool socks. I'd also add a windbreaker. This way you can see what works for you in terms of warmth (whether its patagonia capilene layers or fleece, or some other recommendation) and the windbreaker really keeps the cold out, but allows all those wicking layers to do their job.
co18co co18co 6 years
I live in the mid-Atlantic region, and it gets relatively cold, and we get some snow most years. I think the two most important things for you will be to layer, and to keep your ears/head warm. Here's what I'd wear for a run in the 30s-40s... Wicking is really important on the base layer because once you start sweating, and then stop running, or stop to walk, you can get chilled really quickly, so I'd splurge on an Under Armour (or any brand, really, but I love the UA stuff) fitted tank to pull the sweat from your body. I'd add a long sleeve tech-tee; likely one from a race, so just get a cheapie that is comfy from Target or the clearance rack at your running store. I wear SmartWool or WrightSocks socks, and gloves that are easily washable (because they become a tissue). If it's below 50, and if there is any wind, I HAVE to have my ears covered or my run is ruined. Clearly it's not like this for everyone, but I wear fleece headbands over a hat most of the time because I can always wrap them around my wrist if my head starts to get hot. I usually top it off with a running vest (which all of mine are running brands purchased from places like TJ Maxx or Nordstrom Rack), and a fleece neck warmer if it's really cold. Don't forget a headlamp if it's going to be dark and you're not in a well-lit area...nerdy? Totally. Worth the safety? Totally. I tend to buy a lot of the accessory things (gloves, headbands, etc.) at race expos. They usually have cheesy sayings on them, but are cheap, and I don't feel guilty when I throw them away in races! Happy Running!
SheRunsSheShops SheRunsSheShops 6 years
In Texas it doesn't get very cold but when the temps drop I run in capri tights, a tank, and a pull over made of wicking material (I own lots of Nike 3/4 zip pullovers). If I need something warmer I swap the pullover for a tight-fitting 3/4 zip fleece. You can find tons on sale at Target and Old Navy right now. I also sometimes run with a fleece headband that covers my ears but lets the heat escape from the top of my head. Have fun! -L
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