8 Cold-Weather Running Essentials To Keep You Warm

Fancy yourself an all-season runner? Good for you! Getting your miles in throughout the year is a great way to achieve your fitness goals and push yourself to the limit.

There’s even some evidence to suggest that year-round running is more beneficial than keeping things seasonal.

Yep, when you put the sneakers to the pavement in winter, you may actually burn more calories and fat — about 34 percent more calories, to be exact! As the body works extra hard to keep you warm, it burns more calories and makes more “brown” fat, which may actually use regular body fat as fuel, helping you burn more.

But if you want to take your fitness journey from warmer months to cooler seasons, you need to arm yourself with the right gear. Naturally, you’ll be facing a variety of unique weather challenges, including rain, snow, and wind.

You’ll also be putting yourself in the face of some more dangerous conditions, such as icy terrain, that you might not see in the summer or fall.

In this guide, we’ll get you set up with everything you need to hit the trails in the wet months in a way that’s safe and enjoyable so you can crush your personal best no matter what the temperature is outside.

An Ultralight Down Jacket

If you’re not afraid to hit the path or trail when temperatures are freezing, you need to make sure you’re layered properly so you can stay warm without the bulk or heaviness of a typical winter coat. There’s a solution for frigid days: the ultralight jacket. These are the perfect top layers for keeping you wrapped in warmth without slowing you down.

Pack one of these jackets in a small running pack so you can pull it out or store it easily. Choose an option that has stretch panels in the sleeves and sides to ensure that your mobility isn’t limited. If temperatures aren’t frigid, opt for a lighter-weight fleece as heavy down can cause you to overheat.

A Packable Raincoat

Having a waterproof top layer can mean the difference between a run where you go the (literal) distance and one where you call it quits early.

It can also mean the difference between getting yourself out there on a wet, chilly day and choosing to stay home because you don’t have the right gear in your arsenal. Since late winter and spring can mean sunshine one minute and a downpour the next, it’s a good idea to get a lightweight, packable raincoat that you can stuff in your back or waist pack if it starts to rain.

Waterproof, High-Traction Running Shoes

If you like to run on different terrains and in different seasons throughout the year, you should have multiple pairs of running shoes to adjust to the situation. As well as a good pair of insoles for running to absorb shock and a more comfortable feel. Make sure your cold-weather running shoes have sufficient traction to handle the slick, wet, or icy ground.

Don’t worry too much about insulation—a pair of Merino wool socks will keep your feet comfortable.

A man running in winter

A Breathable Headband 

We all know that frigid temps and high winds can leave us with numb, ice-cold ears. That’s why it’s crucial to have a headband that can handle whatever you throw its way.

But here’s the thing: You need one that’s both breathable and water-resist Choose something made of breathable, moisture-wicking material for the best bet.

A Breathable Buff

Neck buffs, otherwise known as neck gaiters, are great for providing you with lightweight, stay-put protection of the neck and chest. When you’re in a pinch, a good buff can also serve as a headband or face mask to help provide extra warmth.

Again, it’s key to choose a more high-tech fabric here to help ensure that your gear adjusts well to whatever weather’s in the forecast.

Merino Wool Base Layers

If you’re looking for go-with-anything gear, you’re going to want to get familiar with Merino wool from Ibex. This amazing material has the unique ability to thermoregulate, keeping you warm when it’s chilly out and cool when it’s hot out.

In other words, it’s your new best friend for the unpredictable cooler We recommend wearing Merino wool base layers during seasonal transitions because they can keep you toasty beneath your layers and also serve as comfortable, moisture-wicking top layers when it’s warmer out.

Merino Wool Socks

In addition to your base layers, we recommend stocking up on a couple of pairs of Merino wool socks. Again, this material will help you stay at the optimal temp so you can focus on what’s ahead — crushing your fitness goals, of course — and push yourself to go the extra mile.

Merino wool socks are an especially beneficial game-changer because they help regulate odors and wick away moisture, keeping your feet cool and dry no matter what. Grab a pair that offers a little extra cushion so you can be on your feet for longer.

Merino Wool Hoodie

It’s the same deal here. Soft, comfy, and endlessly high-tech, a Merino wool hoodie will keep you on your A-game regardless of whether it’s pouring, snowing, or hot out. In addition to the many benefits we already mentioned, Merino wool is ideal for highly active wearers because it won’t chafe or cause any irritation on the skin. It moves with your body and helps you adapt to whatever terrain or exercise you’ve got on the agenda.

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