Running in the Elements: Top Winter & Spring Running Gear Picks!

Sunset Trail Running

Running in the winter is no joke and you need to be fully prepared! What does this mean exactly? Well, as mentioned in the previous article of this series, the proper gear is absolutely necessary for winter running. This will allow you to not only enjoy your run, but avoid getting cold, and even an injury. The winter cold should not stop you from running, but that being said, you should be smart about it. Believe me, I’ve been there. My ears frozen as I trudged through the ice, trying not to slip because I wasn’t wearing a hat, nor wearing the proper shoes to keep me safe. This article will give you all you need to know about the proper winter running gear. If you need some product tips or if you just want to be more informed, read on! 

Quickly – Our Top Recomendations

1. Head: a beanie is obvious, but I also like using a buff as a headband.

2. Neck: a buff all the way. And a great face covering! 

3. Torso: light jacket or double-up on long sleeve shirt.

4. Arms: try using armwarmers as an alternative to multiple layers. 

5. Legs: tights, or running joggers, but I also like 3/4 tights

6. Feet: I like a thick sock; cushion and warmth! 

7. Hands: gloves are key, but my hands get cold quick! It’s all about personal preference. 

What is the Best Winter Running Gear at Every Temperature? 

First and foremost, it is important to consider the exact temperature outside before you decide on your running gear. You don’t want to be too bundled up if it’s not too cold and you sweat a lot. If you are anything like me, I get hot very quickly, and in 50-degree weather, I’ll probably dress as if it’s 55-60 degrees outside to keep it light. You could follow the 10-degree warmer rule to decide on the type of gear you need: that is, dress as if it’s 10 degrees warmer to anticipate your body temperature increasing as you progress through your run. 

What is the Best Winter Running Gear? 

In my opinion, as someone who grew up in the Northeast, considering the gear for your head, beanie temperature is anything below 50 degrees. That’s just me but if you’re following the 10-degree rule, a temperature of 40 degrees means you should be dressing for 50-degree weather. This is still pretty cold and if there is the wind, it makes it even more important to cover your head, or at least your ears when running. A beanie I love if I am not wearing a headband is the Nike Pro Hypercool Vapor Skull Cap 4.0. This product is made with sweat-wicking stretch fabric and mesh panels to help keep you dry and cool. It doesn’t feel too heavy on your head either — it’s light and breathable which feels smooth against your skin as well.

If you get hot, no problem!

If you’re wearing it at the proper temperature, you shouldn’t have this problem.

Dri-Fit is meant to absorb your sweat and keep you cool. If you do get hot, however, either take it off and put it in your running pack or even hold it!

I guarantee that it’s so lightweight, you won’t even feel it on your head. If you want something warmer for more extreme temperatures, try the Buff Unisex Lightweight Merino Wool Hat. It’s made of 100% Merino Wool and is still lightweight to keep you light and cool on your winter runs!

Now, let’s talk about your neck!

This is for seriously cold temperatures. I am talking about 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below.

Buffs are great for covering your neck and if you really need it, for covering your face if the wind chill is that bad. The BUFF Original Unisex Multifunctional Headwear is the perfect winter running piece for neck coverage.

It is made out of 97% polyester meaning that it is made of a sweat-wicking, quick-drying material to absorb your sweat and keep you sweat-free during your run in order to keep you warm. The best part is that it is very lightweight and breathable so you won’t even notice it’s around your neck. For those of you living in more extreme climates, consider the Original Turtle Fur Fleece – The Turtle’s Neck, Heavyweight Neck Warmer.

It is definitely a heavier material, but it shields you from the cold wind and bundles you up in warmth to make you comfortable during your run. If you do other winter activities such as skiing or snowboarding, it is perfect for that as well! Not to mention that it’s also perfect as a mask. Keep it around your neck and when you want, you can just pull it up. We all love convenience! 

Now, we’re on to actual winter clothing! There are certain temperatures in which you need a jacket to survive a winter run and other temperatures in which you just need a long-sleeve shirt. If you wear a lightweight jacket and you’re still cold, consider layering up underneath. Perhaps, a fleece or Dri-Fit quarter zip to keep you warm! Another trick to keep you warm during winter runs is wearing arm warmers. Arm warmers are also made of sweat-wicking compression material to dry your sweat fast and keep you warm underneath. 

For your legs, tights are the best option! Tights are typically made of sweat-wicking material, which as mentioned earlier, is essential for staying dry and warm on your winter run. If you don’t like tights, consider running joggers which are basically, lightweight sweatpants or even ¾ length tights if you don’t like those. 

Feet, feet, feet. It is so important to keep your feet warm in the winter. No one wants frozen toes when running because that can prevent you from the proper movement needed to run and avoid injury. Thick socks are great, especially ones that are made of Polyester which is another one of those sweat-wicking materials that don’t let your feet sweaty. Don’t compromise comfortabilty and warmth because you can have both! 

Don’t Know Where to Run? 

Maybe you’re new to an area and don’t know where to run or maybe you just want to spice up your life with new routes. Or maybe it’s so cold and icy outside that you need a safer route than your typical ones. Whatever the reason may be, try out the Trail Run Project App. Just type in your city and it provides you with different trails in your surrounding area to choose from. It’s easy to use and of course, very convenient! 


Listen, I get it. Getting up and going for a winter run can be hard. You know you’ll feel great afterward but the cold weather just makes you want to curl up in a blanket of warmth. The good news is that I just gave you a variety of winter running gear tips and tricks to keep you warm and comfortable during your winter run. Don’t sweat it — the warmth of Spring is not far and when it does get here, you’ll be in tip-top shape to kill your runs and workouts. Don’t compromise your training just because it’s cold outside and don’t compromise your comfortability either. You can have it all!

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