The Best Cold Gear for Runners

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What to Look For

When you know you'll be running in cold weather, start your search for cold running gear with several particular items and materials in mind. You will need gear for your feet, legs, core, hands and head. With this in mind, search for ski sock liners in addition to your normal socks to keep your feet warm. Running tights and poly-blend long underwear will keep your core warm, and running gloves and hats are necessities for cold weather. Search for particular materials to keep yourself warm and dry, such as poly-pro, a blend which will help wick sweat away from your body; Coolmax, which does the same; and fleece for an outer layer.

Common Pitfalls

Just because an article of clothing keeps you warm does not mean that it is ideal for running. You want to pick gear that will keep you warm and dry. If an item does not wick sweat away from your body, it may turn cold and soggy or, worse, freeze. Searching for the right poly-blends of materials, such as those mentioned above, will help you prevent a cold, clammy run.

Don't underestimate the importance of keeping your head warm. A good running hat, made out of a lightweight material that will pull sweat away and dry quickly, will go a long way towards keeping you warm. Running headbands, while they do warm your ears, leave a large part of your head uncovered and open to the elements.

Where to Buy

Nearly all running and athletic retailers will carry some form of cold weather gear for runners. Stores located in colder climates tend to have an excellent selection of gear for braving the outdoors in winter.

You can also find cold-weather running gear online, though the advantages of saving a little money and convenient shopping may be outweighed by the disadvantages of not being able to try the clothes on before buying them.


The amount of money you spend on cold-weather gear will directly relate to how much you decide to purchase. High-quality cold-weather gloves run between $15 and $20, while a good pair of running tights can cost between $40 and $100, depending on the materials, fit and manufacturer. Jackets will cost anywhere from $30 to over $200, depending on the same factors, and can often be found on sale in the summer months.