by ROAD iD Staff December 15, 2021

Source: Dusan Petkovic/Shutterstock

There’s nothing quite as great as a winter run. But that doesn’t mean it’s as carefree as any other run. Just like running in extremely hot weather, you need to prepare for a cold run. But rather than stripping down, it’s important that you layer up. 

But what’s the essential gear for the winter runner? From the winterized running shoes to running bracelets, here’s how to dress for your first winter run. 

Wear a waterproof jacket

Firstly, you want to make sure that you’re protected against the wind and precipitation. Waterproof jackets make that easiest, as they’ll provide you with complete protection against the elements. Rather than simply being water-resistant, you can remain totally protected against snow and cold sleet. 

Remember to layer up

Layers are your friend when it comes to prepping for cold-weather runs. You’ll want to be sure you have enough to keep yourself warm from start to finish. A common practice for many runners is to wear a long-sleeve shirt covered by a t-shirt and a pair of thermal underwear covered by a pair of wind pants. 

woman on snowy trail

Source: Studio Romantic/Shutterstock

Wind pants are your friend

Why wind pants? We’ve all felt a stiff wind on a cold day and know just how unpleasant it feels. Rather than letting the breeze cut through you, protect your legs to stay warm and comfortable. Wind pants make that easy, as they’ll stop the wind from getting to your legs.

Wear the right shoes 

You need to wear the right shoes when running in the winter. The most important thing you need to do is to wear shoes that have protection against water. Shoes will have varying degrees of protection, from mild-waterproofing material to having complete GORE-TEX waterproof protection. Likewise, some shoes will feature higher ankle cuffs to protect you against snow, puddles and more.  

Get comfortable, warm socks

While you want shoes that will protect you against water, you want to also ensure your feet remain warm. Merino wool socks are perfect for that, as they’ll keep your feet as warm as they can be. Moreover, merino wool is also naturally moisture-wicking. That’s a total plus, as it will also keep your feet dry, guaranteeing you don’t get a nasty buildup of sweat in your shoes. 

Wool goes a long way

As mentioned above, merino wool is perfect for your feet, as it protects the skin by providing warmth while also transporting sweat off the skin. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to wear merino wool all over. That includes merino wool underwear, socks and shirts. 

As can be seen, anything that’s being worn against your bare skin should be made of wool. It’s a simple way to provide comfort and warmth when you need it most. 

Cover your extremities 

A good run isn’t worth risking hypothermia over. Instead, you should always leave the house with a beanie and gloves on. Chances are you’ve been on a run that’s been uncomfortable, mainly because you either got a headache, cold ears or numb fingers. Instead, protect yourself before that pain and discomfort gets a chance to settle in. 

running in park during winter

Source: Skumer/Shutterstock


Want more traction? Sometimes referred to as running cleats, they’re worn over your shoes, placing a series of hard spikes underneath your outsole. That added traction goes a long way on icy roads and slicked over trails. 

Medical alert bracelets are the simplest way to stay safe while running in the winter. They’ll allow you to carry your personal and medical information with you wherever you go. If you were to ever get injured, you can rest easy knowing you can remain safe by having vital information nearby. 

Don’t overdress

Lastly, you need to ensure you don’t overdress for your run. Runners tend to make the mistake of dressing for the temperature outside. While that makes sense for a short walk to the nearby cafe, it’s not suitable for a five-mile run. After a mile, your body will have warmed up. Suddenly, what was comfortable when you stepped out the door is way too much. 

For that reason, it’s important that you dress as if it’s 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer outside. That’s enough to provide you room to properly warm up without getting too hot under your clothes.

Before you get out for your winter run, make sure you take the time to prepare. Preparation is necessary, as it can help you remain safe. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing you can do, as your safety always comes first.