Best Cold Weather Running Gear for 2024

If you love being outside as the endorphins hit those few minutes into your run, you aren’t going to want to quit just because it’s winter. Think of all the steps you’d be missing out on! That means it’s time to get yourself proper cold-weather running gear.

Running in the cold can be exhilarating. But if you’ve tried running in colder temps and ended up either sweating buckets or freezing your tail off, you probably had the wrong gear. As temperatures drop, and as heat loss accelerates, the body can’t compensate fast enough. 

Dressing with finesse to keep your core warm can mean the difference between a fantastic winter run and pretty much the worst morning of your life with cold fingers, a body dripping in sweat, or burning ears and you swearing you’ll never run again.

Getting prepared for a winter run is difficult, but with the right gear, you might just find you prefer it.

We have summarized all the best gear for your winter runs to simplify your hunt and list tips for winter layering and how to buy the best gear.

If you get nothing else, our top picks for gear include a great baselayer like the Smartwool Intraknit Merino Crew, the Saucony Peregrine 12 ST for running in snow, and the Seirus Innovation Xtreme All Weather Waterproof Gloves to protect your hands.

The right gear for your winter run will allow you to focus on your technique and won’t be uncomfortable, irritating and bulky. Here’s the best gear and advice on all the cold-weather running gear you need this 2024 winter.

Winter Running Gear at a Glance

Best Stink-Free Base layer: Smartwool Women’s Intraknit Merino 200 Crew Men’s and Women’s

Image by SmartWool

Running in winter is made far more enjoyable with a great base layer and the Smartwool Intraknit Merino is our top choice.

This is a great balance between merino and polyester to trap heat and provide breathability when you’re running in the cold. The Intraknit is a standout because it has a nice shape and an appealing pattern for a base layer.

The Intraknit comes in Men’s and Women’s specific versions with gender-specific ventilation based on each specific body type to “maximize thermoregulation.”

Specifically designed for high-intensity, sweat-inducing activities, the Intraknit has the perfect thickness to keep you warm without feeling heavy.

Because of the Merino blend, the material absorbs your sweat and doesn’t make you feel clammy. The fabric also doesn’t cause any itching, and it feels pleasant on the skin. A bonus of their design is the ribbed elbows which “add durability” for outdoor use.

This base layer is a stretchy but slim fit, so it is meant to be tight. If that’s a problem for you, you may want to size up. Alternatively, a top-rated base layer that has a looser fit for colder temperatures runs is the Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer.

Buy Men’s

Buy Women’s

Best Lite Jacket: Patagonia Airshed Pro Pullover Men’s and Women’s

Image by Patagonia

The Patagonia Airshed Pro is a light jacket that you can throw over your baselayer when you go out running. The Airshed Pro is a shirt jacket that adds a little bit of warmth without being bulky.

It may not be enough for a very chilly day, but the outer shell of the jacket has a durable, water-repellent finish, which is key for colder weather because you don’t want to be stuck wet and freezing if the weather turns.

High-intensity mountain athletes will appreciate the lightness of the Airshed Pro and fast-drying technology to avoid feeling bogged down by sweat in the cold. The more you sweat, the higher the chance of getting too cold, so quick-drying fabric becomes even more important when it’s a bit chilly.

The Airshed Pro includes Patagonia’s Capilene® Cool sleeves, providing extra venting, to help with temperature regulation when you need it. But just because they help promote airflow doesn’t mean they won’t also keep you warm. The sleeves are designed without the thick layering used to warm your core.

The jacket is a pullover, making it easy to get on and off. The half zipper provides wearers the ability to cool down when you’re running without taking it off.

This winter running jacket comes with a hood, that is lightweight enough to not get in your way but just offer that extra bit of warm if you overheat wearing a beanie.

They use HeiQ® Fresh durable odor control technology which means it won’t start to smell after extended use. When you’re not using it, the jacket packs into the chest pocket which converts into a stuff sack.

Buy Men’s

Buy Women’s

Image by Brooks

Many people prefer to skip the jacket and warm their core only with a vest, especially if it’s one of the coldest days. The Brooks Shield Hybrid Vest 2.0 is extremely lightweight and features Thermolite® insulation to provide the extra heat of a jacket but without all the extra fabric.

A vest allows you to moderate your temperature more easily. The best vests come with panels for breathability and the Brooks Shield Hybrid does not fall short. You’re going to sweat, and the heat needs to go somewhere.

No running gear is top of the line unless it has some water resistance, the Shield Hybrid Vest 2.0 is no exception. With a windproof layer as well as being water-resistant, this vest is going to keep you warm when you’re running in the winter.

The Brooks Shield Hybrid Vest also has draft-flap snaps along the zipper so you can unzip the jacket without having to open it all the way.

Image by Lululemon

Our top pick for a women’s vest is the Lululemon Down for It All Vest. True to its name, this vest does seem like it’s so versatile you can use it for any terrain, weather, or trail.

A vest is a perfect middle ground to not get in your way while also keeping you warm. Proper gear is essential to having a good time and that’s why we picked this vest as the perfect light mid-layer. 

The Lululemon Down for it All Vest has a slim fit, which includes a fitted waist belt feature. It may feel tight at first but the fitted waist belt means it won’t bounce while you are running, which is a major concern when it comes to running gear.

The tightness also means it’s really easy to throw an additional jacket overtop and the stretch of the material means you have plenty of flexibility to wear your base layer underneath.

The Glyde fabric is also water-repellent and is designed to block wind. The vest includes top-of-the-line Thermoregulation with 700-fill power good down. The core also features Primaloft for unexpected rain or snow, making this vest the “perfect amount of warmth” for running.

If you’ve ever bought women-specific clothing, you know that it can often be lacking in pockets. This vest, however, does not have that problem.

Lululemon never compromises on style and this vest can be worn running errands without looking like tech-specific clothing.

The vest also includes reflector details for added safety and it is washable and includes side pockets for your keys, gloves, beanie, or other essentials.

One thing to remember is the vest may run a little large so consider sizing down.

Image by Janji

The Janji Trail Tights are the best overall men’s running tights as they are lightweight, warm, and so comfortable that you hardly remember you’re wearing them. When it comes to tights, the last thing you want is a pair that is bothering you, distracting you from your technique, or spotting obstacles on the trail.

These compression tights have a looser fit around the hip and can add an extra layer for modesty. Made from a Nylon and Spandex mix, these tights are air-light and have tons of stretch. They are designed to be shorter for running with an inseam of 29 inches so you can see your feet without any problems.

These tights feature a secure stretch band, with an internal stretchy drawstring to make sure your tights aren’t falling while running.

Made with reflective details, you’re easy to spot when running in low light and have tons of pockets – five total – so you can store your phone and hit the trail.

Men’s Running Alternative: The Janji Transit Tech Pants

The Janji Transit Tech Pants are a great alternative to running bottoms if you don’t like the feeling of tights when running in the winter.

While not necessarily a winter-specific pant, we like these because they are easy to layer and are high-quality running pants that you can wear across seasons, making them more cost-effective.

They have a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating to keep you protected against unexpected rain or snow. As with any high-quality running pants, they dry super fast and are great for long distances because they feel amazing next to your skin.

A cool feature about the Transit Tech Pants is the double-weave interior lining keeps them from sticking to your skin if you get sweaty. This is a good pair of pants that you can use to layer in winter and if you’re still cold when the temperature drops, you can add a layer underneath and be plenty warm.

There are three pockets to carry anything you need, including a zippered pocket, but since these are pants and not leggings, your items may bounce around when running.

One of the most important features is they are super easy to take off and slip on, making them great for when you’re in a hurry to get out or scared to be cold.

The elastic waistband is comfortable and also has an internal drawcord like the Trail Tights to keep them firmly in place as you tackle slippery terrain.

Image by Sweaty Betty

UK-based brand Sweaty Betty provides our top pick for winter running, the Gary Yoga Pants. They are designed specifically for women and although these are technically yoga pants they work well for running because of the wide waistband that doesn’t constrict but remains soft and supportive.

They’re a relaxed fit, so they aren’t tight or super loose, making them a great middle-ground for running. If you prefer a looser pant for running and something that you can use across many sports, these pants are the way to go.

Women’s Running Alternative: Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression Leggings

If you’re not into the extra fabric, the Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Compression Leggings are the way to go for women’s tights for running. These epic leggings have a reflective logo and offer a lot of well-thought-out features that you’d find in way more expensive tights but for a great price.

These tights may not have a fleece lining, but they are a step up from summer leggings and offer a nice middle ground. These tights aren’t fleece-lined but have a dual-layer brushed polyester fabric.

Welded seams mean you won’t get chafing with these leggings, no matter how hard you run, and they are designed to wick sweat, great for a chilly run.

With a super minimal encased elastic waistband, they look great and are flattering while also doing their job of helping you stay protected on cold runs.

One downside compared to other more expensive models is the lack of pockets, but that’s a small tradeoff for the great price.

If you’re looking for something a bit warmer but more expensive, check out the fleece-lined Athleta Altitude or the popular Rainier Tight.

Best Gloves for Smartphone Usage: Seirus Innovation Xtreme All Weather Waterproof Glove Men’s and Women’s

Image by Seirus

The Seirus is our pick for winter running because they are great for adjusting your phone without needing to take your gloves off, preventing cold hands. These are light gloves, so for extreme temperatures, you may need a thicker pair.

This pair of gloves keeps your hands warm despite being relatively light. They are waterproof and offer a windproof barrier that is lightweight. There’s a brushed polyester lining to boost heat and they retain warmth well over time.

The thumb, index finger, and entire palm are touchscreen-compatible as well as water-resistant. If you need something that’s fully waterproof, try the Seirus Xtreme All-Weather Gloves.

Check out our list for the best winter gloves.

Buy Men’s

Buy Women’s

Image by SmartWool

Smartwool’s 100 percent merino is incredible for keeping warmth while running but also provides tons of breathability. This beanie wicks moisture, warms your entire head, and keeps working in pretty much any weather.

Fresh snow might be landing on your head, but you’ll be fine in your Smartwool Thermal Beanie. Because it’s fully Merino wool, it resists odors, is incredibly soft, and is easy to wash. Make sure to grab this beanie before going for a winter run.

Best Socks : Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks Men’s and Women’s

Image by Darn Tough

These socks are designed to prevent running blisters caused by friction. These socks are ultra-light and provide warmth without the bulk of thicker socks. Their thinness prevents foot discomfort when running.

The Merino wool blend means they won’t get smelly when your feet sweat and they are also designed to keep you from sweating too much and then having cold feet. They have moderate compression and are designed to prevent numbness and cold in the feet and protect against moisture from snow.

Buy Men’s

Buy Women’s

Image by Saucony

While you might be brave enough to take your regular running shoes out in the snow, we prefer the Saucony Peregrine 12 ST. These shoes have toothy lugs designed specifically to be excellent in the snow. The Pwrrun+ midsole supplies supportive cushioning and a low-profile ground connection.

The Peregrine is a wide platform shoe with stellar traction and this model is made to shed snow and slush. Friendly to “sloppy weather” the outsole has longer lugs for stability when running over snow and ice and wider gaps for treading mud and slush.

The rock plate in the front protects your foot across ice and they are extra abrasion-resistant. An overly on-upper shoe prevents water from getting in and is hard to beat for a winter running shoe.

How To Choose the Right Winter Running Gear for Yourself

Choosing the right gear for cold weather running boils down to first learning how to dress for winter running. Many people make the mistake of layering too much and ending up sweaty at the end of their run.

Always make sure to get breathable fabrics and and continue to experiment with how many layers you need as you start to run in winter. Clothing that has vents and features for cooling yourself down mid-run is beneficial when the weather is less predictable.

Opt for a layered approach with a light base layer that wicks away moisture, an insulating mid-layer, and a windproof, waterproof outer layer or just a combination of one or two of those. Every day will be different, so see what the temperature demands.

Accessories are the key to a comfortable winter run and items you can’t go without include gloves, winter socks, and the correct shoes if you are running in wet or snowy conditions. Grab a beanie or jacket with a hood if your ears tend to get cold.

Windbreakers can get extremely sweaty so something that wicks sweat away and allows your body heat to be released through the fabric is essential.

Consider factors like temperature, wind, and waterproofing when choosing gear. Prioritize fabrics that wick moisture fabrics to keep sweat away and opt for layered clothing. Ensure windproof and waterproof features for outer layers.

Choose insulated shoes for warmth. Prioritize gloves and a hat. Look for reflective elements for visibility. Test gear for comfort and flexibility. Check for proper sizing and consider reviews. Invest in quality to ensure durability. Adapt gear choices based on specific weather conditions.


Temperature and weather are going to fluctuate. Choose gear that offers the right level of insulation and protection based on the specific winter weather conditions you’ll be running in.

Moisture-Wicking Fabrics

Prioritize clothing made from fabrics that wich away moisture to efficiently manage sweat. This helps keep your body dry and will protect you against chilling during your run.

Ease of Layering

It’s better to choose items that can be easily layered with more jackets or a base layer to adjust your clothing for differing weather temperatures.

Water Resistant

Invest in insulated running shoes that are water-resistant or waterproof to keep your feet warm and dry, especially in cold and wet conditions. Get water-resistant jackets and gloves to protect you against sudden weather changes.

Reflective Elements

You may want to get gear that has reflective elements for visibility during low-light conditions. This enhances safety, making you more noticeable to others, especially during early morning or evening runs.


Test the gear for comfort and flexibility. It should allow for a full range of motion without restricting your movement, and not cause you to get any chaffing or hot spots when wearing them for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Winter Running Gear

What are your winter running must haves?

The essential gear for winter weather running includes a base layer, a light jacket, a vest or windproof, gloves, warm socks, and waterproof shoes made for running in winter conditions.

How should I layer for cold weather running?

Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating layer for warmth, and finish with a windproof and waterproof outer layer or a vest. Apply the same technique for laying on your legs.

Look at the weather before heading out each day, this will help you decide if you need all three of these layers, or if you just need a combination of them. Each day will be different.

Are there specific shoes for cold-weather running?

Insulated running shoes with a water-resistant upper can help keep your feet warm and dry in cold conditions, like the Saucony Peregrine 12 ST.

Should I wear gloves when running in the cold?

Absolutely. Extremities cool down faster than your core. Gloves protect your hands from the cold and wind and prevent numbing and ice fingers while you exercise outdoors.

Is a hat necessary for winter running?

Hats are optional but they help retain body heat keep your head warm and protect your ears from the cold. Some people prefer a jacket with a hood or to use a headband to cover the ears.

Can I still run in the snow?

Running in the snow is still possible with trail running shoes specifically designed with good traction for snowy conditions to prevent slipping, like the Saucony Peregrine 12 ST.

How do I stay visible when running in the dark and cold?

You can wear reflective gear, buy clothing that has reflective elements, and also wear a headlamp if you are running in low light conditions.

Are there special socks for cold-weather running?

Moisture-wicking and thermal socks usually with a merino wool content are designed for winter. The thickness of the sock varies and is preferential, but thinner socks may help prevent blisters more easily when running.

Why should I run in cold weather?

PhD Scientist Matthew P. Herring has conducted studies on the effects of exercising outdoors in comparison to indoors and concluded exercising outside is far more beneficial to overall well-being and mental health than choosing a treadmill inside – even on cold days.

So don’t skip those cold weather runs!

The Best Winter Running Gear

Choosing the best gear for your winter runs can be a challenge when there are so many items to get and so much to pick from. You might be asking yourself, how will I ever find the right winter running gear for me?

Start with a layering strategy. Put on a base layer and add a jacket or vest to increase your warmth. Make sure to add accessories like gloves and a hat to protect your cooler extremities and invest in some waterproof shoes with a sturdy grip to prevent slipping.

You’ll also want to get some high-quality socks and bottoms designed specifically for winter or running, depending on the type of weather you will face.

Our top picks for the best winter running gear are the Smartwool Intraknit Merino Crew, the Saucony Peregrine 12 ST for running in snow, and the Seirus Innovation Xtreme All Weather Waterproof Gloves to protect your hands.

Research the weather, get your layering system down and you will have an exhilarating running season ahead. 

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply
Shopping cart