Winter running is all about choosing the right apparel to suit the weather, the distance, and how much heat your body generates. Here are the essentials to keep you happy in all types of winter weather.
Keep Your Core Warm
Your core is the most important piece of your body to keep warm in cold and wet weather. Making sure your torso is dry and protected is the first part of a successful winter running outfit.
LAYER #1: BASELAYER
Your baselayer is the most important part of the operation. If you mess this one up, the other two cannot perform their important functions. The baselayer is a knit fabric, which gives it stretch in all directions. Your baselayer should be made of a poly or wool blend (no cotton) and fit closely to the skin. It will trap your body heat and grab sweat from your skin.
LAYER #2: MIDLAYER
Your midlayer will help further insulate your core. It should also be a poly or wool blend and will be a knit material with a lot of stretch. As the baselayer brings sweat off of the skin, the midlayer will grab it and bring it further away from your skin’s surface. A midlayer will generally have a half-zip for some ventilation, and will often have a pocket or two and some reflectivity.
LAYER #3: SHELL LAYER
This is an important part of your wardrobe in either extreme cold conditions or precipitation (or both). The outer shell will generally be a tightly woven material (less stretchy than a knit) and offer either wind/water resistance or insulation (or both). An outer shell will offer you a few pockets and some reflectivity, and sometimes will have a hood.
Keep Your Legs Warm
LAYER #1: TIGHTS
Layering is less of a factor on the lower body – keeping the core (where bloodflow originates) insulated will help warm the extremities. But a good pair of tights is still important during the winter months. In mild weather, go with a light or midweight – it’s just about coverage. In very cold weather, we’re looking at lined thermal material, often with a tight fitting underwear liner.
Look for a brushed lining (feels fleecy) to insulate the legs and even a wind panel to keep your thighs toasty. Tights will also provide a pocket or two and some reflectivity.