Out in the Cold: What to Wear for Your Winter Workout

winter running woman
Woman Running in the Winter

Exercising outdoors during the warmer seasons is an absolute joy. Not only do you get a fabulous and varied workout but you get to experience the beauty of wide open spaces and the company of other like-minded exercise buffs.

However, when the weather turns cold outdoor workouts lose a lot of their appeal. Frigid temperatures and icy roads and sidewalks make these exercise regimens uncomfortable and sometimes hazardous. Frozen eyelashes from the wind and snow and bruised bums from slipping on icy pavement can make even the most diehard outdoor fitness fanatics head to the confines of the gym.

If you want to maintain your exercise routine through the winter, there are a number of things that you can do to make the experience much more comfortable. Having the right gear that is specifically designed to keep you warm and dry is a great place to start.


Finding a great pair of running pants that are lightweight yet keep you warm and dry is the perfect place to start. A simple pair of sweatpants won’t do in this situation; you need a pair that is specifically designed for cold weather running.

Running tights are the perfect solution. They’re heavy enough to maintain body heat yet light enough to allow freedom of movement. Many styles come with pockets for your keys, some are waterproof to keep the slush from making you colder, and they’re made from fabric that wicks the sweat away to keep you dry.

Men might balk at these skintight styles but they shouldn’t. A pair of shorts thrown over the top can eliminate many of the concerns that he might have about looking scandalous in tights.


Choosing the right pair of shoes for winter workouts can be tricky. Shoes and boots that are more geared toward hiking might be appealing due to their waterproof construction, but if you aren’t actually hiking their weight and bulk won’t serve you well. Choose a running shoe, but look for styles that are water resistant but are still designed for runners. Nike offers some great styles and choices that are perfect for winter weather workouts.

Make sure that you choose the right socks, as well. Look for natural fabrics like Merino wool in knee high styles as these help keep the moisture away from your skin and keep your calves warm at the same time. You can also consider a pair of gaiters if your area receives a great deal of snow or rain in the winter. These will keep your lower legs dry and comfortable.

Wearing the Right Jacket for Winter Running
Wearing the Right Jacket for Winter Running

Jackets and Shirts

One of the best ways to dress appropriately for winter weather is by layering, and this is especially effective when you do so with the right shirt(s) and jacket. By layering shirts made from the proper materials with the right coat you’re increasing your ability to exercise to your full potential in the winter time.

Choose shirts that are lightweight and breathable, and that are made from materials that keep the sweat away from your skin. You can start with a tank then cover that with a long sleeved shirt. Choose a shirt that is somewhat form fitting but that still allows you to move freely.

Top it all off with a lightweight shell jacket. You’ll need one that effectively blocks the wind without being too bulky. There are several styles of these jackets on the market today.

Hats and Gloves

To complete your winter workout outfit you’ll need a few more things. The right pair of gloves will keep your hands warm and dry, but the right type for runners might be hard to find. Some of the styles used for skiing and snowboarding are great, as they’re waterproof and lightweight.

To keep your head warm you should choose a simple fleece beanie. This style of hat will keep heat loss to a minimum without being too bulky. If it’s particularly windy outside you might want to consider something with more coverage but the fleece beanie is perfect for most winter days.

If you’re not ready to give up your outdoor workouts when the weather turns nasty then don’t. Simply make sure that follow these tips to get the right clothing and gear and you’ll be ready, no matter what the thermometer says.

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