My favorite part of running is being outside, so when winter rolls around, with its plummeting temperatures, snow and darkness, accommodations and some financial investment in winter running gear need to be made.
When my friend Gary began running 6 years ago, he realized to continue running through the Chicago winters, it would take quite some financial investment for the proper clothing/gear. I too felt that sting many years ago, but most of the initial investment of good quality winter running gear has lasted me many years and I have yet to replace much of it, except for the usual socks and shoes.
Proper running gear is essential, for yourself or as a gift for the runners in your life:
Here are 9 Must Haves For Winter Running
1 – Tights
Tights come in different thicknesses, so choose a pair that fits your body temperature the best and for the weather. I have a thin pair for 30-55 degrees and a thermal pair for below 30 degrees. I’ve seen men run in shorts down to 25/30 degrees. Be sure the tights are a wick-away technical fabric. My tights have lasted me for 10+ years, so spending a little more can go a long way.
2 – Wool socks
I love my “Smartwool” socks! But any wool blend sock will do as they not only keep your feet warm they also keep your feet dry.
3 – Long sleeve shirt
For appropriate layering, you should own both lightweight and midweight long-sleeve shirts made of technical, wick-away fabric as you still sweat, despite the cold. My favorites are shirts made from merino wool such as “Smartwool” or “Icebreaker”.
4 – Jacket
Must be windproof, waterproof, and breathable. Lightweight insulation may only be necessary if you are running in extreme cold weather and your own personal thermal regulation.
5 – Vest
A windproof and breathable vest is not a must but I have found it very useful for the in between weather of 35- 50 degrees.
6 – Hat
As much of our body heat escapes through our head, a hat made of a wick away fabric is a must.
7 – Gloves
You may want a lightweight and a heavier weight pair to use depending on the weather.
8 – Mittens
Mittens will keep your fingers warmer than gloves – your choice. I often wear mittens over my gloves and then remove the mittens if my hands become warm.
9 – Balaclava/neck gaiter
For really cold days (for me that is below 20 degrees) you will need to cover your mouth and nose. I like a balaclava as it does double duty by covering my head, ears, mouth and nose.
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