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Running shoes in winter

Look for running shoes with an outsole made of a rubber compound with grippy lugs as this is designed to grip the road or trail more easily in wet or icy conditions. Avoid foam outsoles if you plan to run in mud or slush. Another thing you need to keep in mind when shopping for winter shoes is preventing soggy socks as they lead to frozen feet. Gore-Tex waterproof membranes on the upper will help with this so the shoe will withstand wet weather conditions. Shoes with integrated knit sock, plus a durable upper mesh with overlays will provide warmth as well as extra protection. 

Don’t let the winter stop you from going out for a run, you just need to dress right before heading outdoors then it won’t affect your performance.

Sometimes erratic weather and freezing temperatures can prevent you from heading outside, but with the right clothes and running shoes you’ll stay dry and comfortable which will maximise your running experience. Follow this guide to get the right running outfit for you.

How to get dressed for winter running?

The key is to not dress too warm in the beginning. It does not matter if you feel a little cold when you first head out the door, you’ll heat up quickly. As a rule, if you are the right temperature when you go out, you’ll be far too hot which will hinder your run. If you do get too hot when running, take off your gloves first and fold down the edge of your gloves or pull up your jacket at the wrists. This will instantly cool you down. There are many blood vessels on the wrists, so when they get cold, you’ll cool down quickly.

The 3-layer principle for running

By dressing in three layers, you will keep warm without overheating or getting chilly. It’s always better to have several thin layers than a thick one. The layer-on-layer principle traps the air which keeps the body warm if it’s not moved away. This principle also allows you to regulate body temperature by either putting on or taking off a layer which is perfect for when exercising in the cold.

01. Base layer
Here you want a thin layer whose function it is to absorb and transport moisture away while insulating and heating. Look for wool or synthetic fabrics as they are great at this. The ideal type of clothing is a slim-fit t-shirt or long sleeve t-shirt. Just avoid cotton as it retains moisture, and you’ll get cold.

02. Mid layer
This layer should have an insulating and warming effect whilst allowing moisture to be wicked away. It should be made of the same materials as the base layer but in a looser fit. This will allow warmth between the layers and better ventilation and less risk of chafing if all too tight.

03.Outer layer
This is the important layer at protecting the body from the external weather like wind, rain, and snow while helping to transport excess heat. It should be thin, light, and windproof so a jacket and should also be able to withstand a decent about of water. The fit should be loose, and the jacket should be able to cover a least a bit of the buttocks. Check that it has vents under the arms to allow for ventaliation and the zipper is covered. Jackets with an elastic waist is also beneficial as you can tighten to avoid wind blowing up along the back making you cold. For legs, winter tights with wind protection are the most comfortable when it is cold and windy. To maintain good mobility a pair of looser shorts is good to have over running tights.

Underwear for winter running

If you have warmer tights, you do not need to wear long underwear underneath. But if you freeze easily, you can buy special warm underwear that will protect your thighs and buttocks. It’s nice to have underwear that’s a little warmer but allows you to sweat, so look for pants, bras and tops that are adapted for exercise in cold temperatures.

Accessories are important

You lose half the body heat through you head, so a wearing a hat is a must. Go for a thin model in functional material like merino wool that retains the heat but allows your head to breathe. Protect your neck with either a lightweight scarf or snood. When it comes to hands, go for gloves that allow the air to circulate between the fingers. You need a lightweight breathable fabric. For socks, go for a material that transports sweat away so your feet will stay warm. Invest in socks with reinforcement on the heels and under the feet so that they will not wear out quickly and choose the right thickness according to temperature.  Always wear reflectors in winter as visibility is poor, even during the day and if you are running in terrain, a headlamp is recommended so you’ll see the road better and reduces the chance of tripping.  


Check list for winter running

  • Headlamp for running in the woods
  • Reflexes to make you visible.
  • Buff that warms the throat
  • Functional tights 7/8-part length.
  • Winter tights with warming inside or with protection against wind and water.
  • Thin running jacket that protects against the wind.
  • Wind and waterproof running jacket
  • T-shirt of thin undershirt for warmth.
  • Pants, sports bra, and underpants in functional material so they breath properly.
  • Running socks in moisture-absorbing material
  • Runners hat for extra warmth where its most needed.
  • Running gloves for frozen fingers.
  • Short underpants to keep thighs warm.
  • Running shoes or trail running shoes for rough terrains.


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