Best Winter Running Gear for Women

Winter is just around the corner, and temperatures seem to be dropping quickly! No one wants to have to stop running due to bad weather or improper running attire, right?

That’s why we’ve decided to take our first-hand experience along with that of countless others to bring you the best winter running gear for women. This gear will ensure you feel better and perform your best, even when it’s chilly outside.

Socks

  • Size: 4 – 13
  • Colors: 3
  • Material: Wool, Nylon

The Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Crew socks are some of the best in the world, coming in 3 different colors: Meadow Mauve, Black, and Ash. Sitting right at the calf, they help to keep the feet, ankles, and the lower legs warm without being too hot or restricting.

To make sure they move perfectly with your body, their 4-Degree Elite Fit System is incorporated with 2 types of elastics to offer improved stretch and security.

We love how well these stay in place – never rubbing, coming loose, or falling down. On top of that, one of the crowd favorite features is the targeted cushioning and the balls and heels of the feet to help absorb shock where you need it most. When you are looking for the best women’s cold weather running gear, the PhD socks are a good start.


Running Shoes

  • Size: 3 – 9
  • Colors: 1
  • Pronation: Neutral
  • Uppers: Synthetic
  • Sole: Rubber

Two incredibly reputable running shoe companies, Saucony and Vibram, combine to create a pair of running shoes which offer a natural feel and incredible grip.

If you love trail running, it’s really hard to find better than this model, which features a 4mm drop and breathable yet tough synthetic uppers. The thick, ultra-cushy padding around the foot helps eliminate chafing while also absorbing impact from extensive runs.

Rubber soles only add to this shock absorption, along with durability that is made to withstand twigs and rocks while offering stability on uneven and slippery surfaces. Energy transfer is one of the best here, helping give back instead of feeling like dead weight.


Jacket

  • Colors: Black/White
  • Sizes: X-Small – X-Large
  • Material: Polyester

When you are looking for the best women’s running clothes for winter a running jacket is not only important for keeping warm when temperatures start plummeting, but also to help with visibility in low-light conditions.

You get that and more with the Nike Essential Women’s Hooded Running Jacket. The black and white color scheme looks good with literally any kind of running wear you already have and make it easy to pick out your outfits.

Reflective details are conveniently placed all over the model, ensuring motorists and pedestrians see you coming.

Made of polyester, it’s incredibly durable and will be able to keep you warm for many seasons to come. It’s also great for running on the trails, as it won’t rip or fray when brushed against bushes and trees.

The drop-tail hem will help keep your back covered, and that, along with the hood will help keep cold wind and rain out. See our other running jacket reviews here.


Headwear/Gaiter

  • Colors: 47
  • Material: Polyester, Elastane
  • Wash: By Hand

It’s important to keep the head, neck, and face protected while running in the cold as they’re some of the most sensitive places on the body.

We lose a huge amount of heat through our heads, and when cold, our head and neck can begin to hurt. This can result in headaches, jaw clenching, and more.

Coming in over 3 dozen colors and patterns, the Buff Unisex Gaiter can be used in a huge array of methods. Cover your neck, mouth, and head however you see fit according to the weather and your preferences.

Made of polyester and elastane, they’re very durable yet offer just enough stretch to ensure it fits properly and isn’t restricting you in any way.


Leggings

  • Sizes: X-Small – X-Large
  • Colors: Black
  • Materials: Polyester, Elastane

Under Armour is a brand known to deliver supreme quality sportswear, and their Women’s Coldgear Run Tights are exemplary of that.

Made of polyester and elastane, they blend durability along with the perfect amount of stretchiness to create a legging that will soon be your favorite to run in. Coming in just Black, they go with every color of shoe, jacket, and top.

4-way stretch technology ensure the leggings move right along with your body, while the material wicks moisture and excess heat away. Dual-layer ColdGear construction helps offer an interior which keeps you warm, while the exterior dries quickly and won’t let the cold air in.

Anti-odor tech also minimizes the growth of bacterial which can make clothes smell foul otherwise. Finally, mesh panels behind the knees help offer excellent airflow. See our other legging reviews here.


Base Layers

  • Sizes: X-Small – XX-Large
  • Colors: 9
  • Material: 100% Polyester

We just covered back a ways how great Under Armour is in their construction and engineering. It should come as no surprise then, that their Women’s ColdGear Authentics Compression Mock is one of the best-rated base layers for running out there.

Coming in 9 different colors, it’s also perfect for wearing on its own in the spring and fall seasons. Made of 100% polyester, it’s very durable yet still offers enough stretch to move naturally with you as you do. Their new brushback knit fabric offers incredible levels of comfort – letting air move in and out while still keeping you warm.

The material moves sweat and moisture away from the skin, while drying very fast. Lastly, the smooth flatlock designed seams ensure chafing is a thing of the past!


Vest

  • Sizes: X-Small – 3X
  • Colors: 8
  • Materials: Polyester

Vests are an excellent way to keep your trunk warm while still allowing your upper body maximum mobility by leaving the arms free to move around. The Columbia Women’s Heavenly Vest is our favorite due to its warmth, comfort, and beautiful looks.

Coming in 8 different colors, it has that traditional Columbia elegant appearance to it that will make you excited to put it on. Made of 100% polyester, it’s tough enough to withstand regular use for many winters to come.

Their patented Omni-Heat management system is designed to keep you warm outside, with an interior lining that retains heat along with breathable exterior fabric to dissipate moisture. The vest itself is moisture-resistant, so even on foggy, rainy, or snowy days you’ll be protected.

If you enjoy running in chilly conditions, you can take advantage of the thermal reflective lining as well which adds extra heat.

While it definitely adds to the classy appearance, a plush-lined full collar also helps keep cold out while insulating your neck very well. An interior security pocket lets you keep valuables safe, while 2 zippered hand pockets will keep your hands warm.


Gloves

  • Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
  • Colors: 3
  • Fabric: Polyester

While pockets do a nice job of keeping hands warm while resting, they’re not so effective while actually running. That’s why it’s a smart idea to keep a pair of running gloves on you.

One of the best models out there is the TrailHeads Women’s Running Gloves, which are streamlined and sophisticated yet warm enough to keep your hands feeling great.

4-way stretch Polartec fabric is smooth and strong – resistant to wind and abrasion. However, the interior lining is ultra-plush and wicks moisture away from the skin while keeping hands and fingers warm. You can choose from solid Black, Black with White accents, or Black/Pink.

Silicone palm grips will offer dexterity while ensuring you have a solid grip on smart devices, water bottles, etcetera. Speaking of smart devices, if you want to stay connected and listen to music while you’re running, you don’t have to worry about taking your gloves off.

As they’re touchscreen compatible, you’ll be able to navigate with ease. See our other running glove reviews here.


Beanie

  • Sizes: One Size
  • Colors: 2
  • Materials: Merino Wool, Polyester

As we covered earlier in our guide, it’s essential to keep the head warm and protected while running in the winter as our head loses large amounts of body heat.

Merino wool is one of the best materials to use for head coverings, due to how well it keeps heat in, lets moisture out, and stretches to accommodate different head shapes and sizes. Coming in Deep Navy and Heather Gray, it’s a very beautiful design that everyone will love wearing.

The Marino wool is nice and heavy, adding extra insulation to the head, while polyester adds extra resilience so you can wear it over and over again.

Featuring reflective elements, it is also perfect for ensuring your visibility in low lighting. As it’s so versatile, you can even use it while camping or up at the ski resorts for extra insulation under helmets or hats!


Headband

  • Size: Unisex
  • Colors: Blue/Black
  • Material: Elastic, Synthetic

Not everyone likes wearing complete head coverings, and though they’re the most effective for keeping warm, they’re not the only option.

When our ears start to get cold, it can result in serious pain and discomfort, like headaches. These can last for hours after you head inside, which can put a significant damper on your day.

Avoid this from happening with the GORE WEAR Windstopper Headband. The unisex design is made to work with anyone, providing a snug yet comfortable fit.

Made of elastic, it’s nice and stretchy yet thick enough to keep your ears and forehead nice and warm. While water repellant and windproof, it does let moisture out so you never feel too sweaty.


Footwear Traction/Running Spikes

  • Colors: Black, Red
  • Sizes: Small – Large
  • Materials: Stainless Steel
  • Weight: 11 – 14 ounces

While your footwear should already feature a good amount of grip to them, sometimes you need to step it up a bit. If you’re going to be running on trails, hiking, or simply encountering a icy/wet/slippery conditions you’ll want to consider some footwear traction spikes.

The Kahtoola MICROspikes are an industry gem, winning awards because of how well they dig in and grip onto icy terrain.

Weighing less than a pound, the stainless steel spikes are incredibly tough yet lightweight enough that they won’t weight you down. The come in sizes small to large, so you’ll be able to pick which works best for you.

Coming in either Red or Black, the elastomer harness is actually pretty cool looking too! The integrated toe ball isn’t just for looks, but comes made of TPU and prevents the toe from pushing through the harness.


Sunglasses

  • Colors: 3
  • Frame: Plastic
  • Lenses: Polycarbonate

While it’s always important to protect your eyes from the sun, it’s even more crucial in the wintertime, when the sun reflects off of the snow.

To do this, we recommend a solid pair of sunglasses. The Under Armour Igniter 2.0 is one of the top performers on the market today, and look great as well.

You can choose from 3 different color options, from Satin Black, to white and blue. They look sporty, but are also serious and sleek.

The plastic frame is flexible but still tough enough to hold up to regular use and cold temperatures, while the polycarbonate lens will protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and reduce glare.

Adding onto that, you have UV protection coating and non-polarized features to ensure you see clearly during your run. See our other running sunglasses reviews here.


How to Choose the Best Women’s Cold Weather Running Rear

Now, it’s not as simple as just buying these pieces of clothing and gear and putting them on. You need to know how and when to use them to get the most out of each. We’re going to take you through this guide to show you how to use them and what they’re ideal for.

best women's running clothes for winter

Layering

Layering is one of the biggest keys to staying warm and comfortable while partaking in athletic activities such as running. Depending on the weather, 3 layers will probably do the trick for your upper body, while one layer is ideal for gloves and the lower body.

What layering allows you to do is to add and remove as you see fit to make sure you’re not cold but not too hot, either. For example, if you just decide to wear a tank top and a parka over the top, you’re probably going to get too hot and sweaty within a few minutes. When you decide to take your parka off, you’re going to be left freezing in a tank! There’s no meet in the middle here.

With layering, you can add or remove just a bit of heat according to your level of comfort. A small bit of air between the fabrics help insulate as well while also wicking moisture away from your body.

The Base Layer

This layer should be thin and stretchy enough to move with your body. You can choose to have it skin-tight or just a bit looser, depending on your preferences. However, it should undoubtedly be moisture-wicking and warm. Keep in mind that the more form-fitting it is, the easier it will be to add extra layers on top of it.

On our guide, your base layer is going to be the Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Authentics Compression Mock. It’s not only perfect for running in the cold, but great for warmer seasons as well so you really can get a lot of use out of it.

Second Layer

This layer isn’t quite as crucial as the base, though if temperatures are super cold or the wind is whipping hard, you’ll want a fleece layer or something extra warm and insulating.

Exterior Layer

The exterior layer will also vary, depending on your own preferences and the weather conditions. If you like your arms completely free with 100% mobility, then you may be best off with a running vest, like the one we have on our guide from Columbia. It keeps heat in your core, which is important as all of our vital organs are there.

However, if you feel like you want more coverage over not only your core, but your head and arms, then the Nike Essentials Women’s Running Jacket will be your best bet.

Head Coverings

With the Nike Essentials jacket that we just mentioned, you do get a hood which can make a huge difference in your winter running experience. It helps keep the cold wind and moisture out while protecting your ears. However, sometimes you need more than just a hood.

Beanies are probably the best option in this case, as they fit snugly on the head and really keep heat in while also protecting the ears. If you’re not into wearing beanies while running, you could opt for a headband to keep ears warm, or also get a gaiter to protect the ears, face, neck, and head.

Legs

While they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, running leggings really are the best option here and why you’ll see most runners sporting them in the wintertime. Once again, we fell in love with the Under Armour Women’s Coldgear Run Tights.

Under Armour’s Coldgear series really just takes things to the next level. They’re tight to the skin yet move perfectly with your body – never restricting but never coming loose.

They wick moisture away yet dry incredibly fast so you don’t risk getting cold from rain, snow, nor your own sweat. If temperatures are close to or below zero, you should definitely grab yourself a second pair of running pants, though.

Hands

Even if you have a jacket or vest with hand pockets, that’s not going to be enough for running. They’re great for resting and for keeping gloves safe, though! Gloves should be seen as an absolute necessity for you.

Your hands are going to be moving quickly through the cold, and if you have windchill on top of that, they are not only going to be uncomfortable but could be put at risk for serious injury.

Your gloves should have a type of grippiness on the fingers and palms so that you can grasp things like your phone with security.

Not only that, but they should ideally be able to let you navigate through your music playlist or notifications when you have them on. No one wants to have to take them off and put them back on just to use their smartphone.

Feet

As our feet are what are actually making contact with the ground, they’re especially vulnerable and can get cold very quickly. If you have snow or any kind of moisture on the ground, this goes double.

Socks

Running socks are what you need to start out with. The Smartwool PhD Run Light Elite Crew are an excellent choice as they insulate perfectly yet still move moisture and excess heat away from the feet. They come up to the calves so that they ensure your feet, ankles, and lower legs are warm and protected. Not only that, but they’re stretchy enough that they won’t create blistering, chafing, or restriction.

Running Shoes

Your running shoes should be protective and have uppers thin enough to ward off any exterior moisture from getting in, along with cold winds. Not only that, but they should offer enough traction on the soles that you will be able to run with confidence on slippery surfaces.

If you are in a particularly slippery area, like on ice or snow, then you’ll absolutely need to add in footwear traction/running spikes to make sure you’re gripping well on the ground and aren’t at risk of slipping or injuring yourself.

FAQs Winter Running Gear

Q: What do runners wear in winter?

A: This depends on the individual runner, but typically running leggings, socks, shoes, a base layer, middle, and exterior layer, along with headwear and gloves.

Q: Should you wear a mask when running in cold weather?

A: You can, but it’s not an absolute necessity if the weather isn’t that cold. However, we personally do recommend doing so as you will help protect yourself from chapped lips and face, and will keep your breath from being cold and dry.

Q: Can you damage your lungs from running in the cold weather?

A: No, though if you do have asthma or other breathing conditions you should be particularly aware and make sure not to push your limits. The cold air has been known to irritate airways, which can cause a shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and even coughing.

Q: How do you run outside in the winter?

A: First, you need to make sure you follow our guide for how to dress while running in the winter. Make sure you always warm up for at least 10-15 minutes before you head outside. This consists of stretching, jumping jacks, jogging in place, etc.

Always stay well-hydrated as you’re running and try to finish up as quickly as possible.

Q: Is running harder in cold weather?

That really depends on the person! Some people find it easier to run in cold weather than in hot weather, as lower temperatures create less stress on the body. Not only that, but we become less dehydrated in colder weather as the body requires less water in cold temperatures.

Summary

Now that you know just about everything you could ever want to about running in cold weather, have you decided what you’re going to be wearing to run outside in the near future? We hope that our guide has been able to give you a deeper understanding of what’s required and how to stay warm, comfortable, and safe. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you again soon!

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