5 Gear Items Every Runner Needs for Winter

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As the temperature drops, so to can your motivation to lace up your shoes and hit the road or trail for an hour or so of training; but what so many of us consider to be a consequence of the weather is all in our heads. In the world of outdoor sports there is a saying “There is no bad weather, only bad gear.” With that philosophy in mind, check out these 5 pieces of equipment that will make your winter running a whole lot more fun.

1. Wool Socks

When you think of wool socks you might conjure up memories of itchy, scratchy, warm-but-not-worth-it monstrosities that were made for loggers at the turn of the last century. Indeed, in a lot of people’s minds, wool gets a bad rap. What most people don’t know is that there is a variety of wool called Merino that is soft to the touch and as warm as its predecessor. Companies like Smartwool, Icebreaker, and Darn Tough each make a huge line of merino wool socks with runners in mind. No matter what freezing, wet, or otherwise miserable conditions you run into this winter, these socks will keep your feet warm and cozy.

2. Base Layers

The beauty of running that you don’t need very much specialized gear to do it, but that is why so many novice runners throw their shoes in the closet at the first sign of snow. Conventional wisdom says you need bulky clothes to stay warm, and that impedes running. Fortunately necessary bulk is a myth, especially for runners. A thin, tight fitting base layer made from polyester or merino wool is a great addition to any runner’s closet. Everyone wanting to keep fit outdoors with winter should have at least one set of leggings and a snuggly fitting long sleeve top that allows for a full range of motion.


3. Runner’s Shell

Depending what kind of climate you live in, your needs from a shell will vary. If you are used to chilling blasts of arctic wind, something designed to stop the wind and trap a little heat would be perfect. Lots of thin running shells now come with a painted on fleece lining option for extra warmth. If the worst you can expect from winter is rain, something geared more towards water resistance is key. Regardless of your needs, your local running shop will spoil you for choice with a wide range of options that are all able to be stuffed into a pack or even a pocket.

4. Tech Gloves

The dilemma runners once faced between keeping their hands warm and their music pumping is a thing of the past. The new age of runners gloves is built with the technology we are all increasingly dependent on in mind. A pair of gloves with a patch of conductive material on the index finger and thumb will keep you in touch with you iPhone’s running app in even the coldest of conditions. One word of caution, however: use common sense when it comes to listening to music. Less daylight in the winter makes you less visible to drivers, so the onus is more on the runner to stay safe.

5. Lights

Last but not least, if you’re going to run through the winter you need to take care of that pesky visibility issue. Lights on both the front and back of your body along with reflective gear are essential when the sun rises later and sets earlier. There are many great runner-specific headlamps on the market complete with a set of rear-facing, flashing red lights. This not only makes you more visible, but it might help you spot and avoid that painful stone on the road ahead.

Equip yourself with these 5 winter-running essentials and you will have no problem obliterating your PB’s when spring rolls around. Stay warm, stay safe, and happy running!

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Steve Kux is a freelance writer and researcher based in Vancouver, BC. When not relaying the latest scientific research on health, fitness, and the environment Steve enjoys mountaineering, kayaking, and running. He generally tries to avoid writing in the third-person.

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