The Best Cold-Weather Running Gear and Workout Clothes of 2023

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Working out in the cold weather means it's time to layer up.
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Dressing for a cold-weather run, bike or walk can be tough to get right. But finding the ideal combination of gear and clothing is essential for enjoying your workouts once the weather turns chilly.

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To help you build the perfect cold-weather workout wardrobe, we've outlined expert-recommended options in several key categories. You'll also find buying advice to keep in mind.

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How We Chose

We asked a few running coaches from cold climates to share their favorite cold-weather running gear and workout clothes. Then, we selected items that met standards in the following categories:

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  • Materials
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Features

We make deliberate choices about the language we use when it comes to gender. While more brands now carry gender-neutral workout clothes, you’ll still typically see clothing brands market their products to men or women.

The main difference between most women's and men's clothing is the fit: Men's versions tend to be longer in length and roomier in the front due to physical differences. However, fabrics, quality and comfort should be the same between gender-labeled pairs. We encourage everyone to purchase the products that feel right for them.

1. Best Insulated Leggings: Under Armour ColdGear Authentics Leggings & ColdGear Leggings

Pros

  • Wide sizing variety for both men's and women's styles
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • No pockets in the women’s version

"Leggings that keep both your upper legs and glutes warm can be surprisingly hard to find," says Kris Fabbri, a running coach. But this pair from Under Armour does the trick. They're part of the brand's cold gear line and designed to keep your entire lower half warm and comfortable in freezing temps, Fabbri notes.

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Featuring dual-layer fabric with a toasty, brushed interior and smooth, sweat-wicking exterior, these leggings will keep you snug and dry all season — a must-have for winter workout clothes. Expect an ultra-tight, second-skin fit with four-way stretch material.

Wear these leggings on their own or as a baselayer under a pair of pants or shorts.

Buy it:UnderArmour.com (men’s); UnderArmour.com (women’s); Amazon.com (men’s); Amazon.com (women’s); ‌Price: ‌$36.99 to $55

2. Best Insulated Vest: The North Face Winter Warm Insulated Vest

Pros

  • Reflective details
  • Drop-in pockets

Cons

  • Limited color options

This insulated vest from The North Face is the ideal piece for days when a jacket is too heavy and constricting. "I love this vest because it keeps the core warm, but your arms can move freely," says Jenni Nettik, a running coach and owner of Mercuria Running.

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Thanks to its slim fit, this vest will keep you warm without adding bulk. Meanwhile, a water-repellent finish and moisture-wicking technology ensure you stay dry and snug when snow and sweat strike.

Bonus: The reflective details are perfect for visibility on early morning and evening runs, Nettik notes.

Buy it:TheNorthFace.com (men’s); TheNorthFace.com (women’s); REI.com (men’s); REI.com (women’s); ‌Price: ‌$48.83 to $99

3. Best Insulated Jacket: Adidas Terrex Multi Primegreen Hybrid Insulated Jacket

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Water-repellant
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Limited colors
  • Tricky sizing

When it's too cold for just a vest but you don't want to add a ton of weight via a puffer jacket, this insulated jacket from Adidas fits the bill. It's a hit with LIVESTRONG.com's Senior Fitness Editor, Jessica Campbell-Salley, ‌and‌ Fitness Editor Danielle Zickl.

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"It's kept me very warm on cold-weather walks, hikes and runs. The jacket isn't heavy, so it doesn't weigh me down during activities, " Zickl says. "However, the jacket is a bit tight in the arms and shoulders. Size up if you want a looser fit."

It's also made from recycled, durable materials, including a water-repellant and ripstop exterior.

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Buy it:Adidas.com (men's); Adidas.com (women's); ‌Price:‌ $130

4. Best Lightweight Gloves: New Balance Onyx High Speed Glove

Pros

  • Reflective details
  • Touchscreen-friendly fingertips
  • Non-slip palm
  • Attached clips for added security

Cons

  • Limited color options

For lightweight gloves appropriate for chilly — but not freezing — temperatures, Fabbri likes this unisex pair from New Balance. "[They're] just enough to protect your hands from the cold, but not so warm that you'll overheat and need to peel them off halfway through," she says.

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These gloves are made of polyester and spandex and feature sweat-wicking, odor-fighting technology. They also have touchscreen-friendly fingertips, so you don't have to take them off to use your phone. The textured, grippy palm ensures your phone or trekking poles won't slip, either, and the reflective details help add visibility in low-light conditions.

Buy it:NewBalance.com; RunningWarehouse.com; ‌Price: ‌$17.95 to $19.99

5. Best 2-in-1 Gloves and Mittens: Nathan HyperNight Reflective Convertible Mitt

Pros

  • Sizes XS through XL
  • Reflective
  • Touchscreen-friendly fingertips
  • Built-in nose wipe chamois
  • Small pocket

Cons

  • Can be bulky

When temperatures get especially frigid, mittens are an essential piece of winter workout clothes. Personally, Fabbri reaches for Nathan's two-in-one glove and mitten. The manufacturer recommends using these mitts when temps fall between 20 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to 2 degrees Celsius). Use the wind-resistant mitt shield when you need added protection, and pull it back to reveal the gloves when you warm up.

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The gloves feature conductive touch technology on the texting finger, so you can use your phone without exposing your fingers to the cold. They also have a built-in chamois on the thumbs for wiping your nose and a small pocket on the back of the hand where you can stow a StrobeLight for added visibility.

"This pair also has reflective material for those cold, dark days when your running gloves need to perform double duty," Fabbri says. Pro tip: The best cold-weather running gear should have reflective details for safety.

Buy it:NathanSports.com; REI.com; ‌Price: ‌$35

6. Best Baselayer Top: Salomon Essential Wool Long-Sleeve

Pros

  • Hoodie (women’s)
  • Built-in thumbholes (women’s)
  • Machine washable
  • Seamless

Cons

  • Pricier than other options

"This shirt from Salomon has been my go-to for years," Nettik says.

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Like any great baselayer, this top is seamless and sits close to your skin. It's made with a blend of wool, polyester and elastane to provide warmth with a soft feel. The wool blend keeps it from getting stinky, so you can wear it a few times between washes, she notes.

The women's version features a soft scuba hood, which can help protect your ears from wind and cold. "The hood is ideal for when the weather changes while you're out adventuring," Nettik says.

Buy it:Salomon.com (men’s); Salomon.com (women’s); ‌Price: ‌$100 to $120

7. Best Socks: Smartwool Run Zero Cushion Mid Crew Socks

Pros

  • Machine wash
  • Seamless toe

Cons

  • Limited sizing

To keep frozen toes from cutting your workout short, slip on this Smartwool pair. Nicole Gainacopulos, CSCS and RRCA-certified running coach, loves that they cover the ankles but aren't too thick.

These merino wool socks regulate temperature and offer odor control. Strategically-placed mesh ventilation zones boost breathability and keep moisture at bay, while a seamless toe design eliminates chafing for maximum comfort.

Reviewers also like that these workout socks stay put. You can run, hike and ski without worrying about slippage or bunching.

Buy it:Smartwool.com; ‌Price: ‌$21

8. Best Shoes: The North Face VECTIV Infinite x Elvira Shoes

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Recycled materials
  • Fun design

Cons

  • Pricier than other options
  • Limited color options

Nettik recommends trail shoes for snowy winter runs and walks, even on the pavement. "The larger lugs help for traction in the snow and on the ice," she explains.

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This pair from The North Face is one of her favorites because they fit like a road shoe but offer exceptional traction. "They work well for days when conditions change from snow to ice to clear pavement," Nettik says.

This shoe also offers lightweight cushioning and recycled materials.

Buy it:TheNorthFace.com (men’s); TheNorthFace.com (women’s); ‌Price: ‌$179

9. Best Headband: Oiselle Firecracker Earband

Pros

  • Reflective details
  • Many color options

Cons

  • One size

To keep your ears warm — and hair in place — snag this Oiselle earband. This headband is made from a blend of polyester and spandex and offers plenty of coverage with a smooth fit. "It dries quickly, too!" Nettik says.

Plus, every color option includes a reflective print to keep you safe and visible in any light.

Buy it:Oiselle.com; ‌Price: ‌$24

10. Best Hat: Tough Headwear Skull Cap Running Beanie

Pros

  • Cheaper than other options
  • Fits under helmets
  • Many color options

Cons

  • One size

This bestselling skull cap from Tough Headwear is incredibly versatile. Designed to be worn under a helmet, it's ideal for cycling, snowboarding or skiing. But it's also a great lightweight cap for keeping your ears warm during colder running and outdoor workouts. The stretchy, breathable polyester and spandex blend wicks away sweat, while the brushed lining prevents heat from escaping.

As an added bonus, the cap features a reflective icon to keep you visible in low light.

Buy it:Amazon.com; ‌Price: ‌$24.95 for two

11. Best Neck Warmer: Buff Merino Fleece Neck Warmer

Pros

  • Adjustable drawstring
  • Sustainable fabrics

Cons

  • Limited color options
  • Not machine washable

When it comes to neck warmers, it's tough to beat Buff, Gainacopulos says. This option is made from merino wool for a super-soft, mega-warm, itch-free feel when running, climbing or hiking. Use the adjustable drawstring to find your perfect fit.

"A Buff is a must-have in almost any season," LIVESTRONG.com's Senior Fitness Editor, Jessica Campbell-Salley, says. "The lighter-weight ones protexct my neck in warmer temps and this fleece-style keeps me comfortable when snowshoeing."

Score this neck warmer in one of four basic colors.

Buy it:Buff.com; ‌Price: ‌$42

What to Look for When Buying Cold-Weather Gear

1. Items You Can Layer

For both mens and women's winter workout clothes, layers are your cold-weather friend. Find items that work well together yet stand on their own if you need to shed a layer (or two).

Ensure you have a base layer, a mid-layer and an outer layer. A base layer can be a lightweight long-sleeve top and full-length leggings, whereas a middle layer can be a sweatshirt and athletic pants. An outer layer may include a wind-proof vest or jacket and a pair of pants (if needed).

Depending on the temperature and weather conditions (e.g., wind, snow, rain, sleet), you may need one, two or all three layers.

"The general rule when layering for cold-weather running is to dress as if it's 15 degrees warmer than the outdoor temp," Fabbri says. So, if the thermometer reads 30 degrees Fahrenheit, dress as though it were 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Appropriate Materials

Materials matter. Buying your layers in the right materials will help you stay warm and dry for the duration of your workout.

Here are the materials to choose for each layer:

  • Base layer:‌ Opting for quick-drying synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon is a safe bet. "Just be sure to avoid cotton," Fabbri says.
  • Mid-layer:‌ For your middle layer, Fabbri suggests looking for materials like merino wool, down or synthetic down to keep your body warm.
  • Outer layer:‌ Water-resistant, waterproof and windproof materials are key for your outer layer. Your best bets include nylon, polyester and other synthetic materials.

3. Consider Safety

Odds are good that you'll often exercise in low light conditions during winter. Therefore, your clothes and gear need to have reflective components to help you stand out to drivers and other exercisers.

Because you can't always tell how many layers you'll need, check that each layer is reflective. Be sure that you have reflective gear on all sides of your body so drivers can see you from every direction.

Wearing fluorescent colors, such as bright yellows, greens, oranges and hot pinks can also help you stand out. Avoid muted or darker colors that blend in with your surroundings whenever possible.

Also, consider adding other visibility tools like clip-on strobe lights, headlamps and reflective vests.

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