Must-Have Workout Gear for Exercising in the Cold

Once the leaves fall off the tree and the weather turns colder, tank tops and shorts no longer cut it on your outdoor runs. Time to upgrade your winter-workout wardrobe and add some hoodies and full-length leggings into the mix.

You don't have to suffer through winter workouts. (Image: LuckyBusiness/iStock/GettyImages)

Because let's face it: While cycling in the latest, greatest workout clothes might not improve your pace, the sheer fact that you're not freezing your seat off will definitely help with the endurance aspect. But if you're lost browsing running jackets and can't decide if the next mega moisture-wicking fabric is worth the splurge, check out these recommendations from our contributors, personal trainers and LIVESTRONG.COM staff.

Endeavor Element Full Zip Hoodie

Keep warm on your winter runs with this hoodie. (Image: Endeavor Athletic)

Everyone who's ever worked out in the great outdoors in the middle of winter knows that the key to a successful cold-weather sweat session is layers. And this jacket from Endeavor is a stylish way to do just that. It's a "mid-weight classic full-zip hoody [with] a tailored look featuring premium textured 'waffle' fabric."

So depending on just how cold your winter workouts are, you might not even need a heaver layer on top. But of course, it's lightweight enough if you do need to pile on the layers. Plus, it has a hidden phone pocket with a headphone port and thumbholes.

Buy it: EndeavorAthletic.com; Price: $65

Merino Wool Buff

Don't forget to cover your face and neck during outdoor winter workouts. (Image: BuyABuff.com)

One of the most overlooked (but truly important) places to keep warm during your cold-weather workouts is your neck. The Buff does just that — without choking the air out of your workout. "The Buff is one of the most versatile winter-clothing items in my wardrobe," says Wes Kennedy, founder of Warrior Leader Project.

"One of the key areas to cover for warmth is your neck (with your carotid arteries close to the surface). Unlike other neck gaiters, the Buff merino wool neck gaiter isn't stiflingly thick and has the extra length to cover the ears and head when necessary."

Buy it: BuyABuff.com; Price: $29

lululemon In Flux Jacket

Zip up and take off on your winter workout adventure. (Image: Lululemon)

If you're looking for a cozy zip-up hoodie that's perfect for running in the elements, check out this jacket. The fabric is moisture-wicking to keep sweat off your skin without overheating.

"I just discovered it after Thanksgiving this year, and I wear it all the time (with washings in between, of course)," says Dena Karsenty, director of product for LIVESTRONG's parent company, Leaf Group. "And I can run for miles wearing it and not even know that I'm wearing it. It's snug enough that you can store everything in the front pockets — keys, ID, cell phone — without worrying that it will fall out. There's even a hidden inner pocket within the pockets, which I just love."

Buy it: lululemon.com; Price: $118

Concept 2 Rower

If you don't want to brave the elements this winter, stick to indoor workouts. (Image: Concept 2)

Not all your cold-weather workouts need to take place outdoors. If you just can't force yourself to face the elements when the temperature drops, it might be worth it to invest in an indoor rower. "I just moved from L.A. to Philadelphia, so I haven't quite embraced winter workouts," says Kelly Plowe, RD, former LIVESTRONG.COM nutrition editor.

"Instead, I purchased a Concept 2 rower so that I can still get in my cardio without freezing my butt off. It's a great, low-impact workout, and it's a more full-body workout compared to running. The Concept 2 is worth the money, because these things are tanks. They last forever."

Buy it: Concept2.com; Price: $900

The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket

Brave the elements with this jacket that's also super easy to store in a backpack. (Image: The North Face)

And then there are those times when you really do need a heavy-duty jacket to keep the cold (or rain or snow or sleet) out. "When it comes to cold-weather gear, I don't go anywhere without my North Face Thermoball Jacket," says Collette Stohler, creator of the travel site Roamaroo.com.

"Perfect for cold conditions, it even keeps me insulated if the sky decides to pour down while I'm out on my evening run. Luckily, North Face makes it easy for me to carry even when I'm not rocking it. When I travel (as I am currently doing around the world), I can roll the Thermoball up into (you guessed it) a ball and carabiner it to my bag."

Buy it: TheNorthFace.com; Price: $149.25

SUGOI Alpha Hybrid Jacket

Lightweight? Check. Breathable? Check. (Image: SUGOI)

Need a lightweight jacket with breathable warmth? Enter: SUGOI's Alpha Hybrid Jacket. A slightly fitted jacket that moves and stretches with you, it has a lightweight woven shell that won't stifle you but still keeps out wind and water.

The fabric panels on the sleeves, sides and back regulate your core body temperatures, whether you're actively engaged in a touch workout or in the middle of your cool-down stretching. It also has a pocket on the chest and two front hand pockets so you can carry your keys, ID and MP3 player with you through your workout.

Buy it: SUGOI.com; Price: $126

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

Whether you're camping or snowshoeing, this jacket will keep you warm. (Image: Patagonia)

When it comes to workout gear that makes your investment worth it, versatility is the name of the game. You need pieces that will transition with you from those freezing-cold nights to those almost-tolerable winter days.

"I went camping last week in Big Sur and Northern California and found this jacket to be the perfect layer for cold nights, but also lightweight enough for long hikes during the day," says Kelly Gonzalez, Los Angeles-based certified personal trainer and yoga teacher. "It's very lightweight, so you can stuff it in your backpack when you start moving and get warm. When you're traveling light, it also makes a great pillow!"

Buy it: Patagonia.com; Price: $199

lululemon Vinyasa Scarf

Toss this on before you head out to the gym. (Image: Lululemon)

For all those times you walk out of barre or spin class into frigid temperatures, you need a scarf like this one to keep your neck, shoulders and chest from cooling down too quickly. It's also versatile enough to make an appearance in your weekend and "off-gym" wardrobe. "A client gifted this to me and I live with it," says Holly Perkins, personal trainer and founder of Women's Strength Nation.

"I love that you can snap it in a variety of ways: You can unsnap it and wear as a wrap, or partially unsnapped it for a scarf that looks super-cool. Also, it doubles perfectly as a lower-back support on the plane when I'm traveling. If I don't need it to stay warm on the plane, I use it to support my back so that my neck doesn't hurt after long flights. I also unsnap it and use it as a blanket for my legs. It's pretty genius."

Buy it: lululemon.com; Price: $48

Love Your Melon Beanie

This beanie keeps you warm, and the company helps those in need of winter wear. (Image: Love Your Melon)

"Since it's often too warm down here in L.A., the only thing I can recommend is a beanie. Since most heat is lost through the head, it's the most important part to keep warm (obviously, after the center body mass, but as far as extremities)," says Marcus Kowal, founder and CEO of Systems Training Center in Los Angeles.

If you're looking for a beanie that has ton of warmth and will warm your heart, too, you'll want to check out the Love Your Melon Beanie. The brand is dedicated to "giving a hat to every child battling cancer in America as well as supporting nonprofit organizations who lead the fight against pediatric cancer."

Buy it: LoveYourMelon.com; Price: $45

Under Armour ColdGear Infrared Fleece 1/4 Zip

When it comes to winter workouts, layering is the name of the game. (Image: Under Armour)

For those that hate the constricting feeling of a crew-neck shirt but don't want to deal with the hassle of a full-zip jacket, this quarter-zip hoodie is a great option. "Like most Under Armour cold gear, this jacket keeps the heat in and the cold out," says personal trainer Kyle Arsenault.

"What I like about this jacket most of all is that it is loose-fitting, which allows me to put some extra layers (such as the Under Armour compression gear) underneath for those really cold days. A quality pullover that is comfortable and keeps the cold out is critical for my winter sprint sessions!"

Buy it: UnderArmour.com; Price: $41.99

Vie Active Riley Full-Length Leggings

Long-legged women, rejoice! These leggings are perfect winter workout gear. (Image: Vie Active)

Perfect for hiking, spin class or a good old-fashioned strength-training session, these workout leggings also feature a side pocket to store your ID, keys or other small items without adding bulk. While the length is optimized for women around 5'10", shorter women can also wear them with an underfoot wrap during barre or yoga classes.

"I am beyond obsessed with this brand. These tights are the most incredible fabric and insane fit," says Perkins. "I can literally be bloated, premenstrual and fluffy, and when I wear them, people tell me I look like I lost weight. No joke." And who doesn't want that?

Buy it: VieActivewear.com; Price: $92

BN3TH Pro Series

A solid base layer is the start of a great winter workout outfit, even for the guys. (Image: My Package)

Guys, you need this base layer in your workout wardrobe. Bear with us for just one second, because the BN3TH Pro Series (available as a brief, full-length or boot cut) is like a bra for your goods. Not convinced you need the extra support down there? Just trust us and try them out. Your cold-weather workouts will never be the same.

And at the very least, you'll have a lightweight, moisture-wicking base layer that is high-stretch and features a lightweight, no-roll waistband. So it'll move with you regardless of your workout without going anywhere you don't want.

Buy it: BN3TH.com; Price: $30 to $40

Skida Tour Neckwarmer

Pull it up, leave it down or alternate. (Image: Skida)

Whether your ideal way to stay active during the winter is a run or bike ride or you prefer to hit the slopes for skiing and snowboarding, the Skida Tour Neckwarmer will keep the wind and snow out of your face and off your neck. A cold face can make your winter workouts unbearable. But this scarf will keep you warm without suffocating you.

Pull it up around your nose, mouth and chin as you get started, and then leave it hanging around your neck as you get warmer (or alternate back and forth). And the prints are so fun, you may even want to wear them outside when you're not working out.

Buy it: Skida.com; Price: $20

lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew

This base layer strikes the balance of a just-right fit. (Image: Lululemon)

There's nothing worse during any season of workouts than being constricted by workout gear that's either too loose or too fitted. This long-sleeve tee strikes the perfect balance, moving with you but not getting in the way or pinching at odd places.

"For a base layer, there is seriously nothing better for the active outdoor gal than the lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Crew," says Stohler. "Its lightweight and breathable fabric lets your body breathe and keeps you warm at the same time."

Buy it: lululemon.com; Price: $78

Free Country Softshell Texting Gloves

Your hands need warmth and protection from the elements too! (Image: Free Country)

Don't forget to show your hands some love when you head out into the cold! These fleece-lined gloves not only keep your hands warm, they are also made with fabric that allows you to use your touchscreen smartphone with them on. These gloves are seriously soft on the inside while still being wind and water resistant on the outside, so they're great even when you're not working out.

Buy it: FreeCountry.com; Price: $24.99

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