Running in the winter can be an acquired taste, with some people taking one look out of the window and going back to bed. But for those who embrace the dipping temperature, it's the perfect time to train. You just need to make sure you've got the right running gear to do it.
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By far the biggest hurdle with winter running is getting out the front door. That first couple of miles, when you're body is heating up can be a major struggle and all you can think about is the warm house you left behind. Stick with it, though, and the uninviting cold can turn into a refreshing breeze that keeps you cool as your heart rate increases.
- Wrap up this winter: The best running jackets for men
The trick to becoming a signed up member of the winter running fan club is kit, and although that will largely depend upon the type of weather you plan to run in, there are a number of core benefits you want to look for: thermal protection, waterproofing, breathability and comfort.
Here we've picked some of the best pieces of kit out there for anyone training their way through the winter months.
Best cold weather running jackets
Soar Ultra Jacket 4.0
The Soar Ultra Jacket 4.0 is perfectly designed to offer a high level of protection against the elements without slowing you down or getting you sweaty. The stretch-woven fabric feels light and comfortable, allowing you to train unhindered, while the durable water repellent coating can hold up against the worst of the rain.
The lean design may look simple but there are a number of welcome features that make the jacket a powerhouse for winter training. A high neck, twinned with the sleek fit help to keep the rain from slipping past the waterproof outer fabric, and a drawstring waist means you can prevent drafts from creeping in ‚Äď unless you need them. There's also a large zipped rear pocket to store your essentials or stuff your hat when things heat up.
Higher State Mountain-Stretch Waterproof Running Jacket
Getting great winter running kit doesn't mean you have to take out a loan. This option from Higher State is a good example of a budget jacket that can take on the wind and rain while still looking and feeling great. There's a more relaxed fit to the Mountain-Stretch Waterproof Running Jacket than you'll find in other options, which is a big bonus if you're not keen on a slimline figure-hugging fit, and the soft fabric doesn't have the shiny design of most.
There's an impressive 10,000mm waterproof protection, along with fully taped seams, so you don't need to worry about rain sneaking in when you're out and about, and it's windproof. Want more? It also has integrated UV protection and reflective details for better visibility in low light conditions.
Best cold weather running gloves
Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Lightweight Glove With Fusion Control
Most running gloves are made to take the edge off the cold when out running, while still being lightweight. However, sometimes the cold demands more than just a light layer of fabric over your digits. That's when we take things up a notch and pull out the big guns ‚Äď the Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Lightweight Gloves.
Designed for multi-activity use, these gloves are thicker than you'll find in your average running glove and keep the hands cosy even in the coldest conditions thanks to the wool inner. The Fusion Control technology also means that despite the protective qualities against wind and rain, they're also breathable.
Kalenji Tactile Running Gloves
For those runs when you just need a sprinkling of extra warmth, look no further than these affordable gloves from Decathlon. For the price, you won't find anything that does the job as well. Made with 91% recycled polyester, the soft fabric feels gentle on the hands and there's a rubber covering on the thumb and index finger, so you can use your phone to order ahead for a mulled cider/wine when you get to the pub.
Best cold weather leggings
Sweaty Betty Eco Therma Running Leggings
The clue's in the name with these leggings. Designed for running and cycling during the colder months, the soft fabric is built to keep your legs warm when the weather turns south. As well as having a water-resistant finish, the warm brushed fabric is also designed to be breathable, so you won't get a sweat on when you up the pace.
The leggings feature a high waisted design with an elasticated waistband, along with a side pocket and back zip pocket to keep your valuables. There are also reflective dot details for visibility when the winter nights draw in.
On Running Tights Long
The devil is in the detail with these cold-weather tights from On. Despite the minimal appearance, there are plenty of performance features subtly dotted across the fabric. Above the knee, On has added protective inserts to improve weather protection for sensitive tendons, and ankle zippers allow you to let some air in, as well as ensure that they're easy to get on and off.
There's also an adjustable waistband, covered pockets for valuables and some very clever buttons that allow you to attach other modular On products for a futuristic connected outfit vibe.
Best cold weather running hats
Icebreaker Merino Unisex Chase Wool Winter Beanie
Not everyone uses a hat when the weather gets cold, but trust us, even if you don't normally it's worth having one ready for when the weather gets really bad. We tend to use the Chase Wool Winter Beanie at the start of a cold run and then stuff it in a pocket after a couple of miles when things have begun to feel a bit warmer.
Aside from it being small enough to fit in most pockets, the best feature of this beanie is the fact it's made from merino wool, which means it has odor-resistant qualities ‚Äď very useful if you tend to forget that you stuffed it away at mile 2 a week later. The elastic design also means that it can stretch comfortably to your head without feeling too tight or too loose like some hats.
Craft Sportswear Light Thermal Outdoor Running Beanie
This beanie from outdoor brand Craft is thicker than the Icebreaker option, so it's a better choice if you need extra protection from the bitter cold. The elasticated fabric gives a secure fit ‚Äď so make sure you get the right size ‚Äď and it's machine washable, which is a necessity for a running hat. Like the Icebreaker beanie, it's also small enough to be scrunched up in a pocket when you get sweaty.
Best cold weather running socks
Smartwool Phd Run Cold Weather Mid Crew Socks
If you've ever been out for a winter run and lost feeling in your feet due to the cold, you'll know it's not nice. If you have then these mid crew socks from Smartwool may well be the answer. The durable material, containing 55% merino wool, is designed to offer thermal qualities without being thick and bulky. They also won't ride down, thanks to Smartwool's 4 Degree design.
Mesh ventilation zones help to manage the breathability of the socks, so your feet can stay warm without getting sweaty, and "Indestructawool" technology increases durability and comfort.
Best cold weather base layers
Gore Windstopper Base Layer Long Sleeve Shirt
When people talk about protection against the cold, the phrase 'base layer' inevitably crops up more often than not, and although it may look like a normal long sleeve t-shirt, there's a lot more to this option from Gore.
The main feature that battles adverse weather is the windproof fabric. Surprisingly lightweight and breathable, this durable material includes inserts on the front, in the sleeves, over the shoulders and over the kidney area to increase weather protection where you need it most. There are also minimal seams in the design to avoid chafing when you're out for a while.
Lululemon Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve 2.0
This base layer from Lululemon is packed with features that make it a great choice for the winter months. The fact that it looks nicer than most of our non-fitness clothes is a nice bonus.
The material uses "Silverescent" technology that helps to inhibit the growth of odour causing bacteria, which is always a bonus when it comes to running kit. There are also thumbholes to keep your sleeves secure and the cold air off your wrists, a mesh construction to ensure that it's still breathable despite the thermal qualities, and elastane to make sure the sleek fit retains its shape over time.