What to Wear for Running in Cold Weather in 2020

What to Wear for Running in Cold Weather in 2020
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What to Wear for Running in Cold Weather in 2020

Just because the temperature drops doesn’t mean you give up running. You are probably wondering what to wear for running in cold weather? All you need is the proper winter running gear. While getting the motivation to run in the cold can be a challenging task, the truth is that by gearing up, you can run just as quickly during chilly days as any of the other season of the year. 

The worst part is to decide what to wear while running in cold weather! 

You have to figure out the right clothes based on the exact temperature instead of immediately sweating through your jacket or freezing your fingers off. 

To do so, you have to determine how many layers of clothing you require and make a smart choice for your gears to continue running in cold weather. Instead of finding out what to do and what to avoid for trial and error, you should use the essential guide to choose your winter running gear in cold weather to keep your body warm and comfortable while running long distances. 

The Importance of Layering

The key to comfort running outdoors during the winter is layering. Layers help you in two ways. They provide a pocket of air between each layer as well as keep your body warm. 

Layers also allow you to control your internal temperature easily. You can easily unzip or take off your running jacket, remove your hat, or take off a mid-layer to adjust to your comfort during running.

One of the favorite cold weather apparel is jackets or zip shirt. It lets you control body temperature and allow you to adjust on the fly. You can zip it up on downhills or during your cool down and again unzip it on uphills or tempo runs.

Layer up the right way

Unfortunately, layering correctly can be a daunting task to manage as there are some other factors such as humidity, wind, rain, and even snow that can affect your choice of clothing in winters. You should choose your winter wear for running based on temperature.

It becomes challenging to determine the number and thickness of your layers, and if you get it wrong, you can end up overheating or shivering as you trot home.

So, what to wear if temperatures fall? Have a look at the guidelines below: 

30 To 40 Degrees Fahrenheit:

Wear a long-sleeved shirt with long pants or running tights. You can also layer with a light jacket, fleece, or sweatshirt. Try lightweight gloves if required. 

20 To 30 Degrees Fahrenheit: 

A thermal base layer and a long sleeve shirt with tights can help you during your running in cold weather. For more comfort and warmness, you can put a layer of running pants over your shorts. 

Get a fleece top with a lightweight running jacket. You may also require a hat and gloves before you go outdoors. 

Less Than 20 Degrees Fahrenheit: 

Bundle up with long-sleeve running tights and shirts. Then a layer of sweatshirt or fleece and also an extra pair of running pants. You can Zip up in a lightweight jacket.  

Besides, you should also consider getting thick gloves, a hat, and a neck gaiter as well.

Head and Neck

On cold days, you lose 10% of your heat from the head, so it’s crucial to keep it covered. You have to protect your skin from cold and wind, and also prevent frostbite and chapped skin and lips. Here’s how you can protect your head and neck.

Thermal hat: 

In case the temperature drop, a fleece or wool hat is perfect for keeping your head warm for your winter runs. It’s best to get running with breathable, sweat-resistant fabric and made from a soft material so that you feel comfortable. 

Get a brighter color such as green or pink for increased visibility where there is snow on the surface. 

Neck warmer:

If you’re planning to run in below-freezing temperatures, then you should put on a neck warmer. A lightweight running scarf is the best choice as it allows complete neck movement while keeping your neck warm.


A balaclava is a type of headgear that is used to cover the head. It is also known as a ski mask. The headgear is made from fleece or wool that only exposes your face or a part of it and sometimes only your eyes. Don’t forget to put it if the temperature or wind chill falls below 10 F. 

Upper Body

The key for winter running dressing is to consider the upper body, and layering is the best option. Not only layers help you keep your body heat trapped, but also it also allows sweat to move through the layers of clothing. The moisture can be quickly wicked away from the first layer to the outer layer and evaporates, keeping your body dry. 

Let’s find out which layers you can try during your winter runs:

Base layer: 

No matter what the temperature, the base layer you wear should be moisture wicked. Get a synthetic wicking material, such as DryFit, Thinsulate, Thermax, CoolMax, polypropylene, or silk.

Avoid wearing cotton as it absorbs moisture, and once it becomes wet, you’ll remain wet throughout your run. Start with a lightweight, high fit base layer shirt which has a high neckline.

 You can just go with a long-sleeve base layer if the temp is above 40 F.

Insulating layer: 

The goal of the second or middle layer is to keep you warm. Look for comfortable insulating material like fleece or wool that allows for a full range of motion by wicking away the moisture from the body. 

Try a relaxed-fit hoodie or insulated jacket that uses perfect balance for heat-trapping and comfortable for running, so more layers can fit underneath yet release enough vapor or heat to avoid overheating.

Fabrics suggested for the insulating layer include Akwatek, polyester fleece, microfleece, Thermafleece, and Thermax.

Windproof and waterproof outer layer: 

This layer should allow heat and moisture to escape and prevent both overheating and chilling, as well as also protect your face from the wind humidity. So this outer layer should be insulated yet breathable.

Wearing a jacket with a zipper is an ideal option as it will help regulate your body temperature by quickly zipping it up and down.

Suggested outer layers fabrics are ClimaFit, Nylon, Microsuplex, Supplex, and Windstopper. 


30 % of your body heat is lost through your extremities. So it is equally important to cover your hands as that of your body. Even in moderate temperatures, your hands can still cold when you begin your first run in winters, so wearing gloves is a great idea.

Get snug-fit running gloves that wick away moisture and also look for a pair that offers you the freedom to the touchscreen to tune to your favorite playlist. 

Lower Body

As other body parts lower body is also required to keep warm instead, you think that running your legs will become warm. So shorts can go. But it’s not true! Depending on the temperature, you also have to consider what you wear on your legs and feet in order to enjoy your winter runs comfortably.

Tights or running pants: 

A good pair of tights for runners is required to be added to their dressing for a winter run. Wear a pair of tights or running pants that are made of synthetic material such as Thermion, Thinsulate, Thermax, Coolmax, polypropylene, or even silk.

If the temperature falls below 10 or chilly weather, then you can consider two layers on your lower body – a moisture-wicking layer of tight and a win-proof layer if running pants.


For long-distance comfort running, you have to keep your feet warm and dry. Find running shoes with as little mesh as possible to avoid water to seep to your feet. You can get through the article for the best running shoe to find, which can be your good companion for your long runs.


The most overlooked component in running gear is socks. But it can make a difference. Wearing a running sock with padding on the sole softens the impact on your heel, and the fabric keeps feet dry. Look for running socks that won’t absorb sweat; you can get acrylic, CoolMax, or wool made socks. Another option for those crazy runners who prefer shorts but want to keep their calves, I recommend checking out compression socks.

Discover more tips on what to wear during running from our running gear section. Your level of comfort is the key to success- and you have to figure out what best suits you. 

Also, check our guide for the best running shoes for beginners and share your views in the comment section. We would love to hear your suggestion! 

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