Winter runs can be bearable if you wear the right great. My favorite cold weather running gear includes the Athleta Polartec Tights, Smartwool mittens, Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer, and Tracksmith Downeaster Quarter zip. All my favorites, tested running in cold weather, is below.
I’ve done a lot of winter running gear reviews from best running tights for cold weather, best running gloves and mittens, and best overall winter running gear guide listing dozens of products. But now I am sharing my best winter running gear for 2024. These items are my go-to cold weather running gear and clothing when the temperature drops.
There is a lot of great cold weather running gear but these are the most comfortable, durable, protective, and attractive.
Unlike my other reviews, these winter running gear items are based solely on my experience wearing them in all types of weather from sub-freezing temps to snow to freezing rain.
Staying warm is really important to me. I have Raynaud’s syndrome so I get cold very easily and when I get chilled it is hard for me to get warm. My hands turn white and can’t function. My toes sometimes will, too. Being cold makes it not only hard to run, but hard to get motivated.
Therefore, wearing the right gear to withstand the elements and the coldest days is crucial. Below is my top ten best winter running gear for 2024 to keep you out there chasing those goals—no matter the weather! (But really, if the weather is bad, check out my top affordable treadmills list.)
Here are my top ten best cold weather running gear:
- Athleta Altitude Tight in Polartec Power Stretch
- SmartWool Mittens
- Ocoopa Hand Warmers
- Smartwool Running Socks
- Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer
- Tracksmith Downeaster Quarter Zip
- Patagonia Houdini Jacket
- Tracksmith Varsity Runner’s Cap
- Tracksmith Inverno Neck Warmer
- Rabbit Let Er Rip Running Vest
Ok, now let’s get to the list, shall we?
My Top Ten Best Cold Weather Winter Running Gear for 2024
Athleta Altitude Tight in Polartec Power Stretch – Best Winter Running Tights
I am in love…IN LOVE…with the Athleta Altitude Tight in Polartec. My daughter Eleanor also has a couple of pairs. These pants are so super comfortable and warm, they will forever make my best cold weather running gear list. They feel like warm fluffy socks but for your legs. They are a thick (which some people don’t like) but not too thick. You still have mobility.
And what’s amazing is these tights stay put—no saggy crotch even when running. What is also amazing is that they don’t get sweaty when you’re running either. They are made of breathable fabric, have an internal drawcord, AND have large pockets on your thighs. The size of these pockets make it easy to store your cell phone and energy gels. The placement of these pockets make it easy to reach and the items inside don’t jostle around.
I give these winter running tights a ten out of ten! (Eleanor does, too!).
Best Running Mittens – SmartWool Mittens
I have bought and tried many winter running gloves and winter running mittens but I keep going back to the simplicity of these Smartwool mittens. No, they don’t have reflective details and aren’t waterproof or convertible. BUT, they are warm. And as someone with Raynaud’s where my hands turn white and immobile when the temps drop into the 50s, keeping my hands warm is paramount.
These mittens keep my hands toasty and honestly, because they are so thick—they don’t get water-logged very easily. The material is amazingly breathable because that’s what Merino wool does—it traps heat and wicks away moisture. The double-layer knit construction provides optimal warmth. The mittens design allows my body heat to transfer from finger to finger. And because the mitten is large, I can even hold gels inside.
Related: Best Running Mittens for Cold Runs
Best Hand Warmers – Ocoopa
$35 for one
Ocoopa are rechargeable hand warmers that you can put in your gloves or mittens for added warmth! A fellow mother runner up north told me about them, and I was surprised I hadn’t heard of these genius items before. I’ve reviewed heated gloves and suggested hot hands inside mittens for very cold days. But these are cheaper (no need to keep buying) and just as effective—and last for 14 hours (so good for long runs!).
Simply charge these when you’re done and use them the next day. Some runners may find them bulky to have in mittens or gloves and prefer hot hands. However, I find it so convenient to have them as an option for cold runs.
Related: THE Best Running Gear for Winter
Best Winter Running Socks – Smartwool Running Socks
So I love Smartwool mittens but I also love Smartwool socks. They are THE best wool socks–clearly I am just crazy for Smartwool! I have found Smartwool to feature the warmest material and construction of products around. These warm socks have targeted cushion in all the right spots, are nice and long to keep your ankles warm, and are moisture-wicking. You have the option to buy shorter ones but in the winter, I recommend the long socks!
Best Base Layer – Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer
No matter how you feel about Tracksmith, you can’t argue that their Brighton Base Layer is one of the best moisture-wicking base layers for running around. Yes, it is because it is made of my favorite winter running material—WOOL! Wool traps heat and wicks moisture. But what also makes the Brighton wool base layer amazing is that it is an attractive fit – hugging the body in a soft and flexible way.
The material is thin but still warm. And it comes in beautiful colors. It’s perfect to layer over or wear alone. I have worn my Brighton base layer for years and years, and it has withstood endless washes and miles. I have three just because I love it so much. (Make it an even warmer base layer by tucking it in!).
Related: 16 Best Running Safety Devices
Best Long Sleeve Shirt – Tracksmith Downeaster Quarter Zip
In keeping with loving Tracksmith’s winter gear and WOOL, the Tracksmith Downeaster Quarter Zip is perfect for layering over my Tracksmith sweat-wicking base layer. This long-sleeve shirt is a thicker wool that blocks cold wind and air. You can also wear it alone for temperature regulation.
I love the quarter zip feature on this long sleeve shirt because you have the option to zip it up to keep cold air out and zip down as you warm up. It’s also an attractive middle layer, so I will wear it running errands or to my kids’ schools. It is pricey, but if you wash it correctly (gentle cycle and air dry), it stays in mint condition!
Best Outer Layer – Patagonia Houdini Jacket
Mark my words. I will forever keep the Patagonia Houdini Jacket on any winter running gear list I create. Why? Because it truly is MAGIC. This light windbreaker is made of a thin material but somehow keeps you warm on cold windy days and dry on snowy runs. I have several of these jackets (with a hood and without) because they are so functional. What I love most is that they help you warmup quick and then because they are so thin, they are easy to carry on the run. I often throw on this thin jacket for a cold run, and then strip it after the first mile when my body temperature rises.
My favorite feature of this warm jacket is that it even packs into a small lightweight pouch to carry. This light jacket is the best outlayer to in low temperatures trap heat, resist water, and block cold wind. It is a must-have for any winter run.
Related: Best Pocket Shorts for Runners
Best Winter Running Hat – Tracksmith Varsity Runner’s Cap
So, I will be honest that running in a cotton winter hat will suffice for most runners. But if you don’t want your head to get hot, hair to get sweaty, and you want to look stylish, invest in the Tracksmith Varsity Runner’s Cap.
Not only is it that beautiful merino wool so it wicks moisture and traps heat, it is attractive. If you’re wearing any of the Tracksmith tops, you’ll look so coordinated with your winter running gear with this cap. It’s stylish and soft, a purchase you won’t regret.
Best Winter Running Buff – Tracksmith Inverno Neck Warmer
Because I like to be somewhat coordinated in my running attire, I am including the Tracksmith running buff as the best winter running buff. Other brands like Lululemon and Athleta also have great winter running buffs, but I like to match. And the Tracksmith buff checks all the boxes. It it is super soft, stylish, stays put, and is nice and long so it acts as neck gaiter and face mask. It also wicks away moisture and is light so you can carry it on the run. It matches your other Tracksmith gear, coming in the typical Tracksmith earthy color palettes, and is priced around the same as other running buffs.
Best Running Vest – Rabbit Let Er Rip Running Vest
Running vests are an amazing invention for cold temperatures. They keep your upper body warm on cold weather runs without overheating you—especially your arms and legs so you can stay fast and free. The Rabbit running vest is the best around when you need an extra layer.
Key features are its microfleece on the inside and a water resistant material on the outside. It’s easy to take on and off, and is light, not bulky. I layer it over on confusing temperature days and on really cold winter days when I need more than a base layer and out layer. This vest is fitted and sits a bit longer over the hips for added warmth. I also love that it has zip pockets!
I’d put it on your wish list, for sure!
I hope this cold weather running gear helps you on your winter runs so you can keep warm and keep chasing those goals.
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