(Sadly) It is that time of year where we start to hibernate a little bit, our season of races is over, training is at a bit of a stand still… But its winter and we all know we want to go outside and play in the snow…or rain (depending where we live)!
Here is my top 10 list of winter running gear to help keep us comfortably active!
- A nice warm winter tight
There are many brands out there that make a winter tight. Really its just find one that fits your price range and that fits your body. Key things to look for are, are they insulated? some winter tights will have a treated inside making them soft or fuzzy, like a fleece liner. Nice and warm! Lululemon tights have a Cozy version that come out in the winter, meaning the material of the inside of the tight has been brushed to make them fuzzy and warm. You may also want to keep an eye out for tights that have thicker areas such as the front thighs or behind. An extra thick layer or windbreaker material added to these areas will help keep you warm!
This is a great example of a all-around winter tight from North Face “Although your legs are driving forward during long runs, your lower half still requires cold-weather protection. These warm midweight winter running tights are body mapped with stretch-knit panels for comfort and windproof, water-resistant panels to deflect strong gusts of wind and light rainfall.”
2. Headwear: A buff, Touque or Ear Warmers!
We love our buffs! in the summer they keep us cool in the winter they keep us warm! Buffs are easy to find everywhere you can even buy one of our RLAG buffs! and they have many different uses. All of the major running brands will make winter head wear… look for athlete fabrics that are moisture wicking, stretchy, lightweight and breathable, you don’t want to be wearing a big heavy knitted touque with a pompom bouncing around on the top of it. Besides our RLAG buffs one of my favourites is the Salomon Nordic Headband. A lot of winter running accessories can cross over with nordic skiing. Outdoor Research Makes a Beanie that is made of merino wool, spandex and polyester. The added warmth and moisture wicking from the marine wool work really well for running on those really cold days. We loose a lot of heat from the top of our heads so covering up will keep us going!
3. Jackets and Base/Mid Layers
Here are a few key points to remember when layering up. Your going to be sweating regardless of how cold it is outside so we still need to have moisture wicking base layers, yet something that will keep us warm at the same time. Your base layer can be materials such as , synthetics like polypropylene or polyester; silk; or merino wool. Wool is naturally odor resistant, so it doesn’t need the anti-microbial treatment like the polyesters and it provides superior warmth. Garments such as the Run Swiftly Long Sleeve from Lululemon has built in Silverescent technology, powered by X-STATIC which inhibits the growth of odour-causing bacteria. Your Mid layer should insulate while still allowing moisture to escape. Zoning techniques are popular in mid layer items which basically means thicker insulations like fleece with different fabrics in specific places in the garment, such as the core, under the arms and down the sleeves. When running outside for long periods of time you may need a third layer — a lightweight, windproof, water-resistant (or waterproof), yet breathable jacket. Gore-Tex is still a leader in outdoor wear and has incorporated stretch into their Proshell fabrics now. Salomon, North Face, Arc’teryx, Lululemon, MEC… the list goes on of brands that make awesome running jackets. Here is an example of each layer.
Keeping our fingers warm can be tough at times… gloves come in lots of different thicknesses and styles… I think you will know what is best for your weather situation however you can ask yourself a few questions: Do I want them to be waterproof? Do I want windbreaker protection? Do my hands stay warmer with a mitt or glove? For example here are a few that are loved in the running community!
5. Shoes and Grip
Snow and ice are tricky to run on, you never know what you will run into… hard packed snow, ice, soft deep snow… having added grip to your footwear can be very helpful. Yaktrax, Kako Icebreakers, STABILicers, MicroSpikes. They are all designed to keep you from slipping wether running or walking these grips will allow you to dig through snow and ice. Rubber straps make them easy to fit on many different shapes and sizes of shoes. You can also get running shoes that have more of a prominent tread that will help with running through snowy, muddy conditions. The Salomon Speed Cross 3’s are a great example they also come in Gortex (waterproof) which is great for the snow. Aside from shoe traction you can also help keep your feet warm and weather protected by have a waterproof or Gortex Lined running shoe. Most brand will offer a Goretex option this time of year. If you are looking for 100% traction and will not be running into pavement or gravel then the MicroSpikes are going to be choice #1!
Keeping those toes warm can be hard but it can make or break a run! Going thicker can be of help however lets also look at merino wool percentages! Wool is an amazing fabric, its breathable, moisture wicking and it knows when to conduct heat or remove heat according to our body temperatures. Merino wool tends to be on the softer feeling side of wool. I find it nicer on the feet. Brands like Smart Wool, Darn Tough and Injinji all make amazing wool socks! I am an Injinji toe sock girl so I love the Mid-weight Merino Wool toe socks. They also make a high calk toe sock that is also awesome for keeping more warmth on your calves. CEP Socks are another top favourite of mine, with a variety of socks such as compression socks, calf compression sleeves and marino wool socks. Smart wool also makes toe socks though I find they are more on the scratchy wool side of feel.
It may not be a sunny winter day but the snow is bright, it may be windy and UVB and UVA’s can still reach you! A huge factor in running sunglasses is making sure that they fit properly and will work against fogging up! Make sure you find a pair that are fitted away from the face allowing for the air to flow between your face and the lens, this will help decrease fogging. The color of the lenses will also help you decide what will work best for your conditions. If you are going to be running in different conditions then you need to consider purchasing sunglasses with interchangeable or polarized lenses to cover all your needs. I would recommend SunGod Sunglasses. You can custom make your own, choose your colours, choose your style and they also come in polarized!
Dark Tints: blue/grey/green/brown are good for bright and sunny conditions and are most comfortable for the eyes in harsh light.
Golden Tints: yellow, gold and amber tints are better for low-light conditions as they filter out the blue light and make it easier to see the bumps and edges in the terrain.
Polarized/Photochromic: photochromic lenses are great for very bright conditions as they cut down on the glare from the sun reflecting off salt flats and sand. However, their base colour tends to be darker than normal lenses and so towards the end of the day they may become too dark to use as the shadows grow longer.
Mirrored lenses: enhances the effectiveness of a tinted lens by reflecting sunlight bouncing off the ground, therefore reducing glare.
Clear: Use in dark or windy conditions when you want to reduce your eyes from tearing when running.
Our absolute favourite running shade is the SunGods!
I wouldn’t say these are a 100% must have item however they do come in super handy when you may be entering terrain with snow deeper then the height of your shoe. Gaiters come in tall calf height lengths or short just above the ankle height. They strap on around your leg and then under your shoe. Don’t want snow getting in your shoes… strap on a gaiter! Majority of the tall calf height gaiters will be water proof, some of the smaller stretchy ones that are made for running shoes to keep debris out will not be. Gaiters also work awesome for snowshoeing!
9. Hot Pockets…
Heat Factory hand and toe warmers! These little hot pockets can hold heat for around 6 hours… slip them into your shoes, gloves, pockets anywhere really… happy toes happy hands happy run!
10. Nano Tips
Convert any glove into a technology abled garment! Nano tip is a liquid adhesive that will dry and leave a screen touching ability on the fabric. Not all gloves have a finger tip that can work on a cell phone touch screen, nano tip can change that.