Getting Winter Running Dressing Right


The truth is that how to dress for a run is a highly personal thing. Some runners heat up fast when running, others (myself, for instance) have a higher tolerance for sweat. Not that I enjoy running when it’s hot and humid, mind you.

I swear runners wouldn’t be runners if we weren’t complaining about something!

This post is about how I got it right on a recent run. YMMV (your mileage — or outfit — may (will) vary).

Fairytales and Fitness

Let’s set the stage, shall we?
The temperature is 34F. There is a cold, light, but steady drizzle falling. The sky is gray, but there’s no wind. The kind of day I’d usually opt for the treadmill, but I already knew I’d be on the treadmill later in the week, and I really do try to make an effort to #optoutside as much as I can stand in Winter!

What do I need?
It’s not inviting weather, but knowing what you need to tackle it is half the battle:

  • I need a way to keep the cold, steady drizzle out of my face
  • I need clothes that will at least partially repel said drizzle so I stay at least somewhat dry
  • I need a way to make sure I don’t slip on the road
  • I need a way to keep my hands and my feet dry
Wonder Wool kept me dry, trail shoes helped me stay upright, and the gloves are very warm and actually work on my phone

So what did I choose to meet all those needs?

  • I need a way to keep the cold, steady drizzle out of my face
    I have a hat with an attached gaiter and a brim like a baseball cap, only it’s a Winter hat. I don’t wear it often, but man it made all the difference on that run.
  • I need clothes that will at least partially repel said drizzle so I stay at least somewhat dry
    Skirt Sports Wonder Wool to the rescue! Get my long sleeve top here (I’m a Skirt Sports Ambassador) — it’s not at all itchy, since it’s not 100% wool, but it does help repel water). With my newer coat from the North Face (found at Marshalls) with Thermoball material in a vest like position on your body, but fleece on the sides and arms. The coat did a good job of keeping me warm and almost dry — the Wonder Wool top underneath kept what moisture that got through off of my body.
  • I need a way to make sure I don’t slip on the road
    I chose to wear trail shoes. I think with regular road shoes I might have struggled more with footing, but maybe not.
  • I need a way to keep my hands and my feet dry
    The trail shoes also have the added benefit of keeping your feet pretty dry. I chose my 180s gloves — a bit warm for the temps, but they have wind hoodies that go over the fingers, which helped keep my hands dry, and they’re one of the few tech gloves I have that actually work — even the hoodies seemed to work for swiping through different data screens on the run. Winning!
I don’t wear this hat often, but it works so well to keep my neck warm (attached gaiter) and the snow out of my eyes due to the brim!

Somehow I nailed this outfit
It was pretty perfect. This run could have been totally soul sucking, but instead, it was the strongest I’ve felt on the run in a couple of weeks. I can’t lay that completely on my outfit, but I know if I’d been cold and wet on the run it would definitely have made this run far less enjoyable. Not that I would have minded sunshine and no drizzle!

Final Thoughts

The right clothes can make or break a bad weather run. Know what’s right for your body — and don’t let anyone dissuade you. What to wear is a very personal decision that varies greatly from one person to another. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Does how you dress make a difference on how your run goes?

Have you ever tried wool running clothes?

Recommendation for winter running gloves?

19 thoughts on “Getting Winter Running Dressing Right

  1. That hat sounds like the perfect running hat! You look very cosy in your winter outfit. I once overdressed for a race in October in the Swiss mountains and I overheated like crazy. I paid for that mistake – the 19k race was not much fun at all.
    Dressing right can make all the difference!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, dressing can make a huge difference — and it’s so individual, too, so that makes it even harder.

      There were high school runners in the neighborhood yesterday. As I ran, and later when I walked the dogs. And it was cold yesterday! Of course one of the runners was in shorts.

      I wouldn’t have done that even when I was younger.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to admit that I froze yesterday. So hard in the am to bring what you need and I had PT and dr. Appt and work.

    As a result. No hat no gloves. No jacket. Just regular tights. A shirt and vest. Teens with windchill. I survived.

    I should post on low budget running. You can run without all the right stuff.
    Just doing it is what matters.

    Of course. I’m sure you were more comfortable than I was. It made me run faster. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do put out my clothes the night before. I usually try to have a couple of options.

      You, of course, would’ve been hot in what I wore. Which is why I mentioned that everyone is different — just point out the things to consider and how I dealt with it.

      Sometimes I definitely get it wrong!


      1. Much easy when you are at home.
        I packed 3 bags yesterday in the am and often by the afternoon, the weather is often very different than predicted.
        Obviously I was rushed..can’t believe I forgot a hat and gloves.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Luckily we’ve had a mild winter so far, so I’ve mostly worn one of a few tops and my reflective vest, ear warmers, and mitten/gloves. Yesterday my (disposable) water bottle leaked on my gloves,though, so I had to get rid of it to save my fingers from freezing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate when my water bottles leak! It’s the worst in Winter.

      Our Winter has been mild too. For upstate NY, LOL! Which means there have still been days in single digits and teens, there’s been a LOT of ice this winter — but then it warms up and mostly melts.

      I am still very unmotivated to run right now!


  4. You’re absolutely right about how everyone has different requirements on what to wear. My daughter will often wear a tank top and shorts to run in the winter while I’ll wear tights, a pullover, winter hat, and gloves on that same run. She obviously generates more heat than I do when running. I discovered Turtle gloves a couple of years ago and love them. They have mittens in different thicknesses, repel water (or snow) well and are fully convertible if your hands get too warm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, dressing is SO individual. I just shared it to show my thinking process. Of course I know a lot of people don’t think that much about their outfits, but that’s me. 🙂

      I’ve heard about the Turtle Gloves from Bibrave Pros, I think. I may have to pick up a pair. I have several convertible gloves, some quite old, and I just love them.

      The 180 Degrees aren’t convertible, but they do keep my hands really warm!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have to say that for me, the thermoball is reserved for sub-zero conditions. I couldn’t bear it in anything warmer. I am a sweaty person, I guess! I have a few pairs of convertable gloves and those are definitely my go to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This jacket only has the thermoball material on the core — like a vest — the rest is kind of a heavy cotton. I wear a short sleeved wool tee under and it can get me down to pretty cold temps.

      I’m always sweaty, though.


  6. I have a draft-in-process on a very similar topic. I see so many charts on “how to dress for the cold,” but (as you mentioned), it is SO unique for every one of us.Throw in the unpredictability of Iowa winters, and it’s a crap shoot even for those of us who are outside most of the time LOL My main go-to is still a puffer vest…it’s warm, but not as “stuffy” as a jacket and I have the option to layer arm sleeves under my shirt(s).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve tried arm sleeves, but as you point out, it’s an individual thing. Just not a fan. I’d rather heat up a bit and unzip my jacket.

      I might’ve been able to make do with a vest today, it was that nice, but most of the time I’m glad to have those sleeves on for the walk back to the car!


  7. Does how you dress make a difference on how your run goes? Yes! Too hot/slower. Too cold/faster

    Have you ever tried wool running clothes? Never since wool is typically itchy.

    Recommendation for winter running gloves? For me absolutely. I’ve got poor circulation in my hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nope, the wool running clothes I haven’t aren’t at all itchy. They don’t have a lot of wool in them, but it’s enough to wick away moisture like crazy without being itchy. It’s been a huge game changer for me!


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