How To Layer Properly For A Winter Run

The winter months can be the most challenging time of year for runners. One of the reasons those cold months are no good is because it can be very hard for a runner to decided what to wear.

If too many layers are worn, then the runner will immediately start sweating as they attempt to get those miles in. The flipside is that if not enough layers are worn runners can face injury, tightened muscles, and suffer from being too cold.

Katherine Kielar, marketing brand manager at SIX:02 Powered by Foot Locker, recently spoke with Shape to discuss several different topics regarding running in the winter time. First up is clothing. She recommends that people dress as though it is 20 degrees warmer. For example, if it is 35 degrees outside, Kielar will dress as though it is 55 degrees outside on her runs. The reason for this trick is because body temperatures rise when a person is running, regardless of the temperature outside. It is the one constant aspect of running.


Bases on a chart Kieler created, here is the breakdown of layers. The base layer should always be moisture wicking. It doesn't matter sleeve length, that can change per season. Next up is the insulating layer, which the primary purpose is to keep the runner warm. Vest layer is vital because it will keep the core warm but also free up the arms.

The jacket is the outer most layer and should be insulated but also breathable. Tights are another must-have when the temperatures start to drop. Make sure the tights are moisture-wicking and that have comfortable seams. Heat capturing tights are great for when the temperatures get frigid. Every person running needs a good pair of socks but especially during the winter months. Socks should be made from fabric that won't absorb sweat, as well as that, have padding to keep feet dry.

Ear warmers, hats, and glove round out the final layers needed. The hat or ear warmers will need to feel comfortable but also be sweat resistant and breathable. Kieler recommends having a beanie and wearing bright colors for visibility to others. Runners who are braving those below freezing winter temperatures should add a comfortable non-restricting neck warmer to keep the cold away from the skin.


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