Submitted by Carrie Riggin — Columnist
I absolutely love running outside, and that doesnt change when the winter months come around. But what does have to change is my workout apparel, and Ive officially swapped out my summer spandex shorts for my fav insulating, moisture-wicking (fabric that transports perspiration away from the body) cold gear.
Below I break down my top picks for the best winter workout gear, including tops, bottoms and accessories. Check them out so that you, too, can get peak performance in cold temps!
BASE & MIDDLE LAYERS
Your base layers must be composed of insulating material, but also moisture-wicking material. Ideal base layers are made of wool, polypropylene and other various synthetic fibers that are warm and wicking (avoid cotton and silk, which stay wet if you sweat). Choose fitted base layers (aka long underwear) that cover exposed spotsyour ankles, wrists and, possibly, neck.
This top uses both wool and polypropylene to let more heat escape from places that are sweat-prone (like your back and underarms) and trap heat in places that are likely to be chilled.
This form-fitting, half-zip top is made up of compression fabric that absorbs moisture from your skin and is designed to enhance circulation and reduce fatigue.
Who said you couldnt exercise in style on a budget? Old Navy makes it possible with their brand-new active-wear line, which includes a top-of-the-line, moisture-wicking compression jacket to keep you dry during your long runs. These particular tops have smooth, quick-drying tricot fabric with added stretch and breathable mesh panels at the sides and back, designed for peak active performance.
Other leading brands for synthetics and wool base layers: Capilene by Patagonia, COOLMAX, ExOfficio, Hot Chillys, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, REI Polartec Power Dry, The North Face, Under Armour, Ibex, Icebreaker, Patagonia, SmartWool
The outer layer should be your thickest insulating layer and your warmest layer. When choosing an outer layer, take into consideration temperature, weight, style and purpose. An outer layer can come in the form of a heavy fleece, down jacket, softshell or ski jacket.
For days when a thermal shirt isn't enough, this light-weight jacket and windbreaker provides an added layer of protection against wind, sleet and snow, while also ventilating enough heat to prevent discomfort and excess chill.
This semi-fitted, fully loaded jacket is designed for high aerobic activity and offers the ideal warmth-to-weight ratio, along with breathable, full-stretch and waterproof fabric.
Tights and running pants are a lot like top layers: wicking fabrics and a snug fit are essential.
These chic pink-and-black workout tights are made of UA Compression construction (stabilizes muscles, increases muscle power, circulates body heat and decreases recovery time after your workout) and cold-crushing EVO ColdGear® fabric (provides a durable, slick, fast-drying exterior) and offer their signature Moisture Transport System (wicks sweat away from your body to keep you dry) and super-breathable mesh insets for comfortable performance.
In thermal-weight stretch fabric with a smooth face for durability and microfleece backing for warmth, it also has reflective trim for visibility.
When it's cold, blood flow is concentrated in your body's core, leaving your ears and hands vulnerable to extreme chill. Keep them covered with the following fashionable accessories.
Hand Gear: Brooks HVAC Glove, $34
Make sure to look for gloves that are thin enough for mobility, but that insulate against low temperatures and other weather conditions. If you can find running gloves that perform double duty with extra features, like pockets for keys or cash or touchscreen compatibility, the better. These particular gloves boast a slick black look to keep you looking sharp during your run (since I know that is your No. 1 concern!).