Cold-Weather Running Gear: The Perfect Kit

Round out your gear with our picks for running all fall and winter long.

With the right gear, like layers and lights, chilly runs can go from dreadful to delightful. Plus, crisp air and the crunch of fallen leaves or fresh snow under your sneaks can be a great antidote to the emotional darkness that can result from less daylight and more time spent inside.

Here is our cold-weather running kit, including our favorite base layers, a bright vest to keep you visible and more.

On Weather Jacket (Women’s, Men’s)

This weather-resistant jacket from On hits the perfect, hard-to-find balance between durable and lightweight. The ripstop shell is tough, but still feels smooth and luxe; smart cinch points at the shoulders and upper waist keep it moving with you, a clear benefit in the women’s cut. When you start warming up, vents in the chest, back and hood keep you breezy. When it’s blustery, a weighted hood stays put, keeping extra moisture off your face. The jacket is water resistant, but not waterproof, which means better breathability while running but not the strongest protection outside of vigorous activity. Order a size up if you want to layer underneath. $119.93 – 240

Patagonia R1 Pullover (Women’s, Men’s)

Patagonia R1 Pullover

This well-loved fleece from Patagonia has been around for more than two decades. And the classic waffle grid continues to make it a versatile and breathable pullover for fall and winter runs. The R1 insulates like a true midlayer with synthetic fleece, made with recycled materials, but sweat can escape through the channels created in the waffle pattern. Need to dump more heat? A deep-venting front zipper and sleeves that push up easily also help with temperature regulation. $129

rabbit EZ Tee Long Sleeve T-Shirt – Women’s

rabbit EZ Tee Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Ah, the constant battle of the cold-weather runner: how much to layer for chilly temperatures when you know you’ll be sweating soon. The EZ Tee from rabbit is soft, long sleeve and quick to dry, making it a solid standalone option on mild days or a primo base layer when the temperatures start to plummet. $50 – 55

REI Co-op Swiftland Insulated Running Jacket (Women’s & Men’s)

For frigid days, on the other hand, reach for the REI Co-op Swiftland Insulated Running Jacket, which is toasty where you need it and breathable where you don’t. The nylon ripstop exterior has a durable water repellent finish in the chest and shoulders to block light precip, while strategically placed fleece-backed stretch knit through the body provides critical warmth and mobility. Three zippered pockets allow plenty of room for essentials. $59.93 – 99.95

REI Co-op Swiftland Running Pants – Men’s

It can be tricky to find running pants if skin-tight leggings aren’t your thing. Enter the sleek REI Co-op Swiftland Running pants, with a tapered leg and 4-way stretch material. Built with wind- and water-resistant material in the front and back and more breathable fabric under the legs, they’re designed for sweating in inclement weather. With a new design including articulated knees and gusset as well as a hidden drawcord to customize fit, you’ll feel right at home during your cold-weather runs. Nice touch: The pants feature two drop-in side pockets and a sleeve in the right-hand pocket to secure your phone. Plus, they were made in a Fair Trade Certified™ factory, which promotes safe working conditions and sustainable livelihoods. $89.95

Janji Aurora Fleece Tights – Women’s

The Janji Aurora Fleece Tights balance coziness and performance with fleece lining that will keep you warm in chilly temps and moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabric that will get you moving no matter the paces. Two large zip pockets secure your keys and trail snacks while a stretchy drawcord means you can adjust the fit for your body (and don’t have to hike up your pants on long runs). Plus, a solution for those terribly early sunsets: Reflective side seams offer enhanced visibility at night. As a company, Janji aims to expand access to safe drinking water in the places people run around the world. Learn more about their mission. $118

REI Co-op Liner Glove 2.0

Even as your core warms up on a chilly run, your fingers can stay cold for miles. Gloves can be key to comfort. The soft, stretchy, slim-fitting REI Co-op Liner Glove 2.0 fits the bill. Spandex around the wrist keeps them secure, and touchscreen-friendly fingertips mean you won’t have to take them off mid-run to change the change the track on your playlist. When you do, they have a low-profile loop to keep them attached to you. The 2.0 version is updated with more durable construction, and is made from recycled nylon and bluesign®-approved material. $24.95

Darn Tough Stride Micro Crew Ultralightweight Socks (Women’s & Men’s)

A person with dark brown skin wearing the Darn Tough Stride Micro Crew Ultralightweight Socks - Men's.

We like thin wool socks year-round, for almost any activity, and when it comes to cold-weather running, we particularly appreciate the Darn Tough Stride Micro Crew. The not-quite-crew-length height covers chilly ankles without bunching, and the quick-drying fabric—a blend of merino wool, nylon and Lycra spandex—means they competently handle a bit of sweat and snow. $20

HOKA Clifton 9 Road-Running Shoes (Women’s & Men’s)

Image courtesy of HOKA

Give “cold comfort” the opposite meaning with the HOKA Clifton 9. This 2023 REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award winner boasts a plush CMEVA midsole and reliable traction on slick surfaces. A lightweight design helps you tick off those winter miles without the drudgery while a variety of fun color ways, from Amber Haze to Ice Water (pictured above), makes you stand out amongst the typical muted apparel of the season. $145

Salomon Thundercross Trail-Running Shoes (Women’s, Women’s GORE-TEX, Men’s & Men’s GORE-TEX)

Three people running in the Salomon Thundercross GORE-TEX Road-Running Shoes
Image courtesy of Salomon

Speaking of traction, no matter the surface, you’ll want a rugged shoe that can withstand all kinds of weather. For that, try to Salomon Thundercross, which has regular and GORE-TEX options. Whether you prioritize breathability or waterproof protection as you tackle snow, rain, mud or rock, the Thundercross has you covered with its smooth, durable and versatile ride. $140 – 160

Kahtoola EXOspikes Traction System

Kahtoola EXOspikes Traction System

Traction devices can help to avert slips or falls on icy days or slick trails. The light-but-durable Kahtoola EXOspikes feature 12 cleat-like nubs that claw into ice and snow to help you stay upright. A stretchy harness slips over your shoes and the open-web design helps prevent snow from balling up underneath. $62.95

The Nathan Pinnacle 12L Hydration Running Vest (Women’s & Unisex)

It can be deceivingly difficult to drink enough water in colder temperatures because your body isn’t crying out for fluid the way it does during summer. But proper hydration is still important. The REI Co-op Editors’ Choice Award-winning Pinnacle 12L from Nathan comes with an insulated bladder and a close-to-the-body fit. Those features help keep your water from freezing on long, chilly runs. $200

Amphipod Xinglet

Amphipod Xinglet

Short days could mean you’re running in the pre-work dark or evening gloom. Help other runners and vehicles see you on dark and dusky outings with the light, minimalist Amphipod Xinglet. Its 360 degrees of super-bright reflectors help increase your visibility, and it adjusts easily to accommodate layers. Nice touch: It’s free of batteries or bells and whistles, so it won’t easily fail on you. $35

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

Up your illumination factor even more with the 2.8-ounce Petzl Actik Core headlamp, an Editors’ Choice Award winner. This night-light is so lightweight it’s almost imperceptible on your head, but its 450 lumens (on the high setting) make all the difference on the ground. The headband is washable—a perk for sweaty runners—and the lamp comes with a Core USB-rechargeable battery; it also accepts three AAA batteries if you’re traveling or otherwise in a pinch. $69.95

Arc’teryx Bird Head Toque Beanie

Arc'teryx Bird Head Toque Beanie in a mustard yellow color with a brown design.

Once your head gets cold, all bets are off. Stay toasty the the Arc’teryx Bird Head Toque Beanie. It’s a stylish, lightweight choice for your cold-weather runs, and its superfine merino and acrylic blend won’t only be insulating but comfy against your skin. $45

Interested in more staff picks and kits? Find more collections here.

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