Winter running can be a challenging but rewarding experience, especially when you're appropriately dressed and prepared. Finding the right balance between staying dry and warm without overheating is key when jogging in winter. You can find that balance, avoid injury, and maintain comfort and performance during cold-weather runs with proper layering. So, don't get discouraged when the temperature drops—layer up, get out there and continue your year-round jogging! 

In this article, we'll go over the basics of layering for winter runs and some tips for gearing up in suitable clothing, accessories, and footwear in cold weather.

Layering for cold-weather runs

Crisp air, white, snowy treetops, the glittering path under the feet—that's one magical scenery to enjoy on the run. Winter runs allow you to stay active during the colder months and experience this beauty of the season. It also gives runners a greater sense of achievement, as winter jogging requires dedication to maintain a consistent routine. Regarding health benefits, winter running improves cardiovascular health and boosts your immune system and mental health.

Where does layering come in? Layering is an essential aspect of cold-weather runs. It helps with moisture management and keeping your core temperature in a normal range to avoid hypothermia or overheating. In addition to protecting your body, proper layered clothing enhances your performance, increasing satisfaction after every run. 

What is running layering?

Running layering refers to wearing multiple layers of clothing designed for mixing and matching while on the run in colder temperatures. The goal of layering is to regulate your body temperature and moisture throughout the run and protect you from the elements. You need to understand and secure the three main layers: the base layer, mid layer, and outer layer.

  • Base layer is the layer closest to your skin and is designed to wick moisture away from your body and keep you dry. It's usually made of a synthetic material like polyester or nylon.
  • Mid layer provides insulation. It should be made of a synthetic or natural material that traps heat, like fleece or wool.
  • Outer layer is the layer that protects you from wind and precipitation. It's usually made of a weather-resistant material like nylon or polyester.

The layering equipment for a run includes tops, bottoms, headwear, and other accessories.

Winter running temperature chart

A good rule of thumb is that for a runner, it feels 10°C warmer than the actual outside temperature. However, wind removes heat from the skin more quickly, so you have to consider the wind chill factor when choosing what to wear for your cold-weather run, and be sure to take into account your natural body temperature and how quickly you warm up while exercising.

Let's break this down into a winter running temperature chart.

  • -2°C or below outside feels like 8°C running: layer up! Wear a long-sleeve top, a waterproof and windproof jacket, and running tights for winter with a base layer. It's also advisable to add accessories for hand and head protection;
  • 0°C outside feels like 10°C running: combine long sleeve shirt and weatherproof jacket with compression tights with a technical base layer or thermal running tights;
  • 5°C outside feels like 15°C running: put on a warm or light-weight long-sleeve running top, a wind- and waterproof jacket, and running tights with a technical base layer;
  • 10-12°C outside feels like 20°C running: wear a long sleeve running top with running tights or shorts. Bring a thin, packable waterproof jacket that you can tie around your waist for protection from the elements.

Best running clothes, accessories, and footwear for a winter run

While layering is the most crucial aspect of choosing the appropriate outfit for a winter run, there are certain considerations for selecting these items. You should assemble your winter workout outfit based on each piece's ability to provide the necessary protection and keep you comfortable and able to perform at your best. It's important to choose items that will keep you warm, but not too warm, as you'll be generating heat while running. Consider the different layers of clothing you'll need to wear and the temperature chart.

Let's explore the best options when choosing clothes, accessories, and footwear for an enjoyable winter run.

Choosing tops for winter runs

When selecting a base layer top for your winter run, choose one made of moisture-wicking material. This will help to keep you dry and comfortable, even if you start to sweat. You'll also want to choose a base layer top, such as a long-sleeved shirt that is lightweight and close-fitting to keep you warm without adding too much bulk.

For the mid layer, choose a looser top that is slightly warmer than your base layer yet still breathable, like a long-sleeved sweatshirt, a fleece, or an insulated jacket. This layer will provide additional warmth while allowing you to regulate your body temperature. If you're running in freezing temperatures, go for more insulated running shirts, and in milder temperatures, you can choose tops that are lighter and more breathable.

Choose a top that is both wind and water-resistant such as a windproof jacket as the outer layer. This will help protect you from the elements while letting the vapour and moisture escape.

Choosing bottoms for winter runs

When choosing running tights to wear under your shorts or pants, consider the temperature to decide whether you need a thicker, winter-weight option. The base layer for bottoms needs to be tight-fitting and warm, such as technical running tights and thermal leggings

Running tights or fleece-lined pants will add extra warmth in the mid layer. 

Wear water-resistant, windproof pants as the outer layer to protect against precipitation and wind in a winter run.

Choosing accessories and headwear 

Make sure to wear appropriate headwear and other accessories when going for a run in cold conditions. 

Choose a comfy beanie, earwarmer, or headband to protect your head and ears. Add running gloves to prevent heat loss through insulation while allowing perspiration to evaporate quickly.

For your neck, use a neckwarmer to protect exposed skin against the cold.

Choosing footwear for winter and cold terrain

Last but not least—ensuring your feet are warm and the run is smooth! Proper footwear is crucial for winter running. 

When choosing footwear, consider the type of terrain where you'll be running. If it's a trail covered in snow or ice, you need shoes with a good grip to help prevent slips and falls.

Choose water-resistant, comfortable running shoes for winter roads or sidewalks. You will also need breathable, moisture-wicking running socks to help keep your feet dry and comfortable.


Layering is essential to properly gear up for a winter run. Consider all three layers, their moisture-wicking and insulation properties, and wind and water protection when layering. Remember that the appropriate clothing and footwear for running in winter can vary depending on the temperature and other weather conditions. When in doubt, refer to the winter running temperature chart and our suggestions to ensure you are well-equipped for a nice winter run no matter the weather.