Best Winter Running Gear 2020: Top gear picks for running in the cold

Running gear to keep you warm and safe in the harshest conditions.

Our top gear picks for running in cold weather.

We cover each category for both men and women, from running-sole to the good ol’ noggin!

After many winters testing when we didn’t even know we were testing, we cover the gear so you can stay covered and warm.

As discussed in a previous article, many of our contributors have braved some seriously cold winter running conditions. Back then, we weren’t running to test products. We were just running for the love and to stay warm!

Now, we have tested some new products and re-examined the old. And, after all those years of frozen eyelashes and rosy cheeks, we can say with confidence that the gear below is the best cold weather running gear out there.

Best Cold Weather Running Gear:

Feet

Remember, for winter running you want a shoe that is waterproof-breathable, high-profile (sides that go high up on the ankle and have no mesh near the sole), and have wide-deep tread.

Our top picks are extra high-top (all these shoes come in low-top versions). They look like hiking shoes and they are great hiking shoes as well, but these trail running shoes will keep the elements out and your feet dry running in the cold.

Dry feet mean warm feet. And, warm feet mean more warmth overall. The warmer you are, the more efficient your muscles. The more efficient your muscles, the better you run.

When it comes to winter running gear, shoes might be the most expensive things you purchase. However, the right shoes can mean the difference between pure winter running ecstasy and complete torture.

These particular shoes might not be your thing or have the wrong in-sole for you. That’s ok, take a look at them and get an idea of the specs you are looking for. Chances are, there is something similar that will work for you.

Get the right shoes so you can enjoy running outside this winter.

Best Men’s Winter Running Shoes:

Salomon Snowspike CSWP Winter Trail

When it comes to winter running shoes, Salomon is not messing around. These burly shoes feature a full waterproof-breathable inner with an extra easy-zip outer cover. The high ankle fits snugly and comfortable to keep debris out so you don’t ever need gaiters. They get their name from the spikes around the outer sole. The same model can be found without the high top or spikes through the link below.
• Keep in mind, Salomons tend to run on the narrow side.
• The Hokas shown below are much better suited for wider feet.

Best Features:
• Deep wide tread w/metal spike for extra ice traction
• Easy Zip ankle guard to seal out cold weather
• Reinforced toe
• Bright colors for visibility

best winter running shoes solomon spikecross gtx trail running shoe

Best Women’s Winter Running Shoes:

Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX

Like their bright red cousins shown above, these shoes are made for adventure. They are made with the same super tread soles and fully waterproof membrane. We couldn’t find the high-top ones above in womens (oversight by Salomon?). And, asking around we didn’t know any women who had tried the high-tops so didn’t want to recommend them here. We do know someone who runs with these all winter in coastal Oregon and she says they are one of her favorite winter shoes (she runs them with Dirty Girl Gaiters) after the Hokas listed below.
• Note: These do not have the outer-sole spikes like the red high-tops above.
• Remember, Salomons tend to be run on the narrow side

Best Features:
• Deep wide tread
• Extra toe lugs for traction
• Full waterproof-breathability with seamless tongue

salomon speedcross 5 gtx winter trail running shoes

Ankles

Now that your feet are warm and dry you’re going to want to keep all that moisture and mud from getting in around your ankles.

This is where running gaiters come into the game!

The beauty of these little ankle widgets is in their simplicity. Basically just a stretchy tube that covers your ankle and upper foot, gaiters can mean the difference between complete weather protection and total fail.

Gaiters are a small piece of cold weather running gear that can make a big difference.

As an added plus, they tend to be affordable and you can use them for hiking as well.

Best Running Gaiters:

Legs

There are lots of different running tights out there.

For running in cold weather you are going to want something windproof with a bit of thickness to it.

Try not to get leggings with mesh ventilation areas. This feature is great in warm weather or the gym, but for winter the best gear keeps the cold air out as much as possible.

When it’s really cold, try wearing your running tights with a larger-looser pair of windproof outers. This seals your warmth in while keeping the cold out.

We suggest some sort of soft-shell material. Soft-shells are highly breathable compared to a completely waterproof shell, this prevents moisture build-up inside.

Best Women’s Thermal Running Tights:

Arc’Teryx RHO AR

When it comes to outdoor gear Arc’Teryx is synonymous with quality and performance. The RHO AR winter running tights are no exception. This winter layer is plush on the inside-sleek and strong on the outside. Maybe because they are a Canadian company, Arc’Teryx knows what you need when it’s cold. Check out the customer review we pulled from the Arc’Teryx store. If these leggings perform for someone on foot patrol in Yellowknife in -52 weather, chances are they will work for you too. As you will find in most reviews, they do tend to fit a bit large so plan accordingly.

Best Features:
• Weatherproof outer w/plush inner
• Side zip pocket (upper-mid thigh right)
• Highest quality available

arcteryx rho ar running bottoms tights for running in the winter

Best Cold Weather Running Tights For Men:

Arc’Teryx RHO AR

We cannot say enough about how cool these tights are. As far as the best winter running gear goes, the Arc’Teryx RHO AR are the cream of the crop. Windproof, super comfortable, large pocket, soft inner, ultra-durable, and warm as hell. What more could you want? I got a pair of these a few months ago and they changed my life. I wish I had these back in the day running in Calgary winters. Not convinced? Check the customer review we pulled from the Arc’Teryx website. As you will find in most reviews, they do tend to fit a bit large so plan accordingly.

Best Features:
• Super warm
• Zip side pocket
• High-quality construction

arcteryx rho ar cold weather running bottoms

Upper Body

Use layering to keep your upper body warm and dry in cold conditions.

Layering does a few things: It gives you options when the weather changes. And, laying allows you to move moisture away from your skin so your inner layers stay warm and dry.

Using layers with zippers and flaps will add ventilation options to dump moisture buildup. Maintaining warmth while running in cold weather requires getting moisture as far away from your skin as possible.

Layers are the easiest way to accomplish this.

Here we have given you the best winter running gear for a bullet-proof 3-layer combination to keep you comfortable and moving all winter long.

3-Layer Upper Body Winter Running Combo:

Hands

For gloves, follow the same principles as above. Go for windproof materials and think about layering when possible.

You can find super-thin base layer gloves to go under your main glove.

This might seem like overkill. But when it’s -30 unprotected-damp hands will chill instantly. Tying your shoe or fumbling with your keys will mean cold hands for the next 20 minutes.

Save yourself the hassle, try a thin liner under your thicker outer glove.

To be honest, most of us here at Crux Range get our liner gloves at the dollar store. You can find a thin pair of knitted polyester gloves for a few bucks.

If you’re looking for higher quality, check our suggestions below.

Neck & Face

Keeping your neck and face covered when it’s seriously cold out will help prevent frost-bite.

Opt for a balaclava style when you can, this will give you more flexibility as the weather changes.

Again, just make sure you get something synthetic and breathable.

Don’t forget about your ears. Try for something that covers your ears decently or can be folded down over your ears as needed.

Visibility

Remember, one of the biggest hazards of running in the winter is visibility. Any collection of the best winter running gear should include some visibility tech.

Try to increase your visibility by choosing clothing with built-in reflective components.

We recommend at least one running light of some kind as well. A headlamp is versatile and works perfectly. Be sure to aim it down so as not to blind passing drivers.

Conclusion: The Best Winter Running Gear For 2020

Well, that’s everything! The best winter running gear of 2020!

Our hope is that this shortlist of gear for running in the cold has given you an idea about which type of gear is going to work best for you.

Of course, you don’t have to get the same gear we are using. However, check out the links to understand the type of gear we are recommending.

Between all our contributors here at Crux Range we have nearly a century of outdoor experience. Our aim is to share everything we’ve learned with you so you can get out and enjoy your passion in comfort and style.

What will you be wearing this winter?

See you out there!

Find anything useful? Let us know. Post your own suggestions. Help other readers make the right choices!

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The activities described herein can be dangerous and possess inherent risk. The content provided is not intended as an expert opinion or advice. Seek proper instruction or appropriate medical advice from qualified professionals to learn the necessary skills to participate in any of the activities or regimes described herein. See Disclosure & Disclaimer for more info.

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