All the running gear to keep you warm and dry on your winter runs—"Baby, it's cold outside," won't stand as an excuse not to go.
Jeff Laboon 1 / 11
<p>From facial wind burn and nasty head colds to slipping on ice and frostbite, <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/winter-sports-training-guide" target="_blank">running in winter</a> has its cons. But, there’s also no doubt about it: running in cold air torches more calories keeping you in, err...somewhat decent shape during the holidays (at least sans the boring treadmill, anyways).
<p>Half the trick to winter running involves <a href="http://www.mensfitness.com/gear/workout-gear/best-summer-running-gear-fo... target="_blank">scoring the right gear</a> that’ll cover your skin from wind and cold, and sweat-wicking layers come in handy to keep your muscles warm. For less chance of injury, follow the old-school “25 degree rule,” which suggests dressing for weather 25 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. (This compensates for your rise in body temperature during your run and rapid decrease afterward.) And, of course, not all footwear is equal. Wear the right shoes to blast through snow, slush and ice.
<p>So before you prep for those snowy trails, Men’s Fitness collected a list of <a href="mensfitness.com/gear/workout-gear/10-winter-running-essentials?page=2" target="_blank">10 cold-weather essentials</a> for winter runs. Stock up, and you’ll never hear yourself say, “baby, it’s too cold outside.”</p>
The North Face
While the once widely held belief that you lose 40 to 45 percent of body heat through your head was proved to be a myth in a 2008 <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/dec/17/medicalresearch-humanbehav... target="_blank">study</a> by Indiana University, your head is still one of your body parts most sensitive to temperature. <strong>The North Face Passing Through Beanie</strong> will cover your noggin, making sure to trap heat on cold runs. The polyester and elastane material will also shield against wind, and the lightweight hat fits the skull, ensuring you don’t have any ears or excess flopping with every step. ($32, <a href="http://www.thenorthface.com/catalog/sc-gear/mens-accessories/passing-thr... target="_blank">thenorthface.com</a>)
Urban with Headphones
Don’t take your regular gym headphones on a below-freezing run—the chilly air will destroy the cord and render the earbuds useless. The <strong>180s Urban with Headphones</strong>, though, is durable enough to survive freezing temperature and compatible with any MP3 [player?]. The soft outer shell lends itself to outdoor running, and the polyester-insulated ear warmers are modest enough to rock under a beanie. ($35, <a href="http://www.180s.com/pages/catalog_view.aspx?g=1%2C2&y=7&i=155" target="_blank">180s.com</a>)
The <strong>Brooks Running Vapor 2 Dry Gloves</strong> wick away moisture, keeping your hands warm and dry. Spandex on the index and middle fingers helps with gripping while a special, thumb pad allows you to handle your iPhone’s or iPods’ touch screen. The lightweight gloves come in all-black or a black and neon yellow mix. Don’t worry about misplacing one of the gloves, either, because a magnet will hold them together in between uses. ($30, <a href="http://www.brooksrunning.com/Vapor-Dry-2-Glove/280125,default,pd.html" target="_blank">brooksrunning.com</a>)
The key to staying warm during chilly runs is layering, and the most important layer is the one directly touching your skin. For this base, you want a compression material like the <strong>Mizuno Breath Thermo Running Crew</strong>. The DYNAMOTION FIT design will keep you dry with its polyester/polyacrylate material and won’t chafe, unlike some other compression shirts available. The crewneck also comes in a variety of colors—ranging from an eye-catching neon yellow to a simple black-and-blue—and each has reflective piping on the side panels, making for a sleek, but useful, design. ($69.99, <a href="http://shop.run.mizunousa.com/products/productdetail/Mizuno+Men%27s+Brea... (903W)" target="_blank">mizunousa.com</a>)
The <strong>Adidas Sequencials Half-Zip Long Sleeve Tee</strong> doesn’t just offer a mock turtleneck to protect your neck and trap body heat from escaping. Made with a spandex-type blend, its material allows for full range of motion while also keeping you cool and dry between your base and jacket. What’s more: The zipper and mesh side panels allow for extra ventilation without sacrificing body heat. Get it in grey or “infrared,” an orangish color that will shine bright on the darkest of runs. ($60, <a href="http://www.adidas.com/us/product/mens-running-seq-12z-ls/SW856" target="_blank">adidas.com</a>)
The outermost layer on the upper body needs to protect against wind and water. <strong>Nike’s Element Shield Max</strong> repels both like any good jacket, but its real worth comes from its special features. The jacket has a set of hand warmers—for added protection on top of your gloves—and a hood to break out when your beanie alone isn’t cutting it. A turtleneck also shields your neck from the wind, but the best part? It’s pockets are small and noninvasive, so the jacket doesn’t look like something an escape artist would wear. ($250, <a href="http://store.nike.com/us/en_us/?l=shop,pdp,ctr-inline/cid-1/pid-509288/p... target="_blank">nike.com</a>)
Though they may not leave much to the imagination, a pair of tights must be in your running wardrobe. Period. Because just like the upper body, you want a compression layer touching the skin that can easily wick away sweat. <strong>Under Armour’s ColdGear Action Leggings</strong> are a modest set of tights made from nylon, polyester, and elastane, and paired with some synthetic underwear, they’ll keep you cool and dry. Trust us, if there’s one part of the body you want to keep comfortable on a freezing run, it’s your, lower body. Your girlfriend/wife will thank you. ($50, <a href="http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en/mens-coldgear-action-legging/pid10... target="_blank">underarmour.com</a>)
Though Rocky Balboa famously trained by running through Philadelphia in the winter in his sweats, you don’t want to follow suit. Something that baggy will slow you down, and cotton? It will collect moisture, not repel it. But you do want another layer on top of your tights, and <strong>adidas’s Response 3-Stripes Wind Pants</strong> is perfect for blocking wind and holding in body heat. The Response is also 100 percent polyester, so you will be far warmer than the “Italian Stallion” when you run up the Rocky Steps. ($65, <a href="http://www.adidas.com/us/product/mens-running-rsp-ds-wind-p/TL935?cid=W5... target="_blank">adidas.com</a>)
Running in the right sock (or wrong sock) can make all the difference in your winter workout. You want a moisture-wicking sock that’s thick and warm enough to prevent frostbitten toes, but that isn’t too bulky to cram into your shoe. The <strong>Smartwool PhD Toe Sock Mini</strong> controls the temperature in your feet and blocks the bacteria that make them reek. Its individual toes are intended to prevent blisters, and even though they’re partially made of merino wool, these socks won’t itch—promise. They cover the balls of your feet to ensure there isn’t a slit of skin between your pants and shoes that’s vulnerable to the wind—plus they’re pretty comfy, too. ($21, <a href="http://www.smartwool.com/mens/socks-2/phd-toe-sock-mini-1212.html
For a winter running shoe, you need two things: enough traction so you won’t slip on icy surfaces, and fabric that’s extra water resistant in slushy conditions. The <strong>Asics GEL-Arctic 4 WR’s</strong> wet grip outsole make for better traction on the slippery surfaces you may encounter during the winter. If you’re wearing moisture-wicking socks and similar gear over your core, shoes really won’t differ much compared to the pair you use during the summer. You want something a little thicker in case you get cause in any damp paths, though, so the GEL-Arctic’s water-resistant fabric will come in handy. The shoe’s foam interior and light weight allow it to fit like a glove — encouragement to hop out of bed and hit the road on those bitter weekend mornings. ($120, <a href="http://www.asicsamerica.com/footwear/running-shoes/gel-arctic-4-wr-t1d3n... target="_blank">asicsamerica.com</a>)