Quotes addressing this idea have been sourced back to 1912, and it holds true to this day! As we are reaching record lows across the country for this time of year, I figured it would be appropriate to create a post that addresses the best clothing that gets your mind off the chill factor.
As one who doesn’t let the cold hinder activity, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about how to dress in winter. It took much trial and error through a large span of climate settings, but what is posted is the best of the best of my experiences. The following advice goes from head to toe to help you be prepared for the winter chill.
NOTE: this is somewhat bias towards women… since I am not a man and don’t know what is, or is not, comfortable. If you are a male reading this and have some good recommendations, PLEASE comment below and share the knowledge!
“You know it’s all about the base…”
The most difficult thing to anticipate in the winter is whether you will be too hot or too cold during your adventures outside…either one could be very uncomfortable and affect your experience. I’ve had the best result with the following…
Head: fleece headband and men and woman can wear the behind the head earmuffs. Both of these are nice because it allows heat escape, avoiding the sweating and overheating factor.
Neck: I used to wear a variety of scarves with different densities, but I’ve moved on from those and onto Buff neck-wear. I absolutely love the lightest density
shown in this image. I’ve used it in multiple races and it helps to cover my face and allowing me to breathe, and doesn’t get too hot if the weather warms up on the adventure. I also have a more dense version of the Buff which I use for less exerting activity or more severe weather.
Upper body: when the weather is under 40 degrees, I resort to tight, form fitting Under Armour long sleeve base layer tops. Men Click Here.
Over the base top, I wear a light jacket if I’m running or doing similar exercises in degrees colder than 35 degrees. If I am doing activities such as downhill skiing, cross country skiing, or hiking, I’ll wear a sweatshirt over the base, then a coat over the sweatshirt (depending on how cold it is and the intensity of the activity).
The main point is dress in layers!
If you’re exerting a lot of energy, start off feeling cold because if you start your exercise feeling comfortable, you will be too hot in a matter of minutes.
I once ran a 5K in 7 degrees and was grateful for my light choice of clothing as I found myself throwing off my gloves in the middle of the race.
Legs: I have been lucky to have relatives who know me and my hobbies during the holiday season, so I have no lack of athletic winter tights to fill my dresser drawers. Athletic tights such as these truly help block the chill, while allowing mobility to the max. I also use these as a base to all moderate activity, wearing them under jeans and snow pants when the temperature really drops.
Toes: Cotton is not your friend, especially in the winter. I’ve read about the negative effects of cotton through various magazine articles and my experiences agree, cotton is terrible for athletic people. The best solution, especially when the weather is below freezing, is wool. REI and Smartwool are my top two brands, as they have different densities for all kinds of activities. From light running socks to extremely thick winter socks, these brands have a sock for any occasion. But with warmth and moisture wicking technology comes the hindrance of cost. These socks are VERY pricy, my advice? If you have small feet, buy the children socks. They are just as good quality for a fraction of the cost. Have normal size feet? The REI brand and other off-brands are usually cheaper than the most popular Smartwool. You can go a step further and just wait for holiday sales to occur, socks are almost always on the discount list during the holidays.
There you have it, head to toe recommendations from yours truly, based on over ten years of experience in running, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking through the winter months!