What to Wear for Winter Runs: Recommendations by Temperature

As the temperatures drop across the country, many runners are struggling to stay motivated during the cold and dark months. The excitement and good intentions from New Year’s Resolutions quickly fades when the blistering cold gets involved. Unlike other seasons, winter running requires more mental and physical preparation. Figuring out what to wear in cold conditions can be confusing and time consuming. It makes it so much easier to stay inside and put your running routine on pause until Spring.


But what if there’s a way to make those winter runs more enjoyable?


At Holabird Sports, we’ve helped our customers for over 30 years to find the proper gear to reach their running goals. Our dedicated team of runners and product experts is here to provide tips and recommendations to keep you running strong during the winter months. So gather ‘round the fitness fire and heed this wisdom to keep you warm!


In this article, we’ll give you general recommendations on what to wear during different temperatures. Use it as a starting guide and adjust according to your preference. Then we'll give you some of our best cold weather running tips to make your experience more enjoyable.


10-Degree Rule

A general rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s 10 degrees warmer outside. This is because your body temperature will rise as you exercise. So, if it’s 40 degrees and you’re heading out for a run, wear what you normally would in 50-degree weather. For most runners, this would call for a long-sleeve tech tee with shorts. You’ll want to feel slightly chilly before you start moving. Let’s look at some colder temperatures next.


  • 40 degrees (Option #1): 1 top, 1 bottom. Long sleeve quarter zip with running shorts. Light gloves and hat optional. Neck gaiter if windy.
  • 40 degrees (Option #2): 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long sleeve tech tee with short sleeve over top and running shorts. Light gloves and hat optional. Neck gaiter if windy.





  • Below 20 degrees: 3 tops, 3 bottoms. Once you get below the 20s, think in twos. If you don't have at least two tops, two bottoms, socks or gloves, it’s gonna get rough. Make sure one of your top layers includes fleece lining to combat the cold. Opt for a hybrid jacket to provide warmth without the bulk. Consider a neck gaiter or balaclava for extra protection. Compression briefs underneath your tights.

More Winter Running Tips

Layer Up

Its better to overdress for the occasion than the opposite. You can always remove layers if you start overheating. Packable jackets or jackets with pockets come in handy in this situation.


Run Into The Wind

Start your run into the wind and finish with it at your back. This way the breeze won’t blast you after breaking a sweat.

Need a quick and handy tip to find which way the wind is blowing? Wet your finger with water or saliva and hold it into the air. Whichever side of your finger feels cooler is the direction the wind is blowing. You can also look for objects like a flag, windsock or wind vane and observe how it moves. If all else fails, just start running and reverse direction so you’re facing the wind first.


Warm Up Inside

Instead of getting ready for your run outside, get the blood flowing inside before you head out the doors. You can perform exercises like high knees, jumping jacks, body weight squats/lunges or a few dynamic stretches to get an internal warmth going prior to your workout.


Stay Safe & Seen

Wear reflective gear if you’re running in low-light conditions. During the winter, there’s limited daylight, which makes it harder to see. Stay safe by wearing reflective gear that helps drivers recognize you as a runner in motion.


Practice Positive Self-Talk

Running in the cold makes you feel bold and gives you confidence knowing that you’re out there grinding while other runners stay inside. Feed yourself positive fuel to keep you moving. Who cares if anyone stares, you’re already a crazy runner anyways!




Preparation is key to making the winter runs less miserable. Paying attention to the weather forecast and dressing accordingly helps you succeed when temperatures slip. Who knows, with the proper gear it may even become enjoyable. You may surprise yourself by embracing the winter runs more than ever! Better gear = Less excuses, which leads to more miles.



Looking for more winter running tips, product reviews, fitness trends or brand highlights? Check out our content on the Fitness Fire blog!

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