17 Products that Will Make Your Winter Walks Wonderful
This gear will help you brave the elements of the colder months and get in a refreshing winter walk or jog while staying safe, warm, and dry.
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The benefits of going for a winter walk
It may be intimidating to think about heading outside for a winter walk or jog when it’s freezing cold—and perhaps even snowing. Most people try to stay inside curled up in cozy loungewear when the temperature drops. But sometimes, you just need to get outside, and having the right gear—gloves, hats, socks, and a cold-weather jacket—is essential.
Physically speaking, it doesn’t matter if you break a sweat indoors or outdoors. But a brisk outdoor walk or jog can offer mental benefits, says Beth Ann Lewis, director of the school of kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. “Exercising inside can get monotonous, especially if you’re in your own home,” she says. “Being outside can make exercise more enjoyable. You’re clearing your head and getting fresh air, which can help enhance your mindfulness and ability to enjoy exercise.”
That’s especially important during Covid-19, when “cooped up” has practically become a way of life. If you don’t have a treadmill or exercise bike at home, and you’re still not comfortable with the idea of going back to the gym, braving the elements might be the best way to get in some cardio and a change of scenery.
What to wear on a winter walk
The key to being safe out in the cold? Pay attention to your body and be prepared. “People need to pay attention to how their lungs feel, if they’re getting frostbite, and how their body feels when they’re done,” says Lewis. If you’re sore later in the day, that could be a red flag that your muscles never got warm, she says. Be sure to warm up before going outside—air squats or lunges are sufficient—so that your muscles can get warm and ready. Then, make sure you’re dressed properly.
Always dress in layers, especially on the upper body, says Tammy Whyte, certified trainer, certified run coach, and owner of TW Training and Wellness. Your base layer—the layer that’s touching your skin—should be sweat-wicking, meaning it’s made of a fabric (like merino wool or polyester) that dries quickly. “The biggest thing is to avoid cotton and choose a technical fabric that’s made for cold weather,” says Whyte. And don’t be afraid to layer on the bottom, too, says Lewis.
Other safety tips to keep in mind: Always be visible to cars and bikers. “When it’s icy or has just snowed and you’re forced to run on the road in the dark,” having some sort of reflective gear is a must, says Lewis.
Here are some products that can help make your winter walks and jogs safer and more enjoyable.
Feetures Merino 10 Cushion Quarter
Whyte loves these Feetures socks because they’re made with merino wool, which “keeps you dry but also isn’t overly warm,” she says. “It’s a good temperature regulator.” She also suggests socks that cover your ankles if you get cold easily. Targeted compression zones and cushioning in high-impact areas make these socks fit really well, minimizing hot spots and blisters.
Under Armour Women’s UA Run Convertible Gloves
Covered with Under Armour’s water-repellent fabric, these gloves will keep your hands dry and warm no matter what the weather throws at you. The mitten-like hoods can be used to provide more warmth, or folded into the glove when you don’t need them. The thumbs and forefingers have a tech-friendly coating, so you can use your phone without having to take them off.
Lululemon Another Mile Vest
A vest is a great piece to throw on when it’s cold outside, but not so cold you need a full-on puffy jacket. Vests go really well with a long-sleeve fleece (or thinner) T-shirt. This splurge-worthy one from Lululemon will keep your torso extra warm on cold days, and it’s made with windproof, water-repellent fabric. A removable hood, zippered pockets, hidden phone sleeve, and reflective details are all added bonuses. (Here’s how to keep cold hands and feet warm.)
Smartwool Unisex Cuffed Beanie
This unisex beanie from Smartwool is made of 100 percent merino wool, which means it’s warm but breathable, so you’ll stay at a comfortable temp throughout your walk. Merino wool is also naturally odor-repelling, so you don’t have to worry about washing it every single time you wear it. To adjust the hat to your head, simply roll the cuff up or down.
Mountain Hardwear Women’s Super/DS™ Stretchdown Hooded Jacket
This puffy jacket from Mountain Hardwear is full of warm, lightweight, breathable down insulation that’s sewed together with a special woven pocket construction so that your movement isn’t constricted. The design is also able to trap more heat, so you can stay warm no matter what activity you’re doing. It also packs up easily, making it a great jacket to travel with or take on your next hiking adventure.
Nathan Vibe Reflective Vest
Lewis suggests buying a reflective vest or suspenders that you can put over whatever you’re wearing. That way, you can focus on dressing appropriately for cold temps without worrying whether any of it has reflective details. Just throw this Nathan reflective vest on top, and you’ll be visible to cars and bikers in low-light conditions.
Brooks Greenlight Headband
Whyte suggests this Brooks headband if you don’t like wearing hats but need a way to keep your ears warm during a winter workout. It’s made of sweat-wicking fabric so it doesn’t trap moisture. Reflective details on the front and back are a nice touch to help keep you safe.
Athleta Altitude Tight in Polartec® Power Stretch®
These black leggings with pockets from Athleta are made with thick, insulated material and have a soft fleece-like feel on the inside. The fabric also wicks sweat away to keep you comfortable and dry. A wide waistband with adjustable internal drawcord helps maximize comfort, and the zipper pocket in back safely stores your essentials.
BioLite HeadLamp 330 Lumen No-Bounce Rechargeable Head Light
This BioLite headlamp was designed with the battery pack sitting at the nape of your neck, so the light itself rests flat against your forehead and doesn’t bounce around as you move. The band is made of moisture-wicking fabric and is easy to make tighter or looser. It’s also rechargeable, so no need to worry about whether you’ve got new batteries on hand—simply plug it in to charge it back up.
Lululemon Down For It All Jacket
This Lululemon jacket doesn’t need to be reserved for your outdoor runs or walks: It’s a great all-purpose winter coat. Water-resistant fabric, four-way stretch, and responsibly sourced goose down make this jacket ideal anytime you’re outdoors in frigid temps. If you get too sweaty wearing it, simply throw it in the washer and dryer for a quick refresh.
Stance Agate Crew Socks
These Stance socks are made with a merino wool blend, meaning the wool is mixed with polyester, nylon, and elastane, so you get moisture-control and stretchy comfort all in one. Arch support helps keep your feet feeling good whether you’re wearing sneakers or winter boots. And the crew style ensures your ankles stay toasty on even the coldest days. The seamless toe closure prevents any uncomfortable rubbing from ruining your walk or hike.
Kari Traa Women’s Rose Base Layer Bottoms
Time to layer up! If it’s extra cold out, consider wearing two pairs of pants. These comfy merino wool base thermal pants from Kari Traa make the perfect next-to-skin layer. Slip a pair of thicker sweatpants or leggings over them for maximal warmth. They’re ideal for any winter sport—skiing, snowboarding—and make great PJs on cold winter nights.
Brooks Momentum Thermal Tight
These Brooks tights are semi-compressive, so you’ll get that held-in feeling that many people like in their workout leggings. A high-waisted fit adds to the secure feeling. Made of soft and insulating fabric, these are meant to be worn on very cold days when you want to get out and move.
Eddie Bauer Quest Fleece Neck Gaiter
Even if the rest of you is bundled up, an exposed neck is all it takes to get a total-body chill. This Eddie Bauer polyester fleece neck gaiter will keep your neck cozy, warm, and protected from the elements. Pull it up or down as needed. You can even use it as a mask in a pinch.
Carhartt Women’s Quilts Insulated Breathable Mitt
Lewis recommends mittens over gloves because your fingers will stay warmer when they’re close together in the same insulated area. This Carhartt pair comes with a sweat-wicking lining to help keep hands dry and comfortable. There’s also the very-essential “nose wipe” on the side of the thumb, which you’ll be grateful for when you need it.
Under Armour Women’s UA Armour Insulated Hooded Jacket
Under Armour’s ColdGear is known for its stellar insulation, and this jacket is no different. In fact, it’s gotten better. The updated fabric uses infrared technology to trap and use your own body heat to keep you warm. And the outer fabric is water-repellent, yet still quite breathable. (Looking for more warmth? Check out these warm and cozy gifts.)
Nike Element Running Top
This long-sleeve T-shirt is made with Nike’s famous sweat-wicking Dri-FIT fabric, which makes it a great option for a base layer. Wear it under a sweatshirt, fleece, vest, or even a big puffy coat—whatever you need to tackle the temps of the day. Thumbholes make it extra cozy and easy to seal in warmth. And the fit is a bit relaxed in the shoulders, so you’ll be able to move freely.