Women’s Cold Weather Running Guide
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Many people put away their running shoes when cold weather and winter move in. Winter is actually one of my favorite times to be a runner. The trail options may be reduced, but a fresh layer of snow makes your favorite jaunt a different journey. Sure I get out on the skis more days then not, yet running is my fall back for a quick work out. Here are a few items I’ve been testing out during the early winter season.
The Brooks Dash Hoodie is a must have for colder weather. The fabric is soft against the skin and stretchy, creating a cozy feel that moves with you. The DRILAYER® fabric is a 88% polyester and 12% spandex blend that wicks moisture wonderfully and looks good when you aren’t running. I wear the Dash Hoodie not only running, but also with a pair of jeans for casual use. The Dash Hoodie fabric is technical without looking like it.
The Dash Hoodie features a loose fit, similar to yoga tops that allow complete freedom of movement. The top is wider in the shoulders and mid torso, and tapers at the bottom. The sleeves are generously long, which allows you to take full advantage of the integrated thumb loops to cover your hands when the temperatures drop. There is also a hidden envelope style pocket on the left wrist to stash your keys or gym card. I haven’t used the hood all that much, but it is a nice option if the weather turns foul and you don’t have coverage for your ears. The Brooks Dash Hoodie is available in XS to XL and runs large due to its’ loose fit/design. Retails for $80. amazon.com/brooks
Greenlight Running Tights
The Brooks Greenlight RunningTights are the only patterned tights tested. I’m usually leery of patterns due to the weird stretching of the pattern over the larger parts of my body. Have no fear, the Greenlight Running Tight is so comfortable and flattering that you need not worry. These tights are form fitted, feature a mid-rise with a wide-flat waistband that stays put. The fabric has a tight weave and offers support and doesn’t stretch out or loosen with a full day of wearing. Brooks calls the fabric, DriLayer HorsePower; its’ a 81% polyester / 19% spandex blend. These tights feature a 28″ inseam and cute ruching at the ankles for extra style. Brooks calls these tights reversible. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of them when flipped to the plain blue side. The seams in the gusseted crouch look a little funny and I love the pattern so keep them with this side out.
The Brooks Greenlight Running Tights perform best in conditions of 20F-50F. When worn in much colder temperatures my legs were cold as they don’t feature fleece lining, etc. In temps warmer than 45-50F and I’m in shorts or the Greenlight Running Capris, also from Brooks. The Greenlight Running Tights retail for $85 and the Greenlight Running Capris retail for $70. For more info visit www.amazon.com/brooksrunning.
New Balance Performance Merino Tight
The New Balance Performance Merino Tight are the softest and most luxurious feeling tight that I’ve been testing. They are my go-to for frigid, “I don’t want to get out of bed,” types of days, when temps are in the single digits. The NB Performance Merino Tight features Polartec® Power Wool™ a 45% nylon, 40% merino wool, and 15% spandex combination. Polartec® Power Wool™ is not a typical blended fabric, rather it features merino wool on the interior and the synthetic fibers on the outside. The inside of these tights are soft against the skin and are naturally odor resistant due to the inclusion of merino wool. The outside of the tights look like a standard running tight, providing durability you wouldn’t get with wool on the outside. Together, these different fabric types create a warm, fast drying, breathable, and light weight pair of tights.
The remainder of the New Balance Performance Merino Tights are pretty no non-sense. There are zippered bottoms with elastic cuffs to keep the tights in place. There is one simple zippered pocket in the rear. These tights excel in the visibility department with multiple reflective accents. On the right leg, the one that faces traffic if running against it (as you should!) there 9 inches with New Balance spelled out. The left hip feature the NB logo, NB heat logo is on the right hip, and each 6″ zipper is also reflective.
Women’s PhD Wind Tight
The Smartwool PhD Wind Tight is semi-form fitted and run true to size. These tights are available in XS to XL and feature a 27.5″ inseam, a flat waistband that stays put, adjustable draw string, and no saggy crouch (my pet peeve in combination tights). Smartwool has included reflective accents in many different locations, to help keep you visible: the 7″ zippers are reflective at the lower leg, silver flat-lock seam in two locations on each leg, a PhD logo on the left lower leg, and Smartwool “man” on the right thigh. Two other features worth mentioning is the zippered rear pocket that’s ideal for your car keys and a drop in pocket on the left hip, perfect for dog treats or human treats while on the run.
Women’s PhD Light Printed Wind Zip T
The remainder of the Smartwool PhD Light Printed Wind Zip T features soft to the touch merino (56%) and polyester (44%) blend. The fabric is light, yet very warm and is naturally odor resistant thanks to the merino. The top features a double layer cuff with the under layer being slightly longer with integrated thumb-loops. At first I thought the cuff would be annoying while wearing the top with a jacket, watch, and mittens. I quickly learned to love this feature when the temperatures dropped as it eliminates bare skin facing the elements. The sleeve length is on the long side to allow you to take advantage of this feature.
The Smartwool PhD Light Printed Wind Zip T is new this year and is currently available in only black. I anticipate Smartwool expanding the color offerings in the future. The top is available in size XS to XL and runs true to size with a form fit. I tested a size medium and can easily wear a wicking t-shirt underneath without a problem. The Smartwool PhD Light Printed Wind Zip T retails for $120. To check out the latest from Smartwool, please visit Smartwool.com.
Peekaboos Classic Cable Ponytail Hat
Long hair, hats, and running don’t always mix well. Often I wear a low ponytail to allow my hat to not bulge or stretch out, which leads to a sweaty and then cold neck. Peekaboos Clasic Cable Ponytail Hat solves this quandry by offering two hidden ponytail openings in a cute cable knit hat. The Peekaboos Classic Cable features non-itch acrylic knit in 15 different colors. I tested out the hat in Energy, a bright pink hue to help keep me visible while running.The hat itself is very warm (sometimes too warm while running) due to the inclusion of a polar fleece headband liner. The fleece liner will be much more appreciated when the temps drop into the teens and single digits.
The Peekaboos Cable Classic Ponytail Hat can also be worn for casual use as the ponytail openings are well hiddeen and don’t create any gapping. The first time I put it on I had a hard time finding the openings. The Peekabo Cable Classic Ponytail Hat retails for $36.95. amazon.com/peekabo
Saucony Vitarun Pant
The Saucony Vitarun Pant is the ideal running pant for the coldest-wettest weather. The Vitarun Pant is wind and waterproof thanks to FlexShell fabric on the entire front of the pants, side panels, and around the ankles (front and back). Under these panels, there is a second layer of fabric that is stretchy, soft, and wicking. In high heat areas, such as the entire back of the pants, there is only a single layer of fabric to help dissipate heat.
The Saucony Vitarun Pant features a straight leg fit with a 30″ inseam. Unfortunately, the 30″ inseam works for most tights but in a zippered ankle pant, I found these pants way too short for my 32″ inseam legs. I added long socks to help bridge the gap and prevent snow and cold from ruining my run. These pants run on the smaller side too; I’m in between a size small and medium per the size guide but was so excited that I ordered the medium. Having the pants a little bigger is a key feature as you can layer these pants over the top of a second pair of tights for the coldest of days.
Additional features in the Saucony Vitarun Pant include: 3 reflective accents on the left leg and 2 on the right, zippered pockets on both the right and left leg and in the wide waist band in the rear. The pocket sizes are varied to meet your storage needs. I typically stashed my car keys in the left hip pocket or rear zip.
The Saucony Vitarun Pant excels when the weather gets nasty. They are my go to for days when the temperatures are below 15F, snowing, blowing, and wet. The Saucony Vitarun Pant retail for $90, which is a steal when compared with the weather protection you get for the price. The Vitarun Pant is available in size XS to XL for women, and is also available for men in size S to XXL. For more info visit www.amazon.com/saucony.
Nite Ize Radiant 250 Rechargeable Headlamp
Upgrading from 75 lumens to the Nite Ize Radiant 250 Rechargeable Headlamp for trail running has been mind blowing. I can tell you all of the specs, but hands down the easiest selling point has been running buddies turning off their headlamps and just following the Night Ize Radiant 250 when in spotlight mode: it lights up the trail, doesn’t bounce with each footfall, and casts light up to 92 meters out in front.
The headlamp is simple to use too. One quick click on the button on the right (referencing directions based on the headlamp sitting on your head) and you have two spotlight options, high and low. Click through the options to turn it back off. The button on the left controls the high and low flood options. You can leave the flood mode turned on and utilize the spot modes for added light. I use the headlamp twice a day on dog walks or while running and charge the headlamp once a week.
Here is a breakdown of the light distances and battery life of the rechargeable lithium ion battery based on mode.
Output / Runtime:
- High Spotlight: 250 lumens / 4 hours
- Low Spotlight: 47 lumens / 12 hours
- High Floodlight: 40 lumens / 9 hours
- Low Floodlight: 8 lumens / 43 hours
- Red LED: 12 lumens / 12 hours
The Nite Ize Radiant 250 Headlamp is weighs a mere 3.2 oz and fits comfortably on your head with a no non-sense adjustable strap. The strap adjustment is a cinch and doesn’t cause pinching or digging like other headlamps on the market. The headlamp is water and impact resistant, two features I haven’t had to test too much.
When the headlamp is nearing the end of its’ battery life, a red light comes on just above the charging port. You can turn the light on/off quickly to test the battery life and a green light comes on if you are charged. Charging the headlamp via the micro USB charging cable takes about 2 hours with a standard outlet, a bit longer when hooked to a computer or mobile power pack.
The Nite Ize Radiant 250 Headlamp offers an easy to use and bright headlamp at an extremely affordable price point. The Radiant 250 Rechargeable Headlamp retails for $49.99,but I’ve seen it listed for as low as $39.99 online. amazon.com/niteize
Brooks Running LSD Thermal Mitten
The Brooks Running LSD Thermal Mitten have been my go to running mitten since the mercury has dropped. I am a cold hands person and need to wear gloves when it is 40-55F and turn to mittens when the temps are below 40F. The Brooks Running LSD Thermal Mittens have been keeping my hands plenty warm with temps down in the 5-20F range.
The outer of the mitten features a water and wind resistant ripstop nylon. Polyfill insulation works to keep your hands warm even when the mittens become damp. On the inside there is a 84% polyester and 16% merino wool blend to provide moisture and temperature management. In the palm area the fabric is thin, meaning there isn’t any polyfill insulation or ripstop nylon: this allows the palm area to dissipate heat and prevent your hands from getting sweaty. On super cold mornings, I added a thin Smartwool merino liner glove for added warmth.
The Brooks Running LSD Thermal Mitten is available in size small, medium, and large. If you typically wear a large glove in other outdoor brands or even an XL, this mitten will likely be too small for you. I wear a solid size medium in gloves and mittens and found these mittens to run on the smaller side. Additional size options, such as XS and XL would be nice in the future. The Brooks Running website states that there are finger panels in these mittens that allow you to use your smartphone. I did not find these panels and was not able to use my phone with the mittens on (no big deal for me!). Lastly, Brooks also mentions reflective detailing that “enhances visibility in low light”. Unfortunately, there is only “Brooks” in reflective taping on the left mitten and after two weeks of use many of the letters are peeling off. I would hope to see a few more reflective accents in the future.
Despite having a few areas to improve upon, the Brooks Running LSD Thermal Mitten delivers a warm mitten option that is lightweight and weather resistant. The LSD Thermal Mitten is available for $45 (on sale for $31.50). For more info visit www.brooksrunning.com
Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask
The Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask has been my go too for long cold weather runs. The SpeedDraw Plus is easy to wear with gloves and mittens as there are no fancy straps holding the flask wrapped around your hand at all times. Rather, the SpeedDraw Insulated Flask features a large loop at the top of the bottle for your thumb and an adjustable soft strap that sits on the back of your hand. The strap can be easily adjusted while on the move and can accommodate a pair of bulky running mittens with liner gloves underneath.
The Nathan SpeedDraw Insulated Flask has yet to freeze despite 3 hours out in the cold. I attribute this to the warmth of my hand against the liquids. The SpeedDraw Plus is easy to drink from and fill even with gloves or mitts in place. The Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask holds 18 oz of fluids, weighs a mere 3.9 oz when empty, and is available in a variety of colors. No matter your color selection, there are multiple reflective accents to keep you visible. You can also opt to pay an extra $10 and receive the bottle in a Black Light and it glows in the dark. The traditional colors retail for $24.99 and make a great addition to winter running. For more info visit