Winter Running Gear Guide
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the daylight hours are growing shorter and the weather is getting colder. We figured it would be a great time to put together a winter running gear guide, that will help point you in the direction of some choice cold weather running gear, to help keep you comfortable and protected from the elements. We have thoroughly tested a number of products and here are the ones that made the cut.
Smartwool PhD Wind Tight
What’s Hot : The Smartwool PhD Wind Tights are a combination of Merino Wool and Nylon that takes the bite out of any cold weather environment. The wool in the tights keeps you warm when the temps dip below freezing, should the temperature rise above freezing they will keep you cool by wicking away any moisture. The front of the tights have a windproof panel made of nylon, that keeps you draft free. Smartwool has added 360 degree reflectivity, to help keep you visible in low light conditions. And just to show that they know runners, Smartwool added a small zipper pocket in the mid back that is big enough to hold your house key, a couple of dollars, an ID and a credit card.
What’s Not : Usually I can find some little thing that I would make better or do differently, but Smartwool absolutely perfected the design of PhD Wind Tights.
Who’s It For : The Smartwool PhD Wind Tights are a must have for any cold weather runner, trail or road, these tights will take the cold, out of winter running.
Asics Storm Shelter Pants
What’s Hot : The name, “Storm Shelter” really explains it all. These pants are for the harsh environment, that throws sleet, wind and snow at you. The pants keep a protective water and windproof barrier between you and the elements. They have back overlapping leg vents that allows for good breath-ability. The pants have low light visibility with the 360 degree 3M reflectivity.
What’s Not : There is no closure at the ankle, which allows for cold air to enter. The pants are lined with a mesh, to help dissipate some body heat, however the lining only comes down to just below the knee. If you are not wearing long socks or compression pants, bare skin will come into contact with a very cold outer pant leg.
Who’s It For : The Asics Storm Shelter Pants will work best for the runner that intends to run in rain, sleet, wind and / or snow. Think of these as an outer layer protective running pant, working best with a compression pant worn underneath.
Smartwool Men’s PhD Wind Zip T
What’s Hot : The Smartwool PhD Wind Zip T is an excellent base layer made from Merino Wool with a polyester front wind blocking panel. The tee is form fitting and exceptionally soft, it keeps you warm, while wicking away moisture. The zip closure comes to the perfect height on the neck creating a nice snug fit to keep wind and cold out and warmth in.
What’s Not : The material on the tee, especially under the arms and running down the sides of the body is super thin. Don’t get me wrong, this shirt more than does the job! I just wonder how many washes it will hold up to. With a Smartwool two year guarantee, it’s hard to even worry about.
Who’s It For : Anyone that is looking for a soft, lightweight, form fitting base layer, will fall in love with the Smartwool PhD Wind Zip T.
North Face Men’s Isolite ½ Zip
What’s Hot : North Face got it right with this Isolite 1/2 zip, a light weight, athletic fitting pullover that has Flashdry, which wicks moisture away and drys quickly on those vigorous runs. The Isolite has an elastic gripper tape at the hem that keeps the bottom of the pullover right where you put it, no more riding up or adjusting. The pullover does a great job of taking the wind out of the cold equation, with it’s wind resistant nylon core. And for when you are out on the road the pullover has 360 degree reflective tape so you will be seen in low light conditions.
What’s Not : Try as I might, I could find nothing to dislike on this pullover.
Who’s It For : The North Face Isolite 1/2 Zip will fit well in the runner’s wardrobe that needs a fall to early winter running pullover.
Helly Hansen Pace Norviz LS
What’s Hot : The Helly Hansen Pace Norviz Jacket is taking reflectivity to the next level, pictured above, the jacket appears to be your high performance running pullover. Take it for a run in the dark and hit this baby with some car lights and the entire jacket lights up like a Christmas tree. The Pace Norviz features X-Cool, which is a quick dry fabric with DWR treatment that sheds wind, rain and snow. The pullover is soft, stretchy and lightweight, and just feels all around great.
What’s Not : Helly Hansen got this one right, nothing to change here.
Who’s It For: The Pace Norviz LS is a must have for the early rising and late evening road runners that need to be seen.
Brooks Drift Shell
What’s Hot : The Brooks Drift Shell is a unique jacket that is made from DriLayer® SuperSeal moisture-wicking fabric, that is lightweight, breathable and cozy. The jacket easily sheds rain and snow while deflecting the blustery wind. It also offers front and back Retroreflectivity for low light running. The Brooks Drift Shell works great by itself, but even better when you use it as an outer layering shell.
What’s Not : What’s with the sleeve cuffs? They are a piece of compression material at the end of the sleeve. Are they comfortable – sure. Do they keep the wind out – Yes. Unique – Oh Yes. But they just feel unfinished.
Who’s It For : If you’re the kind of runner who gets out in harsh conditions and needs the protection, the Brooks Drift Shell is for you.