Monday, December 12, 2011

Review: Cold Weather Gear

Lately, my co-bloggers have been dashing off 9-10 mile runs on the weekdays, and then heading out on the weekend to run serious races. Not wanting to be left too far in their dust at Burlington, I figured I'd better get onto the street and knock off a run of 2+ hours.

 The only challenge? This weekend turned out to be the coldest weekend of the winter so far. Which meant digging out my winter running gear.

Now if there's anyone who knows about running in the cold, it is the Swedes, and that means I trust my winter needs to Craft Performance Apparel.  In particular, gloves.  Once the temperature dips below forty degrees or so, my hands get uncomfortably cold while running.  These gloves are the solution: lightweight, thin, easy to grip a watch or a water bottle, but oh so warm.

And, if the temperature rises, its easy to stuff them into the pockets of my running vest.  This vest is perfect over a lightweight, long-sleeved, technical shirt.  (Or a heavier shirt if the temperature drops.)  Just zip or unzip to regulate temperature.  My only complaint is that it is a little tight.  I have 42" chest, and with any other running brand, a size "L" is almost baggy.  I guess Swedish men are svelte!

Craft has pretty good clearance sales from time to time on their website, and you usually don't have wait until spring to save on some cold weather gear.  You can also find their stuff at the usual online retailers, such as Running Warehouse.

Beyond the above, I have a random collection of odds and ends -- wool socks, a beanie cap, and the like.  I haven't broken down and bought tights yet, because it hasn't gotten that cold.

What is your must-wear winter gear?


  1. I need a hat when the temps get cold. I don't have a great running hat to date & so have been just using a random tuque. However, I got an extra warm flannel hat at the Winter Classic 5K this weekend, so i'm going to see how that works out for me.

    I'll have to check out the gloves you mention. My fingers are very long and so I have problems finding gloves that fit. At the moment, I just have a thin cotton/spandex pair that I fear won't see me through the depths of the winter - although I typically take my gloves off after a mile or two after I warm up.

    Which is a problem, because the shell I swear by - the EMS Techwick jersey - doesn't have any pockets, so I don't have anyplace to put them. I'm going to try and MacGuyver a pocket but if that doesn't work, I may need a new jacket as well.

  2. The particular gloves I wear don't seem to be around anymore, but the Craft brand makes several others. Regardless, I'd move away from cotton.

    Having pockets rules! Especially for long runs. But you could also just get a cheap running belt to stash stuff in, if you love your current jacket.

    As for your hat, I'm of the opinion that anything works, as long as it covers your ears. I think I bought mine for $5.

  3. i'm a big supporter of craft as well. i wear the craft pxc storm tights in winter:

    for uppers, i wear the gore running wear men's essential SO jacket:

    the jacket is amazing. it has great pockets (and i just found a ninja pocket i never knew i had at sunday's race), fits very well, is super comfortable, and most importantly, very warm. it's got a wind stopper front with the option to vent through the arms, keeping you the right temperature. it has half-gloves built into the arms which are convenient.

    for base layer, it's the craft men's zero long sleeve:

    great base layer, very comfortable.

    for super cold days, i add a nike element thermal above the base-layer and under the soft shell. i've run in -4 degrees F with this getup on and not gotten cold.

    i wear a craft zero hat:

    and on very cold runs add a north face beanie over that.

    for gloves i use my cycling gloves. i have my regular full fingered wind stopper gloves with convertible mitten covers, which work on most days. on super cold runs, i occasionally use the pearl izumi lobster claw gloves, which are very warm.

    for socks it's generally nike dri-fit, smart wool or some combination of both.