In honor of this week’s snow and resurgence of colder temperatures, we’re delighted to offer you our 2018 guide for layering when it’s cold outside! If you stood on the starting line of our Fairfax Four Miler race on New Year’s eve, you would see every combination of runners in hats, coats, leggings, vests and shorts (yes, you heard us), all suited up for the race that registered at a balmy fifteen degrees. There were folks in balaclavas and mittens standing next competitors in thin pants and windbreakers, which is exactly why you won’t see us temperature rating our clothing any time soon. Instead, here’s a breakdown of different levels of layers you can employ to find the right amount of warmth this winter season.
This is our baseline: comfy running gear that covers a bit more skin than spandex and tank tops. Lightweight, sweat-wicking fabrics are the foundation of any run, regardless of the weather conditions. For women, the Tracksmith Twilight Long Sleeve is just about the softest fabric we’ve seen this year and is a lightweight long sleeve perfect for days that are too chilly for a tshirt and too warm for a jacket. For men we selected the Nike Dry-FIT Medalist top which can easily be combined with any base layer on days when you need something with a little more coverage.
Swap out shorts for leggings or short sleeves or long ones. More coverage will retain more heat and protect your skin from cooler, dry air. For gents we wanted to highlight that tights aren’t your only option. We have plenty slimmer fitting garments, but some folks want something a bit roomier. While for women we’ve highlighted the High Rise Transform Tights from New Balance, these boast a higher cut waistband that hugs without feeling constrictive so it will move the way you do without slipping down or sagging.
As the cooler months set in, keeping your hands and head warm become priorities. Warm hands actually keep your whole body warmer since your blood flow is better when your fingers stay toasty. The jury is still out on the hat versus headband debate, but whichever category you choose Smartwool has a knit for you. For your fingers, some running gloves may come off a little thin, but remember you’re moving and your hands sweat! We carry a few different weights for folks who run hot or cold, as well as some that have wind-stopping layers. Continuing our praise of wool garments, the Tracksmith’s Fynnsen Crewneck has been a favorite of ours, a merino wool garment can never be underrated, especially when it can pass itself off as a casual sweatshirt. Put it to the test, go for a run, or to the gym, out to lunch, around for a hike, there’s nothing we’ve found that it can’t handle.
Core Warmth and keeping heat close to your chest will go a long way in staying toasty. However, breathable fabrics are key in making sure that the inside of your jacket doesn’t become a sauna! Keeping your core warm and your arms free, a running vest like the New Balance Heat Hybrid Vest may be just what you’re looking for. Warmer than a shirt, not quite as warm as a jacket. For you legs, the Rhone Basecamp Joggers, are comfy enough to lounge in but with material high-performance enough to run in, it’ll follow you anywhere this season.
Wind and water are your real enemies when trying to staying warm. Your final steps on those heavy duty outings is a shell that will protect you from the elements. Bear in mind, that just because you’re wearing a weatherproof jacket, doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. If the rain lets up, or if the wind dies down, a packable piece will stash away easily while you’re still on the move. Our Nike women’s shell packs down and can we worn around the waist without having to tie it into know. Plus, once turned into the most fashionable fanny pack you’ll ever wear, it still has an exterior pocket for your keys, nutrition, or any other necessity. Unfortunately, this piece is only available for women at the moment, but we hope that you’ll be satisfied with our Nike rain jacket which layers marvelously over any baselayer.
These layers aren’t meant to be definitive, just a helpful guide to get you started thinking about how to dress before you head out the door. It may be easier to think of them as being on a spectrum of warmth, as you move from warmer temperatures to cooler temperatures. It’s not that any one piece is right for the temperature, but how your feel.
However you choose to layer get out there and enjoy those miles! We hope to see you February 11th, dressed up or down, for Love the Run You’re With 5K. Our only real recommendation is that you wear something pink for that one (red works too) and join us for the pre-run party and Dating Game at the Boardroom. Until then!