Winter Running Gear: LAYERING 101

dsc_0146If what the weather experts are saying is true, layering is going to be more important than ever to get through a winter full of running. With the right pieces, you don’t have to change much about your running routine, even when the weather gets downright nasty! Let’s get down to it:

Upper Body


Your baselayer is the most important part of the operation. If you mess this one up, the other two cannot perform their important functions. The baselayer is made of a knit fabric, which gives it stretch in all directions. Your baselayer should be made of a poly or wool blend (no cotton) and fit closely to the skin. It will trap your body heat and grab sweat from your skin. MORE ON BASELAYERS

Pictured: Saucony Ridgerunner Baselayer. Lightweight, super soft, and the long and lean silhouette is perfect for tucking in.

Favorite Baselayers: Craft Active Extreme, Saucony Ridgerunner, Brooks Streaker


Your midlayer will help further insulate your core. It should also be a poly or wool blend and will be a knit material with a lot of stretch. As the baselayer brings sweat off of the skin, the midlayer will grab it and bring it further away from your skin’s surface. A midlayer will generally have a half-zip for some ventilation, and will often have a pocket or two and some reflectivity.

Pictured: Nike Sphere Element Half-Zip. An extra soft waffle knit and a foldover mitt makes this a warm choice for winter runs.

Favorite Midlayers: Sugoi Midzero, Craft Brilliant Thermal, Nike Sphere Element


This is an important part of your wardrobe in either extreme cold conditions or precipitation. The outer shell will generally be a woven material (less stretchy than a knit) and offer either wind/water resistance or insulation (or both). An outer shell will offer you a few pockets and some reflectivity, and sometimes will have a hood.

Pictured: Asics Accelerate Jacket. Fully waterproof but breathable with a hood, knitted cuffs and thumbholes.

Favorite Shells: Sugoi Zap Training Jacket, Saucony Vitarun Jacket, Asics Accelerate Jacket

Lower Body


Layering is less of a factor on the lower body – keeping the core (where bloodflow originates) insulated will help warm the extremities. But a good pair of tights is still important during the winter months. In mild weather, go with a light or midweight – it’s just about coverage. In very cold weather, we’re looking at lined thermal material. Look for a brushed lining (feels fleecy) or a thicker material to insulate the legs. Tights will also provide a pocket or two and some reflectivity.

Pictured: Sugoi Midzero Zap Tight. A brushed lining and snug fit keep the legs insulated and reflectivity helps keep you safe at night.

Favorite Lightweight Tights: Asics Printed Tight, Brooks Go-To Tight

Favorite Heavyweight Tights: Sugoi Midzero Zap Tight, The North Face Winter Warm Tight

Stop by your nearest Marathon Sports location and we’ll help get you outfitted to take on the winter!

RELATED POSTS: The Almighty Baselayer // Winter Accessory Guide