How To Layer For Running in Cold Weather

Photos by Anna Rach Photography. This post contains affiliate links; if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small payment. This doesn't alter the cost for you. 

In one of my many scrolling sessions on Facebook, I came across a post on the This Girl Can Facebook page (see below) asking for suggestions of good running clothing to wear this Autumn. It reminded me of this post, which I originally wrote back in 2014.

The products I shared then have obviously changed so I figured an update now that the weather is getting chillier wouldn’t go amiss! If you figure out what to wear when running in the cold, you’ll be much more likely to stick to your training plan and get the miles logged.

What To Wear When Running in the Cold

There was point in time when I ran on treadmills, and treadmills only. When the weather got warmer I would venture outside under the assumption that as soon as it got cold, wet and chilly I would have to head back indoors. I soon came to realise that there is no such thing as bad weather… In the right gear, you can still get out and run…and enjoy yourself!

Here are my top tips for what to wear when running in the cold, and what features you should look out for:

1. Wear A Long Sleeved Top

What To Look For:

  • with thumbholes

Personally, this is my most crucial piece of kit. It’s my mid layer in winter and outer layer in the autumn / spring. Thumbholes are a must as they keep your sleeves in place and keep the cold breeze out. A sweat wicking, fast drying fabric is important to keep you comfortable, warm and dry.


I’m currently wearing:

I’m currently switching between these two colours of this top from Adidas. It’s super light weight with thumbholes and can be easily layered with something underneath and / or something on top.

Other Favourites:

The lululemon swiftly long sleeved came highly recommended from the original post (Thanks Beki). I personally own a few of these too from my days working at lululemon london.

I also recently got the the Primo Warm Seamless Tee base layer from Salomon which I used for Red Bull Timelaps and have also worn on a run. The UnderArmour Women’s ColdGear Armour Long Sleeve came recommenced by Alexa for when it’s really cold.

Tip – the most important pieces of kit when you begin running are shoes and a sports bra

    Shop Tops for running in the cold:

    2. Layer With a Jacket

    what to wear running in the cold - Layer With a Jacket

    What To Look For:

    • thumbholes
    • ventilation zippers
    • pockets
    • reflectivity
    • showerproof / waterproof
    • hood

    In the first few weeks or months of Autumn, it might be a bit too warm for a jacket but for those who are planning to be out there no matter the weather, a jacket is a must. The mistake I always make though is to overdress for a run; it’s sometimes hard to remember that even though you may be cold as you step out the door or line up at the start line for a race, once you get moving you’ll warm up pretty quickly.


    I’m currently wearing:

    I just added these two jackets to my running wardrobe for Autumn 2019 and have so far only needed to wear one. The day that it was raining for run club, the weather was so bad that neither of these would have been any use. I actually ended up wearing the MYSHELTER rain jacket which isn’t even a running jacket (I don’t think!) but it was THE BEST thing in the world that day! It also went down a storm on my Instagram – I got so many comments and messages about it (oh, and pun intended! haha).

    Mari – A windbreaker really is a game changer, I’ve got a Saucony vizipro one. So much warmer immediately. Then layer it up depending on how cold it is

      3. Your Pants Should Keep You Warm

      What To Look For:

      • full length / cropped
      • brushed fabric (internally)
      • reflectivity
      • pockets

      As with the rest of your kit, you want your pants to keep you warm but be breathable at the same time. Sweat wicking fabric will remove the sweat from your body quickly and disperse it. This will help to stop you from getting cold if you slow down. Also look for extra details like reflective panels or trims to keep you visible in low light.

      4. You Need To Add Accessories

      Image Credit: lululemon UK

      Accessories For Cold Weather:

      • Hat
      • Ear-warmers
      • Neck warmer
      • Buff
      • Gloves
      • Bag

      For me, ear warmers are a must; as long as my ears are warm I can usually cope! If I’m run commuting I like to have as many reflective items as possible with my bag being the number one. You can also purchase rucksack covers which keep your bag dry if it rains and usually come with reflective panelling. They are versatile if you have different bags.

      Keep Your Ears Warm:

      Other Recommendations:

      Leah – I am a big fan of the thick headband – covers your ears to keep them warm, and doubles up as a sweat catcher/ fringe securer/ earbud holder too
        Leah – A buff is great because you can wear it around your neck, pull it up to cover your face and nose, or use it as a full hat or just a headband. Very versatile for winter

          But, if all else fails, I’ve been told…

          Quote – “run faster…that’ll warm you up”

            What are your must have pieces of kit for running in colder weather?!


            How To Layer For Running in Cold Weather

            , ,

            Photos by Anna Rach Photography. This post contains affiliate links; if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small payment. This doesn't alter the cost for you. 


            1. Organic Runner Mom
              November 21, 2014 / 01:50

              I've definitely become the queen of layering living in NH! You definitely need the right gear to get out and run in the cold. Your suggestions are great. I love having a BUFF on too especially on windy days to keep my nose warm!

              • Elle Linton
                November 21, 2014 / 12:19

                Yes, same for cycling…I like my neck and nose to be warm! also helps the air warm up before you breathe it in making it a more comfortable breathing experience! haha! 🙂

            2. Karen G.
              November 20, 2014 / 18:50

              Great list! I always dread getting out in the cold, but when I'm actually out running in bad weather, I definitely feel a little invincible! 😉

              • Elle Linton
                November 21, 2014 / 12:02

                YES! Me too!! haha! 🙂 …feel so good after as well! Quite refreshing!

            3. Renee @Bendifulblog
              November 20, 2014 / 13:48

              I need to get some better winter gear. I like to put it off in an effort to pretend winter isn't coming.But as I look out to the snow I realize it's here. I really like a solid pair of capris for winter. I layer up on top and try to move as fast as possible to stay warm 🙂

              • Elle Linton
                November 21, 2014 / 12:02

                Snow?! lol Winter is defo with you! We don't have snow here in London as of yet, just lots of rain and cold winds! I actually prefer the snow…it's insulating! …layering on top is the most important for me too! and I find I have to be brave and wear a little less than I think I should so I get to a comfortable temperature rather than being too hot!

            4. Christine
              November 20, 2014 / 13:25

              Oh I need this as I"m trying to motivate myself to get outside for a chilly run!

              • Elle Linton
                November 21, 2014 / 12:00

                Runners World are doing a great challenge starting after Thanksgiving where you run at least a mile each day! Check it out – perfect way to keep you motivated and get you into the habit!

            Leave a Reply

            Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

            Read previous post:
            Slow Cooker Recipes To Get You Through Autumn

            Hey! I think it's time to dust off the slow cooker... or am I only speaking for myself?! Mine has...