It’s not like getting up for that pre-work run was easy during the summer or fall. Now it’s pitch black, relentlessly cold and the streets are covered with ice, snow and salt. But a brisk jog before sunrise is a one-way ticket to a fulfilling day, not to mention a long winter of staying fit despite a dining regimen of braised short ribs and mashed potatoes. The right gear will keep you warm, dry and, most importantly, stable when the ground beneath you isn’t.
Newton BoCo AT
Boulder-based Newton is a favorite among our resident runners for having the right amount of cushion while still offering a good feel of the road or trail. Minimal drop, plenty of support. The BoCo AT — short for Boulder, Colorado, All Terrain — is the brand’s first trail running shoe, equipped with multi-directional lugs in the sole, a closed-mesh upper treated with a water-repellant coating and a beefy toe bumper to protect against rocks and other debris lurking in the slush.
Hillsound Trail Crampon
When the midpoint of your winter run is the peak of a mountain in the Adirondacks rather than a stop at the local coffee shop, you’ll need more traction than even the burliest off-road shoe can provide. Hillsound’s Trail Crampon Ultra provides just that, with 18 spikes on high-strength stainless steel chains that are attachable to any shoe with an elastomer harness. The set packs down into its own carry case, and at less than a pound in toto, it’s a no brainer.
Gore Mythos Jacket
Any old coat is fine for getting the mail or pegging the local kids with snowballs, but for longer runs something a bit more technical is in order. The proprietary Windstopper soft shell material in Gore’s Mythos jacket provides the comfort and breathability of a mid-layer with the water resistance and warmth of an outer layer. Bonus points for plenty of reflective print, a fleece-lined collar and thumb-holed elastic cuffs.
Lululemon Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve
Thought Lululemon was just for women with serious yoga regimens? They also make a range of functional men’s performance clothing. This tee is made with Lululemon’s Silverescent technology, nylon bonded with silver that prevents the growth of stink-causing bacteria. Strategically placed venting and moisture-wicking properties make this an ideal base layer.
Janji 1/4 Snap Pull-Over
Janji’s foray into cold-weather running is a handsome poly-spandex pullover with reflective details under the arms, integrated thumbholes and a snap-closure at the neck. With a base layer it’s warm enough for an average winter day, but it’s also lean enough to wear comfortably under a soft shell. Purchase comes with a charitable donation (something Janji does with all its products), in this case one year of drinking water for a person in Tanzania.
Janji’s pants are a bit more relaxed than your standard running tights, cut with roomier straight-leg fit that’s reminiscent of cozy warm-ups and lined with fleece for added warmth. They also have more storage than tights, with two side pockets and a rear media pocket for a phone. Pair them with the 1/4 Snap Pull-Over and you’ve got a track suit that isn’t the punchline of a joke.
The North Face Winter Runners Glove
The appropriately named Winter Runners Glove is like hiring Blackwater for your hands. TNF’s DWR-finished Apex ClimateBlock shell is breathable and water resistant; they also convert from glove to mitten for extra warmth and have seriously convenient touches like a key pocket in the palm, nose-wipe panels and smartphone-friendly fabric on the index fingers and thumbs.
Mountain Hardwear Stretch Rappel Bandana
This Stretch Rappel Bandana from Mountain Hardwear the simplest, most essential piece of gear for running in the winter. It’s basically a buff made of technical fabric, so you can wear it around the neck for extra warmth, pull it over your head like a balaclava very cold weather, or just use it to soak up sweat as a bandana. With UPF 50 sun protection, it’s just as useful in the summer.
Icebreaker Relay Boxer Briefs
Rarely, if ever, does pulling down your pants reveal a garment as nice as the sweater on your back. That time has come. Icebreaker uses wool from the merino sheep of New Zealand’s high country to create fabrics that are naturally warm, breathable and odor-resistant. Wearing the Relay Briefs is like having a ram on retainer to protect your balls — but without any of the weirdness of actually drafting that contract.
TomTom Multisport GPS Watch
Known for their in-car navigation units, TomTom also makes a line of sports watches, including their latest and most advanced, the TomTom Multi-Sport. It catches the GPS signal quickly, interfaces intuitively and tracks distance, pace, calories and more (with the add-on heart-rate monitor and other sensors), plus swimming and cycling metrics if you decide to cross-train.
Ranger Coffee Airborne Hypercaff
At 5:30 a.m., stumbling and bleary-eyed, alarm hidden across the room and set to “dog barking”, a helping hand to get out the door and on the trail is a miracle. With twice the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee, Ranger Coffee’s hypercaffeinated blend, a combination of Ethiopian Harrar, Sumatran GM and Tanzanian Peaberry, is more of a shoving hand. 50 percent of the company’s distributed profits go to causes serving veterans, so you’ll feel good about buying it and real amped up after drinking it.