The temps are dipping and the days are shortening, but that doesn’t mean your outdoor workouts need to take a sabbatical until spring. Nope, we’re here to tell you that the opposite is true — your al fresco calorie-torching sessions aren’t going anywhere, as long as you have the right gear to keep you warm and protected.
Whether you’re opting for a predawn run, a rigorous hike or a training session in your driveway, the key to withstanding the cold and achieving your fitness goals is wearing lightweight, sweat-wicking materials that are simultaneously breathable and insulating.
We scoured the internet for the latest and greatest gear — from reflective leggings and water-repellent running jackets to light-as-a-feather puffers and high-tech gloves — that will keep you comfortable outside.
Winter workout tops
Lululemon Women’s Runderful Long Sleeve ($88; lululemon.com)
The old adage “you get what you pay for” has never been truer than when it comes to Lululemon gear. Case in point: This long-sleeved running top will be your go-to base layer on chilly mornings, thanks to the thick Luxtreme fabric that keeps you warm while simultaneously wicking away sweat. Designed specifically for running, the shirt has thumbholes, zippered pockets and reflective details, and it comes in five spiffy colorways.
Adidas Men’s Cold.Rdy Training Hoodie ($100; adidas.com)
This winter, Adidas launched its Cold.Rdy collection, designed specifically to tackle the harshest weather, and as is standard for the brand, the pieces are oozing with street style too. This men’s training hoodie is proof you can look crazy cool while training outside. The soft fabric traps heat, making you feel ultra-warm, while simultaneously blocking wind. We love that the hood stays put during rigorous workouts, and that three zippered pockets are available to hold all the things you like to lug around.
All in Motion Women’s Long Sleeve Seamless Top ($19.20, originally $24; target.com)
This just might be the best deal on our list. Thick and warm, but breathable and super-cute with its ribbed detailing, this stretchy workout shirt from Target line All in Motion is a steal.
Uniqlo Women’s Women Heattech Extra Warm Crew Neck T-Shirt ($19.90, originally $24.90; uniqlo.com)
Uniqlo’s Heattech self-heating fabrics — they’re made from a proprietary material that actually converts your body’s moisture and turns it into heat — are a must for winter layering. That includes this fitted, long-sleeve T-shirt that is a perfect base layer under a sweatshirt or puffer. More to know: It’s also a great casual option with jeans or sweats for chill time.
Reebok Men’s Thermowarm Deltapeak Quarter-Zip Sweatshirt ($85; reebok.com)
This we know: Reebok didn’t come to play when it came to designing its Thermowarm gear. Our favorite piece is this water-resistant sweatshirt made of a layered fabric that insulates the wearer — but not overly so. The chic texture and icy white colorway only add to the Deltapeak’s ultra-cool look.
UA Women’s IntelliKnit Phantom 2.0 Crew ($100; underarmour.com)
As pretty as it is highly functional, this Intelliknit long sleeve from Under Armour is a must-have for long runs this winter. Incredibly lightweight, the sweater is breathable and fast-drying, making it possible to wear one layer instead of several. More to know: It’s chic enough to pair with jeans and heels on a night out, too.
Brooks Men’s Notch Thermal Long Sleeve ($80; brooksrunning.com)
If you’re looking for a premium-quality base layer, this men’s thermal from luxe running gear brand Brooks is it. Ultra-lightweight, the soft, notched fabric of the long sleeve is thin and warm, but doesn’t overheat, making it perfect for cold-weather runs. Available in four colors, the top has a genius hidden shoulder pocket for small valuables, and it’s odor-resistant, too. ____________________________________________________________________________
All in Motion Men’s Long Sleeve Performance T-Shirt ($16; target.com)
When you’re looking to stock up on performance base layer shirts without breaking the bank, Target’s your answer. This long-sleeve from All in Motion is currently available in four basic colors and sizes XS to XXXL. ____________________________________________________________________________
Offline Women’s Thumbs Up T-Shirt ($24.46, originally $34.95; ae.com)
This summer Aerie launched a sub brand of activewear dubbed Offline, and to say we’re obsessed is an understatement. Chock full of affordable options — from leggings and shorts to sports bras and puffers — in playful hues and patterns, the line is a great option for those looking to stock up on workout gear without spending a fortune. For example, this paper-thin jersey long sleeve is perfect for layering as you head out on a run or a hike. Available in 10 colors and sizes XXS to XXL, the shirt is currently majorly on sale — and worth the investment.
Lululemon Men’s Surge Warm Half Zip ($108; lululemon.com)
In case you missed it: Lululemon is also the purveyor of some seriously cool men’s workout gear, like this half zip that is an ideal middle or base layer. Created expressly for cold-weather running, the ultra-light pullover has stretch and is breathable, while also wicking away sweat — did we mention it’s buttery soft and has two discrete pockets (with zippers!) too? And it’s got reflective details for those evening sweat sessions.
Winter workout bottoms
Adidas Men’s Favorites Winterized Track Pants ($50; adidas.com)
We’re not mad at these winterized track pants, and you won’t be either. With the same cut and fit as Adidas’ classic track pants, this fleece version is thicker and warmer, but still slim enough to get your outdoor workout — whether it’s a game of hoops, a hike or training session — done in comfort.
Nearly 1,700 reviewers have made the laid-back, uber-cozy Ponto Performance Pant a bestseller for Vuori, but we’re here to say the brand has channeled that same comfort into a streamlined, lightweight workout pant with the Sunday Performance Jogger. Made with performance stretch knit jersey, the moisture-wicking pants have three zippered pockets and a relaxed fit that ensure you’ll be looking cool as a cucumber during warmups and cooldowns.
Lululemon Women’s Keep The Heat Thermal Tight ($128; lululemon.com)
Designed with Lululemon’s new SenseKnit technology, these seamless tights feature a wool/nylon/stretch combo that dries quickly, regulates temperature, wicks away sweat and helps keep you uber-warm, even on the chilliest days. More to know: The ribbed-texture leggings are extra-long, at 27 inches, and come in sizes S through XL (a departure for the brand, which usually offers leggings in sizes 0 to 20).
Brooks Women’s Momentum Thermal Tight ($95; brooksrunning.com)
If you’re looking for a thicker thermal tight for running on freezing days, this is it. Brooks’ second-skin fabric is slinky on the outside, fleecy warm on the inside and breathable overall, making for an ultra-warm workout. We love the multiple pockets, the supportive fit and the full-coverage length. This is a running tight that delivers on its promise.
Every woman’s favorite shapewear brand has some serious street cred when it comes to activewear, and we’re currently obsessed with the winter options. This lightweight set features a waistband-free design, and it keeps you ultra-visible during dark workouts with a reflective print that runs from top to bottom.
UA Men’s Recover Fleece Pants ($100; underarmour.com)
Under Armour launched its Recover collection this winter, which includes pieces featuring a mineral-infused fabric that responds to the energy you give off and reflects it back into your muscles, helping you to recover from tough workouts faster and feel less fatigued. These thick and warm fleece pants, available in sizes small to 4XL, will do just that, and their ultra-comfortable fit, thick elastic waist band and zippered pockets will help seal the deal that they’re your favorite sweats ever.
Also part of the Recover collection is this Rush Cold Gear set for women. Super sleek in design — we’re big fans of the moody baroque green hue — the leggings and coordinating mock feature a thick, incredibly soft material that stretches and moves with you, while also keeping you warm. This we know: You’re guaranteed to look profesh while training in this gear. ____________________________________________________________________________
Nike Women’s Pro Luxe Ankle Tights ($90; nordstrom.com)
You can never go wrong with a pair of Nike tights, and that includes this Pro Luxe set, which uses the brand’s Dri-Fit technology to keep you dry and cool.
Adidas Men’s Cold.Rdy Training Pants ($95; adidas.com)
Insulating and ultra-soft, these high-tech training pants are designed to help you achieve top performance during the harshest of winter climes. Wicking away sweat and keeping you warm (and dry!), the pants have the perfect fit, offering a hard-to-achieve combination of snug but loose.
Sweaty Betty Women’s Peak Thermal Leggings ($148; sweatybetty.com)
Sweaty Betty is one of our favorite leggings purveyors, and the brand does not disappoint when it comes to winter-ready options. These thermal leggings, for instance, are a must for anyone planning on pounding the pavement this winter (or hitting the slopes — they make for a great layering pant). Ultra-soft and stretchy, the thermal fabric also regulates temperature, keeping you nice and warm on even the coldest of days. We love the pockets and the cute, contrasting drawstring. ____________________________________________________________________________
Baleaf Women’s Fleece Lined Winter Leggings (starting at $26.99; amazon.com)
Nearly 4,000 Amazon customers report that these fleece-lined running leggings are worth the (minimal) investment. Available in 17 colors, the high-waisted pants boast not one but two pockets for all your storage needs.
According to one reviewer, “I’m 6’ and most of that is in my legs so finding anything long enough is basically impossible. These not only reach about an inch above my ankle, but the waist actually comes up to my belly button, which is incredibly important in workout gear.”
Summersalt Women’s Do-It-All High Rise 7/8 Leggings ($95; summersalt.com)
One of our go-to swimwear brands has diversified in a big way, and we’re here for their new activewear collection. The Do It All Hi-Rise Leggings are form and function personified — the super-soft pants actually wick away sweat and are chock full of stretch, making them perfect for outdoor workouts, while the slew of adorable patterns ensures you’ll be looking cute.
Winter workout outerwear
Old Navy Women’s Packable Narrow Channel Puffer Vest ($25.99, originally $39.99; oldnavy.com)
Of all the layers out there, a puffy vest just might be our favorite, and this one from Old Navy gets the job done. Lightweight but warm, the vest has a standing mock collar, pockets and a silky taffeta lining. It comes in five colors and patterns, folds up into its own pocket and is a bargain at this price. Fear not, dudes, a men’s version is available too. ____________________________________________________________________________
The North Face Women’s Flight Futurelight Jacket ($280; thenorthface.com)
Perfect for trail running in wet weather, the Flight Futurelight jacket from The North Face is chock full of cool technology — an ultrathin nanomembrane, for example, allows airflow while still keeping you high and dry during your run. Soft and movable, the jacket is thin, lightweight and packable, and its hood and hem are adjustable. ____________________________________________________________________________
Old Navy Women’s Micro Performance Fleece Zip-Front Jacket ($29.99; oldnavy.com)