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Winter running can be brutal but here are some kit essentials to keep you fit and injury-free!

winter running kit essentials feature image

Winter is coming! Some people “hibernate” in winter and either take their workouts indoors or to the gym. I have a home elliptical, which I love BUT if you’re not running (at least a little) in the winter then you’re missing out. That being said winter is dark, winter is cold and winter can be very unforgiving and you need to have an arsenal of different clothes, equipment and kit so that you can survive the various stages of the winter running season.

If you think you have everything you need, check out my Winter Running Tips post for extra guidance to stay safe and make progress, even in the colder months!

Clothing Essentials

Visibility and warmth are the important factors here and with a lot of winter running being done in the dark, safety is a huge concern. You can be seen better by cars if you have multiple points of reflection and light so try to have at least a few of these items in your wardrobe or with you!

Reflective clothing

Aim to buy apparel with reflective markers already on there – although they aren’t all you need they are a great start and they are already attached so you are getting two for one!

Hi-Visibility Jackets

Yes, they are ugly but they work great and there are plenty of options to try that don’t flap in the wind such as pullover vests or clickable straps. The downside to this is that because of the strap placement they can interfere with backpacks or water pouches so you need to bear this in mind when buying.

Supportive shoes

Even if you’ve been eating your carrots you cannot see in the dark. Chances are you will clip a curb or uneven pathway so make sure you have decent supportive running trainers otherwise you are increasing your injury risk (and it is definitely not worth it). If you can get them in a reflective pattern or color then even better!

supportive shoes are winter running kit essentials

*Runners Tip: Paint an old pair of trainers with glow in the dark paint and wear for evening running*

Base Layers

These are made of thin materials that hug your skin to form a warm protective layer and are worn underneath your other apparel to give you an extra layer of warmth and protection but they are the step down from thermals (see below). Base layers can also be multi-functional because you can wear them by themselves in the summer so these are an investment.

Thermal Tights

These are similar to base layers but are thicker and provide a lot more warmth (you can even get them fleece lined). It is not very often that I wear thermals because I won’t run when it is icy (I don’t think it is worth the risk) which is generally the only time I find it cold enough BUT they are on the list because some people find them really beneficial, especially when trail running long distances where you are likely to get wet and therefore need the extra warmth.

thermal tights are winter running essentials

Thermal waterproof socks

You should really invest in some waterproof thermal socks because the winter normally has wet ground, even if it isn’t raining and the puddles are vast and sneaky. All it takes is one unusually deep puddle to turn a perfectly good run into a nightmare. Plus, keeping your feet warm while running reduces your risk of ligament/tendon injury.

Running Gloves

A lightweight pair of gloves can be a lifesaver because you don’t tend to move your hands at all really when your running so your fingers tend to cramp and get uncomfortable! As an added bonus they also come in reflective options too!

running gloves are winter running kit essentials

Gear Essentials

Yes, we are back on visibility but there are a lot of options out there that can help you stay safe and seen at night time during the winter.


Cracks on the pavement, drop curbs, wet leaves etc are not your friend, so it is really helpful to see them beforehand.

  1. Headlamp I use one with an up and down adjustment to make it easier to change focus on uneven ground while you are on the move.
  2. Hand Held Torch if you wear hats or prefer not to wear it on your head you can opt for a handheld version. They are very flexible but can restrict your arm movements (because you need relative steadiness of the light).
  3. Arm Bands these are for making you seen as opposed to you being able to see but still very important!
  4. Iron on visibility stickers these are a new concept so I haven’t actually tested them (yet) and they are being funded by Kickstarter but they seem like a great idea if you’ve already bought your winter wardrobe and can’t afford to buy other alternatives.
  5. Visibility Paint – I tried this awesome Volvo Life Paint that glows in the dark but doesn’t damage clothing! Check out my review and invest in some of this life saving stuff!

Anything I’ve missed? comment and let me know about your winter essentials.

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