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Best winter running gear in 2024: The shoes, jackets and tights I trust as a competitive distance runner

I'm an all-weather runner — this is the gear I trust to keep me warm during my winter workouts.

winter running, man running in the snow in winter, best winter running gear for men, best cold weather running gear, I'm a competitive distance runner in Canada — here's what I wear on cold winter runs (Getty Images).
I'm a competitive distance runner in Canada — here's what I wear on cold winter runs (Getty Images).

My university cross-country coach (let’s call him Ernie) had a saying: championships are won in the off-season. In other words, he meant that runners who don’t skimp on training even in the most brutal months of the year reap the rewards on race day. For most runners, the off-season is now: the days are short, the weather is cold, and the roads are slippery.

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I’ve always found running gear to be most important in those times of adverse weather and waning motivation: a good pair of shoes, a breezy new jacket, or an aerodynamic pair of tights will make you feel good, protect you against the chills, and equip you to hammer fast workouts until the spring comes. If you are confused about which battle suit to choose, fear not: I’ve spent the last two months testing gear and curating podium picks in three categories — jackets, shoes and tights — to help you narrow your search and find the pieces that will keep you stealthy until the spring.

Best winter running shoes

New Balance 1080 V13 sneakers for winter running
Rest assured: the bounce and cushioning of the V13s last far longer than this pair's crisp white outer (Photos via Alex Cyr & New Balance).

1. New Balance 1080 V13

I have a hard and fast rule for winter running shoes: don’t reinvent the wheel, and stick with what you like. This year, I’ve loved New Balance’s line of everyday training sneakers, so I’ve opted for the 1080 V13s to get me through these next months of training. New Balance fans will notice off the bat that they appear a bit bulkier than their predecessors, as their NDurance rubber outsole adds some size. But they remain light due to their airy mesh, and responsive because of their bouncy midsole. And, as a winter-friendly bonus: their robust underfoot cushioning allows for a stable landing even on icy days.

Shop the Fresh Foam X 1080v13 sneakers in six colours.

$210 at New Balance
On Cloud Flow 4 shoes
Lightweight and bouncy, the Cloudflow also gets enough traction to give its wearer confidence during fast winter workouts (Photos via Alex Cyr & On).

2. On Cloud Flow 4 

Keep these ones handy for ice-free, interval days. The Cloud Flow 4 shoes are built for speed workouts. The upper is ultralight, and the rigid sole harbours On’s trademark nylon Speedboard and a dual-density super foam. They are similar to On’s Cloudboom series but with dialed-up shock absorption to keep injuries at bay. My suggestion: wear these slight shoes on your hard workout days, and then bring out the V13s on your recovery runs. That way, you will make it to the spring healthy and fast.

On Running

Shop the Cloudflow 4 shoes in five colours.

$200 at On Running
New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro V7 GTX men's shoes
Armed with thick grips and Gore-tex tech, the Hierro V7 GTX will keep you upward and quick on technical winter trails (Photos via Alex Cyr & Running Room).

3. New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro V7 GTX

While I recommend the above pairs for speed chasing and road running, those who prefer a winter trail run should consider the sturdy Hierro. Built denser than its other Fresh Foam counterparts, the shoes come embedded in a sticky Vibram Megagrip outsole that makes even the most uneven and slippery terrains feel safe for running. These sneakers are also covered in a Gore-Tex waterproof lining, which also helps to keep the toes warm on snowy paths.

Gore-Tex waterproof fabric protects feet from wind, rain and water.

$220 at Running Room

Best jackets for winter running

On Weather Jacket
The On Weather Jacket is feather-light and form-fitting: a go-to for hard workouts (Photos via Alex Cyr & On Running).

1. On Weather Jacket

I’ll admit that $300 is an ambitious price point for a running coat, but the Weather Jacket by On does outclass its competitors in convenience and versatility. It cuts no corners: its chest pocket tightly holds keys or a phone with minimal jiggle, the cap construction hood and cuffs keep the water out on rainy days, and its breezy construction (at 277g, you barely feel it on your back) still manages to keep me warm. It’s my go-to for tough workouts.

On Running

Shop the Weather Jacket in five colours.

$180 at On Running
Nike Windrunner running jacket men's
Nike's Windrunner Men's Storm-FIT Running Jacket (Photos via Alex Cyr & Nike).

2. Nike Windrunner

The name here is apt: the Windrunner is the toastiest shell-style winter jacket I've worn (and I prefer them to their more thickly-insulated, slightly heavier counterparts.) The water and wind-proof polyester cloak pairs well with a base layer on mild winter days and is roomy enough to fit a second layer underneath it when the weather dips under zero. While not as form-fitting as the On Weather Jacket, and sometimes flopping in the wind because of it, the Windrunner is highly functional with roomy pockets and an adjustable hood. It's also stylish enough to wear around town without looking like you're heading towards a start line. Shop more sizes at Sport Chek.

Men's Storm-FIT Running Jacket.

$240 at Nike
Adidas Marathon Warm-up Jacket in white and blue
At $104, the Adidas marathon warm-up jacket is a steal (Photos via Alex Cyr & Adidas).

3. Adidas Marathon Warm-up Jacket

Adidas has made classic running jackets for longer than I can remember. The Marathon Warm-Up comes from a line of tried-and-true coats; this one, too, a feather-light, water-repellent nylon shell with a close-fitting hood and 360 reflectivity. I’ve made it my November jacket, because it keeps me company every time I slog out the door at 5:30 p.m., into the post-sunset darkness, into six-degree weather. I do tend to retire it by January, as it lacks the insulation to keep me toasty in anything colder than ten below.

Shop the Marathon Warm-Up Jacket in three colours.

$104 at Adidas

Best tights for winter running

Nike Dri-FIT ADV AeroSwift Racing Tights in ribbed grey and black
Nike's ribbed AeroSwift tights keep you warm without restricting your stride — all while turning heads (Photos via Alex Cyr & Nike).

1. Nike Dri-FIT ADV AeroSwift Racing Tights

As soon as I witnessed a few early adopters of Nike’s new AeroSwift tights, which count as high fashion on the running trail, I wondered what the fuss was about. It turns out the Aeroswifts do not only win in style points; they deliver in freezing-temperature workouts. Its mix of select yarns and recycled polyester fibres keeps my legs toasty on warmups but then doesn’t suffocate them once I pick up the pace. In fact, I don’t notice that additional texture at all when going into high gear. It’s the Everything Tight: this is the version to buy if you can invest in only one.

On Performance Tights
Tight-fitting with a side pocket, the On Performance Tights are well worth their price (Photos via Alex Cyr & On Running).

2. On Performance Tights 

The Performance Tights by On are made more traditionally than the Aeroswifts: black, skin-tight, no ribbing. And fair enough: the blueprint for running tights was never broken, and this pair does everything I need them to do: keep me warm and snug in easy runs and workouts alike and repel water on rainy days. The waistband is adjustable, and the back pocket fits keys with minimal bounce. They so far have also responded well to the dual Kryptonites of running tights: the washer and dryer.

Shop the Performance Tights in three colours.

$90 at On Running
Under Armour Qualifier Elite Cold Tights in grey
Thick and two-layered, the Qualifier Elite is made for deep winter and force you to leave the "too cold" excuses at home (Photos via Alex Cyr & Under Armour).

3. Under Armour Qualifier Elite Cold Tights

While the above two garments are lightweight and best suited for fast runs, the Qualifier Elites by Under Armour are conceived for deep winter. Their dual-layer fabric makes them thicker and a bit heavier than their counterparts and will make your knees sweat on a sunny day. But they become a staple in my running wardrobe and a must-wear as soon as I plan to run at least 30 minutes in negative ten-degree weather or colder. They also have a few handy specs, like a center-back waistband pocket that fits a phone and another on the hip for keys.

Men's UA Qualifier Elite Tights in Black/Steel.

$80 at Under Armour