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The Best Men’s Winter Running Apparel 2024

October 25, 2023

We put in more than 1,900 miles testing 135 items. Here are the best.

inter running demands adaptability, from you as well as your apparel. For you, that can mean shifting planned workouts to different days, limiting yourself to several small loops of plowed road, or even, heaven forbid, scratching your run entirely. For your apparel, that means performing well in frequently changing weather, whether that’s day to day, week to week, or from the start to the last few miles of a run.

This winter running apparel guide accounts for all of those winter inevitabilities. Our team of testers put in almost 2,000 miles in every conceivable condition to determine the highest-quality, most versatile winter gear currently available. The 17 items below emerged as stellar in their category.

The Winners at a Glance:

  • Editor’s Choice: Best Pants: Tracksmith Bislett Pants
  • Best Base Layer Top: Pinebury Portland LS Performance Tee
  • Best Top For Running and Everyday Life: Appalachian Gear Company 8020 Long Sleeve Tee
  • MVP (Most Versatile Piece): Rabbit Cocoon 2.0
  • Best Shell: Houdini The Orange Jacket
  • Best Heavier Jacket: Fjallraven Keb Fleece Hoodie
  • Best Underwear: Tracksmith Brighton Boxers Briefs
  • Best Tights: SaySky Blaze+ Long Winter Tights
  • Best Leggings: Minus 33 Woolverino Midweight Flyless Running Tights
  • Best Thicker Socks: Walter Sky Merino Wool Athletic Sock
  • Best Thinner Socks: On Performance High Sock
  • Best Neck Gaiter: Skida Snow Tour
  • Best Light Hat: Artilect Darkhorse Skully Beanie
  • Best Heavy Hat: Ciele Athletics VNT Beanie
  • Best Gloves: Soar Winter Gloves
  • Best Mittens: Rab Xenon Mitt
  • Best Gift: Outdoor Vitals Tern Ultralight Merino Wool Hoodie

Best Base Layer Top: Pinebury Portland LS Performance Tee ($108)

(Photo: Courtesy Pinebury)

Sizing: XS – XXL


If you’re a merino wool-lover who hasn’t yet experienced Nuyarn, here’s the lowdown: Nuyarn is a two-ply strand of merino spun around a nylon core. Because the yarn isn’t twisted, as with standard merino/nylon knits, the merino fibers are better able to insulate and wick. The construction also leads to fabrics with five or more times the durability of conventional merino yarns. This U.S.-made shirt is a great example of what this new wool-nylon technology delivers. At 145 grams per square meter, the Portland Long Sleeve Tee is lighter than most midweight merino tops, but just as warm. The shirt hits at or just below the belt line, with a close but not clingy fit that enhances its breathability. We comfortably wore it as a base layer at temps below freezing and as a solo top into the low 50s Fahrenheit.

Bottom line: A soft but sturdy, light but warm, functional but fashionable staple

Best Thicker Socks: Walter Sky Merino Wool Athletic Sock ($23)

(Photo: Courtesy Walter Sky)

Sizing: Men’s 6-10, Men’s 11-13


It can be tricky to find the right socks for running on really cold days. Your inclination might be to wear the thickest socks you have. But those don’t always fit comfortably inside your running shoes. These Nuyarn socks (40 percent merino/20 percent nylon/40 percent Lycra) solve the problem: Extra cushioning in the heel and ball of the foot is offset by a lighter mesh elsewhere to produce a medium-thick fit with an incredible warmth-to-weight ratio. The mid-calf length stays in place throughout runs. These were my go-to socks on the many single-digit-temp-or-colder days of a Maine winter.

Bottom line: Warm enough for the coldest days without confining your feet

Best Light Hat: Artilect Darkhorse Skully Beanie ($35)

(Photo: Courtesy Artilect)

Sizing: One size


Many runners don’t need (or want) a thick, heavy hat for their winter miles. Even those in harsh climes like to have a lighter alternative on moderate days. This beanie kept us comfy in temps to the low 20s, but didn’t overheat us on sunny, above-freezing late-winter runs. The fit is dialed in—snug, but with just enough give that it doesn’t feel like a skull cap. The merino wool/nylon yarn is soft and smooth, quickly moved sweat to the surface for evaporation, and didn’t smell even when worn often enough to form salt lines.

Bottom line: Great fit, comfort, and warmth-to-weight ratio in a lightweight lid

Best Gift: Outdoor Vitals Tern Ultralight Merino Wool Hoodie ($85)

(Photo: Courtesy Outdoor Vitals)

Sizing: XS–3XL


Our criteria for this category: Something you might not consider a core piece but that, once you have it, you find yourself wearing again and again. This thin, light (115 grams per square meter) Nuyarn top is made of a soft, 58-percent merino wool/42-percent nylon blend. It fits closely but not tightly. It’s great for running, either on its own on mild days or over a long-sleeve top on cooler ones. I also wore it often for daily life, both indoors in the winter or as a light pullover on warm spring days. Whether you gift it to someone else or yourself is up to you.

Bottom line: Who wouldn’t love to receive a versatile, high-performing, attractive merino hoodie?


Seen Published In

Outside Magazine

The Best Men’s Winter Running Apparel 2024

Read Article