The right cold-weather gear is essential for a winter walk or run.

Stay Healthy in Winter with the Right Running Gear

I’m sure you’ve noticed — it’s cold outside. Very cold. The short, dark days of December are probably among the least appealing of the year for outdoor exercise. As temperatures drop, it’s hard to stick to your training regimen, especially if you’re chilly and miserable. The good news is that having the right gear can make a big difference in staying comfortable in cold and wet weather.

“As we head into the winter, and the days get cooler, it’s key to wear wickable running and walking apparel,” says Ian Ballentine, Marketing Manager at Sports Basement on Bryant Street in San Francisco. “Wicking fabric draws moisture away from your body, keeping you warm, dry, and comfortable while you exercise.”

Wickable material is designed to allow air flow between the fabric and your skin, letting your skin fully breathe and cool itself. Wicking gear is also extremely lightweight and comfortable. In contrast, cotton apparel holds onto moisture, keeping your body damp and therefore cold. Damp cotton while running or walking can lead to chaffing and irritation, not to mention chills. So it’s time to ditch the cotton and transition into something lightweight and breathable. You won’t be sorry!

When looking for wicking gear, make sure you check the clothing labels for polyester and polyester blends like polypropylene. Additionally, wool and bamboo are natural options for wickable fabrics.

Layering also helps to keep warmth in. In cold weather, many runners opt for a base layer, middle layer, and outer layer. Fitness brands have developed wicking apparel from top to bottom, so you can attain wicking hats, shirts, shorts, and socks.

These fabrics are commonly referred to as technical fabrics and they do require special care. To make your wickable running gear last, read the labels and follow instructions. The common rule for fitness apparel is to wash your fabrics in cool water and hang them to air dry. Putting them in the dryer will reduce the overall effectiveness of the wicking material over time.

Be good to your body; go wicking!

Sports Basement staff members Ian Ballentine and Brittany Garrett bring you expert information on the best gear available to train in comfort and style. Ian manages the, triathlon, swim, and run channels for Sports Basement. She swam for San Jose State University and currently competes in Ironman competitions and races for the Oakland Tri Club. Brittany, who holds a bachelor of science in kinesiology with an emphasis on exercise science, manages the footwear department at Sports Basement in the Presidio. She has been running competitively for 15 years and coaches collegiate cross country at San Francisco State University.