Cold weather gear for a Floridian in Canada (Read 1033 times)



    Well, this is my first winter in Canada (all other winters having been spent in Florida). 

    Now that there's snow on the ground and it's pretty cold... how do I run?


    Please give your suggestions of your favorite cold weather running gear. And uh... what do I put on my feet? To keep them warm, dry, and to not fall down!


    This may sound really silly and childish, but when all your winters have been under the palm trees, this stuff is quite foreign!



    "To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -- Leonard Bernstein

    an amazing likeness

      It's all about the layers...


      Regular running shoes, adding wool socks to replace thinner when really cold. (get taller socks than those 1/4 high ones)

      Running tights with a good outer layer bottoms (10F and down, otherwise shorts and outer layer).

      Long-sleeve under layers (I use Nike pro and various others), with a good outer layer up top.

      Balacava / hood / hats to meet wind & temp needs.


      For out layers, I am a big, big, big fan of Sporthill. (and Sugoi)

      I've done my best to live the right way. I get up every morning and go to work each day. (for now)

      Feeling the growl again



        For out layers, I am a big, big, big fan of Sporthill. (and Sugoi)


        Big +1.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


        I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills


        No Talent Drips

          If $ is no object, I'd suggest CW-X insulator top and bottom. If you're built like me and have any pride whatsoever, you'll be naturally inclined to layer--spiderman would tell you your clothes are tight.


          I ran in the stuff today, 22 deg and windy. No problems.  My feet are never a problem unless they get wet. Blood circulation does the trick.


          I also have a balaclava for really cold days, but most days go with a wool "buff" b/c of the versatility.


          "In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus


          Welcome to winter.

           Dei Gratia


            Big +1.


            +2 on the SportHills. I have a pair of 3SP XC Pant that I wear when the temps are about zero and colder. These things are amazing. For warmer temps I have a pair of Champion C9 pants that work really well but don't stop the wind like the SportHills do.


            I wear a long sleeve tee shirt and a Brooks Nighlife shell down to about zero, after that I'll go with some thermal heat gear LS and or a 1/4 zip fleece under the Brooks shell.


            I have a pair of Saucony Razors for my cold weather running shoes, hat or headband depending on temp with a balaclava or fleece neck warmer.


            The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff


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            Enjoy life



              Here are my current faves from head to toe.  Hope it's helpful...


              Hat: Synthetic fiber cap.  I find the ones for running too thin, so I usually buy these in the ski section of the outdoor adventure store (REI, for example).  My favorites right now are from Burton and North Face, but I also have a Mizuno cap I like a lot.  Make sure it's long enough to cover your ears if you have lots of hair. 


              Shirt: A heavy synthetic fiber long-sleeve shirt.  I buy a variety of thicknesses and either layer them or wear one with a jacket.  For example, I'll sometimes wear a thin Nike thermal shirt with a heavy shirt with a zipper front.  My heaviest running tech shirts are from Saucony, Brooks and Craft.  They probably cost $70-$100. 


              Jacket: Medium to light weight.  Recently, I've been wearing long shirts with a jacket.  Try to find one that'll move with you and has a few pockets.  My current favorite is from Nike and is about $100.  It fails in the pocket department but it fits me well in the arms and chest so I like it.  I also have one from Brooks that was about $120.  It's a bit stiff, though, so I only wear this one on the coldest days.


              Gloves and Mittens: Thin glove liners with mittens.  After trying every glove on the market, I've been convinced that mittens are the way to go but I also wear a glove liners with them.  My local running stores don't really stock mittens, so I usually get these at REI.  On super cold days, I'll stow some hand warmer packets in my pockets and use them if I feel the mittens aren't cutting it.  Yeah, my hands get that cold. 


              Tights.  Synthetic fiber.  For a while, I was hooked on Saucony since they took over the manufacturer of my favorite pair (Hind).  But since then, I've discovered the Sugoi Sub Zero, which were about $80, and I love them.  The Mid Zero are nice, too.  You definitely want to try them on since length and thigh/butt roominess can be issues.


              Socks: Balaga Hidden Comfort.  My feet don't get that cold during my runs, so I pretty much wear these socks yearround.  But, I do have a few pairs of wool socks from (Balaga, Features, Thorlo) that go up to the ankles that I'll wear on super cold days.

              “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the fight in the dog. – Dwight D. Eisenhower


              My blog is JT Running DC.  It's awesome.

                You guys are all wonderful! Thanks! 

                "To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -- Leonard Bernstein

                  Seeing as you are a student like me, I will say outlets are your best friend.  Half my gear, if not more, was bought at an Adidas outlet.  I look like a total Adidas nut if you look at my drawers.  I don't care if it keeps me warm.  

                  +1 on synthetic fibres and wool socks.  I run in the super thin Hattori and with wool socks my feet stay warm in every temp I've tried it in.  

                   Hat wise, I use regular winter headbands I find at dollar stores.  They are warm and don't get quite as drenched in sweat at hats do.  

                  'No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch'


                  "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"  - Peter Maher


                  "Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it's hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run."  -Monte Davis

                    Welcome to Canada! Where are you? Canada is kinda big and we have quite a variance in temperatures and snowfall so it is hard to give you advice.

                    Suffering Benefiting from mature onset exercise addiction and low aerobic endorphin release threshold. Hoping there is no cure.

                      Welcome to Canada! Where are you? Canada is kinda big and we have quite a variance in temperatures and snowfall so it is hard to give you advice.



                      "To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -- Leonard Bernstein

                        I'm from here and I don't run a lot outside in the wintertime.  It's not the cold, it's the surface...  Ice patches and snow and water...  It's difficult to do any quality work if finding your footing is an issue, and it often is.  For that, something like yaktrax can help a lot.


                        First of all, 5C below is not at all like 20C below: what's comfortable for one is inappropriate for another. 


                        A long-sleeved lined jacket for wind protection works well for me, adjusting layers underneath according to temperature and wind chill.  Elastic bands (or velcro) snapping over the gloves help keeping the cold out.  If it feels cold for the first few minutes, it's probably fine, you don't want to sweat as this would ruin insulation.


                        The legs I don't find to be a problem, since they warm with the effort.  I can use tights with shorts on mild days, or winter pants, possibly with light tights in the worst case. 


                        Extremities are more of a problem.  Your toes will love thick socks, wool ones are good.  Beware of splashing them and then freezing.  Fingers are finicky.  Mitts are warmer than gloves.  Cover your throat with a scarf or neck warmer.  Get a couple of hats or tuques with different thickness.  If it's cold and windy you will probably need a balaclava for your face.


                        Good luck!

                          I'll run the lakeshore path in Chicago in the dead of winter (maybe not Montreal cold but cold nevertheless...) with long sleeve tech shirt, thin, fleece lined Champion synthetic shell, standard tights (but my legs never get cold, so it's not a problem) UA socks (a little thicker but not wool) and a UA hat.  My hands start out being the coldest part of my body but I have to shed the gloves after a mile or two.  Weird.  I'll just use the brown, jersey dimestore gloves most of the time but I do have decent NorthFace gloves, too.


                          You'll have to experiment.  I see people bundled up like Nanook of the North and others in short-shorts and a t-shirt.


                          Have fun!



                          "I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead..." J. Buffett There are two rules in life: 1.) Don't sweat the small stuff 2.) It's ALL small stuff

                            I've got YakTrax for very icy weather, but I rarely use them. Just slow down. In montreal you might run into problems of ice on paths, footprints ice quickly. I usually run beside paths in the snow, but I'm out in the sticks.


                            I mostly use the same stuff I wear in the fall, just more of it. Down to about -10, I'll wear tights, maybe long underwear as well, 2-3 long sleeve shirts, a windbreaker vest, toque and mitts. Windproof briefs are the most amazing things invented, mine came from MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op), I'm not sure if they still sell them or not.


                            For easy runs that aren't too long, I've done well with hoodies as well. Has the bonus of making you feel like Rocky.

                              You've had some good advice here. It really is trial and error. This year the snow is light, which is great but when it does snow, if the sidewalks are not cleared and people walk on it, then it can be impossible to run because it gets difficult to find flat surface. Yak-trax work well but give a harder run. It is the windchill that kills me though so protecting your face and extremities is important. For my hands I wear proper wicking gloves with cheap fleece over top which act as a substitute for Kleenex. :-)

                              Suffering Benefiting from mature onset exercise addiction and low aerobic endorphin release threshold. Hoping there is no cure.


                                I'm in Toronto.  It's been as good as I've seen over here, I've yet to ditch the shorts this season for lunchtime runs tho I do wear sweats in the mornings.  The wind and precip has a lot to do with what I wear.  0C and calm is way different than 0C and 30 klik winds.  At 0 and windless or light winds, I can go shorts, t with technical sweater.  Add 30 k winds and I -might- keep the shorts but it will be 3 layers up top and maybe a windbreaker as well.  The most I wear is when it hits below -20C with wind, and it will be sweats, nylon shorts (underneath) as a windbreak, undies, and on top it will be a cotton t under (I prefer cotton against my skin than technical shirts, it's just my way), a l/s cotton t on that, a s/s technical t over that, a l/s technical sweater (I have a beaut that feels like furnace) over that and a long windbreak shell.  On my head it's a toque under 0C, and I'll pull the hood of my tech sweater over as well if it's really cold.  Above freezing, just a hat up top.  I have a balaclava if it gets really, really cold but usually the toque is plenty.


                                My feet...never have an issue.  Same shoes I wear when it's 90+ out but with long cotton socks if I'm wearing sweats.