Review: The Ghost from Brooks has been one of the best selling running shoes for years. It was also selected as Runner’s World Editor’s Choice for running shoes in 2020.
There are some great reasons for this. With its BioMoGo DNA midsole and DNA Loft softness, the shoe is both comfortable and responsive.
But in the winter, you don’t just need comfortable and responsive. You need a shoe that stays dry and avoids slipping around in icy or snowy conditions.
Want to hear the news?
This shoe passes the test with flying colors.
The Ghost 11’s Segmented Crash Pad absorbs shock, improves heel-to-toe transitions, and doesn’t slide around in moderately icy or snowy conditions. It is an excellent shoe for all conditions.
The only downside is this shoe is not built for super extremes. A touch below freezing? A little bit of snow/ice? Fine. But if you’re running in Siberia in the dead of winter, consider a different shoe.
Review:Altra is slowly turning its brand into a household name in running. It certainly is not mainstream like New Balance, Brooks, or Asics, but Altra has found a niche in building for extreme conditions.
Ultramarathoners and other runners with similar bouts of insanity have found their home in the Altra brand. The Lone Peak 3.0 Neoshell especially is built to handle the extreme.
Snow? Mud? You name it, this shoe can handle it.
The Polartec Neoshell that Altra uses on the outside is waterproof and is exceptional at keeping muck off the shoe and staying firm and resistant in tough conditions.
But, while the shoe is exceptional in cold and wet winter conditions, it has the downside of not being able to handle summer conditions well. If the weather is warm, expect your feet to be very warm very quickly.
Review: Saucony has been making quality shoes for many years and the Ride 8 GTX is no exception. This shoe is lighter than both the Ghost 11 and the Lone Peak 3.0. This makes it a better shoe for harder efforts like tempos or even longer races.
The shoe claims it is waterproof with the Gore FLEX and we’ve found that it works well, but is not as effective as the Polartec waterproofing found in the Lone Peak 3.0.
Here’s what we found.
The shoe is not as durable as the Ghost 11, but that is likely due to the shoe being built lighter and with more stiffness (making it better for faster efforts) than the Ghost 11 or Lone Peak 3.0
This shoe is made for moderate road conditions but may struggle a bit in off-road or more extreme conditions
Excellent for Road.
Not Built for Extreme Conditions.
Not Super Durable.
Our Grade: B (a strong choice for front of the pack runners in moderate conditions).
Review: This jacket made a name for itself on the shoulders of Des Linden as she won the 2018 Boston Marathon.
What makes it worth it?
Not only does the jacket look great, but it also does a good job of keeping you warm and dry in adverse conditions.
This piece of winter running gear may not be the ideal option for a blizzard or torrential rain, as we’ve found the waterproofing is not perfect, but the Canopy does a good job, like the Ghost 11 shoe from the same company, of being a strong choice for moderate conditions.
Combine that with good durability and a reasonable price, and we highly recommend this jacket.
Wind & Rain Resistant.
Not 100% Waterproof.
Not Excellent in Extreme Conditions.
Our Grade: B (ideal for moderate winter conditions).
These light tights keep you dry, avoid chafing, and keep you warm. Our males loved them as well, complaining that most winter running tights restrict movement too much, but these allowed for a full range of motion while staying warm.
Want to hear the news?
That’s why these tights are selected as our “Best Men’s Winter Running Gear 2020”.
We tried them out in sub-freezing temperatures, but they are a little thinner than some other tights and may not be ideal if the temperature drops below zero.
Excellent Range of Motion.
May Be Less Than Ideal for Sub-Freezing.
Our Grade: A (Ideal for any run between 40 and -10 degrees Farenheit).
Review: These tights do a great job of balancing mobility and warmth. The NB Heat fabric helps you to stay dry and warm in winter conditions. These tights also have a reflective strip on the front, sides, and back of the legs, allowing you to be visible from all sides.
These tights also have a good pocket on the side, with plenty of room for a phone or wallet.
A zipper on the side of the lower leg is a great feature to help take these tights on and off easily. That, along with a drawstring around the waist, is a big help for ensuring the tights fit well.
All in all, these tights are great for winter conditions. They have a bit less mobility than their Under Armour competitors, but they are good looking, durable, and breathable.
Review: If you are consistently running in temperatures close to or below zero degrees Fahrenheit, these tights are excellent. They are thick, breathable, and allow for good range of motion considering how warm they are.
We like the relatively simple design, black with the Nike swoosh above the knee (the men’s has a reflector stripe on each shin) and the zippers on the side of the calf to make it easy to get them on and off.
Another huge plus is the minimal waistband for both the men and women. This keeps these tights lighter and more comfortable while still staying in place for many miles at a time.
The biggest downside, as is common with Nike, is these tights are very expensive.
Handles Moisture Well.
A Bit Restrictive.
Our Grade: B- (Ideal if you do not have a limited budget).
We only selected crew cut socks for our selection. We have found this to be the most popular length for winter runners as it balances warmth with comfort.
Some runners enjoy knee high socks, especially in the winter months, but while they are more obvious, they are also less common.
Review: Defeet claims to be a cycling company, but we’ve found their socks to be excellent for running as well.
Part of this is due to the temperature difference between running and cycling. Due to the higher speeds that occur while riding a bike, cycling socks have to be thicker and warmer while still providing the mobility and comfort we expect from running socks.
Why do we love them?
These socks do an excellent job of handling moisture while staying warm and durable in the coldest of runs. This is why we name the Woolie Boolie the “Best Women’s Winter Running Gear 2020.”
The biggest downside? It isn’t cheap, but it is the best sock we’ve tested.
Fun Color Options.
Our Grade: A- (Ideal for any conditions, if you have the cash).
Review: These socks are super warm and a great addition to your winter running gear collection. We love the balance of cushioning and warmth and they are excellent at keeping the toes warm on cold winter runs.
They are technically “hiking” socks, but we included them here because they are much warmer than most running socks while still staying mobile and versatile enough for a run.
The biggest downside is the lack of moisture wicking technology. While they are “all-purpose” and “built for hiking”, they aren’t great if your feet tend to sweat a lot.
Therefore, we recommend them on very cold runs at an easy pace. However, if you plan on running hard enough to work up a sweat, we recommend you go with one of the two previous options.
Built-In Arch Support.
Made in the U.S.A.
Can’t Handle Very Wet Conditions.
Sometimes TOO Warm.
Our Grade: B (Ideal for dry and extremely cold conditions).
Review: You might be wondering why Adidas, one of the biggest brands in running, hasn’t cracked our list yet.
Honestly? We don’t love their winter running gear.
They are one of our favorite summer brands but are not as specialized at making great winter options.
This hat is an exception.
The Adidas Paramount Beanie does a great job of being a low-key great running beanie. Unlike all the items on this list so far, wearing this around town is perfectly normal. Heck, if it’s cold enough, you could even wear it to work.
It also offers enough reflectivity to be seen, but not too much to be crazy.
Its lifestyle appearance also doesn’t stop it from being great at keeping your head warm in cold weather. The Adidas ClimaWarm yarns are brilliant at trapping heat and staying dry.
While we wouldn’t recommend it in a downpour, this hat is great at handling light rain or a good amount of sweat.
The only downside is that the hat is a touch more expensive than its competitors.
Not JUST A Running Cap.
ClimaWarm Keeps It Warm and Dry.
A Touch Expensive.
Our Grade: B+ (Ideal for any day of the week, unless your budget is tight).
Seirus Innovation Hyperlite All Weather Polartec Glove with Sound Touch Technology
Review: Ok. That was a mouthful. Despite the excessively long title, this glove from Seirus is absolutely fantastic.
We’ve been trying running gloves for years and we’ve never found ones that are warm, mobile, stay dry in the cold, look good, and allows us to use our phones without taking it off.
This does it.
With this lightweight glove on you’ll still be able to tie your shoes, zip up your jacket, use your phone, or do anything else that a thicker glove makes it difficult to do.
All the while, your fingers will stay warm and dry even in a heavy downpour.
One of the most underrated part of this glove is the extended “sleeve” by the wrist. This allows you to tuck your gloves into a long sleeve shirt or jacket on a cold day and even strap your watch on top of it to make sure your fingers stay insulated and warm.
The big news?
These reasons are why this glove from Seirus is our best winter running gear 2020.