Staying warm when running on the cold days of winter has never been easier. However, when you want to be warm, hats and gloves are a must. (These are great holiday gifts for the runners in your life.)
Although the idea that you lose most of your body heat through your head has been thoroughly debunked, it can still be a whole lot more comfortable to wear a hat on colder days (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/26/health/the-claim-you-lose-most-of-your-body-heat-through-your-head.html?_r=0). Personal preference plays a large role in the search for the ideal winter running hat. For extreme conditions, look for a cap that has a windproof outer shell and taped seams. The Saucony Razor Hat uses waterproof FlexShell material, taped seams, and a fleece lining for the ultimate in warmth and comfort. If you need more breathability, look into a traditional knit cap, such as the very stylish Asics model.
Saucony's Razor Hat Asics' Knit Cap
Another option for headwear is to use a Buff. This versatile accessary can be transformed into a hat, neck warmer, or thneed.
Everybody needs a Thneed
For winter conditions, the Buff comes in both merino wool and Polartec fleece versions. It is certainly worthwhile to invest in several different hats for winter running, so that you can be prepared for a variety of weather conditions.
The Buff is very versatile!
Having good hand protection can mean the difference between a comfortable run and feeling like you are flirting with frost bite. Again, conditions will dictate how warm or wind resistant your mittens or gloves need to be. The Asics Thermal Liner Glove, for instance, will work well on its own in more mild conditions. If the wind whips up, try Saucony’s Ulti-Mitt, which features a wind and water resistant outer mitt for weather protection and a thermal interior glove to keep your hands warm. This is a great design that allows you to have the benefits of a mitten to warm up your hands. After your hands are comfortable, you can tuck the mitten away and go with gloves. If conditions dip below freezing and the wind is intense, go with the Manzella gloves or mittens that feature Gore’s Windstopper layer. This provides the ultimate in wind and water resistance. Your hands will remain warm in windy, sub-zero conditions.
Remember, with hats, gloves, and mittens it’s still all about moisture management. Don’t overdress –– you will warm up as you run. Dress like it is 20 degrees warmer than it is.
What’s your favorite hat or glove? Any funny (and blog-safe) near-miss frostbite stories to share? Lessons learned the hard way? Let us know in the comments.