Expert recommended winter activewear that will keep you warm in cold weather

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Lacking motivation to run, cycle or train outside now that winter’s here? These pieces, recommended by the outdoor exercise pros, will keep you warm.  

If you’re someone who hibernates come November, only popping outside for essential food shops and coffee runs, then it’s safe to assume you might grimace at the thought of outdoor exercise in winter. In fact, you might go as far as to wonder how those who have no choice but to face the elements for their job, sport or hobby actually manage it? 

Well, runners, hikers and even personal trainers, who now have to run in-person training in the great outdoors, have their own tried and tested solutions for getting through their sessions freeze-free. So who better to ask for really warm activewear recommendations?

Whether you’re in need of something to throw on over your running kit or some leggings that keep the heat in while you do burpees in the park, we asked the fitness experts for their recommendations. Here’s what they think is worth a purchase to see you through winter training

  • Have a base layer

    “I usually suggest layers over heavy items as it’s easier the take off a layer of clothing rather than drag a puffer jacket around when you start to warm up,” says personal trainer Veowna Charles. “I suggest a good base top under your outfit to keep warm and dry. When I’m spending hours outdoors training clients I reach for the Reebok ThermoWarm Base Layer Top.”

    Shop Reebok ThermoWarm Base Layer, £37.95

  • Add insulation

    “This Northface knit is such an effective insulator that sometimes it actually makes me too warm!” says fitness editor Meriam Ahari. “Surpringly, it’s pretty lightweight so I can tie it around my waist when I need to. This is exactly what you need if you’re looking for activewear that’s guaranteed to keep you warm on chilly runs.”

    Shop Northface Diablo Fleece Jacket, £90

  • Shelter from the wind

    “Training in winter means braving the elements so having a lightweight breathable jacket will keep you warm, and still allow full range of movement when exercising is a necessity,” says Kerry Dixon, former sprinter and co-founder of The Athlete Method. This Nike Tech Pack Running Jacket keeps wind and water out during winter running. 

  • Use compression

    “During the winter I usually alway wear 2XU Compression tights for running,” says personal trainer and runner Tashi Skervin-Clarke. “Compression material helps to increase blood flow to my legs to get your muscles warm up more quickly and help them stay warm too. That’s especially needed when running in the winter to help prevent injury. I also find that these tights are really breathable too due to their moisture-wicking technology.”

    Shop 2XU Compression Tights, £80

  • Cover the ears

    “There’s no coming back once my ears are cold,” says fitness writer Chloe Gray. “While I associate headbands with 80s aerobics, they are a saviour when I run, preventing headaches and misery but without overheating. This Adidas headband is perfectly elasticated so it doesn’t slip about, and the fleece lining keeps my ears toasty.”

    Shop Adidas Headband, £17.95

  • Keep the arms free

    “I often find running in jackets can leave me feeling a bit claustrophobic, especially when I’m doing distance running,” says Tashi. “Instead, I usually opt for layers and a gilet. This means my arms are free to move whilst running but my chest remains warm. This Under Armour Run Vest is my go-to.”

    Shop Under Armour ColdGear Run Vest, £105

  • Wear warm shoes

    “It is getting a little crisper outside just as I have made the commitment to run a minimum of two miles per day,” says trainer Laura Hoggins, member of the Strong Women Collective. “I have been running in Nike Zoom Fly’s – lightweight shoes that keeps me warm as I run and train outdoors.”

    Shop Nike Zoom Fly Running Shoes, £139.95

  • Cover the ankles

    “As an athlete, a lot of our track sessions have to be completed outside throughout winter and I’m definitely someone who layers up with plenty of winter accessories,” says runner and personal trainer Risqat Fabunmi-Alade. “In the winter the gap between your trainers and the bottom of your leggings makes for cold, and sometimes wet, ankles. I’ve started wearing longer socks with both my trainers and spikes for ultimate warmth. These socks have a 90s vibe to them, and I sometimes match the colour of the socks to whatever trainers I’m wearing.”

    Shop Puma Crew Socks, £8

  • Find a thin layer

    “They’ve just redesigned this lululemon Swiftly Top in a new, slightly shorter length which is perfect for me,” says trainer from the Strong Women Collective Alice Miller I layer it over a sports bra and a light top, and when I’m warm enough I can roll this up really small and put it in my bum bag because it’s such a thin but cosy layer.”

    Shop lululemon Swiftly Running Top, £68

Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.

Images: Getty / Brand’s own

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).