16 Tips for Walking in Cold Weather

Dressed for a Winter Workout
Dressed for a Winter Workout. EHStock/E+/Getty Images

You don't have to let cold weather turn you into a gym rat or force you into hibernation. Here is how to dress and gear up for cold weather walking.

Here's How:

  1. Base layer: Next to the skin, you want a garment that will wick away moisture, as you may work up a sweat even on cold days. Rather than cotton, which can end up cold and clammy, base layer shirts and longjohns are made of polypropylene (Capilene, Thermion, Thermax and Thermastat) or silk. For cold weather, the shirt is usually long-sleeved. You may want to wear tights as a base layer under your pants for cold conditions. Top Picks for Winter Walking Tops

  1. Insulating layer: This layer provides warmth, but you can take it off if you heat up. Traditionally this was a wool shirt or vest. But other options are polyester fleece, pile, or even down for very cold conditions. I like to wear a microfiber fleece vest, which provides warmth without bulk.

  2. Outer layer: This layer protects you against wind and/or rain. A windproof and water-resistant jacket keeps the cold air from penetrating your insulating and base layers. More: Top Picks for Waterproof Jackets

  3. Avoid cotton as it does not wick sweat and will cool you rapidly if it gets wet.

  4. Hat to insulate head and retain heat. More: Top Picks for Winter Walking Hats

  5. Gloves or mittens.

  6. Scarf or neck gaiter.

  7. Shoes made of less-breathable materials. More: 10 Ways to Keep Your Feet Warm on Cold Walks

  8. Chapstick and sunscreen to protect skin and lips.

  9. Warm up longer at a moderate pace before switching to your fast pace.

  1. Remove layers as you warm up.

  2. Drink 8 oz. of water every 15-30 minutes while walking.


  1. You will warm up more than you think you will while walking, so plan ahead on how to carry your shed layers.

  2. If it is windy, try to arrange your route so you are walking into the wind outbound and returning with the wind at your back.

  1. If you are walking a cold weather 10K, half marathon or marathon, use these Tips for Cold Weather Races

  2. If you must walk on ice or snow, use ice/snow cleats and walking poles.

What You Need:

  • wicking base layer

  • fleece or wool layer

  • jacket

  • gloves

  • hat

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