Hats for running in the cold

The right gear is essential when getting active on chilly days. Start a workout from the top with a Bula stocking cap (left and right) or Smartwool Cuffed Beanie (center). Photo by Katie Hogsett

It’s too cold. You’re tired. You don’t know what to wear. You just want another mug of hot chocolate.

In winter, the excuses to skip the run or the bike ride come as hard and fast as a Missouri cold front. But a lack of comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing isn’t an excuse anymore. Pros craving top-of-the-line gear or beginners just wanting the basics can both find what they need in sports shops around Columbia.

It’s time to layer up, throw on the reflectors and get a move on.

Best base layers to kindle core temperature

Top shelf: Ice Breaker tops and leggings, Alpine Shop, $90-110, men and women

Ballin’ on a budget: Hot Chillys Bi-Ply crewnecks and bottoms, Alpine Shop, $25, men and women

Sports store owners around Columbia overwhelmingly agree: Layers are essential for any winter workout, whether you’re training for a marathon or just lightly jogging around the block. Ice Breaker merino wool base layers provide the ultimate cocoon of warmth, says Liza Babington, manager of Alpine Shop. Try the Hot Chillys Bi-Ply synthetic fabric tops and bottoms to avoid breaking the bank on base layers.

Winter running fashion

Keeping toasty is vital in the cold. The Under Armour UA Allseasongear jackets (left and center) and Nike Therma-Sphere Max (right) allow for a comfy calorie-burning session.

Best top layers for any kind of chill

Top Shelf: Nike Therma-Sphere Max, MC Sports, $120, men

Middle of the line: Under Armour UA Allseasongear 1/4 Zips, MC Sports, $65, men and women

The Nike jacket solves the worst of winter weather problems. The textured fleece interior paired with a slightly slick polyester exterior keeps the cold out and all the warm in. The Under Armour zip quickly wicks and dries sweat, so this top easily transitions among Missouri’s unexpected weather changes. ”The All season gear is designed to insulate in cold weather but still remain breathable for warmer weather,” MC Sports manager John Ehrhardt says. This all-weather jacket keeps you cool when the sun peeks out or warms you up when a cold front moves in.

Best pants to keep blood flowing

Top shelf: Nike Epic Lux running tights, UltraMax Sports, $110, women

Victoria’s Secret yoga leggings won’t do the trick on a cold winter run, but these fancy pants will. The synthetic interior and warm Nike Dri-Fit material will protect legs from harsh winds and keep them running in the biting cold.

Best hat to prevent frostbitten ears

Top shelf: Smartwool Cuffed Beanie, UltraMax Sports, $30, gender neutral

Middle of the line: Bula stocking caps, MC Sports, $20-30, gender neutral

Body temperature escapes through the head, so a warm noggin is key to a warm body. Made of merino wool, the Smartwool beanie offers a snug fit to hold heat when braving the icy cold. Bula stocking caps are thicker and typically made of synthetic material with a pompom for extra flair. Bonus: Both hats are long enough to guard earlobes from frigid temperatures. 

Best gloves for ultimate warmth and movement

Top shelf: Brooks Drift Glove, UltraMax Sports, $50, gender neutral

Ballin’ on a budget: Mizuno Breath Thermo Glove, UltraMax Sports, $20, gender neutral

Mittens are the best option to keep hands warm, but gloves help maintain mobility. The multi-functional finger-savers by Brooks combine the best of both worlds, says Nancy Yaeger, manager of UltraMax Sports. No worries about tripping over laces mid-run or changing bike gears; do it all without subjecting your digits to the cold. For a cheaper option, Mizuno’s gloves utilize a signature fabric that heats up when it comes in contact with sweat, Yaeger says. Like hand warmers in a breathable fabric, they keep palms toasty and bank accounts positive.

Best socks to keep feet dry in the slushy snow

Top shelf: Smartwool PhD Light Micro Socks, Alpine Shop, $16.95, gender neutral

Middle of the line: Balega Hidden Comfort Socks, UltraMax Sports, $12, gender neutral

Don’t let your little piggies go wee, wee, wee all the way home. Protect toes from the elements with yarn and merino wool socks. Wool works double-duty as a good warm weather sock, too, Babington says. For something a tad less expensive but with a tad more cushion, Balega has a synthetic option.

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